1983 was a pretty sad year for the single malt whisky industry. DCL, which would eventually become Diageo, found themselves with a bit of a whisky glut. There was too much money being spent on production. They needed to downsize. The fat would have to be trimmed. Belts would need to be tightened.
Port Ellen. Brora. Banff. Glen Albyn. Glenlochy. Glen Mhor. North Port. Saint Magdalene. All closed down, never to be reopened.
There was one more distillery that also shut its doors forever that year. Dallas Dhu.
We've been very lucky in our search for whisky from Diageo's lost legends. We secured a Brora cask via Chieftain's earlier this year. Duncan Taylor sold us a barrel of 35 year Banff on last year's expedition (that $179 pre-arrival price now looks like a joke). Glenlochy was the big surprise from this year's voyage (and the quality is simply divine). We also finally nailed down the elusive barrel of Port Ellen. In all of our searching, despite my eager attempt to locate one, we've never come across a cask of Dallas Dhu.
I've tasted five Dallas Dhu expressions in my life. I've always enjoyed the whisky immensely, hence my desire to locate a barrel for the store. Situated between Elgin and Inverness in the the Highland region, the distillery today functions as a museum with all its equipment still intact. Diageo sold the building to Historic Scotland in 1986, who today operate the facility for visitors year round. The license to distill, however, was withdrawn in 1992, effectively ending any chance that Dallas Dhu would reopen under new ownership.
I've been very impressed with the Gordon & MacPhail line of mature single malts over the last year. The Glenlivet 21, Macallan 41, Old Pulteney 21, and Longmorn 30 expressions have been absolutely top notch and reasonably priced for what they are. I finally tracked down about four cases of the 1979 Dallas Dhu, a whisky I had been wanting to sample for some time. It finally arrived today and it's every bit as good as I had hoped.
1979 Dallas Dhu 33 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $349.99 - Aromas of lemon zest, vanilla, oily wood that continue on into the palate. The finish warms up with a burst of richness on the back that stays with you for minutes. The whisky is everything you want it to be. It's graceful, delicate, elegant, and it tastes expensive. It's very much the rare and shining jewel that we whisky romantics hope lost distilleries like Dallas Dhu will actually live up to. A fantastic aged Highland whisky that very much resembles our Banff barrel from a year ago, yet with more weight and texture.
I remember Tim from Scotch and Ice Cream saying he was planning a tasting of the entire list of 1983 Diageo closures. If you've still got some Banff and Brora left, you can snag one of our Glenlochy bottles with a pre-order for the Port Ellen. Then grab one of these precious Dallas Dhu bottles (I've got 24 available total) and you're halfway there.
Now that would be an amazing tasting.