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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dalmore 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky: Review

By John Barecki

The Dalmore distillery is located in the Highland region of Scotland. They have produced everything from a 12 year old standard up to the most expensive whisky in the world, Trinitas, which contains some of the oldest and rarest whiskies in existence, a few as old as 140 years.

The first thing that intrigued me about Dalmore is master blender Richard Paterson, who for the last 40 years has molded this wonderful whisky to its full potential. Besides being a fun character, Paterson can call on two generations' worth of experience in creating a wonderful array of single malt and blended whiskies. Also intriguing is the stag's head on the bottle and the story that goes with it. In 1263, a predecessor from the Clan MacKenzie saved King Alexander III from a rampaging stag while on a hunting trip. In reward for this the king allowed him to bear the royal emblem of a 12-pointed stag as his coat of arms, which has been the symbol for the distillery ever since.

The emphasis on flavor in these single malts is the exquisite blending of different aging and barrel types. The 12 year begins life with a nine-year stint in ex-bourbon barrels. Then, half the whisky is moved into 30-year-old Matusalem oloroso sherry barrels and, after three years, the whiskies are blended back together. On the nose, there is a sherry-heavy note with dark fruits, chocolate, cinnamon and marzipan. On the palette, the whisky is smooth and "thick cut," with flavors of sticky fruits and nuts and a soft wood note followed by caramel and a spiced citrus coming in at the finish.

Overall, this is an amazing dram full of luxuriant qualities from start to finish. Fusing the best parts of sherry and whisky, the 12-year-old Dalmore showcases a wonderful and decadent complexity that I can recommend to any whisky aficionado.

The Dalmore 12 Year is available at Siciliano's Market for $53.92/750ml.

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