The Dalmore 12 Year Old

The Dalmore 12 is Highland Scotch that is distilled and bottled in the town of Alness in Scotland. The distillery sits on the banks of the River Alness, which also serves as the source of water that the distillery uses for their scotch. The 12 year old is bottled at a typical 40% after being aged for 9 years in ex-bourbon American White Oak casks. After that half of the whisky is kept in the American Oak and the other half is aged for 3 years in 30 year old Oloroso Sherry casks before the finished products are married together.
Now before I get into the tasting notes on this scotch, I would like to share with you a bit of history that I came across while researching this product. The distillery was initially opened in 1839 by Alexander Matheson who openend the distillery, by using the money he made from importing Opium from the Far East before being selling the site to the MacKenzie Family in 1886. The MacKenzie’s settled on naming their line “The Dalmore” based on family lore, that one of their ancestors had actually rescued King Alexander III from a rampaging Stag in the year 1263.

Color: A very deep rich amber in color, though this appears to be achieved through the use of E150. Still looks pretty though.

Nose: Very borboun-esque, just tons of sweet notes. Creamy caramel and vanilla with bitter dark chocolate all wrapped together with a bit peaty smoke.

Body: Medium to Medium Full. Oil thick and chewy on the palate and coats the glass incredibly well.
Palate: Right off the bat lots of Sherry sweetness with orange citrus covered with holiday spice. Some dark fruits (plum?).

Finish: Dense dark chocolate and hints of coffee that is rounded out by a dry peat smoke.

I have to say that for a Highlander, I find this to be a closer cousin to the Islay and Skye scotches. With that being said, there are a lot of things about this scotch that reminds me of bourbon as well. So for the obvious reasons, if you are a bourbon drinker looking to transition to scotch or a scotch drinker ready in to jump into the big boy side of the pool that is Islay scotch, this is a must have. The only thing that takes away from this scotch for me is that it is 1) it is only 40% ABV. I think if this was bottled at 43 or 46% you can get some great complexity out of it. 2) That it is chill filtered and has caramel coloring. Other than that there is no reason to give this spirit a try; great for those long cold winter nights that we have ahead of us.


*photo is not my own