I keep coming back to Dalmore.
Most people would ask why. Heck, lots of people asked why I bought a sample of Dalmore 18 when I had my last chance at ordering Master of Malt into the US.
Simply put, I truly believe all distilleries have at least one offering for me to enjoy. I’ve found them at others, and in this case, I thought I had already found it in Dalmore 15.
Wait, that’s not the reason. The reason is I’m applying completionist, video game logic to these things and I need to get it. That’s why.
So we have Dalmore 18. It’s ex-bourbon aged and then finished in a Matusalem Sherry Butt. Specifically, Oloroso sherry, as that seems to be what Matusalem makes and also what I’ve found. Please correct me if I’m incorrect there.
What I do know is Dalmore does have a premium price. And it’s at this point I remind you my scores aren’t based on price. That said, there are people looking for a good idea of what’s good at the price. So ask yourself if any of my similar scored whiskies are cheaper, and then determine if you want to spend more based on the notes.
It’s like a game!
Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: $218.80 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 6/10
Nose: Cherry, raisin, honey, nutmeg, orange, brine
I’ll give Dalmore credit. For an Oloroso finish, they’ve been able to pick out richer, more robust flavours than other distilleries. The nose doesn’t have that fake red fruit or light sherry influence, more of a full maturation feel to it.
Granted I don’t know how long the finish was. What I do know is it’s impacted the whisky quite strongly.
Taste: Melon, caramel, orange, raisin, cereal, cocoa, turnip
Watery, sadly. The lower abv is very evident on the mouthfeel. I wish that they had left it closer to 46% to avoid this, as it takes away from the flavours.
And flavours we have. Nothing is too complex, though this is quite sherried and all over the place. Good raisin, orange, and even some earth driven cocoa or turnip notes.
Finish: Smoke, orange, caramel, watermelon, ginger
The finish has a little smoke, yet suffers from the simple nature of the lower abv. This is the first time where the sherry feels lighter. And somehow that works a bit with it all.
Conclusion: I’m of two minds on this whisky. On the one hand, there are no real “rough” notes. It’s smooth, nice to nose, and has some complexity in a “lots of flavours” kind of way. So if you’re not scratching too deep, it’s a fine whisky.
When you do scratch deeper, it’s a pretty shallow pool. The lower alcohol content has blasted any subtle notes, good or bad, out of this one. It’s nice to sip, and your boss who never drinks anything cheap will love it. But will whisky geeks? No, I think we’ll need other releases from Dalmore, and I’d reach for the 15 over this one any day.
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