Sep 23, 2017

The Dalmore 12yo...

The Dalmore 12yo (40.0%): Working a little extra these days to clear the sample box. It is fall after all, new whiskies are being released almost everyday and it gets harder to keep up. I have to step up my game... Here is the Dalmore 12, a whisky created by master distiller Richard Paterson a.k.a. The Nose. It is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for nine years and then half of the whisky is transferred to ex Matusalem Oloroso sherry butts for an additional three years while the other half continues to age in ex-bourbon barrels they were in. At the end of three years two separate batches are blended back together before they got bottled.

Color: Orange with copper shine.

Nose: Cooked Zante currants and prunes. Orange peel jam, honey syrup and aged rum. Cloves, garam masala and vanilla. Hint of sulphur: struck matches and heavy cream gone slightly bad.

Palate: Very thin mouthfeel. It rolls over your tongue and disappears. Had to take a second sip right away. Dry... Charred oak, milk chocolate and rum raisin ice cream. Candle wax, cheap toffee bonbons and orange liquor. 

Finish: Black pepper, candied orange peel and cloves. Medium long.

Overall: This incredibly thin mouthfeel of Dalmore bottlings has been always a big letdown for me. It is not a bad whisky by any means, it noses and tastes great but at the end it doesn't leave anything to recall. It needs something to stand out or to be memorable but doesn't leave anything to hold on to after you put down your glass. Well, you might say that it doesn't have to necessarily... Instead it can be your easy drinking everyday sherried dram but its steep price tag is not allowing that as well. Unless you find a very good bargain it is very hard to favor it over other sherried whiskies in the same price category... The competition is tough and there are many other options out there. Thanks to Sam Knash Green from Sanctorum of Spirits for the sample.

Price: $60

Sep 20, 2017

The Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo...

The Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo (batch #0512T) (54.3%): I found this bottle recently on a store shelf in West Hollywood collecting dust and purchased it right away. Fully matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks for 16 years, bottled in May 2012 and carries the batch number 0512T. By the way "nadurra" means natural in Gaelic in case you wonder. It is bottled at cask strength and has not been chill filtered.

Color: Bright yellow gold.

Nose: A beautiful huge fresh fruit bowl... Freshly sliced Bosc and Anjou pears, honeydew and cantaloupe pieces, pineapple chunks, you name it. Green table grapes, underripe bananas and vanilla extract. Whipped cream and strawberries. If you can manage to get over the fruit mania you start to detect perfumy and citrusy aromas: Chocolate covered candied orange peel, maple wood, shaved fennel and fresh ginger. Dried flowers, lavender and candle wax. With a few drops of water: Orange soda, clementine slices and gummi bears. Old leather, white musk and mold. I can nose this whisky for hours...

Palate: Very malty backbone... Lemonade, coconut macaroons (double "o"), cold pear compote and Honey Crisp apple slices. Coconut shavings, canned pineapple rings and oak. Green wood and cookie dough. Adding water adds even sweeter notes... Lemon sugar cookies, cream puffs and crunchy malted barley.

Finish: Long finish with lemon curd, ground ginger and white pepper.

Overall: Definitely my kind of whisky... Malty, fruity and floral. A perfect example of how a straight forward, plain and simple ex-bourbon cask maturation is capable of when done right. It reminds me very much old ex-bourbon matured Bladnoch and Rosebank bottlings. I probably cannot find even a handful of people who would rave about this bottle as much as I did but I absolutely loved it... If you are a fan of bourbon cask maturation this whisky should be in your list, period... Now it's time to pour a second glass to sit down and enjoy...

Price: $70

Sep 12, 2017

Highland Park Dark Origins...

Highland Park Dark Origins (46.8%): Well, I never quite understood why distilleries are always in need of digging into their past hoping to find a shady or illicit story to use but here is another one... Apparently "Dark Origins" refers to Highland Park Distillery founder Magnus Eunson's past of being a smuggler and illegal distiller working mostly at nights not to get busted. It really doesn't speak to me but apparently the PR firms think that it is cool somehow... Anyway, it is a non age statement Highland Park which is blended from 60% European oak first fill sherry, 20% American oak first fill sherry and 20% refill sherry casks. The bottling got advertised as using twice as many first fill sherry casks than the Highland Park 12 when it was first released in 2014. This expression discontinued pretty recently.

Color: Medium amber, sage honey with pretty thick and slow legs.

Nose: Nice start... Butterscotch, Oloroso sherry, candied pecans and smoked almonds. Unstruck matches, canned peach halves and prunes. Distant smoke like the smell of a charcoal barbecue grill still fuming slowly the morning after. Bitter chocolate and cacao nibs. Hint of sulphur but not at a level anybody can complain about.

Palate: More peat on the palate compared to the nose. Still in the fashion of a barbecue, no iodine or coastal references... Grilled asparagus and grilled banana peppers. Sour cherry juice and raspberry jam. Nutmeg, prunes, fireplace ash and walnuts. Chocolate beer malt and candied orange peel strips.

Finish: Medium and dry. Shorter than I expected actually. Bitter chocolate and dried unsweetened cranberries.

Overall: I have to admit that I was quite skeptical before I started the tasting. All the criminal backstory, opaque black bottle design, etc. sidetracked me a little but it is actually a pretty good whisky. I wish the texture was a little thicker and its price was a little lower but hey, you can't get always what you want. At the end it is a good young(ish) sherried whisky. Thanks again to Sam Knash Green from Sanctorum of Spirits for the sample.

Price: $80

86/100

Highland Park Distillery // August 2010
St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall // August 2010