The Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III Review

“ Touch Too Much”

Whisky Review # 653

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: A mixture of 6 different cask types   
Chill Filtration: Yes 
Price Range: US$ 150-200 (October 2017)
Buying Advice:😒 Negative. Too Expensive for what it offers! Get the 15!

Colour: Mahogany with shades of Red and Brown (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: There are two very clear Aromas that jump at you right from the start. Orange-Flavoured Chocolate and (Fortified) Red Wine. I also find Sweet Barley, Molasses, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Vanilla, Caramel, Dried Fruit (Apricot, Raisins, Plums, Figs, Banana),  Heather-Honey, Nuts, Buttered Toast, Citrus like Lemon and Mandarin, Raspberries, Nougat and light Spices and Herbs like Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger and Mint. Hints of Cassis Liqueur, Caffe Latte and Tobacco. It's not easy to identify the individual Aromas. It's like opening a big jar of Mixed Forrest Fruit Jam. There were actually moments when it felt like I was nosing a Fruit Liqueur rather than a Single Malt Whisky. The low ABV of 40% does not help in this respect either!  It's not bad mind you but a bit over the top.

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Palate: Thin, Weak Delivery. There should be a law against bottling high-end Single Malts below 46%. I really mean that. As on the Nose, I find a mixed bag of Dried Fruit like Plums and Raisins, an assortment of Red Berries, Sweet Malt, Vanilla, Caramel, Spiced Mulled Wine, Red Grapes, Orange Liqueur, Marzipan, Nougat, Brown Sugar, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mint, Heather-Honey, Oak and hints of Cloves and Tobacco.
Finish: Short and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour elements towards the Dry end.
I find Toasted Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Orange Liqueur, Nuts, Marzipan, Spiced Mulled Wine, Red Wine (Especially Madeira and Port), Raspberries, Herbal Tea, light Licorice, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger. Menthol and hints of Tobacco and Cloves.

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Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water. It's Thin enough as it is.  

Rating: 82.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky

The Dalmore Distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson. It is located in Alness on the banks of the Cromarty Firth. It is operated by Whyte & Mackay Ltd, owned by Emperador Inc. since 2014. The King Alexander III is part of the core range together with the 12, 15, 18 and 25 Years and the Cigar Malt. At the moment Dalmore produces around 4 million liters of Spirit.

In 1263, Colin Kintail, the leader of the Clan MacKenzie, killed a huge stag which attacked King Alexander III of Scotland. In return the king gifted the 12-pointed Royal Stag emblem to the clan. When descendants of this clan became owners of the distillery in 1867, they decided to put the emblem on each bottle of Dalmore Whisky, a tradition still honoured today. To celebrate the innovative and pioneering values of the Clan, Master Blender/Distiller Richard Paterson created a unique Single Malt in 2008 by marrying 6 differently matured Whiskies.

🍷  The Spirit

Dalmore is equipped with four pairs of Stills of various size and form with high Reflux characteristics. Together these stills produce a slightly heavy and more complex Whisky. The Water is sourced from the river Alness.

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🌲 The Wood

The 1263 King Alexander III consists of six differently matured Whiskies. In no particular order they are: Bourbon barrels from Kentucky, Matusalem Oloroso Sherry butts, Port pipes, Madeira casks, Marsala casks and Cabernet-Sauvignon barriques from France. The last 3 are not commonly used for maturing Whisky. The King Alexander III is a NAS Whisky but it is generally assumed that the Youngest Dalmore in the Blend matured for at least 12-15 Years.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: I was really looking forward to try out the 1263 King Alexander III but I must admit I was disappointed with this Dalmore experiment. I believe there's a limit to what you can do with with New Make Spirit with respect to Cask Finish/Maturation. In general I'm not really a big fan of Red Wine Finishing but there are certainly moments where it works. The Longrow 11 Red is a good example of that. But in the case of this Dalmore there's just too much (Fortified) Red Wine influence. As a result of this you get this strange mixture of an Orange Liqueur and a big jar of Mixed Red Forrest Fruit Jam. Not really bad but not my idea of a premium Highland Single Malt. Because it's quite expensive! I'm sorry Richard but this was One Touch Too Much in my opinion.

Jan van den Ende                                                                   October 5, 2017

Visit May 2017


David Goldsmith said...

I completely agree. Wiidly over-priced. And < 46% ABV is a red rag to a bull (raging bull). Dalmore can make some lovely stuff, but this is not it.

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi David, thanks for commenting. Yep, completely agree with you. Cheers and Have a Great Weekend!

Ben said...

Must've been passed my "okay will try it no matter what the review is" if not for the price lol

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Ben, thanks for commenting! Try it by all means! I must admit that the concept, bottle and packaging are hard to resist! I would advise to try a sample first before buying a full bottle as it is too expensive!