Single cask Daftmill's don't come around too often, so we're excited to be able to review two sherry matured releases, one for the UK market and the other for Drambusters.
Daftmill 2012 Drambusters Single Cask #086
This release was was distilled in 2012 and laid down to mature in a first fill Pedro Ximenez sherry hogshead for 9 years. It was bottled exclusively for the Drambusters site. 341 bottles were released.
A restrained nose, but as we dig deeper we’re finding cola bottles, dates and raisins. There’s a light nuttiness, raw hazelnuts and little loveheart sweets. Behind this sherry cask maturation, we’re getting a lighter and spritzy spirit with green apple and freshly cut grass. We will note that there’s a good amount of sherry here, and those are the predominant aromas that we’re finding. Time and air starts to reveal a bit of funk, cherry jam and a touch of instant yeast at the end which gives away the younger age of the dram.
The palate opens with cinnamon, lots and lots of cinnamon. It reminds us of Big Red chewing gum, with a slight chill heat coming through too. We’re also getting cherry syrup, sultanas, freshly picked mint leaves, ginger spice and some treacle too. There’s still a spritzy-ness in the spirit here, that might just be the alcohol though. The mouthfeel is nice, and the finish lingers on with richer flavours of cinder toffee, molasses and date-filled cookies.
Nose (with water)
Slightly richer and more rounded, cola syrup, lots of dates, a bit sweeter too. There’s also some dark chocolate and prune too. It feels like the sherry cask has overtaken the spirit character now, however some may really enjoy that.
Palate (with water)
We’re finding not too much difference with water, it’s got a lot of the same rich sherry flavours, maybe a touch less of the upfront cinnamon spice. The mouthfeel and finish also remain consistent, maybe with some coffee grounds, aniseed and blackcurrants appearing on the finish now.
This is a dram that we’d happily have in the cabinet and reach for when we felt in the mood for that sweet/spicy sherry hit. It’s a touch restrained on the nose, but the palate is quite delicious and full of those rich sherry flavours, whilst keeping some of that Daftmill DNA intact. It’s pricey but not out of the range of other Daftmill bottlings.
Daftmill 2009 UK Exclusive Single Cask #26
This release was was distilled in 2009 and laid down to mature in a first fill oloroso butt for 13 years. It was bottled exclusively for the UK Market. 630 bottles were released.
There’s a milk chocolate aroma, but one that has biscuit or puffed rice throughout. We’re also getting French pastries, shortbread, along with red currants and date paste. There’s also a bit of clove and nutmeg appearing in the background. There’s a good amount of sherry influence here, but it’s not the punch-you-in-the-face-with-dried-fruits that some would expect from 13 years in a first fill butt. We’re also getting a mocha coffee with a shot of milk.
We’re met with dark chocolate ganache, freshly brewed espresso, slightly burnt caramel, light cinnamon spice, nutmeg and some ginger appearing on the latter palate. It starts off quite rich and full bodied, but ends on a sweeter whipped cream and white chocolate flavour. The mouthfeel is alright, feels a touch thin in places but the finish has a good length. There’s also a touch of acidity that appears after some time and air.
Nose (with water)
Lots more… chocolate. Pain au chocolate, cherries in syrup, caramel drizzle, lots of rich and sweet aromas coming off the dram. For us it feels like the spirit has been lost a bit within all of these sherry forward aromas, we wouldn’t peg it as a Daftmill.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate has a touch more spice, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, a little bit more savoury too with balsamic vinegar and molasses. The mouthfeel and alcohol integration remain mostly unchanged, and the finish retains its length however is a touch drier.
Good quality spirit in a good quality cask for a good length of time has resulted in good quality whisky. Daftmill is pricey for its age, but that’s understandable given it’s a small distillery with a limited output. If the Daftmill prices are within your whisky budget (and you’re able to get your hands on this bottle), then you won’t be disappointed. For us, we’ll go with a 7.5/10.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.