We're always excited to try a new independent bottler, so we've got two Dalmunach's from Na Bràithrean in their Wee Brother/Big Brother series.
Na Bràithrean Dalmunach Wee Brother
Na Bràithrean means “the brothers” in Gaelic. In this case the brothers in question started off in a bourbon hogshead before a portion of the spirit was transferred to a different cask. This Wee Brother was distilled at Dalmunach Distillery in 2016 and has spent its entire 6 years ageing in the bourbon cask.
We're met with butter, assorted vegetable peelings, white wine vinegar, fermenting bread dough, grist and Haribo tangfastics. It's a young nose, with a lot of youthful spirit notes quite apparent. Time and air in the glass starts to reveal sweeter fruits, mainly apples and peaches, but the dram is quite earthy and grain forward overall.
The palate begins with creamy porridge, in fact the mouthfeel is really good and buttery. We're also finding more peaches now, sweet and fresh, with black pepper spice afterwards. The dram is a bit hot, especially for only being 52%. Giving it some air and we're getting more of those spirit-forward flavours appearing, milkybar chocolate and dry oak on the short to medium length finish.
Nose (with water)
Reduction has brought out a zestier, lighter character from the whisky, we're getting Albarino wine, gaia melon, more peach and a hint of pineapple right at the end. It has still retained the butteriness we enjoyed pre-dilution.
Palate (with water)
Lighter spice notes that dance around on the tongue, custard cream biscuits and semi-skimmed milk. We're finding it to have more balance now, but it's a touch one-dimensional, mainly bourbon cask vanilla and biscuit flavours.
Quite a creamy dram with a really nice mouthfeel, but all in all a bit young and brash. There's some nice orchard fruits here, but for us it just needs a bit more time. Water helps to lighten up some of the spice, but the dram loses some texture, so we'd recommend experimenting with dilution to see which you prefer.
Na Bràithrean Dalmunach Big Brother
The Big Brother was transferred into a oloroso Quarter Cask for a 9 month finish.
Cola bottles, raisins, black and red currants. The sherry influence is very apparent, although the nose feels a little restrained and mellow. Air reveals toffee apples, dates, toasted nuts, brown sugar and a slight herbal, rosemary like aroma.
We're met with a meatier sherry than expected, a little bit of bovril and beef stock cubes. Alongside this we're getting more of the typical sweeter sherry notes, maple syrup, cinnamon, medjool dates and toffee. The mouthfeel is a little disappointing, it's not thin but we were hoping for a little more texture, and the finish has a medium length with tobacco and milk chocolate.
Nose (with water)
Richer, not in a sweet way but more in a deeper, earthier, woodier way. It's a bit spicier now too, whole toasted peppercorns and cloves. More oak on the latter part of the nose.
Palate (with water)
Water has brought out the oak and the earth.. dry oak and earth to be precise. It's a little bitter now, a lot of that dried fruit sweetness has disappeared and we're left with wood and spice. We'd avoid adding water, it doesn't help the dram in our opinion.
Very sherry forward, but not as textured or viscous as we'd have liked. The sherry manages to mask the spirit's youthfulness quite well, but the mouthfeel and finish let this slip through unfortunately. Saying that, it's quite enjoyable and there's a balance of sweet and meaty notes to keep sherry lovers coming back for more.
- 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.
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