Christmas Eve with my parents was the perfect time to break out this little sampler set from The Dalmore, a Scotch distillery founded in 1839 and located on the Firth of Cromarty in the Highlands near Inverness.
With four different samples, I was excited to share a holiday tasting with my father, who has been to Scotland several times and appreciates the whisky. Julia and my mother both asked to try a sip, and both made awful faces. I think to enjoy Scotch, you've got to be male, over 30, of Scots-Irish heritage, and have worked up a tolerance from lesser whiskies in the past.
This was a perfect tasting kit, involving 50mL vials of various products distilled by The Dalmore. Glass encapsulated with aluminum, just wonderful for getting a great taste of the barley of the Highlands.
Prices are in British Pounds Sterling and for 750mL bottles: for US Dollars, multiply by 1.6 for the conversion rate as of 2012/12/24.
The Dalmore Gran Reserva
£35.49, 40% abv.
Aged in Sherry and Bourbon casks.
Sweet aroma of figs and stewed fruit. Bracing and biting with a little bit of a smoky aftertaste. This is somewhat unusual for a Scotch but it stands out as a distinctive liqueur on its own. Most of the following whiskies are aged in American oak and then finished in Sherry butts.
The Dalmore 12 Year
£38.49, 40% abv.
This is more of a classic Scotch, buttery and smoother, with notes of toasted caramel and a lovely, mild finish.
The Dalmore 15 Year
£49.99, 40% abv.
Leather and oak dominate with some earthy undertones and a clean finish. Quite sippable and pleasant.
The Dalmore 18 Year
£89.99, 43% abv.
It's not just the age, but this is the best of the group. Amazing coppery gold color. Strong beginning with a firm earth aroma and flavor that melts into a delicate vanilla finish. Really wonderful.
Note: This whisky assortment was received as a sample.