Quite a lot of people like the Dalmore, and I guess quiet a lot of them are going to go on vacation this summer,right? A few weeks ago, The Dalmore have announced an addition of 3 new whiskies to their Travel Retail range (with the Valour, launched last year) which will be available in the duty-free near you. Dalmore is mostly associated with Sherry and wine cask finishes (or aging), and those 3 are no different. All do not carry an age statement and prices range from €75 for the valour to the most expensive Dominium at € 135. Let’s have a look, going from the most affordable to the most expensive in this range.
The Dalmore Valour , 40% abv , NAS , €75
Valour means courage, and it is at the very heart of The Dalmore story. In 1263, the Chief of the Clan Mackenzie bravely saved King Alexander III of Scotland from the fury of a charging stag. The grateful King granted the Clan three rewards – the right to use the a 12-pointed Royal Stag in their coat of arms, the motto ‘Luceo Non Uro’ and the lands of Kintail.
Wood Finish: American White Oak, 30 years old Matusalem oloroso sherry and Port Pipes
Nose: caramel, oranges and milk chocolate with a hint of vanilla and a dusty element. Quite flat.
Palate: a nicer palate than one would hope for by the nose , with orange marmalade, candied citrus fruit, chocolate fudge , cocoa and a hint of coconut sorbet and spice.
Finish: more coconut, malt and prunes with a hint of marzipan
I was quite disappointed in this one, especially when I compared it to last year’s edition I reviewed here
. The nose is really flat, and the palate is not much better. at 75 EUR, there are better whiskies to be had for sure. Hope they switch back to last year’s formula…
The Dalmore Regalis , 40% abv , NAS , € 91
The name Regalis means royal, or regal, which is befitting to The Dalmore as the 12-pointed Royal Stag adorns every bottle.
In 1263 the Chief of the Clan Mackenzie bravely saved King Alexander III of Scotland from the fury of a charging stag and in recognition of this noble act the grateful King granted the Clan Mackenzie the right to use the emblem in their coat of arms. When ancestors of the Clan took control of The Dalmore distillery in 1867, they took with them this striking icon which has since adorned each bottle of The Dalmore, symbolising its regal legacy.
Wood Finish: American White Oak and Amoroso sherry
Nose: Ah, that’s better the nose is quite big with a nice wine-y touch : reminds me of the aromas of Glühwein, spiced hot wine with sweet syrup, red fruit and nuts.
Palate: Nutty, and deep with toffee , honey and hints of pastry and nuts: the liquid equivalent of a pecan and assorted nuts pie, and yes more of the Glühwein.
Finish : Chocolate covered cherries, vanilla and wine soaked sultanas.
A notch better for sure, there’s a nice nose, albeit quite wine-y if you’re not a fan, than it’s something to keep in mind. Better by a few points, indeed.
The Dalmore Luceo , 40% abv , NAS , € 105
Luceo literally means “I Shine” and is taken from the motto ‘Luceo Non Uro – I Shine, Not Burn’ of the Clan Mackenzie who were owners of The Dalmore Distillery.
Wood Finish: American White Oak and Apostoles
Nose : A winey nose on this one too . Reminds me of Armagnac , if you get what I mean… Xmas cake, chocolate and moist damp wood , old wood that is, earthy and quite old , rose-water.
Palate: More wine , with dark dried fruit, blood oranges, prunes and some coffee, earth and Brasil nuts
Finish : Demerara sugar, desert wine , more brandy
More ‘winesky’, but certainly bolder and darker, with the new Armagnac feeling to it. So far, this is the best for me.
The Dalmore Dominium , 43 % abv , NAS , € 135
Dominium means domain, or ownership. In 1263, the King not only granted his saviour the use of the Royal Stag emblem but also as further reward for this brave and noble act, the grateful King granted the Clan dominion over the land of Kintail in the West Highlands.
Wood Finish: American White Oak and 30 years old Matusalem sherry
Nose: Quite woody, damp cask, cocoa, nuts, honey and spice. There’s a lot of wine influence here too, quite dirty sherry if that is your thing. Gunpowder. Yes.
Palate: big sherry , lots of raisins soaked in that sherry also prune and dates , chocolate and black tea. Heavy and even a bit smoky.
Finish : sweet and gingery with chocolate, treacle and more dried fruit.
Thoughts: This is actually a very good whisky. Not sure if it’s the extra abv , really Dalmore, we want more than 40%. or older and better casks. It’s sherry centric, and if you’re afraid of some dirty sherry (flinty, gunpowder – you know) then it’s maybe not up your alley. Yet at 135 EUR i can think of many whiskies that will give this one a hard fight, and probably win. It’s very rounded, and very easy to like, however.
Dalmore lovers will certainly find one to their liking from this range, and I bet they will be selling well. I’d love to see Dalmore go the NCF, Natural Color (all 4 whiskies have the very same color, which is a bit silly IMHO) , and a bit more oomph on the ABV (46% for whiskies over 100 EUR is not a lot to ask, is it?).
Official samples provided by The Dalmore.