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The Dalmore Luminary No.2 The Rare 49 Year Old 2024 Edition

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OVERALL
RATING

9

Whisky Review: The Dalmore Luminary No.2 The Rare 49 Year Old

Tasting Notes:

About:
This 49 year old Dalmore whisky was matured in American white oak ex-bourbon casks. It was subsequently finished in a combination of Port Colheita 1963, and 30 year old Apostoles sherry and select bourbon casks. Then, it was further finished in a ‘hybrid’ cask – 1951 virgin oak that was air-dried and hand-toasted by Master Whisky Maker, Greg Glass. This is the second release in The Dalmore’s fabled Luminary series. One-of-three bottles.
Appearance:
Marsala Wine
Nose:
Milk chocolate truffles, minted toffee, Kendal mint cake, caramelised pineapple, fresh vanilla pods, tonka bean and chocolate, almond pastry, glacier cherries, cinnamon, lightly roasted coffee beans. This things takes you on quite a sweet journey. The Kendal mint cake note popped up out of nowhere, and I was doubting myself with it, but it then became the dominant force of the whole nose. The caramelised pineapple is a welcome tart and darker note at the same time. This does need a lot of time to sit and let some of these incredibly delicate flavours to push through. After thirty minutes in the glass now, the coffee and almond notes are becoming the leading force. Biscotto and espresso, but from a living room in Salford rather than the Italian riviera. The coffee is much more pronounced after the first sip.
Palate:
So much fresh blackberry and blueberry flavours at the start. Very juicy and slightly tart. Some classic Dalmore notes of chocolate, raisin and orange. Angostura bitters, orange pith, lots of red vermouth notes, too. More gentian, vanilla, red grape, orange oil. Considering how sweet the nose is, the palate is more earthy and savoury. I’m getting hazlenuts, chestnuts, toasted bread and the soft bitterness of olive oil. Towards the final taste is all red vermouth bitterness but very managable and balanced.
Finish:
There’s is something unusally soft with smoke at the back of this. But it isn’t peat smoke, it’s like a smoke old fashioned or smoked maple syrup. It’s a really good balance of sweet and slightly bitter, all with this rounded smoke.
Comments:
That took me on quite and adventure! I’d prefer more of the sweetness to come through the palate, but it is still one of the most layered things I’ve ever tried from Dalmore.
Credit: Sotheby’s

The Dalmore Luminary No.2 The Rare 49 Year Old 2024 Edition

The Dalmore Luminary series is created in collaboration with the V&A Museum in Dundee, Scotland. The partnership sees a yearly double release comprising a limited-edition, publicly available Luminary, and a one-of-three much older Dalmore whisky. Expected to be a three-part series, the collaboration will end in 2025. The first Dalmore Luminary,  No.1 The Rare, was unveiled at the end of 2022. This year’s offering is known as The Dalmore Luminary No.2 The Rare 2024 Edition.

Not only is The Rare presented in a stunning glass display sculpture, but the whisky inside is some of the finest ever produced by The Dalmore. The 49 year old whisky was matured in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before being finished in a combination of Port Colheita 1963, and 30 year old Apostoles sherry and select bourbon casks. Then, the whisky was completed in an air-dried, hand-toasted 1951 virgin oak hybrid cask. The cask was toasted by Master Whisky Maker Greg Glass.

The Dalmore Luminary No.2 The Rare 2024 Edition was created in collaboration with Melodie Leung of Zaha Hadid Architects, who designed the accompanying glass sculpture. Leung worked closely with Richard Paterson OBE and Greg Glass when designing the sculpture, aiming to reflect the fluid yet defined whisky-making process at The Dalmore. Upon the release of The Rare, Leung said, “[the sculpture] mirrors the multiple layers of aging and blending that went into creating this whisky, which is the exquisite product of nature channeled over time.”

Unsurprisingly, this one-of-three whisky is extremely expensive; one bottle is currently being auctioned at Sotheby’s with a starting bid of £75,000 (~$95,450), raising money for the V&A Museum. The other two sets are reserved for other uses: one will be displayed in the V&A Museum. The distillery will keep the other to make up 1/3 of a special compendium of The Dalmore Luminary bottles, to be created once the series is completed in 2025.

About The Dalmore Distillery

The Dalmore Distillery, nestled in the Scottish Highlands along the shores of the Cromarty Firth, boasts a rich history dating back to 1839. Founded by Alexander Matheson, a merchant of the Clan Mackenzie, The Dalmore quickly distinguished itself through its exceptional craftsmanship and pioneering spirit.

During the late 19th century, the Mackenzie family acquired the distillery, imprinting their clan emblem—a twelve-pointed Royal Stag—on every bottle. This regal symbol remains a hallmark of The Dalmore’s heritage and commitment to excellence.

Under the Mackenzies, The Dalmore introduced innovative maturation techniques, becoming one of the first distilleries to use sherry casks from Spain. This practice, alongside the use of American white oak ex-bourbon casks, has become integral to creating The Dalmore’s signature complex and rich flavor profile.

Throughout the 20th century, The Dalmore continued to thrive, weathering challenges such as World War II, when the distillery was partially converted to produce wartime necessities. Post-war, The Dalmore resumed full production, enhancing its reputation for producing luxury single malt whiskies.

Today, The Dalmore is celebrated worldwide for its exceptional whiskies, including rare and prestigious expressions that reflect a legacy of over 180 years of dedication to the art of whisky-making.

 

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Phil Dwyer

Having worked in whisky retail for a decade, and running Whisky Wednesday on YouTube for nearly as long, Phil has always wanted to learn, talk and tell everyone as much about whisky as he can.

Whisky can be overly complicated at times. Phil wants to end that. Brands have pushed far too much jargon into the drinking atmosphere; it's difficult to breathe when whisky is mentioned at times.

Phil also manages The Whisky Shop Manchester stocking some of the best drams on the market.

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