This is an interesting bottle. A legacy that goes back to the heady days of blends and meeting rising demand in a bygone era, namely the early 1900’s. The Dhu in this blend was, and is, provided specifically by the Dallas Dhu distillery built in 1898 by Glasgow’s Wright & Grieg. Today, Dallas Dhu is maintained by Historic Scotland for the nation. Kept as a visitor attraction this is a recommended distillery tour with a unique approach – no longer in production you are left to explore it at your own leisure.
You can read about the tour itself right here. It offers a fantastic contrast from working distilleries you will experience when on Speyside. These have become computerised and devoid of working men, whereas Dallas Dhu is all about the labour of love and sustained human effort. Now, I digress as really we’re here for another taste review! So lets being by opening up this bottle!
After completing the tour you are offered a short film followed by a dram of the Roderick Dhu blend. This is what we have here, sadly not an original blended example but one bottled by Historic Scotland for the distillery gift shop and on sale for a reasonable £20. Also on sale were single malt bottlings by Gordon MacPhail and generally the chat was Dallas Dhu stocks cannot go on forever. So a wee treat on this tour and I left with a couple of bottles.
Roderick Dhu blend – review
Colour: A very pale muted hay
On the nose: The presence of grain is quickly identified as the backbone of this blend; coconut, vanilla, whipped cream. Generally inoffensive, sweet and very short, it suggests an easy drinking blend.
In the mouth: Very little in the form of distinctive flavours here. Great as a starting point for anyone new to whisky, those looking for a little more punch or flavour emphasis look elsewhere. Normally with blends the ratio is 50-60% however I’d suspect the ratio is much higher here. The only thing it reminds me of is the Famous Snow Grouse blend made purely from grain.
Perhaps sitting at the end of the Dallas Dhu experience, in the impressive visitors area and bar, influenced my senses as I remember this blend being much better. In the last year my tasting experience has grown and while blends can offer great, unique opportunities this isn’t the case here. If this is a reasonable replica of a historical blend then I can taste why it was so popular. It is very inoffensive, easy to drink in large quantities and maybe there is just a teaspoon of Dallas Dhu here, who knows?
If you do fancy checking out a historical blend then try the recent (and excellent) Hankey Bannister Heritage offering, released earlier this year instead.