Singleton of Dufftown 18 Years Review - Glenburgie 1999-2012 (Chester) Review - Linkwood 1984-2014 (Malts of Scotland) Review


“Speyside Special # 4”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. At the request of many of my readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific region like today or with specific bottlers, countries or distilleries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't touch too much details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In this special I will review three random mature Speyside Single Malts. Enjoy!
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Whisky Review # 773

Country:Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Singleton of Dufftown
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mostly Ex-Bourbon casks. A little Sherry Wood in the mix as well.
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (November 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‘ I don't feel anything when sipping this Malt. P/Q ratio okay.

Colour:

Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Light, Sweet, Fruity, Malty and Syrupy. I get some European Sherry Wood in the mix. It's not bad but there's no excitement at all. It's more or less the same feeling I get when nosing Knockdhu Single Malts. A bit boring. I expect much more depth from an 18 year old Single Malt.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Plums and Raisins, Dark Red Berries, Fruit Candies, Bounty Candy Bars and Oak Char.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Butterscotch, Red Apples, Heather-Honey, Nuts, Wax, Orange, Lemon, Pineapple, Leather, Tobacco, Tea and Ginger.



Palate:

A little Watery as a result of the low ABV. Bitter-Sweet, Syrupy, Malty, Medium-Dry and again slightly boring.

Main Flavours:

Malted Toasted Barley, Caramel, Syrup, Toffee-Apples, Dark Berries, Dried Fruit like Apricots and Plums, Oak-Char, Orange, Menthol, Cinnamon and Cloves.       

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Nuts, Vegetables, Banana Bread, Pineapple, Pepper, Aniseed, Licorice and Herbal Tea.

Finish:

Short to Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Malty and Buttery. The Bitterness increases towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Malted Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Butter, Vanilla, Toffee-Apples, Mixed Dried Fruit and Nuts, Orange, Tea, Heather-Honey, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, light Menthol and Licorice. The Finish suffers even more from the low ABV.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose turns into Barley-Water and not too much else. On the Palate, the Fruit advances but as a whole the Malt becomes dangerously Thin. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 80.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience:

Okay/Good. Boring.

Conclusion:

The Dufftown distillery was founded in 1895 and is part of Diageo. It produces a staggering 6 million litres per year. Around 97% of the production disappears in blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and Dewar's. Most of the rest is destined for the Single Malt basic core range that consists of the 12, 15 and 18 Years old. In recent years a number of NAS Malts like the Trinite, Liberte and Artisan were released.

The 18 Years was launched in 2006, originally for Travel Retail only. A few years later it was introduced to the rest of the world as well. I must admit I'm quite disappointed with this Dufftown. I usually like 15-18 year old Single Malts but in this case I can't connect to the Spirit. There's no surprise, no wow factor, no depth and no complexity. Just thin rivers of Malt matured in lack luster Wood. It is not really bad of course and the Price/Quality ratio is okay. But this Spirit does not warm my heart, nor my soul. A pity.


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Whisky Review # 774

Country:Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenburgie 1989
Bottled By: Chester Whisky & Liqueur in 2012
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky (Cask # Unknown) - 212 Bottles
Age: 23 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.8% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 110-120 (November 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐ŸŽก For curious adventurers. This isn't mainstream Speyside.

Colour:

Chardonnay/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

A combination of Bitter-Sweet and Sour Aromas. Fruity, Dry and Mineral. Quite Fresh when considering its age. Please give it enough time in the glass as it opens up a bit slowly. The Alcohol is quite noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Vanilla, Yeast, Wax, Grass and Straw, Floral and Herbal notes, Nectarine, Apple, Plums, Fresh Lumber, Lemon, Cinnamon and Pepper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Grapefruit, Red Berries, Pineapple, Wet Rocks and Sand, Dusty Track, Oak Char, Mint, Cloves, Peach-Flavoured Yogurt and White Wine.



Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, a little Hot and Sour. The Oak and Alcohol are more noticeable. Not as Fresh as the Nose. Lots of Wood spice. Quite Dry.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Vanilla, Straw, Grass, Cooked Apples, Pears, Nectarine, Lemon, Oak Char, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and Cardamom.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Strawberry-Flavoured Yogurt, Candied Fruits, Orange, Nuts, Papaya, Nutmeg, Herbs, White Wine and Coconut.

Finish:

Middle-Long with Bitter-Sweet and Sour notes. The Oak is more noticeable and so is the Alcohol. I find Toasted Cereals, Dough, Yeast, Wax, Wet Rocks/Sand, Vanilla, Cooked Apples and Pears, Strawberry, Papaya, Nectarine, Straw, Grass, Hazelnut, Lemon, Toasted Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Licorice and Coconut. Quite Dry.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that helps to calm down this Malt. The Nose becomes even more Fruity and the Wood and Wood spices are a little bit softer on the Palate. You can add a few drops to this Glenburgie although it takes away a bit of the Wild Heart of this Spirit.

Rating: 85

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Glenburgie distillery was founded as Kilnflat in 1810 by William Paul. It only became Glenburgie in 1878 and is located in Glenburgie, Forres (Morayshire). It exchanged hands a couple of times before being bought by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) in 2005. Glenburgie is one of the principal malts in Ballantine's. The only official distillery bottling is the 17 Years Cask Strength. For other expressions we have to look to Independent Bottlers.

The 1989 bottled by Chester that I'm reviewing today is certainly not the most accessible Speyside Malt I've tasted so far. You have to make an effort to get to the heart of this Glenburgie as the Wood and Wood spices are quite dominant on the Palate. The ABV is quite high as well. But if you're patient enough you will start to appreciate the slightly wild character of this Spirit. This is far from your average caramelised mainstream Malt. It might not be any one's immediate favourite but it's well worth exploring. The P/Q ratio is okay given the age.


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Whisky Review # 775

Country:Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Linkwood 1984
Bottled By: Malts of Scotland in 2014 - Bottles: 227
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky (Cask # MoS 14045)
Age: 30 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 52.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 220-280 (November 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Nice Single Malt. I was expecting a bit more though given the age of this Linkwood and its price.

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Still relatively Fresh for a 30 Year old Malt despite the presence of Varnish and Oak. The Alcohol is noticeable as well so be sure to give it enough time in the glass before Nosing. On the Nose this Single Malt presents a combination of Fruity, Floral and Herbal notes. It's not really Sweet and Medium-Dry. Not very complex for a 30 Year old Speyside.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Lemon, Orange, Pineapple, Charred Oak, Mint and Dusty Track.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Butterscotch, Bourbon, Heather-Honey, Berries, Herbal Tea, Nuts, Apricot-Flavoured Yogurt, Cooked Vegetables and Licorice.



Palate:

The Wood and Wood spices are quite present now. Still, I like the combination of Bitter-Sweet, Sour, Fruity, Floral and Herbal notes. The Alcohol is noticeable. Medium-Dry Palate.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Pineapple, Papaya, Kiwi, Cherry, Green Apple, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grass & Straw, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Ginger,  and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Buttered Toast, Nuts, Cloves, Aniseed, Licorice and Espresso.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. Increasing influence of Wood spices towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Heather-Honey, Charred Oak, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Seville Orange, Bourbon, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that helps calm down the Malt a little. It is certainly easier to drink it this way but you do miss quite a bit of intensity. The Fruit really develops on the Palate though. The Finish starts to resemble a puff of a Menthol Cigarette! I prefer it Neat but you can certainly experiment with a bit of Water.

Rating: 86

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Linkwood distillery is located in Elgin and was founded in 1821 by P. Brown. Their Spirit has always been an important part of many Blended Whiskies. The only official core bottling is the 12 Year old Flora & Fauna. There are many independent bottlings around like the one I am reviewing today. The average production amounts to around 4 million litres per year. Linkwood is owned by the Diageo Group.

This 30 Year old Linkwood is certainly a well-made Single Malt. Very consistent from Nose to Finish. Wood and Wood spices are quite present of course but that is only natural after 30 years in the cask. And it's really nice to enjoy a Whisky that has its own character and was not made to impress millions of people all around the world. Having said that I must admit that I was expecting a more complex Malt. Having tasted a few Linkwood Malts in the meantime I tend to think it's not a coincidence that the bulk of the Spirit of this distillery is used in Blended Scotch Whisky. Because it's solid but not exceptional. Even after thirty Years!

Jan van den Ende                                                             November 14 , 2018

Linkwood 1986 The Octave (Duncan Taylor)


Whisky Review # 772

Country:Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Linkwood 1986
Bottled By: Duncan Taylor in 2012 as part of The Octave series
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky (Cask # 764541) - 67 Bottles
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.7% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask with Finish in small Octave Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-170 (November 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Good Single Malt. A bit simple given its age. P/Q ratio okay.

Colour:

Golden Brown (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Mature, Sweet and Woody. Be sure to give this Linkwood sufficient time in the glass as it opens quite slowly. It's a relatively simple nose. I expected a bit more complexity after 25 years maturation.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Straw/Grass, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Strawberry, Gooseberry, Raspberry, Oak, Dried Herbs and Earth.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Yeast, Caramel, Floral Perfume, Bourbon, Almonds, Citrus, Orchard Fruit, Milk or Yogurt, Brown Sugar, Tea and Licorice.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Medium Dry and Woody. A few Sour notes as well.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Green Apple, Pear, Kiwi, Cherry, Orange, Lemon, Strawberry Flavoured Ice Cream, Grass/Straw and Oak.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Floral Perfume, Caramel, Butter, Almonds, Ginger, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Cloves and Licorice.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Malted Barley, Straw, Grass, Vanilla, Caramel, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Strawberry, Green Apple, Oak, Floral Perfume, Aniseed, Licorice, Cinnamon, Ginger and Pepper.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that helps to open this Linkwood a little more. The general Aroma/Flavour profile does not change significantly though.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Linkwood distillery is located in Elgin and was founded in 1821 by P. Brown. Their Spirit has always been an important part of many Blended Whiskies. The only official core bottling is the 12 Year old Flora & Fauna. There are many independent bottlings around like the one I am reviewing today. The average production amounts to around 4 million litres per year. Linkwood is owned by the Diageo Group.

The Linkwood 1986 is a nice, relatively simple and slightly Woody Single Malt. I must admit I expected more complexity after 25 years of cask time. It's quite consistent from Nose to Finish but it misses the Wow factor. It does have body though and I can see why Blend producers would use the Spirit of this Speyside distillery. I must try and visit this Distillery in the future!

Jan van den Ende                                                              November 5 , 2018

Johnnie Walker Black Label Triple Cask Edition Review


“Where There’s No Smoke, There’s No Fire"

Whisky Review # 771

Country: Scotland
Brand: Johnnie Walker Black Label Triple Cask Edition
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: A Mix of Casks used to mature Bourbon, Scotch and Caribbean Rum
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 40-50 ( November 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜’ Weak and Thin. Indifferent Wood. Negative P/Q ratio.

Colour:

Light Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Light and Sweet. Strong influences of Dusty Refill Oak and Grain Alcohol. A bit of Rum but not a whole lot. Disappointing!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Grain Alcohol, lightly Buttered Toast, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Straw, Refill Oak, Dried Fruit like Figs, Plums and Apricot, Nuts and Nut Shells, Dusty Road and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Orchard Fruit (Pear and Green Apple), Pineapple, Sugared Orange Peel, a touch of Smoke, Heather-Honey, Pepper, Ginger and Menthol.

Blair Athol
Palate:

Weak, Thin, Peppery and Sugary Sweet.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Prunes, Dirty Earth, Refill Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Smoke and Ashes, Orange, Dried Herbs and Cardamom.


Finish:

Short, Bitter-Sweet and Dry with Toasted Cereals, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Grain Alcohol, Refill Oak, Dried Prunes, Orange, Nutshells, Vanilla, Dirty Earth, a bit of Smoke and Ashes, Pepper, Cinnamon, Licorice, Weak Black Tea and Dried Herbs.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water transforms this JW in a weak Black Tea.

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience:

Borderline Okay (Neat) - Okay (On the Rocks).

Conclusion:

This Limited Edition was released in May 2018 as a Travel Retail only. It's made with around 70% of Grain Alcohol produced by Cameronbridge and around 30% of Malt Whisky from Cardhu, Strathmill and Blair Athol. I don't understand why this Triple Cask was released as a Black Label as it hardly contains any Smoke. It should have been released as a Red Limited Edition and at a lower Price level! But that's not the way big business works of course. I am a long time fan of JW Black but I am really disappointed with this Triple Cask edition. It's Sugary Sweet and Thin. Lots of 3rd and 4th Refill Oak and minimum Rum influence.  A negative Price/Quality ratio. I can't recommend this and I'm glad it's a limited edition only.

Jan van den Ende                                                               November 1 , 2018

Cardhu Distillery

Lehmann Gold Review


“La Douce France”

Whisky Review # 770

Country: France
Region: Alsace
Brand: Lehmann Gold
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 7 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: 6 Years in White Bordeaux Wine casks & 1 Year in Sauternes casks.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 60-65 (October 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just forget about Scotch and enjoy this Spirit as it comes!

Colour:

Golden/Copper (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Relatively Young. Lots of Sweet Dried Fruit. Quite different when compared to Scotch Whisky. More like a mix of Bourbon, Cognac and Fruit Liqueur. Not bad though.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Dried Fruit like Apricots and Plums, Bread Dough, Orange, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Papaya Cream, Grapes and ripe Bananas.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Fresh Croissants, Wood Chips, Honey, Vanilla, Floral notes, Mandarin, Cinnamon, Pepper, Tobacco and Dusty Track.

Yves Lehmann - Picture Credit: Tourisme Obernai
Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Buttery, Creamy and a little Spicy. Don't compare it to Scotch. Just enjoy it as it comes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Butter, Milk, Dried Fruit like Apricots & Plums, Candied Orange, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Grapes, Pastry, Tobacco, Toffee, Pepper and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Slivovitz (Plum Brandy), Vanilla, Mandarin, Nuts, Banana, Oak & Milk Chocolate.

Finish:

Bitter-Sweet, a little Thin and on the Short side. The Alcohol is more noticeable at this point. I find Toasted Cereals, Butter, Cream, Stewed Pears, Plum Liqueur, Oak Char, Vanilla, Mandarin, Honey, Pepper, Cinnamon, Milk Chocolate, Licorice and Tobacco.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that improves the overall drinking experience although it does not significantly change the Aroma/Flavour profile.

Rating: 81.5

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience:

Good (Neat) - Okay/Good (On the Rocks).

Conclusion:

The J & M Lehmann distillery was founded in 1850 by Joseph Lehmann and is located in Obernai. It's the oldest artisan distillery in the Alsace. The distillery uses pure spring water from the heart of the Vosges Mountains for the distillery process. The Spirit is distilled twice. Next to Whisky, the distillery also produces Liqueur, Vodka and Eau de Vie.


The Lehmann Gold Whisky shows that this French distillery knows how to distill spirit. I'm pretty sure their Fruit Liqueurs and Marcs are of high quality. With the Lehmann Gold Whisky they did not try to imitate Scotch Whisky. They just followed their instincts and used their ample experiences with the distillation of Grains and Fruit. The result is certainly not bad. Lots of (Dried) Fruits & Pastry. If you are in the region and enjoy the local Choucroute d' Alsace you might consider a Lehmann Gold as an after-dinner drink alongside your coffee. Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                October 25 , 2018


Picture Credit: Cyclinginalsace.com

Dalmore Castle Leod 1995 Review, Dalmore Valour Review, Dalmore Dominium Review


“Dalmore Special”

When planning my reviews I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with specific distilleries like today or bottlers, regions or countries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate more on the Whisky itself and won't touch too much details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In this special I will review three expressions produced at the Highland Distillery Dalmore. Enjoy!
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Whisky Review # 767

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Dalmore Castle Leod (Home of Clan Mackenzie) 1995 - Discontinued
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Limited Edition - 5000 Bottles - Bottled 2011
Age: 16 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: American White Oak casks and Spanish Sherry Wood finished for 18 months in Bordeaux Premier Cru Red Wine casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 380- 480 (October 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Good Single Malt. Negative P/Q ratio. A collectors item!

Colour:

Dark Amber with a touch of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Sweet and a little Heavy. The Red Wine (Cabernet-Sauvignon) Finish is quite noticeable. A distant hint of Sulphur perhaps. A mix of Brandy and Port Wine comes to mind. It's not bad but a little odd.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Seville Orange, Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey Nut Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Yeast, Oak, Cooked Pears, Grilled Pineapple, Nutmeg and Leather.



Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and quite Dry. The Oak is much more noticeable than on the Nose. The Red Wine casks are very present. This Dalmore could or perhaps should have been bottled at around 50%. And should not contain added Caramel.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Butterscotch, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Toasted Almonds, Seville Oranges, Dark Chocolate, Port Wine, Oak, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Straw, Coconut, Espresso, Licorice, Lemon, Pepper, Cloves, Dark Berries, Mango Cream and overripe Bananas.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Spicy. The ABV could have been a little higher. It's not really Thin but I miss a bit of a kick. It sort of fades away. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Nuts, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Seville Oranges, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Mulled Red Wine, Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves, light Licorice, Dark Berries and overripe Bananas.


Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose relaxes. The overall Aroma profile does not change significantly but the balance between Whisky and Red Wine improves. Nice, clear Dark Chocolate notes. This improved balance continues on the Palate. The Finish gets an extra Spicy kick. The Castle Leod clearly improves with added Water!

Rating: 85.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience:

Good. A bit too much Red Wine influence for my personal taste. Added Water improves the balance.

Conclusion:

The Dalmore distillery is located close to Alness and was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson. It is owned by Whyte & Mackay Ltd, part of Emperador Inc. During the last 15 years or so, Master Blender Richard Patterson did a lot to reposition Dalmore as a worldwide Single Malt. The distillery currently produces around 4 million litres.

This Single Malt was launched in 2011 with the specific aim to raise money for the maintenance of Castle Leod, home to the Mackenzie clan. it followed the success of the Dalmore Mackenzie that had been released a year earlier.

The Castle Leod is a well-made Single Malt that will certainly please the fans of the Whisky/Red Wine combination. Usually I'm not a big fan of this combo as the Red Wine tends to dominate the Whisky. That's also the case here although I do not complain about the quality of the Wine casks that were used. I believe that this Dalmore would have benefited from a slightly shorter Red Wine Finish and a slightly higher ABV. The Castle Leod was released as a limited edition and, as a consequence, has been discontinued in the meantime. Current prices for the remaining bottles are usually between 400 and 500 US Dollars. That's way too expensive for what this Whisky offers.



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Whisky Review # 768

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Dalmore Valour
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: I- Ex-Bourbon Casks, II- Ex-Sherry Wood, III - Port Pipe Finish.
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (October 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ก Young Whisky that tries to hide behind a variety of Wood.

Colour:

Amber/Copper (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Relatively Young, Malty and Bitter-Sweet. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. I also find a fair amount of Sulphur. The influence of Sherry Wood and Port Pipes is noticeable but at least part of the casks is of indifferent quality.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Apricots, Raisins and Plums, Toasted Nuts, Seville Orange, Dirt Road, Ginger and Dark Red Fruit.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Almond Liqueur, Vanilla, Marzipan, Dusty Oak, Cardboard, Varnish, Milk Chocolate, Lemon, Tobacco, Leather and Cloves.



Palate:

Young, Thin, Sharp and Bitter-Sweet. The Bitterness increases along the way. The Alcohol is noticeable. There's a Blended Whisky feeling to this Dalmore.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Caramel, Treacle, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums, Apricots & Figs, Nuts, Seville Oranges, Lemon, Red Wine, Dark Berries, Pepper, Ginger and Tea.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Prune Obstler, Dusty Oak, Varnish, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Cloves, Nutmeg and Espresso.

Finish:

Young, Thin and Short. Sweet at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Caramel, Butterscotch, Dried Fruit like Raisins & Plums and Figs, Seville Orange, Coconut, Nuts and Nutshells, Dusty Refill Oak, Dark Berries, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon and Cocoa.


Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Dalmore. It's already too Thin and Rough as it is.

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 18.5  - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience:

The Nose is sort of okay. The rest is below average.

Conclusion:

The Valour started its maturation in American White Oak Ex-Bourbon Casks from Boston and Clermont. The spirit was subsequently transferred to 30 year old Matusalem Oloroso casks from Gonzalez Byass. Finally the combo was finished in Douro Port Pipes from Portugal. It was released in 2013, initially for the Travel Retail market only.

The Dalmore Valour is another one of those Travel Retail releases that combines Young Whisky and a variety of indifferent Wood for some added Aroma/Flavour. I can't recommend the Valour. Better stay with the regular 12 and 15 Years if you are a Dalmore fan.


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Whisky Review # 769

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Dalmore Dominium
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon casks with Matusalem Sherry Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 100-120 (October 2018)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Not bad but a little too expensive for what it offers.

Colour:

Amber/Mahogany (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Sweet, Dry & a little Dusty. Not bad though. Again, I pick up some Sulphur. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. Be sure to give this Dalmore enough time in the glass. The Sherry Cask influence is certainly noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Dark Berries, Sultanas, Raisins, Dates and Plums, Mixed Nuts, Orange, Lemon, Milk Chocolate,  Marzipan, Ripe Banana, Pineapple and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Farm Yard, Dusty Track, Dried Herbs, Honey, Tea, Oak, Tinned Peach or Nectarine, Leather, Menthol and Cloves.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and slightly on the Thin side. An ABV of 46% would have helped in this case. The Sulphur is still noticeable. The Palate basically follows the Nose.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Dark Berries, Raisins, Plums and Figs, Mixed Nuts, Orange, Lemon, Pineapple, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Tobacco.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Honey, Dusty Old Shelves, Dusty Track, Herbal Tea, Ripe Bananas and Nutmeg.

Finish:

Short to Medium-Long. Sweet at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Dried Fruit like Dark Berries, Raisins and Plums, Mixed Nuts, Brown Sugar, Honey, Dusty Old Shelves, Bitter Chocolate, Espresso, Orange, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Straw, Pineapple, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves.



Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and on the Nose some Floral and Perfume notes appear. The Orange becomes even more clear. Palate and Finish remain more or less the same but you almost forget you're drinking Whisky this way. A little bit dangerous!

Rating: 84.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience:

Good

Conclusion:

In 1263, King Alexander III was almost gored by a mighty Stag. One of the ancestors of the Mackenzie Clan saved him with a single arrow shot. As a reward the Clan won the right to bear a Stag's Head with twelve (Royal) points to its antlers in their Coat of Arms. The ownership is also called Dominium. The Mackenzie Family later became the owners of The Dalmore Distillery and added the Stag emblem to their bottles.

The Dalmore Dominium is one of four NAS Dalmore expressions created by Richard Paterson and called The Fortune Merita (Fortune Favours the Brave) Collection. Initially they could only be acquired in Travel Retail shops but now they are widely available. All four have matured in Ex-Bourbon casks made of American White Oak. The difference lies in the finish. All four are finished in different Ex-Sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass, a long term partner of Dalmore. The Regalis is finished in Amoroso, the Dominium in Matusalem, the Valour in a mix of both Matusalem - and Port Wine and the Luceo in First-Fill Apostoles. The latter is in fact a 30 Year old Palo Cortado, sweetened with PX. The Collection was launched in 2016.

Dalmore Single Malts almost never surprise. You will always get lots of Caramel, Dried Fruits, Nuts, Spices, Bitter Chocolate and Oranges. Depending on the cask or casks used for Finishing some extra Flavours/Aromas are added. The main differences between Dalmore Malts are usually caused by Age and Cask quality. The combination of mature Dalmore and good casks produces a good Single Malt, especially if you like the basic X-Mas-like Aroma/Flavour profile. Young Dalmore Spirit enhanced by exotic casks and provided with fancy names and stories should be left undisturbed. You're usually safe with the core range that also provides the best Price/Quality ratio.

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 18, 2018

The Pictures were taken during our visit to Dalmore in May 2017