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Four From The Dalmore

by Alex Knapp on 10 September 2009

The Dalmore 15 Year Single Malt

A few weeks ago, I reviewed three of my favorite scotches for this magazine. One of those scotches was the Dalmore Cigar Malt, which for awhile had been my everyday scotch. However, I’ll admit that upon the time of writing that review, it did seem like the Cigar Malt was hard to find. Well, as it turns out, there was a reason for that. Sadly, I was contacted by a representative of the Dalmore and informed that the Cigar Malt has been taken off the market.

Happily, though, to make up for this, they provided me with samples of four single malts from the Dalmore line, so that I can share my impressions with you. I know–the life of a scotch reviewer is not an easy one, but I do what I can. (Oh, and because someone asked, I taste scotch by first examining the sniffing the scotch straight, then I add it to two or three cubes of ice as my dilution. I know that tradition dictates tasting with straight water, but I prefer my scotch on the rocks.) Here’s the lowdown:

The Dalmore 12-Year Single Malt

One thing that I like about the Dalmore line is that their standard scotch has a 12 year maturation period instead of the usual 10. It pays off. The color of this one is a nice, clear brown–almost like a maple syrup. The undiluted aroma was sweet yet astringent, with definite notes of oak. Diluted, the aroma became sweeter, more like honey, with the wood notes pushed back. My impression of this scotch, feel wise, is that it’s quite dry–a little drier than I usually like my whiskey. There are definite notes of honey and oak interplaying with each other, and while it’s not the smoothest scotch, the finish lingers like a white wine, and as I sipped I found myself enjoying the interplay of dry and sweet more than I did initially. This is my least favorite of the line but it’s definitely a fine sipping scotch.

Alex’s Arbitrary Scotch Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Dalmore Gran Reserva

The Dalmore Gran Reserva is made by marrying whiskeys aged in Sherry and Bourbon barrels at a 2 to 1 ratio, then aged together after marriage in the Sherry for another six months. The result is a beautiful copper color that was a pleasure to just look at in the glass. Undiluted, the scotch gave off a lovely combination of peat and grapes, with a little pine in the background. Dilution pushed the grape into the background, with the peat and wood notes making their way to the fore. Not surprisingly, this made its way into the initial flavors, which was very peaty, with oak notes and hardly any sweetness except a strong flavor of lemon peel. The mouthfeel was dry and crisp, with a very clean finish. An excellent scotch to enjoy after a good steak.

Alex’s Arbitrary Scotch Rating: 8.4 out of 10

The Dalmore King Alexander III

The King Alexander III is aged in several different kinds of barrels, then married together. It was named in honor of a hero from the MacKenzie clan saving the life of King Alexander III in 1263. The scotch itself is a delightful reddish-gold, with sweet citrus and floral aromas, along with some herb and spices. It is warm and viscous in the mouth without any strong, foreground flavors. Instead, the King Alexander III consists of a wonderful interplay of citrus, spice, honey, and floral notes without any champion–somewhat like a semi-sweet wine or a well-aged bourbon. It would make a great accompaniment to a strong cigar. Simply magnificent.

Alex’s Arbitrary Scotch Rating: 8.8 out of 10

The Dalmore 15-Year Single Malt

What a difference three years makes. Vive la difference! This scotch is a deep, bronze color with undiluted aromas of brown sugar, honey, oak and peat. Dropping the ice cubes in produced stronger wood notes, along with some floral aromas and some definite honey in the background. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry, with a crisp finish that lingered but was much smoother and more balanced than the 12 year. The flavors were nice and deep, with the honey and oak in the foreground while the peat and floral notes hung around in the background. This scotch is an absolute joy to drink and is almost certainly going to be the next bottle of scotch that I buy. For me, this is the perfect scotch. Not too sweet, not too dry, not too peaty, not too oaky. It’s beautifully well-balanced and crisp. I highly recommend it.

Alex’s Arbitrary Scotch Rating: 9.5 out of 10

All in all, I think that the four scotches I sampled in the Dalmore line provide a nice variety of different scotch experiences, and all of these are well worth your time and pursuit.

Anyone else try a Dalmore scotch? What did you think?

About Alex Knapp

Alex has been published in the Kansas City Star, TCS Daily, and Comic Book Resources. He’s been blogging at Heretical Ideas since October, 2001 and at Outside the Beltway since June 2006. He also reviews cigars at Cigar Jack's Cigar News and Reviews.

{ 1 comment }

1 Steve Hynd 10 September 2009 at 12:05

mmmmmmmmmm, Dalmore 15 yr old.

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