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Drink Review: Dalmore 12 Year Old

Dalmore 12 is aged for the first nine years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, before half is transferred to ex-oloroso sherry casks for the final three years. The result is a whisky with a combination of sweetness and rich, sherried flavours.

Dalmore Whiskey Review:

Nose: Classic sherry casks emerge. Black cherries, a hint of wax, orange & lime and a little smoke. No major tannic residue as one might expect from an aged whisky. No surprise that the first dram was unobtainable!

Palate: Sweeter than expected. Sweet, fruity, honeyed sherry sweetness is layered with toasted bread, some dark chocolate and more sherry casks. Quite mild.

Yes, I am aware that it might seem odd to review a whisky with variations between expressions, but this is light years removed from its predecessor.

Finish: Medium-long finish. Sweet black cherry, orange & lime and a touch of sherried oak.

The nose has brighter, fruitier tones; apricot, a touch of spice, banana and soft citrus, and it is overall a little paler, with far less woody notes. It smells more like what you imagine ‘vintage’ 90 proof brandy would smell like. The palate is more malty. There is still some sherry sweetness, but this has a characteristic liquorice aroma. There is a touch of bitter chocolate, but these don’t make the cut. Broadly speaking, it tastes more like what I imagined a sherry cask whisky would taste like, rather than what I thought ‘vintage’ whisky would taste like. It has pleasant sweet sherry tones, with some woody notes. It suffers a little from being too sweet, though the generally round, earthy profile is very pleasing.

Nose: One remaining fault of the nose; watery fruit. Nothing worse than that. Apricot, banana and waxy citrus on the nose. A little more woody than expected. Strong character.

Palate: It is this one we are all waiting for! Strong and rich. That flavour that you would expect from an ex-bourbon cask whisky, but softened by the sherry cask finishing, which means that it has an overall fruity, sherried character. The sweetness from the sherry is just delicious. An up to standard sherry cask experience. Tannic, just a little woody. The base whisky is mid-range sherried fruitiness.

Finish: Rich and enjoyable. Rich and robust. Thicker than expected. Barley is the sweetest element, followed by the sherry cask influences. The woody tones make a brief appearance.

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Dalmore Whiskey Review:

Nose: Surprisingly pleasant. Black cherries, a bit of dust and spices. A little dusty, spicy and sweet. An enjoyable nose.

Palate: A little less sherried than expected. A little less fruity than expected. More of a fruit cake nutty character, but with enough sherry sweetness to make it worth the wait.

Finish: Long, with lots of fruitiness. The fruit is quite fruity, with black cherries in particular dominating. The sherried oak is strong and long.

Dalmore 12 Year Old is excellent. In a break from their well tried and tested tradition, it is very insightful. You can see how a sherry cask finish can yield a more interesting character than that from an ex-bourbon cask.

It is forgettable, however, but still great fun!

It is a whisky that rewards patience, and provides a few non-classic flavours. The Dalmore 12 is an exceedingly enjoyable dram if you’re a fan of sherried fruitiness’ and you’re willing to wait an extra two months.

I want to provide one final word of warning. This is a sherry cask finish, but not a 40% sherry cask finish. There are nine years of ageing in sherry casks, which will produce a very rich character, but it will not be as rich and full-bodied as a more prolific sherried whisky. Unless you are a beer drinker, you might drink too much of this stuff! It is marvellous, but not for the faint-hearted.

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Written by Mark Adams

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