Time for Dalmore, or The Dalmore as it’s called. I haven’t reviewed a Dalmore before on these pages, nor have I tasted Dalmore for a long time. So in a way I’m getting re-acquainted to it. Looking at my list of scores I have to say that Dalmore usually is not a very high scoring malt for me. Of course there are bottling that fetch high scores but when that happens it’s a Dalmore after some extensive maturation. However, the highest scoring Dalmore in my book is a Dalmore 12yo! A Duncan Macbeth bottling for the Italian market from around 1963! I won’t compare the two, since times have changed, but let’s have a look at a more modern 12yo. This example was bottled around 2004, so not yesterdays malt either…
Color: Full gold.
Nose: Powdery, creamy and slightly sour. Old bananas. Distant Sherry influence. Paper, I somehow smell a lot of paper in this. Malty, burnt sugar and some alcohol (like smelling Vodka). It smells a bit of caramel coloring. (Everybody tells you it doesn’t chance the smell and taste, but just try it for yourself and make your own mind up). Yet the whole smells just a bit different from other entry-level Malts. This is not bad, not bad at all (in the nose department).
Taste: A little bite from the wood, a little bit of dishwashing liquid too. Burnt sweetness you can find in some Rums. Did I mention some soapiness yet, indirectly maybe. Very nutty too. The nuttiness and the particular sweetness make up the signature of this malt. Crushed almonds ánd marzipan. A nice touch of woody bitterness towards the finish. Lots of markers that may well be typical for Dalmore. Finish is weaker than the body is, and lets it down a bit.
In the end a very different Highland Malt. Maybe not everything is in balance, not everything seems to fit together. It feels like a malt that was made to be accessible, but also a little bit different. I’m guessing this has a specific fan base. In the quest to make it different it isn’t quite congruent yet, but you have to love it for being slightly different.