2000 Berry Bros & Rudd Dailuaine 11 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Bamvinos Pizzeria

2000 Berry Bros & Rudd Dailuaine 11 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Bamvinos Pizzeria

The Whisky: 2000 Berry Bros & Rudd Dailuaine 11 Year Old Single Malt, Single Cask, Scotch Whisky (55.1% abv)

Country of Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

The Location: Bamvinos Pizzeria – Erina Heights, Central Coast, NSW

A few months ago, before the world changed and we went into lockdown, we were north of Sydney, seeing friends and family. We’d arranged to catch up with T for a pizza and a chat – and a whisky. T is a friend through my partner and is one of those people you feel fortunate to know. Even tempered, instantly relaxing to be around and an inspiringly talented photographer – we’d caught T at a wedding the day before (he was the official photographer) and since we all had a gap in our schedules agreed to meet for a feed and a drink.

We knew the pizzas were great at Bamvinos so the location was set. If you’ve read previous reviews you’ll know Bamvinos from the review of the Berry Brothers Blue Hanger 11th Release Blended Malt Scotch Whisky. I had unfinished business with several whiskies behind their bar and today, with T’s help, was the day to do some business.

First things first though, we had to introduce T to the joys of Bamvinos pizzas. We went for the same line up as last time – a slow cooked lamb shoulder and thyme pizza and a ‘trio of truffle’ – truffled salami, truffled pecorino and mushroom with truffle oil. This time I managed to get a hasty photo before these were demolished.

While we stuffed ourselves we caught up with what we’d each been doing in the recent past and speculated on the potential looming crisis ahead (at the time of writing, was no longer a potential crisis, but had become harshly apparent).

Soon the pizzas were gone and the talk turned to whisky. What had we had recently? What was exciting? What was excellent? At this point I suggested the conversation would be better over a dram, so T and I sauntered to the bar and pulled up a couple of stools.

I’d already spotted the Berry’s Dailuaine on my previous visit and while there were a few other whiskies behind the bar that I’m excited to try I absolutely had to go for the Speyside single malt. After guiding the staff to the bottle we wanted (‘no, a little more to the left… the blue and white one…’) we had two neat drams in front of us, and an empty bottle.

The nose is soft with light caramel and light smoke being initially apparent. There’s also fruit and spice – cinnamon spiced pear with cardamon. Also some banana. The spice is low though, while there’s a touch of cinnamon and some vanilla there’s no nutmeg, pepper or cloves. Dry wood notes come through.

On the palate it’s light, a little white pepper then super smooth, hard to believe the abv is above 55%. Again light caramel with vanilla and oak are the predominant flavors. I feel like with more time and a second (or third) glass there’s more to find, but I was limited to a single dram. I couldn’t pick up smoke on the palate but because it’s there in the nose I’m certain it’s on the palate too, but it’s noteable that I didn’t pick it up. Slight oilyness to the texture.

The finish is dry oak. Moderately long, longer than expected for a fairly light and subtle whisky.

What it reminds me of:

Classic Speyside whiskies – because that’s exactly what this is, although it’s much much lighter and less sweet and fruity than ‘popular’ Speysides like Aberlour or Singleton – more like a drier Glenfiddich 12. The characteristic Speyside pear/apple I’m used to is in there though. I’ll also say that the lighter style reminds me of pot still Irish whiskies – the mouthfeel is about the same (thought the flavors are different) and I expected some floral notes on this as soon as I started nosing it.

What do I think?

This is elegant and balanced. Light – it would make a great starting whisky in a line up. I also think it’d be great for having a few drams of – I really don’t think I unlocked the potential this has over just a few sips. The light, reserved but pleasant style make it a perfect ‘beginner’ whisky – there’s not a lot here to offend the palate, the predominant flavors are tasty and easy to find and there’s good complexity allowing further exploration beyond the first sip. It’s really easy and pleasant to drink. I’m not running out to buy a bottle – the style is much lighter than the cask strength whiskies I’m currently loving and in any case I haven’t seen it around anywhere (a quick search online suggests that similar offerings from Berry’s are available, although it’s hard to say how they compare). But if you like lighter styles, or if you’re an Irish whiskey drinker wanting to delve into scotch this would offer a beautiful introduction to Speyside whisky. This is something I’d really like to have another go of in the future though and was really enjoyable.

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