On our trip to Spain last year, we had our first taste of some Spanish whisky. We tasted the regular DYC blend, which costs around €8 a bottle and has a large cult following. This time we decided to track some more down and found this Pure Malt, which is DYC's only single malt whisky release and also another blend with an eight year old age statement which will be reviewed shortly. Many people do not even realise that Spain has a whisky industry (including us before we discovered DYC last year!) but it makes sense when you learn that Spain is the fourth largest consumer of whisky in the world, behind only France, the USA and the UK.
DYC is the abbreviated company name of Destilerias y Crianza del whisky, which opened Spain's first whisky distillery in 1959. The distillery is located in the town of Palazuelos de Eresma in the Castilla y Leon region to the north west of Madrid. It is a massive distillery complex that has the capacity to produce 20 million litres of spirit per year (this is double the capacity of Scotland's biggest whisky distillery at Glenfiddich). DYC is now owned by the multi national drinks company Beam Global and they make other alcoholic spirits under license at the distillery. The whisky is marketed to be low budget and is popular in Spain as it is much cheaper than the imported Scottish, Irish or American whiskies. It is designed to be mixed with non alcoholic beverages or ice and to be easy drinking in the hot weather.
This Pure Malt is bottled at 40% ABV and has no age stated on the label or packaging. The colour is golden yellow and the nose is light and fresh with an interesting mix of characteristics. There is an initial hit of obvious malted barley and vanilla that is then followed by something herbal (think of dried grasses or hay), some fruit (the best we could think of was a combination of unripe plums and melon) and a hint of some toffee or fudge. Some raw spirit is present, indicating that this whisky may be quite young, but this diffuses the longer that it sits in the glass. The palate is light again with a strange structure. It begins with no flavour! After a delayed time of a few seconds, the whisky then explodes in your mouth with a blast of herbal bitterness (that dried grass or hay again) and spicy white pepper. Despite this note sounding great, it is actually quite enjoyable. This fades and lets the sweet vanilla, cereal, green fruit and toffee notes from the nose through. Before you can even think about it, the finish has gone with just an alcoholic burn and a touch of honey left to remind you that you have actually just drunk something. This is slightly disappointing.
This DYC Pure Malt is a very pleasant and easy drinking whisky that improves with time in the glass. It has elements of a Scottish Lowland malt but also has a number of distinct individual characteristics that make it unlike any other whisky that we have tried for a long time. This would be perfect with a mixer or ice on a warm day, which is exactly what it is designed for. Pure Malt is more limited than the regular DYC blend and is only available in selected stores in Spain. A bottle should cost around €15, which is a bargain price for this decent whisky.