Advent Calendar Day 5: Dalmore 15, 40%

This one deserves a bit of warning. I’ve said before that I don’t like Ledaig, but this year I’ve been proven wrong several times. I also don’t like Dalmore. My dislike for this distillery is based on my limited experience with the brand, but some issues that bug me are these:

  • Their regular releases are bottled at 40% and are too watery and thin
  • Their ‘premium releases’ are a (a lot) better but way too expensive

Also, how their marketing works rubs me the wrong way. I understand it from a business perspective, but making your whisky exclusive not by quality but by ridiculously aggressive pricing is something I can’t get behind. (The 19 year old Constellation thingy for £ 2000 in 2014, really?)

The affordable releases (let’s say, under a hundred quid) are all 40% to 44%, chill filtered stuff. A lot of them are NAS whiskies but are priced like they’re not. In short, meh.

This Dalmore 15 fits that bill too, by the way. I never reviewed it before but I did try it a couple of years ago. So far, it’s my least favorite whisky of the calendar (and I’ve worked ahead to day 18 by now…).

Now, let’s nuance these statements a bit. I know there is nothing wrong with Dalmore in itself. I know they can make great whiskies, and they do. It’s just a shame they don’t release them as such. I’ve tried some cask samples at a masterclass with Richard Paterson and those were awesome. It’s just their regular releases that aren’t up to scratch, in my book. Well, apart from those that mere mortals can’t afford.

The nose is very soft and gentle, thin. Quite a lot of orange and blood orange. There’s hints of barley and even some spirit (quite rare at 15 year old). Old wheat bread toast.

The palate is too thin and smooth. Some orange again and slightly bitter. Quite sweet behind the orange and bitterness. Some barley, a hint of vanilla. Creme Catalana and caramel.

The finish is slightly spirity again and slight richer than the palate. Not long, sugared orange and vanilla custard.

Apart from the thinness, it’s quite hard to get a bit of an idea from this review (the tasting notes part) since I generally like whiskies that show some spirit, orange and barley. However, somehow in this one it doesn’t work for me.

I’m not even entirely sure what it is about this whisky that bugs me, but I just don’t like it. If you want a sherried 15 year old that’s smooth, I’d go for the Glenfiddich, or spend a bit more and go for a Balvenie or something like that.

Dalmore 15, 40%, available at Master of Malt for £ 52

Thanks to Master of Malt and Drinks by the Dram for sending this sample in their Advent Calendar.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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