The Dalmore 12yo (40%, OB, Circa 2004)

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…

The Dalmore 12yo (40%, OB, Circa 2004)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.

Points: 80


2 thoughts on “The Dalmore 12yo (40%, OB, Circa 2004)

  1. Did you have a whole bottle or just a sample? I finished recently the same bottle from 2005, and I enjoyed the second half much more than the first. I’ve also noticed the bitter flavor – to me it was a telltale of much older whisky. I ended up buying another one – a very unusual oldie! also reviewed the 2005 version (he gave it an 84).

    Here were my notes:
    The top of the bottle did not seem very impressive – rather generic although complex sherried whisky. The second half was much more interesting. Nose: briny and citrusy, with PX rancio. Some serious yeasty dunder, like an overproof Jamaican rum; smells of old whisky warehouses. Taste: immensely peaty; dark and brooding, reminiscent of a Bowmore. Ashyness balanced by sweetness; stewed sherried fruits; malty on the nose and on the back of the tongue. Overall, a complex, balanced, yet unusual whisky. Not for every day; it rewards attention. 3*/5
    Update 6 months later:
    I’m re-tasting this, and I’m picking a very different register. This 12yo bottle has clearly a high amount of much older whisky. There’s so much 18 yo + here, it could be rated “R”. This explains what I called yeasty Jamaican rum/old warehouses, and the citrus/bitterness that you noted. 3.5*/5

    • Hi, thanx for reading ánd writing such an extensive comment. I had the bottle, it’s empty now and te review is written with the last 25% of the bottle. Part for this review and the rest in samples, so it’s definitely from the second half of the bottle and it has seen some air to open up. When tasting Whisky you always have to factor in you own taste, but should also be able to recognize (the lack of) quality. I’m with you when you say there is much older Whisky in the mix, also a sign of quality, and I do taste the quality of this.

      I think you wrote a pretty good tasting note, you also thought it was a bit unusual. You are quite right about the yeasty note. In my bottle though, I didn’t get the peat and the (slightly) lower score I gave probably has to do that for my taste it wasn’t completely balanced. The yeastiness and acidity didn’t do the balance good imho.

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