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March 18, 2014


Four very unusual Dalmore

The official Dalmores, even the old ones, are often multiple-matured while the independent bottlers usually have some ‘natural’ ones that were integrally matured in one cask, often refill. And then there are odd ones, double maturations by the indies or… peated Dalmore!

Dalmore (49.1%, Asta Morris, cask #AM005, 2013)

Dalmore (49.1%, Asta Morris, cask #AM005, 2013) Three stars No age and no vintage, which is unusual at the independents. This one comes with a nice ‘Roy Lichtenstein’ label. Will it be WHAAM! indeed? Colour: gold. Nose: starts a little hot and buttery, fudgy, rather without the usual orange and chocolate notes. Interesting notes of arak, raisins and then more and more butterscotch as well as custard and apple pie. I also find quite some marzipan, cedar wood and, indeed, more and more chocolate after a few minutes. Brownies, roasted malt, a little earl grey tea, brioche, vanilla… It’s rounded and clean at the same time. Mouth: starts big, with gingerbread and speculoos that suggest some fairly active wood was involved. Even a little capsicum, then more roasted malt and toasted oak. Also burnt brioche, touches of thyme and a growing cardamom. Finish: quite long, a little drying, with some oak and bitter chocolate. Comments: very, very fine but the oak’s a little too loud for my taste, and distillery character a little too discreet. This baby had something of its neighbours the ‘special’ Glenmorangies. SGP:451 - 80 points.

Dalmore 12 yo 2000/2013 (46.1%, Single Cask Nation, finished in PX hogshead, cask #6951, 238 bottles)

Dalmore 12 yo 2000/2013 (46.1%, Single Cask Nation, finished in PX hogshead, cask #6951, 238 bottles) Three stars and a half Another one by this small American bottler that thrilled us with a fantastic very young Laphroaig last year. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a little fresher than the Asta Morris, fruitier as well, with less straight oak and more raisiny notes, probably from the PX. Having said that, it’s not very different on the nose. Also orange blossom honey, Turkish delights and, maybe, one orange. Mouth: it’s firm and sweet at the same time, the PX is very obvious and yet there isn’t any straight winey notes, rather juicy big dried muscats and some orange liqueur. There are some similarities too, especially this gingery side and the notes of white pepper and capsicum. Finish: rather long, a tad oaky again, with some orange-filled dark chocolate and a rather peppery aftertaste. Comments: another unusual one that displays both a sweet jammy side and a peppery and oaky backbone. I enjoyed it quite a lot, even if it’s not my preferred style. SGP:551 - 84 points.

Dalmore 1996/2010 (56.7%, Chieftain's, pinot noir finish, cask #91671, 335 bottles)

Dalmore 1996/2010 (56.7%, Chieftain's, pinot noir finish, cask #91671, 335 bottles) Four stars and a half This one was bottled for Germany and the pinot noir cask came from Franconia. I’ve already tried some superb Franconian whites, but a pinot noir, never. Colour: deep gold, which is reassuring (no pinkish tones). Nose: appealing! No excessive blackcurrant, no capsicum or ginger, no untameable raspberries, rather peaches, watermelons, plums and oranges. So far, so gut. I mean good. With water: even more fresh yellow fruit, butter pears, melons, apricots… All that hints at a sweet white wine (Trockenbeerenauslese style) rather than at pinot noir, but I’m sure it’s me. Mouth (neat): there are some red berries this time, and a lot of cherries, but the feeling of blood oranges is enticing. I think it was a very ‘light’ finishing, probably all for the better. With water: excellent, creamy, fruity, fresh and… very Dalmore! Finish: of medium length, always clean, fresh and fruity. Peaches are even more obvious. Comments: ja! A finishing very well done. SGP:641 - 88 points.

And now something rare…

Peaty Dalmore 2000 (+/-59%, OB, cask sample, +/-2013)

Peaty Dalmore 2000 (+/-59%, OB, cask sample, +/-2013) Four starsMany ‘unpeated’ distilleries also do peated from time to time, and Dalmore’s no exception. These batches have been used in the famous Shackeltons. I think it’s the first time I’m trying a peated Dalmore, so I’m very curious. Colour: white wine. Nose: hold on, this is perfect! I don’t know whether the northern east coast of Scotland is the best non-Islay place for peaty whisky or not (think Brora) but this spirit is ultra-pure, unadorned and, well, extremely peaty. It’s one the whiskies I could nose that are the closest to burning peat. So yeah, peat smoke… And maybe a little coal smoke as well. Very narrow, which is great in this context. With water: the barley comes out. Pure kilned malted barley. Mouth (neat): once again, a lovely malt, very narrow again. There are only two flavours, in fact, smoky ashes and lime. Works greatly unless you’re looking for something complex.

With water: oops, something went wrong, some soap appears. Saponification often happens when you ad water but it’s usually not this noticeable. Let’s wait… zzz… zzz… zzz. After fifteen minutes: not quite, some oils remain and keep making it a little soapy (yes I’m using my usual Vittel water). Finish: long, very barleyish. Crunching some peated barley right after kilning. Comments: did the stills’ famous flat tops do that? The soapy tones were anecdotal. The owners should bottle some! SGP:347 – 87 points. (picture, the old truck that’s in front of the Distillery’s entrance)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Dalmore I've tasted so far







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