By Richard Thomas
Many people do not realize that Spain even has a whiskey industry, let alone that according to some surveys the country is the fourth largest imbiber of whiskey in the world. Once you realize that, the surprise shouldn’t be that Spain has a whiskey industry, but that the industry there has only one big distillery, Destilerias y Crianza (DYC). The sheer size of that distillery might explain its singular status, as DYC has double the production capacity of the biggest distillery in Scotland!
I described the history of DYC in my review of their regular label, but regular DYC is a mixer-grade whiskey and only the first rung in the distillery’s line. DYC 8 Year Old (“DYC Ocho“) is the next step up, and I look at it as the first sipping whiskey in the line. With that in mind, it is important to remember that this is Spanish whiskey, made with an eye on being as easily enjoyed during a scorching, dusty summer on the Iberian plateau as it is during a damp, snowy winter.
Beam Global owns DYC, and the Spanish whiskey is now being sold in India. Whether it be on the Gangetic Plain in the tropical south, India is even hotter than Spain, but retains a taste for whiskey from the days of the British Raj. I’m sure a light, flavorful whiskey that goes well with ice, like the DYC 8 Year Old, will go over very well there, just as it should anywhere that being in the summer sun is like standing an industrial bread oven.
DYC Ocho comes in a green glass bottle with a metal screw cap, and a label that reminds me of nothing quite so much as that of a locally distributed American soft drink from the 1970s and 1980s (Kentuckians: think what Ale-8-1 used to look like and compare). I realize that the label on my bottle was primarily red, whereas the standard label for DYC 8 Year Old seems to be black. Even so, the design is the same, and it’s old fashioned without being antique, so it might be time for Ocho to receive a face-lift. The whiskey is bottled at 40% alcohol.
In the glass, the DYC 8 Year Old has a light, wheat-gold color, in keeping with the lightness of DYC in general. The nose is light as well, but far from plain, packing a gentle blend of aromas. Although predominately grainy, the scent has a solid undercurrent of sweetness with vanilla and honey notes. The flavor is surprisingly robust, given how light the whiskey has been up until now. It is creamy sweet on the palate, with notes of honey, vanilla and even a slight bit of toffee, but there is also a dry, grainy side, and underlying it all is a hint of spice and woodiness. The grainy, spicy and oaky notes of the whiskey lingers on in the finish.
I wouldn’t call DYC Ocho complex, but nor is it simple and ordinary. The whiskey is just plain pleasant to sip neat, and retains enough of its character to become delicious on ice.
My contacts in Spain tell me that DYC 8 typically goes for €11 on the store shelves. As that comes to about $13.75, you can see where this whiskey delivers serious bang for the buck. If you are renting a vacation apartment on the Costa Dorada for a month, pick up a bottle of this for your short-term, holiday liquor shelf.