The Dalmore (12 year)

The Dalmore line has recently been revamped, and along with it a change in the barrel aging mixture. The 12 year was previously matured with around three-quarters of volume in ex-bourbon oak barrels, and the remainder in oloroso sherry casks. With the line revamp, Dalmore 12 is now aged 50% in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels, and 50% in oloroso sherry casks. This shift explains the younger expression’s sherry dominance. I personally hope that the older expressions better balance the sherry against the distillery’s characteristic orange peel flavors. The 40% ABV bottling of the 12 year also makes it a little thin on the palate, in my opinion.

Color: Dark Orange

Nose: Grand Marnier, candied orange peel and candied walnuts or pecans. A splash of water brings out some floral, honeysuckle notes.

Flavor: Major sherry with citrus overtones. Orange peel and orange liqueur notes continue, plus a slight woodiness and some cocoa powder. Some of the more delicate floral and softer fruits flavors are hinted at, but are overpowered by the sherry. Surprisingly thin body for such a robust whisky. Water brings out some sugary notes, maybe a little extra fruit.

Finish is medium length and warming, with marzipan notes. Overall impression is of candied orange mixed with heavy sherry.

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About The Distillery

Founded in 1839, The Dalmore sits on the eastern coast of the Scottish Northern Highlands, north of Inverness, at sea level. Its waters run from Loch Morie, in the hills above the distillery, and is diverted from the Alness river which flows over heather-covered peat. As The Dalmore’s whiskies age very well, older bottlings are prevalent on the auction scene. Several recent record-setting auction sales have been old bottles of The Dalmore. The distillery’s characteristic dark orange flavor is said to be present across the range. The two pairs of stills at Dalmore are of differing shapes and sizes, and some are cooled by water jackets, a modern innovation. This combination produces a complex, eccletic mix of distillates which contribute to both the house ‘citrus’ character, and its ability to age for a long time in oak; Bottlings in excess of 50 years old have been released. The majority of the whisky is aged in ex-bourbon casks, but some in ex-sherry. It is all married in ex-sherry casks. The distillery is owned, along with Isle of Jura, by independent bottlers Whyte and Mackay.
The Dalmore (12 year)
40% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $50-$55
Acquired: (Dram): C.B. Hannegan's (Los Gatos, CA)

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13 thoughts on “The Dalmore (12 year)

  1. Just finished a bottle. Only $40. It is good. I can’t find another bottle for $40 that is this good. I like the woodsie orange taste. Its flippin good. Please buy me. A bottle.

  2. Very thin stuff, in my opinion. Too light and even the sherry tones are washed and watered down. For 5 dollars more, I’ll take the Macallan or Genmorangie’s Port or Sherry finishes if I am looking for something un-peated. Won’t be buying this again.

  3. Totally agree with your tasting notes. A bottle here is only $40, well worth the try. While I do prefer The Macallan over this, at $17 cheaper per bottle this is more of an everyday dram for me. Save The Macallan for a few special days a month.

  4. I could be wrong, but I believe the “latest” version of the Dalmore 12 yr comes in a burgandy box (which is what I have, and what is seen at Dalmore’s web site).

    From the back of the burgandy box, and the Dalmore site…”Matured for an initial nine years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before being carefully divided. One half continues its maturation in bourbon barrels, the other half is transferred to 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry casks.”

    While I’m not a mathematician – it seems as though the 12 yr has roughly a 75% bourbon/25% sherry cask maturation ratio – maybe even less when ya consider it spends 9 years exclusively in bourbon barrels…Makes me wonder why they’re “altering” their aging/blending process?

    Either way I like it; a nice easy going dram, and for $40 it’s a pretty good value.

  5. Symbolically speaking… second beers always tastes better than the first. And, my 2nd Dalmore12 bottle was not as great as the first, too sweet (no water either to sugar it up) for my taste. The honey taste remained long afterwards and if not for the nutty favors, I can not see the purchase of a third bottle in the near future. It is what it is… a must try for anyone who likes sherry.

    1. “The masses” mostly drink blended whisky, which is not finished in port or sherry. It’s perfectly fine to have preferences – many people dislike finished scotch – but your generalizations help nobody.

  6. One of my two current favorites (along with Dalwhinnie 15). Very smooth and satisfying for a 12-year-old. Look elsewhere for smoke and pepper, if that’s what you’re after. I look forward to tasting the 15 soon also.

  7. New to single malts. Was turned on to Scotch via Johnny Walker Black. Enjoyed it. Enjoyed Gold more, then meandered my way to some single malts. So far of the few I have tasted, I enjoy The Dalmore 12 the most. Look forward to exploring some of the recommended on your list as I make my way across all the regions.

  8. Picked a dram of this up at a bar for $7, even though the bottle was still mostly full! While tasting, I thought I was crazy thinking candied orange and nut flavors… I feel so vindicated!

    My question is this: Assuming the Dalmore 12 is indeed still as good today as you remember it from 4 years ago, would it still rank as a must try, despite the substantial increase in price? Or are there much better alternatives in your mind?

  9. I always liked this although not as much as Macallan 12 or Glendronach 12. Unfortunately this stuff now sells for around $64 a bottle in the NYC Long Island area. That means on average it’s about $2 more than Macallan and $12 more than Glendronach so I no longer buy it. Unfortunately even though most liquor stores here have a great single malt selection, they all seem not to have many options in the sherry-matured category. Is this common everywhere? I find more and more Macallan is my only option

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