Dalmore 18 Years Review

“What If…?”

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: The Dalmore
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 595
Buying Advice: 😕  Negative. Good Malt but way too expensive. 

Colour: Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Sherry Cask influence is quite clear. I also pick up a little Sulphur but it's not really a problem here. I would have expected for the Alcohol to be fully integrated but that's not the case. It's quite noticeable actually. On the Nose, the Dalmore 18 Years is Rich and Sherry-Sweet with some Sour and Herbal notes as well. I find Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Butterscotch, Treacle, Toffee, Dried Fruits (Raisins, Sultanas, Apricot), Stewed Fruit (Apple, Strawberry and Pear), Red Wine, Vanilla, Orange Peel, Peanut Butter, Christmas Cake, Oak, light Licorice, light Aniseed, Cinnamon, light Ginger and hints of Dark Chocolate, Leather, Tobacco and Espresso. There's more than enough to discover on the Nose but the combo is slightly on the Heavy side. It might do well though as an after-dinner Whisky accompanied by a nice Medium-Strong Cigar. 

Palate: The Delivery is a little Thin. This really should have been bottled at around 46%. On the other hand the Alcohol itself remains quite noticeable. I know this sounds a bit like a paradox but I can't find a better way to describe it. I also find a light Sulphur/Rubber note again. Nothing too serious though. On the Palate this Dalmore is mostly Sweet and offers Malted Barley, Caramel, Stewed Apples and Pears, Plums, Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas), Nuts, X-mas Cake, Marzipan, slightly Bitter Orange, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Mulled Wine (spiced with Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove and Nutmeg), Licorice, Aniseed, Ginger, Mint and a few Herbs.   
Finish: Quite Long, Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Spicy. The Oak influence is quite clear by now and the end is a bit Dry and perhaps a tad too Bitter. I find Malted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Butterscotch, Bitter Orange, Marzipan filled with Almonds, Stewed Apples and Pears, Cocoa Powder, Mulled Wine spiced with Pepper, Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon and hints of Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Plum Jam, Aniseed and Tobacco. The Alcohol remains noticeable.

Added water does not improve the Dalmore 18 Years in my opinion. I got some more Orange and Nuts on the Palate and some extra Tobacco in the Finish. My advise is to sip it neat. 

Rating: 85 

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks:

The Dalmore distillery is located in Alness in the Northern Highlands. It was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson. In 2014 Emperador Inc. bought the distillery from Whyte & Mackay. The core range basically consists of the 12, 15, 18 and 25 Years Old plus the 1263 King Alexander III and the Cigar Malt. The 18 Years I'm tasting today matured for 14 Years in Ex-Bourbon Casks, followed by 3 Years in Ex-Matusalem Oloroso Sherry butts. Finally, the Spirit was married for another year in upstanding Ex-Sherry butts. The 18 Years is quite expensive at an average 140 US Dollars (February 2017). 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. The Finish is perhaps a tad too Bitter.

Conclusion: Let me start by saying that the Dalmore 18 Years is not a bad Single Malt. Certainly not if you're into Sherried after dinner Malts. But it's quite expensive and at this price level it should have been bottled at at least 46%, it should not have been artificially coloured and it should not have been Chill-Filtered. The use of only first class casks could have saved us from the Sulphur notes and the slightly excessive Bitterness in the Finish. There are too many ifs and buts to fully recommend this 18 Years. Better stay with the Dalmore 15 Years if you want a better Price/Quality ratio. You might also consider the very easy-going Dalmore 12 Years if you want to try out this Distillery.

Jan van den Ende                                                               February 13, 2017

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