I’ve seen this referred to as a ‘luxurious aged malt’. Not sure what that actually equates to in ‘whisky years’ (similar to human years, though the life expectancy in a cask is much lower 😉 ), but let’s just assume there is something likely approaching the two decade mark due to the creamier fluffy baking notes, balanced spices and soft fruits. The enormity of the grape influence here is relatively obscuring however, making it difficult to venture any sort of meaningful guess as to true age. But who cares, right?
This is built on a whole mishmash of cask wizardry. Oloroso, Madeira, Marsala, Port, Bourbon, Wine…maybe more. Bloody hell. Must have been a job and a half trying to strike some sort of harmonious balance here. Kudos to Mr. Paterson of Whyte & Mackay though, as he seems to have succeeded in his machinations. No dissonance to be found.
Amid all this mad Willy Wonka-like ingenuity, sits a rather quality dram. This is the true art of blending. Finding casks that work together and determing proportionality (is that even a word???). Paterson has upped the ante here though and decided to show us his ‘A’ game. Sort of a ‘look what I can do’ thing. Fun and keeps me reaching for the glass. And ultimately…that’s all that matters.
For those curious as to what the nomenclature of this dram is all about…here’s a little backstory for ya, from the good people at Dalmore:
“In 1263 the ancestor of Clan Mackenzie saved King Alexander III from being gored by a stag with a single arrow. The grateful King granted him the right to bear a stag’s head in his coat of arms, with the motto ‘Help the King’ (Cuidich ‘ N Righ, in the Gaelic language). The Dalmore Distillery was long owned by the Mackenzie family, and every bottle of The Dalmore is adorned with this noble emblem: a stag’s head, with twelve points to its antlers, signifying a ‘royal’.”
Nose: Some creamy caramel. Nice almond paste notes. Mixed fruits; both dark, fresh and juicy as well as the dried variety. Lemon and orange zests. Something like a vanilla pudding. Raisin scones and iced sugar cookies. Soft milk chocolate.
Palate: An odd pithy sort of dryness. Orange and chocolate. Now some rather big wine notes. Tobacco.
Thanks to my mate, J Wheelock of Authentic Wines And Spirits for the snazzy wee sample bottle you see above. Cheers, friend.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt