What do we know about this Dalmore? That it was matured in not one or two casks but seven! Aside from the standard ex-bourbon (Kentucky) and Sherry, it also spent time in wine (unspecified), Madeira, Marsala and Port casks. The goal was to produce a unique rich, fruity Highland single malt.
However we knew none of this when we sampled it… blind…
Dalmore King Alexander III 40%
Colour – Deep dark burgundy
Nose – Dark fruits, cherries, nuts, cheap chocolate bar with nuts and raisins, curdled milk, liquorice, an oddly artificial aroma
Palate – A light teasing spice, a bit of mango pickle?
Finish – Lingers – a bit bitter then gets spicier with a fruity close… yet still a medium finish that runs away
The colour was a dead give away that something else was going on… which we later discovered with the reveal is augmented with caramel. Hmm…
Overall it was a bit disappointing nothing exceptional and there were a few odd elements that didn’t quite work.
Our host shared he received this whisky as a gift. There was no doubt the person gifting had the absolute best of intentions. And it certainly isn’t cheap – typically retailing for approx $200.
However in our humble opinion, there was more hype and high price than quality. Which is a pity.
Nose – Fruity, yoghurt, an agave-like quality, raw, barley mash, spice, light cream, caramel, baby puke, yeasty, honey sweet
Palate – Spice burn, a few remarked “tastes better than it smells”, quite peppery with more alcohol ‘beastie’ than timidity
Finish – Sharp, short, bitter
There was a mixed reaction to this one. The agave like aroma was akin to the “morning after an overindulgence of tequila”… Another found this was “something to be used for cleaning like solvent.” Yet another quipped “The rat is there on the label for a reason!”
While not horrifically bad, it was a bit like having peppery tequila.
Douglas Laing’s Timorous Beastie, immortalised in Robert Burns’ famous Scots poem “To a Mouse”, was a timid, little field mouse. Echoing our national bard’s wit, ours is most certainly not for the fainthearted! This non coloured, non-chill-filtered Small Batch bottling is a marriage of appropriately aged and selected Highland Malts – including, amongst others, those distilled at Glen Garioch, Dalmore and Glengoyne distilleries.
Nose – Overridingly sweet on the nose, then warming to floral, light barley & spicy honeyed tones.
Palate – The palate opens in a spicy style – fructiferous, mellow, with sugary vanilla.
Finish – The finish is at first subtle, but runs to a sweet character that carries an oaky quality plus a late meringue style.
At Whisky Live Singapore, Dalmore was one distillery I fully intended to come back and spend a bit more time with… So when I first waltzed past, I had no intention of stopping as planned to return in earnest later.
Except I simply could not resist a nip of the 18 year… who could?
Nose – Ooh sherry! Raisins, figs, plum cake, caramel, coconut, fruity like sweet oranges, burst of prunes… With those sweet spices of cinnamon… Did we say sherry? Please let’s say it yet again!
Taste – Very even, smooth and sweet, raisins, spicy coconut, a quality like Amarula, a bit syrupy, faintest puff of smoke
Finish – Nice linger, warm spice, all Christmasy nice!
With water? Please don’t. Not needed at all. But if you do, just a few drops brings out the oaky element quite strongly
Overall it was greeted with happy moans of pleasure and comments like :
“It is like nector!”
“I’ve found my ‘happy’ spot!”
In short, it was a perfect way to kick-off the evening. Hit all the ‘tick’ boxes for a warm, comfy, sherry dram… certainly going an several notches above merely being ‘pleasant’.
Such a whisky begs to be the start of a relaxed evening, curled up at home, nibbling on cheese and crackers while listening to good music, perhaps with friends or perhaps alone.
What do the distillery folks have to say about their whisky?
This delicate and approachable vintage is initially matured for 12 years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks. The character of The Dalmore 15 is achieved by then splitting the whisky equally between three different sherry woods; Amoroso, Apostoles and Matusalem oloroso for a further three years. The spirit is finally married together in an upstanding sherry butt, allowing the flavours to infuse.