Oh, thank god.
Right up front I want to say…this whisky is freaking awesome. Love it. Complex, deep and incredibly well-made. I would give my right…er…arm for a bottle of this.
Now…forgive me a few moments of self-indulgent oration.
Never a huge fan of Dalmore, I had nearly resigned myself to not laying hands on a dram from this distillery that truly lit my fire. Their standard range of malts are, for the most part, quite decent, but not really in my wheelhouse. Their older releases are novelties released at insultingly unjustified price points. Not certain where Richard Paterson and team got the idea that everything they release should command a fat four figure price tag (especially in contrast to distilleries like Glenfarclas releasing brilliant 40 year old whiskies at less than $500).
Anyway…I know there are many expressions released by Dalmore that have had their praises sung from the rooftops, yet the prohibitive pricing scheme has kept those whiskies out of the hands of most of us laymen.
Here’s the rub…
Many malters I’ve spoken to feel the same way I do. The younger expressions of Dalmore are not awesome. Quite decent, but not reaching the highs we’d hope for. These are, of course, the very same malts that regularly get reviewed and never really earn the raves that could possibly (in theory, anyway) justify a distillery assuming they could position themselves as I’ve mentioned above.
Dalmore is a distillery that could really benefit from the execution of a concept like the release of a high strength, low price, quality whisky. Something for the punters to pick up…sink their teeth into…and start to create some buzz. I’m thinking of something along the lines of Aberlour a’bunadh, Glenfarclas 105, Auchentoshan Valinch, Ardbeg Uigeadail, etc. Richard…if you ever read this…please?
Anyway…you see where I’m at with this, right? Ok. Hopefully I don’t twist an ankle stepping down from my soapbox.
The whisky at hand is a 40 year old Dalmore, and holy hell is it good! I went in with rather low expectations, simply due to previous experience with the more ‘everyday’ malts in the Dalmore range, and I had my socks knocked off. I tacked this single malt on to the back end of a Dalmore range tasting, and it was kind of like having a game of pick-up soccer/football with your mates and having Devid Beckham join in. This whisky is simply in another league.
Big price tag, but this is a big whisky. Perhaps this time it is vindicated.
Nose: Paint and latex and all those sexy as hell mature cask notes. Juicy concorde grape. Rich woody notes and some tight rings of smoke. Pepper. Tangerine, pineapple, papaya and deep threads of black current. These latter tie in with eucalyptus to remind me of black currant Halls cough drops. Chocolate. More fruity notes in rivers of dark caramel. Quirky, odd and great.
Palate: Smoke, old wood and latex. Leathery and drying. Orange emerges with some tobacco. Again…some black currant notes.
Thanks to J Wheelock for the sample. Appreciate it, mate. Wow.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Courtesy of the fine folk at Authentic Wine And Spirits