Whisky Review: The Dalmore 18-Year-Old

The Dalmore 18-Year-OldThe Dalmore maintains a position of recognizability on many a store and bar shelf worldwide. With an unorthodox bell-shaped bottle and signature stag’s head, the Highland single malt is unlikely to get lost in the crowd. In previous reviews, I have offered my thoughts on the 12 and 15-year-old expressions as well as the now-discontinued Gran Reserva and Cigar Malt releases. My journey northward through the Principal Collection line now has me making a stop at The Dalmore 18-year-old release. What tricks or treats lie in store for me here?

The 18, as The Dalmore refers to this release, displays an age statement of 18 years. The first 14 years of this single malt’s existence are spent aging in American white oak ex-bourbon casks. This portion of the process is fairly standard in terms of many Scotch whiskies. It is in the late maturation stages that this particular release defines itself.

A relationship with the González Byass sherry house has resulted in an exclusive selection of 30-year-old Matusalem oloroso sherry butts being provided to The Dalmore. This is where the whisky is transferred in order to mature for a final four years prior to bottling.

The distillery describes the 18-year-old as “an evolution” of the house style. Let’s taste and see what exactly that means.

Tasting Notes: The Dalmore 18

Vital Stats: 43% ABV (86 proof), aged 18 years, 100% malted barley, available around $150-$200 per 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: Copper and bronze tones, reddish hue around the edges. Quick, thin legs.

Nose: French burnt peanut candy, sherry, baking chocolate.

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Palate: Sweet, dry, and rich. Fruity and only very slightly salty. Fresh plum, chocolate syrup, chocolate covered raisins, coffee, tobacco. Very full sherry presence throughout. Continued tobacco segues into the finish. Dry, with a soft bitterness. Wisps of coffee and cream.

Final Thoughts:

For my money, The Dalmore 18 falls into the category of, “it is tasty, but how tasty is it?” The prices associated with The Dalmore as a brand in recent years have been difficult for me to rationalize in terms of depth of experience in certain single malts.

The 18 can firmly be described as my preferred derivation within the Principal Collection from the distillery. That being said, I cannot say the bottling is an absolute necessity. Worth enjoying a dram while out on the town, should you find yourself in its company.



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