Dalmore

Review: Dalmore 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
15 Years; Matusalem, Apostoles, Amaroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Dalmore (Dalmore, Scotland)

The Dalmore generally produces a rich, sherried style with a heavy spirit with older whiskies being some of the most collectible and expensive whiskies on the market, very similar to the Macallan – which, interestingly enough, also produces a heavier and sherried style of spirit. Some legendary bottlings have been released by the distillery, including a 64 year old Dalmore which had some whiskies in it which were over 140 years old.

The distillery was founded in 1839 from an owner who had gained a fortune through the opium trade, but was thereafter bought by the Mackenzie family, whose ancestor in 1263 had saved King of Scots Alexander III from being killed by a stag. The stag, now, marks each bottle of the Dalmore. This 15 year old whisky is a bit of a rarity because it is matured entirely in Matudalem, Apostoles, and Amaroso Sherry casks – a 100% sherry matured whisky.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Mixed berry jam, almonds, currants, raisins, and some sherry-spiciness. The grain seems quite round in this one – evidently there in body but it doesn’t come out specifically. Oak is there – but subdued, like the aroma of oak that has been sitting outside for some time rather than the jumping aroma of freshly charred or sanded oak. Quite jammy, with more malt coming out with time. Complex, and interesting.

Taste: Quite sharp initially, with some malt coming through in the middle and taking you right to the end where the sherry takes hold with a bit of nuttiness. A bit too sharp at the beginning, with the spices a bit too eager to jump out early I think. Well rounded, rich, and spicy.

Finish: Raisins, raspberry jam, sherry, malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of oak. A touch sulphury – but I don’t mind it.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $115.


Review: Whyte & Mackay Special Blended Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Scottish Malt and Grain Whiskies
Distiller Multiple (Scotland)

This heart of this blended whisky is Dalmore (owned by the same company). It is called a “double marriage” because it and it is created first as a vatted malt (i.e. a blend of single malt whiskies), matured in sherry casks, before being blended with 6 different grain whiskies to be aged further in (different) sherry casks. It is sometimes known for being a bit more powerful than other blends.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: I find a mix of oak, vanilla, peaches, apricots, caramel, medicinal orange, some fresh green notes of celery, and a slight malty character. There is a bit of harshness in the nose that makes me wonder if there are some pretty young spirits in this blend – I don’t think the harshness helps the nose, but it doesn’t detract that much, all things considered. However, the balance of the oak and the soft fruits (peaches, apricots) is quite nice.

Taste: Light at first, before a kick of toasted oak and raisins followed by a giant kick of manuka honey at the end, with some darkly toasted bread notes and malt leading into the finish. Very nice sweetness level to it, and some slight earthiness as well, with quite a buttery character throughout. There is a flourish of spice at the end – cloves, and a bit of cinnamon and a slight accompanying bitterness – but it’s quite nice.

Finish: The spices die down, revealing baking bread, pears, malt, raisins, canned peaches, almond, and some lingering sweetness. All of it dies down relatively quickly. It’s not bad, but I would mind a bit more boldness and body to the finish.

Very enjoyable – I quite like the flavour profile, perhaps more than this rating suggests. There isn’t a huge amount going on relative to many other base level blends, which just explode with a dozen different flavours – but I don’t mind that. I think the profile would also mix very well in cocktails.

Value: Average, at $26. Not amazing stuff, but not bad and a sub-$30 Scotch which is hard to find in Ontario.