Whisky Review: The Dalmore 15-Year-Old

The Dalmore 15-Year-OldHistory and distinctive design intersect on the signature stag’s head adorning each bottle from The Dalmore. The striking aesthetic mixed with a unique bottle shape makes any release from this eastern coastal Highlands distillery stand out from competing single malts that may be sharing space on a shelf. The lineup offered by the distillery today is deep enough to rival those of a great many whisky producers. As to how each of these releases stands up to one another is where things get truly interesting.

The Dalmore 15-Year-Old is the second in a series which is known as the Principal Collection, which begins with the 12-year-old incarnation. As the name implies and the label clearly states, The 15 is a single malt which is aged for 15 years. The maturation process includes separating the whisky involved into three equal parts after spending an initial 12 years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks.

Each third is then fated to aging in a unique sherry wood: namely Amoroso, Apostles, and Matusalem oloroso. The Dalmore spends three years aging in these sherry woods before being brought back together in an upstanding sherry butt. The final product is bottled at a standard 40% alcohol by volume.

Tasting Notes: The Dalmore 15-Year-Old

Vital Stats: 40% ABV (80 proof), age 15 years, 100% malted barley, available between $60-130 per 750 ml bottle. It definitely pays to shop around for this particular version.

Appearance: Copper and deep amber, strong legs.

Nose: Tart cherry, spent coffee grounds, wax paper.

Palate: Sweet initially and quite rapidly tart. Slightly thin mouthfeel. Unripened grapes, oak, chocolate orange candy, bitter orange rind, coal dust, cola. Quite dry and almost sharp finish. Lingering bitter notes of citrus zest and tonic water. Subtle burn. Very quick.

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Final Thoughts: 

When taken as a whole, the various incarnations of The Dalmore are somewhat hit-and-miss for me. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoy having distinct voices in the chorus offered by any label. When each release seems to be indistinguishable from another, it becomes difficult to defend the illusion of choice within the brand. With The Dalmore, there are clear differences between this bottling, the 12-year-old, and the 18-year-old derivations.

That being said, I found the experience of this individual dram to be underwhelming. It should be noted that prices on The Dalmore tend to vary wildly depending on the market, so shopping around is recommended. All things considered, I won’t personally be tempted to make The 15 my next stop along The Dalmore route.



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