Dalmore Luceo Review

“Modern Mainstream Malt”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Northern Highlands 
Brand: The Dalmore Luceo
Type: Single Malt Whisky 
Age: NAS 
ABV: 40%
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Whisky Review # 549

Colour: Mahogany (Artificially Coloured with Caramel E 150A)  

Nose: Quite Sweet. The effects of the Sherry Finish are clearly noticeable. It's a pity that this type of Whisky is artificially coloured. Quite unnecessary! I find Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Almond Liqueur, Dried Fruit (Raisins), Toffee, Maraschino Cherries, Marzipan, light Vanilla, Mandarin and traces of Espresso and Milk Chocolate. The Alcohol is mild. It's not bad but I can't get excited about it either.

Palate: Slightly Thin Delivery. Again, the Sherry cask Finish is clear. It's mostly Bitter Sweet with Barley Sugar, Raisins, Plum Jam, roasted Nuts, Marzipan, Orange, Cocoa Powder, light Cinnamon, light Ginger, light Pepper, Espresso and traces of Milk - and White Chocolate. 

Finish: On the short side, a little Thin and Bitter Sweet with Toffee, Sweet Barley, Raisins and assorted roasted Nuts, Demerara Sugar, Marzipan, slightly Bitter Oranges, Cocoa Powder, light Cinnamon, light Pepper, light Ginger, fresh Espresso and Milk Chocolate.  

I added a little Water and you get some more Malt and a little Honey on the Nose. Palate and Finish become too Thin.

Rating: 82

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

General Remarks:

The Dalmore Luceo 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 Luceo was named after the clan MacKenzie motto "Luceo Non Uro" (I Shine) and was launched in late 2014/early 2015. It costs around 110 US Dollars (June 2016). 

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 Mackenzie Family later became the owners of The Dalmore Distillery and added the Stag emblem to their bottles. The Distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson and is located in the town of Alness in the Northern Highlands. In 2014, Emperador Inc. bought the distillery from United Spirits - Whyte & Mackay.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but a bit Boring!  

Conclusion: Undoubtedly, Richard Paterson is a very skillful blender of Grain- and Malt Whiskies. With the Dalmore Luceo Single Malt he follows the same principle, namely how to design a whisky that will appeal to the mainstream public and won't scare off anyone. I must admit he succeeded. The Luceo is Sweet but not to Sweet, Bitter but not too Bitter, Thin but not too Thin and Spicy but not too Spicy. And the Sherry Finish delivers some nice additional "Christmas" notes like Dried Fruit, Marzipan and roasted Nuts that most people will like as well. The downside is that as such the Luceo is a very predictable Single Malt without any real highlights and certainly without the "Wow" factor. 
And it's quite expensive for a NAS Single Malt at over a 100 US Dollars. To sum it up, this every body's friend that comes in a very nice bottle and is coloured at will might appeal to a lot of people. Personally, I'm disappointed as this Luceo is yet another example of the current trend to launch average and quite expensive Modern Mainstream Malts. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                     June 27, 2016

Dalmore Distillery (Picture Credit: Bestdrink CZ)

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