By Richard Thomas
The green label of Spain’s DYC Pure Malt represents the distillery’s only in-production single malt whiskey. Any malt whiskey coming out of DYC these days would be a single malt, because while the company owns two different plants in Segovia, the Valverde del Majano facility produces only grain whiskey. Remember that the definition of “single malt” is “all malt whiskey from one distillery,” so even if it doesn’t say it, DYC Pure Malt is a single malt by default.
DYC has its origins in one man’s vision to provide his fellow Spaniards with inexpensive, locally-made alternatives to Irish and Scottish whiskey imports. I often try to judge DYC’s products on the basis of what you should buy for a given purpose while on a holiday in Spain, since the only other place you might find DYC outside of Iberia is India. Their best whiskey, the limited edition DYC 10 Year Old Single Malt, is the whiskey you bring home, while standard DYC is the thing you buy for a Coke mixer. On that scale, DYC Pure Malt is the best choice for a summer sipping whiskey. I think of it as slightly superior to the DYC 8 Year Old, but only just slightly, and which you should choose depends on where and when you are in Spain.
DYC Pure Malt comes in a squat, rounded, clear glass bottle, separating it from the long-necks of DYC’s other in-production expressions. The heavy foil neck wrapper is a nice touch, but underneath is an ugly plastic screw cap of the kind I heartily dislike. That one flaw aside, the packaging does a good job of showing off the whiskey’s fine, attractive color. DYC Pure Malt is bottled at 40% alcohol.
In my snifter, DYC has a yellow-gold color, akin to new straw. Like all DYC whiskeys, the Pure Malt shows a light character on the nose. The malty scent is most obvious, but underneath are some minor vanilla and toffee sweet notes, as well as a trace of raw, oaky astringency. Don’t let the last part put you off, though, since the whiskey is not at all rough. On the palate, the whiskey has a certain malty sweetness, with just enough bitter oak and spice to keep the drink from becoming well and truly mellow. A little toffee note comes on at the end. The finish is mild and short, leaving behind a lingering mix of spice and wood.
Spain isn’t hot all the time, so if you find yourself in a medieval Andalusian or Cantabrian hill town in December, skip this whiskey. You will want something a little less mellow, at for that you need DYC 8. On the other hand, the mellow, malty-sweet character of DYC Pure Malt makes it perfect for stifling hot summer days. It loses nothing on the rocks, and warms you even less than other DYC whiskeys. I’m sure it will find as good a home in India as in Spain for that very reason.
The recommended retail price for DYC Pure Malt is €14.95.