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WhiskyFun Legends: Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter

This week on WhiskyFun Legends, we take a detailed look into the Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter, an extremely rare bottling that only a lucky few will see in their lifetimes. 

Be sure to catch up on the previous installments of WhiskyFun Legends here

The Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter 

Dalmore Distillery was, in the early 2000s, comfortably sitting at the pinnacle of the luxury whisky market. In addition to this, the Dalmore 62 Year Old Kildermorie has twice held the world record for the most expensive whisky ever sold at auction

Today, of course, Macallan is considered to be at the peak of the market. However, this does not diminish the standing of Dalmore’s rare and historic whiskies, nor its rich distilling history. The distillery has long prioritized “peerless quality”, as is represented by the distillery’s logo: the 12-point stag. 

Dalmore Distillery. Alness

This Dalmore 50 Year Old is said to contain Dalmore whisky distilled as early as 1868 and 1878. The youngest spirit in this single malt, however, was distilled in 1928. Subsequently, the whisky was bottled in 1978 at an impressive strength of 52% ABV. 

The Dalmore 50 Year Old is presented in a hand-cut crystal decanter, complete with a wooden presentation case and key, as well as a Guarantee of Excellence signed by then head of Dalmore, Richard Patterson. 

Serge Valentin’s Tasting Notes On The Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter 

Serge Valentin of WhiskyFun is one of the very few people who has had the privilege of sampling this iconic Dalmore. His tasting notes date from September 2006: 

A proportion of the spirit was first drawn [in 1928], which in turn is reputed to embody some Dalmore from 10th June 1868 and 18th February 1878. Kind of a solera? 

Colour: deep amber, slightly darker. 

Nose: wow! Slightly shy for half a second (especially when compared with the 32yo) but then it’s the charge of the Light Brigade! First I get leather and cigar box mixed with menthol, eucalyptus and old Tarragones chartreuse. Then I get fresh seashells like ormers or clams, all kinds of dried fruits (no need to list them all), beeswax, old furniture, old wine, espresso coffee, chocolate, butter caramel, old orange liqueur… Stunning development!

Quite some peat in there, probably, because there’s also notes of old pu-erh tea, wet hay, hints of horse sweat… What’s great is the strength of the whole, fab that they managed to come up with 52% instead of the usual 40%-ish very old whiskies. Amazingly great, with the menthol doing a remarkable comeback after quite some time. A malt to spend a whole evening with as far as the nose is concerned. 

Mouth: terrific news, it’s almost as great on the palate. Not quite, as almost always with old whiskies, but this mix of leathery, waxy, minty and oaky notes is just fabulous. Really full-bodied, almost invading, with again all sorts of dried fruits, all sorts of great old wines (not just sherry), all sorts of teas (notably blackcurrant leaves I think), coffee, black toffee, these raisins again, dried bananas, old calvados (with that slight bitterness), dark pipe tobacco… Gets more an more toasted and liquoricy after that, very ‘black’ if you see what I mean, almost heavy and thick (in a nice way). The finish is incredibly long and even fresh (sort of), superbly orangey and quite leafy/earthy, with hints of game, caramelized meat and… smokiness from the peat?

S-t-u-n-n-i-n-g, and believe me, I’d have loved to bash such an extravagantly priced whisky 😉 but I’m sorry, it’s going to be no less than 96 points. (thanks to Richard Paterson and WhiskyLive Paris)” – Serge Valentin,, 2006 

The Price of The Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter At Auction 

As stated above, this Dalmore 50 Year Old is extremely rare. It is no surprise, then, that this bottle has only appeared at auction in the UK six times. The last record auction sale of this whisky was in October 2019, when it sold for an astonishing £42,000 (ex. buyer’s premium) at Sotheby’s London. 

This bottle has remained elusive ever since. 

Buy Dalmore Whisky

The Dalmore 1963 15 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy

Dalmore whiskies are highly sought-after at both auction and retail. We currently have this brilliant Dalmore 1963 15 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy available on our shop. The whisky was distilled three years after Dalmore’s merger with Whyte & Mackay and bottled in the iconic dumpy bottle by Cadenhead. 

Browse the full Dalmore collection here.

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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