Exclusive Malts: The Dalmore (13 year) 2000 – 2013

First, let’s establish something. I get sent samples, sometimes, and my first thought is “Yay! A new whisky to try!” and my second thought is “Yay! Another week’s blog post that I don’t have to buy whisky for!” Advertising on the blog pays for my whisky, yes, but what it does not pay for is a new bottle every week. Far from it. So once in awhile you, dear reader, get to put up with a review of something you’re never likely to see on a shelf. Them’s the breaks.

So here’s a weirdo. Dalmore, in my mind, means two things: Heavy sherry, and orange-peel notes. This independently-bottled Dalmore from The Exclusive Malts was distilled in 2000 as cask #6952 and bottled in 2013 at 53.5% ABV. And it’s peated. What?!

The color is super pale – nearly clear – which implies a refill bourbon cask. It’s possible this was a cask that previously held peated whisky, but I can’t find any details online. Some way or some how, a good whollop of peat found its way into this distinctly un-sherried Dalmore.

Nose: Peat, but integrated well with vanilla and saltwater taffy. Hot-smoked salmon, bitter herbs, white pepper. Lavender.

Palate: Somewhat thin body. Barbeque coal smoke, fresh-cracked pepper, blackened salmon. Very low tongue-burn for something at 53.5% ABV.

Finish: Long. Herbal and smoky, lavender especially. Mildly bitter, but ends on a sweet vanilla note.

With Water: A few drops of water mute the nose, or supplant the usual aromas with alcohol fumes. The palate might be softer, and carries more tart notes – white vinegar? I would avoid the water here, unless you feel you need to dilute it to bottle-strength (I don’t think it needs dilution).

Overall: There’s a lot going on in this one. It seems that Dalmore’s house characteristics are solely derived from its sherry aging, because I would not be able to identify this as Dalmore if it weren’t for the label. It does have a Highland drift to the peat; instead of piquant smoke and overt seaweed, the peat is herbal and reminds me of cooking aromas. A truly unusual take on both Dalmore malt AND Highland peated whisky. Well done.

I won’t personally be buying a bottle of this, but I can see how a fan of The Dalmore (who wants to see a new side of the distillery), or someone who appreciates alternative styles of peated malt would really enjoy this malt, even at the hefty price of $99. This is a cautious “Recommended”, if only for the education.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

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.
Exclusive Malts: The Dalmore (13 year) 2000 – 2013
53.5% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $99 - $109
Acquired: (Sample) Courtesy of ImpEx Beverages. Thanks, Katia!

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