As the UK gets set to depart from Europe, it felt only right that we devote more of our time to covering whiskies from across the channel. My colleague Mark has gorged himself on all things Swedish whilst I’ve decided to head south towards sunnier climes.
DYC stands for Destilerias y Crianza and is interestingly pronounced as dick. This opens up the whisky review to all sorts of possible avenues. However before we head south it’s worth talking about the interesting history of Destilerias y Crianza and their involvement with a lost Scottish distillery.
I’ve previously reviewed the DYC flagship release with their 10 year old single malt. It was an approachable and enjoyable dram, best experienced on a sunny day with a relaxing vibe. I found it to be surprisingly worthwhile with some unique flavours and was eager to seek out more whiskies from this Spanish distillery. Unfortunately, a recent trip to Spain revealed the dominance of Scotch in the airport rather than a local hero. Thankfully, moving out of this retail nightmare and into a local supermarket brought more success. DYC is widely available able surprisingly cheap. There is an 8 year old expression that I haven’t tried yet but I did see it on special for around 12 Euros. A real bargain if it’s just off the benchmark the 10 year old set. That’s for another review, as to hand we have the entry-level whisky in the DYC pure malt.
Details are few and far between on the packaging, but this expression debuted in 2000 with a more squat appearance. Instead the current edition comes in the standard 70cl bottle shape nowadays and is bottled at 40% strength. It’s more than likely this release is comprised of 3-5 year old malt, chill filtered and features colouring.
Today, DYC is part of the Beam Suntory group and remains very popular in Spain, but it all started in the 1920’s when Nicomedes Garcia Gomez started working at the family liquor distillery in Segovia. A chance event highlighted the potential of distilling whisky and in the 1950’s he visited Scotland prior to establishing DYC in 1959. The venture was a success by sticking to a lower price point and creating an approachable whisky that arguably worked better as a mixer. By the 1980’s the DYC brand itself dominated the Spanish market and was attracting attention from corporate suitors – today remains the 3rd best selling whisky in Spain. In fact, demand during the 1970’s DYC couldn’t cope with the rising demand and had to look elsewhere for a source of whisky. Oddly, this takes us to Lochside distillery in Montrose.
Lochside is one of the most overlooked lost distilleries in Scotland and this is a crying shame as I’ve never had a bad whisky from it. The distillery during the 1970’s and 1980’s had a turbulent period of instability with various owners. DYC became owners in 1972 after the colourful ownership of Joseph W Hobbs came to an end with his death in 1971. The DYC vision was a solid whisky to blend with their own malt to produce a palatable blend (Sandy MacNab) and ease some of the pressure they were facing in the domestic market.
The infamous Lochside Coffey ceased to exist, leaving 4 pot stills and the plant concentrated on producing malt. This arrangement gave birth to the most commonly seen bottling of Lochside in the 10 year old MacNab. As Lochside was fairly self-contained with its own bottling line it was a harmonious relationship with DYC. That is until its parent company was acquired by Domecq, commencing a musical chairs marathon of ownership that eventually brought an end to Lochside in 1997 with its demolition. Sadly the relationship with DYC was at an end, but the Spanish distillery has prospered with the foundation of a grain distillery and its own malt operation is capable of 20 million litres per annum if required.
DYC Pure Malt Whisky – review
Colour: white tea.
On the nose: very summery with orchard fruits of pears and apples. Very spirit based but refreshingly so with a twist of lime. Freshly baked bread, then toffee followed by white chocolate. The aromas are very light and gentle.
In the mouth: that sunshine vibe continues onto the palate with mangoes, pears, apples and a gentle dusting of icing sugar with caramel and cinnamon on the finish. However it’s very restrained again and almost non-existent.
This is an inoffensive whisky priced locally at an exceptionally cheap price of around 14 Euros. It’s well made and lacks the fiery alcohol taint that some Scottish No Age Statement releases display. What’s not to like? I could see myself quite happily sitting out on the balcony in a Spanish apartment reaching for this time and time again with no restraint. Even as a mixer it’ll work well. Yes, it’s not hugely layered, evocative or mesmerising. A difficult one to score ultimately but I feel we’re in the 4-5 camp here. Priced at – consults currency calculator – £12.50, I feel a midway score is appropriate.
Thanks to family friends for bringing over this bottle from Spain.