Neatly following on from yesterday’s Fettercairn, door number 11 delivers another from Whyte & Mackay’s stable in the form of Dalmore 14 year old Batch 3. I’ve always felt of Dalmore as rather the marmite brand – but always found that I've had a lot of time for expressions from independent bottlers. Under Richard Paterson’s rein as Master Distiller Dalmore has become focussed on both sherry, and also multi-cask whiskies, that, regardless of their tastiness hide behind a near wall of different wood types and precursor liquids. To my mind, that’s a shame as I find Dalmore’s underlying spirit to be particularly characterful, and most expressive when offered humbly in ex-bourbon.
Boutique-y third batch of Dalmore consists of 811 bottles delivered at 51.3%. They cost £74.95 a pop from Master of Malt and feature one of the bottler’s most stark labels – nothing more than an angler fish and a broody looking sea mine – a nod to when the Royal Navy commandeered the Cromarty firth next to the distillery and inadvertently blew up much of the facility in a 1920 mine detonation cockup.
Nose: Immediately malty with a good kick of Terry’s Chocolate Orange and a freshly brewed pot of coffee on the side. There’s plenty of home produce here – garden fruits – apples + gooseberries – wrapped up in bakery – pastry, tart cases and soft cooks’ sugar. Running through the background is a steeliness – rather akin to coal dust. Reduction delivers even more kitchen goodies - malt loaf, pancakes and buttered muffins.
Taste: Still rocking the malty theme with rolled oats and porridge on arrival, supported by bright and sharp fruits – nectarines and some grapefruit tang. Chocolate is still present and comes with an in-built peppery kick that fades through the mid-palate into dusty spiced oak (clove and allspice). The addition of water only serves to make this more malty – barley water and oatmeal cookies alongside intense dark chocolate and spent coffee ground.
Finish: Medium in length with a very nicely drying progressive fade. Spice is forward with cloves and there’s some gentle cashew nuttiness.
Like so many ‘naked’ Dalmore’s, this Boutique-y expression lets the distillery’s spirit shine. When unburdened from a cacophony of casks, Dalmore is naturally rich and fulsome with chocolate and maltiness – this is no exception. It’s pricey (but then all output from this distillery is nowadays), but at the same time tasty and flattering. If you’ve yet to experience an ex-bourbon Dalmore from an indy bottler you really should make it one of your New Year resolutions.
Review calendar provided by Boutique-y Whisky