Nose: Immediately pleasant. More on restrained but lovely fresh fruit than one would expect from a typical Lowlander style, but that's just fine. This gives me the impression of a nice, integrated nose without being at all "rounded" (which is quickly approaching "smooth" as a dirty word for me). Further nosing allows one to parse out the citrus element. Again, this is no Rosebank going warp drive on lemons, but they're certainly there and buttressing the whole. This noses older than it is; tasted blind, I probably would have added another 5-10 years onto what the age actually is. Minerality becomes present as the nose continues to develop. There's not really any grassy note that I'm picking up on so far. Obviously, not every Lowlander has to have that, but it's telling that I don't get it when I was instinctively searching for it. In any event, a terrific nose. Water doesn't give me much else, by the way.
Taste: Good arrival. The 46% is a nice strength for this bottling, as the mouthfeel is slightly above medium, making it a pleasant coating of the tongue, and there is no heat to speak of here. I question whether this would sip so well neat at cask strength, but that's neither a knock against this actual dram or the hypothetical one. As for flavor, the fruit continues to play an integral part, but the balance remains excellent as it was on the nose. I wouldn't call this a fruit bomb, because it's not so salient as to crowd out the other strains at work here, but it's well-executed fruitiness for sure. Same as the nose, water is not a huge addition--no harm there, the strength and palate is fine as-bottled.
Finish: Sits pleasantly and mildly for a long-time after you've finished sipping it, refreshing.
Comments: I, like clearly so many others in the whisky community, have been somewhat captivated by Daftmill since they made their inaugural release. The distillery represents just about everything that many drinkers are looking for in the market now: provenance/terroir, small production, traditional methods, and no-fuss bottlings and packaging. So I snagged this puppy at auction for about 50% over retail, which given how young the bottling is, isn't so bad for being able to nab your first one. I probably won't do that again, because I think the primary market will be slightly easier to navigate as the years go on, but I'd say this expenditure was worth it. I will note that my bottle arrived with the cork damaged and some of the contents (thankfully not much) had leaked out. For a bottling as new as this, I don't chalk that up to secondary market risks; rather, it's something that Berry Bros. needs to make sure is addressed.
As for the whisky itself, I've already made clear that I think it's a very solid success. Fruit, citrus, and minerality in an otherwise light presentation: you could have convinced me this was bourbon-matured Hazelburn. I don't see anything about Daftmill being triple distilled, so I'm going to assume it is not, but I think the comparison still holds pretty well. Anyway, I look forward to following this distillery as it continues to produce, because it's off to a banging start.