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Dallas Dhu (pronounced: da-lass DOO) is one of the more notorious names in the pantheon of closed distilleries. Closed in 1983 but now preserved as a museum kind of thing it is said that the distillery could run again in a matter of days. Although this seems highly unlikely and Im pretty sure I remember hearing something about an unviable water source. This is a shame because Dallas Dhu was one of those distilleries, akin to Glen Mhor or Glan Albyn, that was a true eccentric. A distillery whose distillate was not always technically perfect, in fact it often bordered on downright difficult and strange, but one that was never boring and is infinitely more charming than most of todays mundane output.
Dallas Dhu Distillery
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Altyre (Scourie) Burn
1963-1983: Sudden Decline.
The stills as Dallas Dhu were converted to mechanical stoking in 1963 and then to steam in 1971. In an odd twist of convention the majority of the better Dallas Dhu bottlings seem to hail from the latter days of production in the late seventies/early eighties. Excellent, old style bottlings from these years have been done by Duncan Taylor, Douglas Laing, G&M and Signatory. There are older versions from the late sixties/early seventies as well but these seem to walk a little more on the weird side. This is possibly down to improved wood management or maybe there were some more subtle alterations to the production process. It is not unimaginable that someone noticed the distillate of the previous decade was turning out a little odd. We will probably never know though.
Dallas Dhu is typically oily, peppery, waxy and often a little smoky with flinty and green notes like grass and vegetal aspects regularly appearing. The best examples are clean and old style with a big mineral note and quite a big dose of fruit running through them. While the stranger ones show unusual notes of milk, porridge, flints, salt, olive oil, cardboard and acrylic. These bottlings are rarely bad in the extreme sense but are often quite challenging whiskies, difficult to understand and tame. They are however, never boring and always a privilege to drink because there really isnt anything like them being produced in todays all too tame whisky world.