The story goes that towards the end of the millennium, perhaps just into the year 2000, something went awry at Clynelish.
Whatever happened affected characteristic waxiness of the spirit. The entire might of Diageo’s expertise descended on the distillery to identify the cause. After all, Clynelish is crucial to a number of the signature blends which are the real money spinners for the company. After much investigation it turned out that some deep cleaning had been performed on the low wines receiver to allow for inspection.
The cleaning has removes significant sticky waxy deposits which had been interacting with the low wines and feints as they waited to be transferred onto the spirit still. It took some time for the deposits to build up again, and fans of Clynelish now know to tread cautiously with any 2000 vintage single casks which often do not resemble long established characteristics of Clynelish.
Fortunately for Diageo, another distillery in their portfolio – Dailuaine – also has a waxy character which could be gently enhanced by the distillers to ensure an ample supply of waxy malt for the blends. Given the Clynelish story, Dailuaine distillates from 2000 onwards can be regarded as likely to be waxier, and the plaudits have been coming in for the spirit fairly consistently since the 2010s.
When I say plaudits, more so in the wider world than at Malt. Sam had a tough time with a port cask and Ryan did not enjoy the contribution it made to Compass Box Oak Cross blend here. However, Taylor especially fancied an unnamed-but-surreptitiously identified Dailuaine from Single Cask Nation.
What will be particularly interesting is the arrival of extra waxy Dailuaine spirit to the Indie market. Since 2015, in anticipation of significant renovations and improvements at Clynelish, the waxiness of the spirit has been pushed up, further much to the acclimation of those who already enjoy this style of single malt.
The whiskies today both come from the same original refill hogshead. Distilled in 2010, in 2020 the whisky was placed into a stout cask from Cromarty Brewery, who have an established arrangement sharing casks with Phil and Simon Thompson. The remainder of the original hoggie was released directly by Thompson Bros. in the amusingly labelled “Error 502 Bad Gateway” bottles, which poke fun at the website crashes caused by flippers trying to profit from whisky.
The stout finished cask was bottled and released for the Melody Whisky Bar in London. The Melody Whisky Bar is part of the St. Paul’s Hotel in trendy Hammersmith. It’s central, yet has very leafy surroundings, and is the place to be seen al fresco dramming in the summer months. Melody has a strong whisky list which features many of the most sought-after bottles from Bimber to Macallan; a worthy whisky destination for any visiting London, or Londoners themselves. But how is their own bottling? Let’s start with the un-augmented Dailuaine.
2010 Thompson Bros. Dailuaine – Review
2010 – 2020. 56.7% ABV. £40. From a refill hogshead; just 32 bottles were available direct from Thompson Bros. via a ballot system.
Colour: Unbleached paper.
On the nose: Green apple jolly ranchers, waxy lemons, tinned pears, a heavy weight sweetness, daffodil flowers, a little dry wood spice and malty spirit.
In the mouth: Juicy green apple, crushed white grapes, peppery spirit, white chocolate, short to medium spirit forward finish.
Not everyone enjoys this naked style of whisky, but for me it’s spotting this is the kind of cask that got Phil and Simon their great reputation at Thompson Bros. Excellent, distillate-driven, honest whisky
Thompson Bros. 2010 Dailuaine Stout Cask Finish – Review
2010 – 2021. 54.7% ABV. £50. From a refill hogshead with a stout cask finish; just 32 bottles were bottled exclusively for the Melody Whisky Bar London.
On the nose: Surprisingly sweeter, richer, apple tarte tatin, waxy, quince jelly, a malty backbone, dry oak spices and chocolate malt character
In the mouth: Chocolate cake, vanilla butter cream, 50% milk chocolate coated dried fruit, becoming bitter, hoppy toasty beer note that lingers on the tongue for a long finish.
Changed, certainly. Enhanced? Yes. The stout delivers a really punchy finish in contrast simple elegance of the original whisky. Delivering a complexity and depth that is very enjoyable. Both of these drams are improved with a little water. I think this would make a bloody brilliant Old Fashioned. Not quite enough to go a full point up in the scale, but still great in its own way.
Thompson Bros. x Melody Whisky Bar Dailuaine Old Fashioned – Review
A splash of angostura bitters
A teaspoon of sugar syrup, stir
Add a fancy chunk of ice
50ml of TB x Melody Whisky Bar Stout Cask Finish Dailuaine, stir
Top up with a splash of soda water
Garnish with maraschino cherry and a slice of orange
Some whiskies can either jar or be lost when paired with the strong flavours of the garnish of an Old Fashioned, but the stout cask has a bitterness that works alongside the angostura bitters and the chocolate notes go superbly with the cherry and orange garnish. When distillate is this good it’s hard to go wrong.
More information on our scoring bands can be found here.
Photos courtesy of @poshscotch taken in the Melody Bar Garden.