Whisky Review: DYC Blended Whisky, Spain´s only whisky?
Well, it has been quite a long time since I have posted any reviews …. but there is a rather significant, and very legitimate reason, for the absence! You see, this past June we relocated from our home in Texas to the beautiful city of Alicante, Spain! Yes, we moved, not only to a different city, but to a different continent! It has been an exciting move, but also full of challenges.
As you might imagine, it took us awhile to sort out all the required documentation related to our emigration and housing, I had to go through driving school to get a Spanish license, I´m working on mi español, and just learning how to manage on a day-to-day basis can present some interesting and, at times humorous, challenges. But were now reasonably well settled, making some good friends – both fellow expats and locals, exploring our new city and country, as well as doing a bit of traveling within Europe! All-in-all, life here is highly enjoyable and we´re having a wonderful time! We´ve done a little exploring around Spain, but there is still lots to see!
Alicante is not the most famous city in Spain, but it has quite a history, offers lots of advantages, great weather, Mediterranean beaches, an international airport and plenty of fun activities. Heck, Alicante even has an American football team! Located on the Costa Blanca along the eastern coast of Spain, about five hours south of Barcelona and situated right on the Mediterranean, Alicante traces its existence to BC times, and has been ruled by the Moors and the Christians over the course of its history. Nowadays, Alicante is a vibrant city of approximately 700,000 people within the metro area, has a University, several hospitals, and a relatively small expat population, making it a rather traditional Spanish city.
Anyway, to bring this long story to an end and get back to the whisky, a few months back I finally picked up a laptop, but then immediately had problems with it. After some inquiries I found a great IT guy who solved the problems, which mostly stemmed from having an undersized disk drive that kept the machine from running any of the sizeable programs – for you computer people (I´m not one!) – just running Windows was forcing the hard drive to continuously operate at 100%, making using the computer nearly impossible. After switching out the drive, the computer is running so much better and now that we have finished with all the mandatory relocation stuff I can get back to posting some of my tasting experiences again! I’m still struggling with some issues on the site itself – mostly formatting – but I´m going to post this even if it isn´t quite the way I´d like it to be!
So, on to the whisky! Given that we now live in Spain, what better way to kick off the revival with the only whisky – that I know of, anyway – that is distilled in Spain! So today´s review is of a very entry-level blended whisky, DYC Blended Whisky, produced by Destilerías y Crianza del Whisky S.A., a Spanish company originally established by Nicomedes García Gómez in 1958. The distillery is located in Palazuelos de Eresma, Segovia, and first started producing whisky in February 1959. After a legal battle to change Spanish laws restricting the distillation of spirits, DYC first released its whisky in 1963. For a time, DYC produced five versions, the DYC Blended Whisky, which is what we’re looking at today, the DYC 5, a five year old blended whisky DYC 8, also a blended whisky aged eight years, DYC Pure Malt, blended and aged in oak (no age statement), and DYC Single Malt, a true single malt aged ten years.
Review: DYC Blended Whisky, Segovia, Spain, No Age Statement, 40% abv, Bottled circa 2017
Inexpensive, readily-available, and somewhat innocuous, the DYC Blended Whisky is what it is. By design, the DYC Blended Whisky is an entry-level blend more suited for cocktails than sipping. In fact, during the 1990s DYC´s marketing strategy emphasized its economical position as suitable for people not willing to appear high class by spending money for an imported whisky, using the slogan “Gente sin complejos” (People with no complex).
From their website: As the first whisky to be produced in Spain, DYC® continues to be one of the most popular whiskies in the country. The spirit combines the highest quality grains, the heady aroma of the peat derived from the malting process, and the pure, mountain spring water from Penalar, Spain. This unique combination gives DYC its unmistakable quality, aroma and flavor. DYC Whisky is aged for three years and bottled at 80 proof.
Color: A very light amber gold
Nose: It is a very delicate, shy nose. There is a very soft note of vanilla before shifting into some rather unsatisfactory elements. There is a rather significant hit of nail polish remover and antiseptic, a touch of rubber bands, and some fresh oak. Behind those notes I get some red apples, dried ginger, and a grassy hay note. Not an auspicious start. With some more time in the glass, apple cider, white pepper, lemon juice also show up, but remains grassy, with that overly sharp and astringent aspect. With water: I was leery about adding water to this whisky, given the low abv, but a few drops created a minor miracle with this nose, subduing the overt antiseptic nose, and allowing sweeter notes to show through. Vanilla taffy, crème brulee, and the apple juice, show up first, the grassy note remains with a whiff of smoke in the distance. The fresh oak note remains a bit off-putting, but at least there are the sweeter notes to offer some improved interest.
Taste: like the nose, the palate is delicate, but with a much sweeter arrival than expected given the spirity sharpness of the nose. Starts with vanilla and sweat cream, shortbread cookies, apple juice, and that same hint of lemon juice. The alcohol notes from the nose are well in the background now (thankfully). With water: Where the water vastly improved the nose, there was not much change to the taste with the addition of water. Thankfully, the already delicate palate surprisingly doesn’t wash out, although I added only a couple of small drops out of concern. The body remains moderately oily, with the sweeter notes of vanilla and sweet cream most prominent still.
Overall: This was an interesting experiment, although not necessarily the most rewarding one. From the information I could find, the bulk of this whisky in the DYC Blended Whisky is aged only three years, and its youth is very evident in its spirity, antiseptic, and woody nose. The palate fares better, however, remains quite simple and somewhat indistinct.
Based on this sole sampling of the DYC Blended Whisky, Spain, even with its long history of wine and sherry-making, has a way to go with its whisky. But in the interest of fairness, this is a low-level whisky designed for cocktails, so I will have to try one of their age-stated blended or malt whiskies to see if this one suffers from its likely youthfulness, as well as see whether more maturity helps.
Distillery: Nikka (Yoichi and Miyagikyo plants)
Type: Blended Malt
Age: No Age Statement (reportedly 3 years)
Maturation: ex-bourbon casks
Availability: Readily available
Sample Source: My own bottle