Sherry Cask Week began at Blair Athol n the Highlands on Monday. I liked that 12 yo bottled by Sovereign for K&L fine and thought it was a good value for a daily sipper. We’ll remain in the Highlands for this review, going a bit further north to Dalmore and adding six more years of age. I’ve not reviewed very many Dalmores on the blog—only two in fact before this one. I enjoyed the 12 yo and the Cigar Malt back when I first started drinking single malt whisky, which was also back when Dalmore’s whiskies were reasonably priced. But it’s been a while now since the distillery’s pricing ascended into the sphere of the very silly; and it’s also the case that there isn’t so very much indie Dalmore about, especially in the US. Not even Gordon & MacPhail have put out so very many Dalmores—though I do note that there seems to have been a slight uptick in the last few years. This 18 yo from Cadenhead also came out a couple of years ago. It’s not a full-term sherry matured, spending only the last two years in a sherry hogshead. At two years it’s really past being a finish and is squarely in double maturation territory. Well, let’s see how it compares to the Blair Athol.
Dalmore 18, 2001 (51.7%; Cadenhead; finished in a sherry hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Much darker, richer notes here off the top than on Monday’s Blair Athol: plum sauce, orange peel, leather. Raisins on the second sniff and some malt. The orange peel expands as it sits and is joined by some light caramel and some toffee.
Palate: As promised by the nose at first and then oak builds as I swallow. Very approachable at full strength; the texture is just a bit thin. Maltier here too on the second sip with some dark cocoa in the background. The fruit brightens here too as it sits and the oak continues to frame it well. Not much development after that but very pleasant as is. Okay, let’s add some water. Ah, the orange peel is joined by some apricot and the whole intensifies nicely and merges with the oak.
Finish: Long. No new development here at first—the cocoa leaves the last impression. With time the citrus lingers and starts to get sticky. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is rather nice. The sherry does not feel bolted on at all and melds really well with the brighter fruit coming out from the 16 years in bourbon wood. A very nice autumn malt and I’d be very happy if I had the rest of the bottle.
Rating: 87 points.