Dà Mhìle Single Malt

I have been on a bit of a Welsh whisky exploration in recent weeks. I wrote two articles for Malt, covering Welsh whisky and a pair of Penderyn, and the inaugural release from Aber Falls.

Now, rather than subjecting Malt readers to a third Welsh whisky review, I thought I would put this one on my little corner of the web. Scotch will always be number one in terms of review numbers, but I think its very important to look elsewhere on a regular basis too. Hopefully a bit more of that to come in future, but for the time being, being a proud Welshman means I have a vested interest in exploring what is currently available.

Penderyn and the new Aber Falls are likely to be the Welsh whisky producers that the majority of fans of the spirit will have heard of. Dà Mhìle on the other hand, won’t be on everybody’s radar.

Located in the county of Ceredigion, in the south west of the country, Dà Mhìle (pronounced Da-Vee-Lay) is located on Glynhynod farm, which has been owned by Dutch ex-pats the Savage-Onstwedders since 1981. Organic has always been key to everything they produce on the farm, and when owner John couldn’t find an organic whisky, he set out to change that. Working with Springbank distillery back in 1992, a 7 year old organic single malt was bottled in 1999, the first organic whisky of the modern era. They have also bottled organic single malt and single grain expressions from Loch Lomond, as well as a blend of Springbank malt and Loch Lomond grain. As a bonus to this review, I have included my thoughts on one such bottle of Loch Lomond single grain the company bottled in 2014.

That first Springbank was bottled to celebrate the millennium, and that is where the name Dà Mhìle comes from, which interestingly is not Welsh, but Scots-Galic for two thousand.

The Dà Mhìle distillery opened in 2012, with both single malt and single grain whisky produced, along with gin and vodka. Their still is heated using wood grown on their own land, with a new tree planted for every one that is felled. Unsurprisingly for a producer with a focus on organic, there is also a keen eye being kept on sustainability. The still consists of a single pot, with a rectification column, allowing them to distil the spirit multiple times in one go. It’s a type of still which is often seen among smaller producers as an alternative to the traditional system of multiple pot stills.

The whisky I am sampling for this review is a single malt, matured in a single ex-oloroso sherry cask. It can be purchased direct from the website in 5cl, 35cl and 70cl sizes, with the 70cl also available from Master Of Malt.

Dà Mhìle Single Malt Review

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is da-mhile-organic-single-malt-cask-ms1605-whisky.jpg

Nose : Very fruity and floral, with buttery toffee too. Tropical fruits – mango and passionfruit – along with orange, peach, raisin, dates and figs. That’s a lot of fruit! The floral note I am getting is similar to geranium, a kind of fruity, citrus rose fragrance. There’s some butterscotch and treacle too.

Palate : Juicy, thick and coating on the palate. The initial arrival is sweet and a little effervescent, with raisin, orange, blackcurrant and mango plentiful. It then goes into a bitter honeycomb, but enough of the sweetness remains to balance that bitter note. Light peppery spice, which lingers into the finish along with a creaminess, citrus fruit, some oak, salted caramel, dark roast coffee and menthol mint.

Conclusions : I am not quite sure how old this is, but what we do know is it can’t be older than eight or nine years, which does make it a little pricey at around £90 a bottle. However, this is small batch, single cask, organic whisky, and that has to be factored in. The small number of years in the Oloroso cask have certainly given plenty of flavour to the whisky. I am liking this one plenty.

Score : 7/10

(Score descriptions can be found in the About page)

Vital statistics

ABV : 46%
Non-chill filtered : Yes
Natural Colour : Yes
Maturation : Single Oloroso sherry cask (No. MS1605)
Region : Wales
Colour : Deep Gold

Loch Lomond 2000 14 year old Organic Single Grain (Dà Mhìle)

Nose : Sweet, fruity orange with lots of tropical fruits – banana and mango – with floral honeysuckle, heather honey and caramel. There’s nothing subtle about the nose on this one, the fruit leaps out at you. A little acidity at the back too, with a ever so slightly acetone note, but not as prominent as it can often be with grain.

Palate : Sweet to start, then it goes into sharp citrus orange and lemon, with plenty of peppery bitter oak spice and brown sugar. After that the vanilla cream starts to come through, and remains in the finish, along with spicy oak, honeycomb and a pinch of salt.

Conclusions : A lot of the notes sound similar in many ways, with the tropical fruit and floral notes, but they are quite different, as you would expect. This is unlike anything I have tried in a grain whisky before, and it’s fantastic. If you told me it was a single malt I would have believed you. This was produced before Loch Lomond installed their continuous barley still in 2007, so it is likely to be mostly wheat based. It retailed around the £50 mark in 2014, and I would be buying a bottle right away if they weren’t all long gone. However, samples are still available from Master Of Malt if you wanted to try it while you can.

Score : 7.5/10

(Score descriptions can be found in the About page)

Vital statistics

ABV : 46%
Non-chill filtered : Yes
Natural Colour : Yes
Maturation : Single cask (unsure what type, but would certainly suspect Oloroso)
Region : Highland
Colour : Gold

The images in this review were provided by Master Of Malt and used with permission

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