Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dalmore Tweet Tasting

For the first Tweet Tasting of December we were treated to four single malts from the Dalmore Range. We have both tasted a couple of Dalmore expressions previously at Whisky Live earlier this year, but as yet have not had any on our shelf, but before we begin our Tweet Tasting some background:

A short History Lesson on the Dalmore Story

In 1263, an ancestor of Clan Mackenzie saved King Alexander III of Scotland from being gored by a stag whilst out hunting. The grateful King granted the Mackenzies the right to bear a stag’s head, with twelve points to its antlers, signifying a ‘Royal’, in their coat of arms.

The Dalmore distillery was long owned by The Mackenzie family and every bottle of The Dalmore single malt whisky is adorned with this proud emblem, symbolising the distillery’s royal pedigree.

The philosophy that has endured throughout The Dalmore’s history is best reflected in the Mackenzie family motto ‘Luceo Non Uro’. Translated as ‘I Shine, Not Burn’.

The Dalmore still house is home to  four unique idiosyncratic wash stills and four distinctive spirit stills, each of which varies in shape and size. This unusual arrangement of both short and tall stills delivers The Dalmore’s robust, complex and new-make spirit – one that can withstand exceptionally long periods of maturation in wood.

Maturation is a critical stage in the creation of any malt whisky as cask selection plays a vital role in deter-mining a whisky’s flavour profile, colour and character. The Dalmore’s hand-selected first fill bourbon barrels from Kentucky and aged sherry casks from world-renowned Spanish sherry house Gonzalez Byass ensure the Dalmore delivers a whisky that is rich in aroma and flavour.

Furthermore Dalmore is the only distillery permitted to source Matusalem sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass, contributing to its truly unique flavour profile.

After its maturation in American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks, the whisky is brought together by The Dalmore’s third generation Master Distiller, Richard Paterson, and left to harmonise in upstanding sherry butts.

Not content with solely using American and Spanish oak, a number of whiskies are finished in a range of exceptional casks from world-renowned bodegas and exclusive wineries.  Each cask gives the whisky its own unique characteristics without compromising The Dalmore’s distinctive house style.

And so onto our Dalmore Tweet Tasting: The samples were received in good time, which we’ll be sampling in the order of their 15 Year Old, Cigar Malt, 18 Year Old and King Alexander III.

Unfortunately just before we were about to start Kat had to rush off out to take one of her dogs to the vets so her notes will have to follow:
Whisky Discovery #277

The Dalmore 15 Year Old  (40% abv)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
Circa £46.00 70cl
Dalmore Single Malt

I thought I had tried this once before, but checking back through my liquid log found I was mistaken and it was the 12 Year Old that I had tasted at Whisky Live earlier this year.

Twelve years maturing in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, then a three year finish in three different sherry woods - Amoroso, Apostles and Matusalem Oloroso.

The 15 Year Old was a Double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition 2009 and a Silver medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2011.

Official Tasting Notes
Aroma: Orange marmalade, cinnamon and nutmeg
Palate: Mandarin, vanilla, ginger and crushed apples
Finish: Christmas spice and oak

So What Did We Think?

Kat said: TBA 

Dave said: On the nose this came across as rich and malty, with thick cut orange marmalade, like the stuff my Dad used to make, dark and spicy. After a little while in the glass I was starting to get a bit of resinous pine wood smell, the sticky sap that leaches out of fresh sawn lumber. Then the milk chocolate notes started to evolve - a chocolate box full of flavours; oranges, toffee, coffee, fudge, nuts.

It was much lighter on the palate than I was expecting, especially after the rich and flavour packed nose, I was thinking it was going to be thicker. The vanilla is prominent on first sip and there is a clear ginger spice. The milk chocolate notes return along with the orange and spice. There was a light saltiness to the spicy finish gave way to tobacco notes. 

Returning to nose this immediately after tasting it seemed much sweeter that at first, and then returning to this later still and after tasting the rest of the range, this had the maltiest nose of them all.

Some of my favourite tweets for the Dalmore 15 Year Old

@steveprentice: A good buttery nose, fruity with a wee backdrop of salt and a touch of new sawdust.
@LRWhisky: Initial mixture of burnt honey on toast with a little sprinkling of coconut. Quite liking this
@sjjgo: It's a bit like walking into an Ikea showroom…in a good way
@rodbodtoo: A nose of dark old wood, plus (distantly) a big tin of Quality Street
@TheWhiskyWire: Rich spiced caramel waves with Clementine zest and pith.
@ifotou: Sweet, honey, Christmas cake and winter spices, a touch of mulled wine and some oak hints.
@JayDieNL: Slightly tinkling mouthfeel, nuts. After taste: nuts, sherry, coffee, slightly bitter.
@TonyWTC: You guys can really spend 15 minutes nosing? I've finished my 15 
@steveprentice: Fairly light mouthfeel here, smooth with fruits coming through just before the finish which is medium long with woody notes
@MaltBox: Palate - More orange, dark baking chocolate, slight malt, walnut and candied fruits
@TheWhiskyWire: A winter spiced chocolate orange with a toffee coffee crumb

The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve NAS (44% abv)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
Circa £65.00 70cl
Dalmore Single Malt

Aged in 30 year old Oloroso Sherry butts, American White Oak and premier cru Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques, this whisky is said to provide cigar and malt fans with an incomparable experience and succinct pleasure - I'm not a smoker in any form and haven't been for almost 19 years, but still thinking of getting a pipe!

The Cigar Malt Reserve was a Silver medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2011.

Official Tasting Notes
Aroma: Cinnamon, vanilla and red fruits
Palate:  Tropical fruits, banana toffee and vanilla ice cream
Finish: Orange zest, bergamot and crushed spiced

So What Did We Think?

Kat said: TBA 

Dave said:  Initially I found this to be quite similar to the 15 Year Old on the nose, but with perhaps a little more vanilla and spicier. Once in the glass however the nose starts to develop and the sherry influence starts to come through, and there are plump juicy sultanas, ones that have been soaking in a light sherry, there is also a fragrant tobacco note which I liked

Sweeter and fuller on the palate than the 15 Year Old. Fruity with mango leather, caramelised banana, rich chocolate, more tobacco notes a light spicy finish, very pleasant, very mouth-wateringly sweet too. I've not smoked for almost 19 years, perhaps a pipe would go well with this one!

Some of my favourite tweets for The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

@MaltBox: Nose; toffee, ANZAC biscuits, quite punchy hits of smoky bacon wheat crunchies.
@LRWhisky: The cigar malt is quite biscuity to begin with, very dry and ashy (appropriately enough)-like a smoker without the reek. Complex.
@dvdbloke: Dark sherried fruits, caramel, chocolate, coffee, old leather notes in the background or is that me?
@TheWhiskyWire: Now that's a nose and a half. Coffee, chocolate, vanilla fudge, with added sheer sherry sumptuousness
@ifotou: Nose: Dried fruits with crushed coffee beans, touch of tobacco and nutty flavours, more Brazil nut than peanut though.
@steveprentice: Almost makes me wish I smoked! Smells great... I could imagine it'd pair very nicely
@rodbodtoo: Aha! the characteristic burnt orange notes are now coming through
@LRWhisky: Very chewy and tobaccoey, with sherried and sweet fruity notes. Slightly ashy on the finish
@TheWhiskyWire: Sherried fruity sweetness merging with a tobaco'd citrus twang

Whisky Discovery #278

The Dalmore 18 Year Old  (43% abv)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
Circa £85.00 70cl
Dalmore Single Malt

Matured initially for 14 years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, the whisky is then transferred to 30 year old Matusalem Oloroso sherry wood for a further four years.  Bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, the Dalmore 18 year old offers a provocative and intense taste experience with an enduring after taste of cinnamon and nutmeg.

This 18 Year Old was a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2011.

Official Tasting Notes
Aroma: Vanilla, dark chocolate, orange and cinnamon
Palate: Dark chocolate, candied citrus fruits, rich coffee, nutmeg and cloves
Finish: Citrus fruit, oak and spice

So What Did We Think?

Kat said: TBA

Dave said:  Again this has a similar family profile on the nose with spicy orange peel, malty notes, but more of a liquorice note on this than the others. It also seemed a little dryer on the nose, with a chalkiness or dustiness and there's a mustiness of a very old leather bound book to it. I love a good Oloroso Sherry and this 18 year old is steeped in it - a lovely nose that evolves when the fruits start to be released. 

On the palate there was dark chocolate, coffee and cloves too. After tasting and re-nosing I started to get some milky notes initially, but returning again later it was dark chocolate with light coffee notes.

This became my immediate favourite, but on reflection and after returning to all four expressions I was being led towards the Cigar Malt Reserve for my favourite of the evening, but this was right up there too in a very close second.

Some of my favourite tweets for The Dalmore 18 Year Old

@dvdbloke: Sherry sherry sherry and some old museums?
@ifotou: Sherry influence but a lot lighter than the 15 and Cigar malt, some dewy grass notes, freshly split pea pods
@TheWhiskyWire: A deliciously decadent depth of balance to the nose. A bourbon kiss & sherried cuddle, in no hurry to go anywhere
@MaltBox: 18 Nose Dry like Grappa on the nose, malt, golden syrup, sultanas, vanilla and balsa wood
@TonyWTC: Soaked sultanas bread pudding stays in the mouth, spicy comes in gently and lingers pleasantly.
@rodbodtoo: Ah, cold glass. Here we go... dried fruit (big fat sultanas) savoury gravy made with madeira, Caramac
@dvdbloke: exquisite balance of sweet and spicy. Rich sherried fruit, delicate wood spice, finish continues to xmas cake soaked heaven
@TheWhiskyWire: Thicker on the palate,,,mmm sherried spice, with a hint coffee, dark butterscotch & a square of bournville choc
@JayDieNL: There it is... dark chocolate with sultanas... When I smell it, I visualize the chocolate bar 

Whisky Discovery #279

The Dalmore King Alexander III NAS (40% abv)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
Circa £115.00 70cl
Dalmore Single Malt
Crafted to honour the act of saving Scotland’s King in 1263, this expression unites six specially selected casks housing spirit of perfect maturity.  Whiskies matured in ex-bourbon casks, Matusalem oloroso sherrywood, Madeira barrels, Marsala casks, port pipes and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques are brought together in perfect harmony.  Each cask gives its own flavour notes, delivering a unique, complex single malt whisky revered by connoisseurs.

King Alexander III was awarded Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2009 and Silver medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2011

Official Tasting Notes
Aroma: Red berry fruits, fresh flowers and hints of passion fruit
Palate: Citrus zest, vanilla pod, crème caramel and crushed almonds
Finish: Sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger

So What Did We Think?

Kat said: TBA

Dave said: There is a great deal going on with the nose of this one. With six different casks finishes all competing for air it is very interesting. I got an initial white pepper hit, followed by a damp cellar note, musty, earthy, dry hay, forest floor. Then the bourbon casks came into play with toffee and vanilla, before the wine, sherry and port  casks released the fruity notes; banana, red grapes and a fleeting sweet baked pear note coming through

On the palate it was light and very fruity with a neat spicy edge to it. There's a Clementine orange taste and lots of vanilla. It really was quite nice

Some of my favourite tweets for King Alexander III

@robertcjackson: At the risk of sounding like a broken record very orange zest again...
@TheWhiskyWire: An initial whiff of Jamaican ginger cake, cherry cough syrup & a foam banana from the pic'n'mix
@sjjgo: I'm getting marmite. Every sniff different.
@ifotou: Nose: Spicy wood notes flow easily from this, touches of vanilla and dried banana chips, sweet and subtle
@steveprentice: Nose... Various things going on, hard to pick one to latch on to. Pine notes, dry fruit, fizzy sweets, varnish.
@TheWhiskyWire: This dram evolves quicker than Superman going through a set of revolving doors, and gloriously so!
@dvdbloke: incredibly evolving nose. Michael Jackson would be proud
@rodbodtoo: Tastes delicious. Mellow, yellow & red fruits (fresh not dried) a bit of bite, subtle biscuity malt.

As per previous Tweet Tastings there was a great deal of tweeting going on and to see what happened search on the #DalmoreTT hashtag on twitter for the full story

Yet another great experience and another highlight of our whisky journey, registering three new ‘Discoveries’ this time.

A massive THANK YOU to Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire and @DalmoreWhisky as well as the rest of the team at Dalmore and of course the tweet tasters.

This events tweet tasters were:

@TheWhiskyWire @DalmoreWhisky @steveprentice @WhiskyDiscovery @TonyWTC @rodbodtoo @LRWhisky @sjjgo @FrazerJ @ifotou @dvdbloke @pmaitlando @MaltBox @albascorguie @PresleyKa @robertcjackson @Whisky_Demon @TIA568B @rborghma @girl_whisky @JayDieNL

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