If Macallan is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of single malts then Dalmore is fast trying to become the Aston Martin of single malts. The brand has shifted it’s focus into the luxury single malt market with flashy high end bottlings. With only three bottles produced, The Dalmore Trinitas was sold for $160,000 a bottle (a record for single malts) and last year the company put out the Constellation Collection, a collection of 21 whiskies totaling a price of $248,000. With its high price bottlings, the Dalmore seems to be continuing its efforts to target the high end whisky drinkers much in the way Macallan has branded itself as the CEO’s single malt. The charismatic and talented Master Blender, Richard Paterson has been a fantastic PR freight train for the brand that I don’t see slowing down anytime soon.
Now unfortunately I won’t be reviewing a $10,000 high end Dalmore but rather the base model, the 12 year. The 12 year is aged for nine years in ex bourbon barrels then is divided in half. One half continues it’s journey in the bourbon barrel while the other half is matured in Matusalem oloroso sherry casks. Then it’s batched back together. The sherry casks come from Gonzales Byass, a well known sherry Bodega in Spain. Well lets take this 12 year old for a test drive.
Appearance: deep amber with thin spaced legs
Nose: Right away the sherry influence is noticeable. Lots of dried dates, raisins, fresh figs and the nice orange peel aroma that’s synonymous with Dalmore. Moving past the heavy wine influence I start picking up on the vanilla, caramel and toffee notes. More citrus notes start to appear as well as the familiar aroma of delicious chocolate. I’m also picking up the faintest hint of some salty soy sauce. This is an unapologetic sweet intense bouquet that has my palate salivating. I will say being a bourbon drinker I was able to pick up on those bourbon notes through the fruitiness of the wine notes but I can see if some find them lost behind all the sherry influence.
Palate: Like I said the bouquet had me salivating and at first sip it’s taste just like it smells, loads of fresh figs, raisins and orange rind. Mid palate the chocolate starts to take over along with bitter black coffee. Some nice spices tingle the palate, like cinnamon and clove, and help keep things interesting. I’m also picking up some almond, vanilla, and oak. The finish is moderate to long leaving notes of oranges, bitter dark chocolate and coffee with some toasted oak. The mouthfeel is light but dry as you would expect with a sherry-heavy whiskey.
Overall: While not overly complex by any means the Dalmore 12 is very robust and intense. The flavors and aromas that are present are making there statement loud and clear. This whisky has been able to pick a lot of influence from the sherry casks which has taken this dram into the dessert whiskey category. Lots of fruity goodness with some nice bitter notes to complement. Despite all the flash and drama Dalmore does make a quality malt in my opinion. Sure $100,000 sounds like a ridiculous amount to pay for whisky but luckily for us Dalmore hasn’t forgotten the importance of us not in the 1%.
Rating: 89 / * * * *