Let’s stay in the highlands but go 75 miles or so up the A9 from Dalwhinnie to Dalmore.
Dalmore sits on Cromarty Firth, hence presumably the name of this release—though why the possessive has been added to the name I do not know. I haven’t had official Dalmore in ages—not since the prices for their regular releases rose sharply, though not as sharply as the rate of release of bullshit from the distillery, whether in bottled or marketing form. Still, independently bottled Dalmore is very rare on the ground and just as rare is bourbon cask Dalmore and so this is very intriguing on the face of it. As with a number of K&L’s recent round of cask exclusives, this one is teaspooned. I assume that is the distillery’s way of making sure that no independent whisky appears with the name Dalmore on the label. My experience so far of these teaspooned K&L casks has been middling. I was not overly impressed by either the 28 yo John McCrae/Balvenie or the 23 yo Hector Macbeth/Glenfiddich. Will this Dalmore set a new trend? I hope so as I have a few more of these teaspooned casks left to review.
Cromarty’s Firth/Dalmore 13, 2007 (53.6%; Hepburn’s Choice for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Cereals, light toasted oak, a bit of lemon and some indistinct sweet notes—cherry? some sort of artificial fruit aroma. The artificial fruit backs off with air and it’s mostly about the toasted oak and cereals now mixed with some malt. Water pushes the oak back and pulls out a creamier note.
Palate: Comes in as advertised by the nose: lemon, toasted oak, sweeter accents. Nice texture and quite approachable at full strength. The oak gets a little stronger as it sits but the citrus expands as well and becomes more oily and zesty. With more time still it’s even sweeter (simple syrup). Okay, let’s add some water. A few drops push the oak back, bring out more lemon and meld it nicely with the sweet notes.
Finish: Long. The lemon and oak duel for a while; it works out to a draw. A little bit sweeter here too with time. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is simple but pleasant. There were some warning signs of over-active oak on the nose at first but things worked out nicely. A good one for drinking in warmer weather—and it would probably make a nice highball. I liked it better with water (and lots of airing).
Rating: 85 points
EW! Rating: 110/100 points