Located 20 miles north of Inverness, on the banks of the Cromarty Firth, Dalmore has always had a solid reputation for producing top drams. Since the turn of the millennium though, the distillery has pushed itself into the top, ultra-premium end of the market – much coveted by many whisky brands – with a number of record breaking sales. Much of this buzz has been helped along by the whisky industry’s very own celebrity-in-chief, Richard Paterson, who has criss-crossed the globe promoting the malt in his own unique style.
Thankfully, a few weeks ago, he returned to Scotland as new chair of the International Spirits Challenge. In his new role, it was Richard’s job to welcome attendees to the annual An Evening with the Blenders event at The Scotch Whisky Experience. You can read my top drams from the evening here but I wanted to give one slightly more attention than the others – the Dalmore 18 Year Old.
The 18 year old has spent 14 years in American oak ex-bourbon casks, before being transferred to 30 year old Matusalen oloroso sherry butts from the world renowned Gonzalez Byass sherry house for a further four years. And as you can imagine, a combination like this is a match made in heaven.
This is an extremely robust whisky, with strong aromas of dark chocolate, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and dried fruits, along with zesty orange and marmalade – yes folks, we’re in Christmas cake territory here! These rich flavours continue onto the palate, although the spice now has a big more kick to it and there’s an earthy hint of coffee too. The finish is long and fruity, with a warming spice to boot!
Thankfully, the Dalmore 18 Year Old has escaped the clutches of the ultra-premium end of the market and is currently retailing for around £90 a bottle. A bargain, if you ask me!