Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Review - Dalmore Sherry Cask Select 12 years old

This single malt is the latest addition to the Principal Collection from the north Highland distillery of Dalmore. The Dalmore Sherry Cask Select is described as 'an elegant evolution of the distillery's legendary house style' and features casks seasoned with a bespoke sherry blend created especially for Dalmore in Jerez, Spain. This includes both Oloroso (three different types actually) and Pedro Ximenez sherries. The Sherry Cask Select began its maturation in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before a three year finishing period in these special ex-sherry casks. It is bottled at 12 years of age and 43% ABV.
Dalmore is located in the village of Alness, which is a short drive north of Inverness. It sits on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, Scotland's deepest sea loch, and overlooks the Black Isle. The distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson and has an interesting history, including being used during the First World War by the Royal Navy to manufacture explosives. The current capacity of the distillery is just over four million litres per year. Dalmore is currently owned by Whyte & Mackay, part of the larger Phillipines based Emperador Inc. They own the popular Whyte & Mackay blended whisky brand, plus the distilleries at Fettercairn, Jura and Tamnavulin.
The Dalmore Sherry Cask Select 12 years old is available now via specialist and luxury retailers in selected key markets including China, Taiwan and the UK. It will then be available in other markets, including the USA, from early 2021. A bottle will retail for £69/ $90 US.
Our tasting notes
The colour is deep amber and the nose exhibits a wonderful set of rich aromas - think of raisins, caramel and toffee to begin with and these are supported by manuka honey, candied orange peel and milk chocolate. Further aromas of almond, cocoa, sultana and hints of treacle, ginger and cinnamon add further depth.

On the palate this whisky is equally as rich and full bodied as the nose suggests. Plenty of sweetness comes first in the form of milk chocolate, caramel and dried fruits - imagine currants, raisins and sultanas especially. Underneath is an increasingly influential malted cereal note that adds further structure and a hint bitterness. The whisky feels mouth coating and luxurious, almost thick. Then come some darker and spicier notes to add balance along with the malt. Notes of treacle tart, burnt brown sugar, walnuts and almonds create complexity, along with a heavy pinch of baking spices - think of cinnamon, all-spice, mace and hints of ground liquorice root, powdered ginger and a tiny drop of clove oil.

The finish lingers for ages and turns to the sweeter notes to aid this. The spices and nutty elements fade slowly, then the bittersweet malt. This leaves the sweet caramel and chocolate notes to work solely with the dried fruit. A late note of bitter orange marmalade also develops to contribute to a lovely final sip.

What's the verdict?

This is a delicious new whisky from Dalmore and one that shows the specially created sherry casks off very well. It is rich, bold and flavoursome with plenty of characteristics. The whisky feels thick and luxurious and is a great example of what Dalmore does and is known for. A lovely and enjoyable dram.
The only negative for us is the price. £69 is top end for a 12 years old single malt, even a limited edition one like this, and means that it is a good £20+ more expensive than the regular 12 years old expression in the core range. The price of the special sherry casks has obviously been passed on to the consumer and only you can decide if it is worth the extra. 

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