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Recent releases, January 2008

This month we sample the new line-up of Dalmore single malts, as featured in December's Whisky News, and run the whisky-pages' rule over a pair of new Glengoynes. Look out for three more Glengoyne expressions in this slot next month.

Dalmore, 12-Year-Old (Scotland)
Now consisting of 50 per cent whisky matured in ex-Oloroso Sherry wood and 50 per cent from ex-Bourbon American white oak, the Dalmore 12-year-old is altogether more profoundly rounded than its predecessor, which contained 30 per cent whisky from ex-Sherry wood. The attractively perfumed nose offers sweeter malt, thick cut orange marmalade, Sherry and a hint of leather. Fuller-bodied than the previous 12-year-old, it has an initially drier Sherry taste, though sweeter Sherry develops in the mouth, along with spice and balancing, delicate, citrus notes. The finish is longer, with more spices, ginger, lingering Seville oranges and a suggestion of vanilla. The ‘old’ Dalmore was a fine whisky, but it as though a gifted child has been sent to finishing school and emerged with more poise, manners and confidence. The downside is a price hike of around £10. 40.0% ABV, 70, £35.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Dalmore, Gran Reserva (Scotland)
Essentially, a repackaged and re-branded version of Dalmore Cigar Malt, Gran Reserva comprises 60 per cent whisky from ex-Oloroso Sherry casks and 40 per cent from former Bourbon casks. Malt and spicy Sherry dominate the nose, with Terry’s Chocolate Orange and a hint of instant coffee. Full-bodied, with zesty orange and spice balancing the sober Sherry and fruitcake notes. The lengthy finish is a mixture of coffee, Sherry and restrained vanilla. Despite the change of name, which is intended to broaden potential sales, this remains whisky-pages’ ‘cigar malt’ of choice. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £40.0, specialist whisky merchants.
Dalmore, 15-Year-Old (Scotland)
An completely new addition to the Dalmore range, this 15-year-old has been matured entirely in Matusalem, Apostoles and Amoroso Sherry casks. The nose is generous and sweet, with toffee, vanilla and medium Sherry, plus the distinctive Dalmore orange aroma. Nicely balanced Sherry and Christmas spices on the palate, plus lush malt and a drier, gingery nuttiness. That nuttiness carries through into the long and progressively drying finish, where there is also a final note of vanilla. Dalmore and Sherry wood have always worked very well together, and it is pleasing to see an example of 100 per cent Sherry wood-aged Dalmore available at an affordable price. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Dalmore, 1263 King Alexander III (Scotland)
This innovative addition to the Dalmore line up takes its name from the fact that in 1263 an ancestor of the Clan Mackenzie, later owners of Dalmore distillery for many years, saved King Alexander III from being gored by a stag. The stag’s head duly became the Clan Mackenzie motto, and adorns all expressions of the Dalmore range. ‘1263’ carries no age statement, but contains some whiskies dating back to 1990, and Master Blender Richard Paterson’s creative streak has been given full reign here. This whisky has been matured in vintage Oloroso and Madeira butts, vintage Bourbon barrels and Cabernet Sauvignon barriques. The nose presents a complex blend of almonds, hedgerow berries, plums, brittle toffee and a faint whiff of treacle. Equally complex on the palate, with Sherry and fresh berries merging with plum notes, plus vanilla and toffee influences from the Bourbon barrels. The overall result is a skilful confection that provides great harmony and sophistication, offering a very different Dalmore experience, while retaining all the malt’s core values. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £120.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glengoyne, Single Cask 14-Year-Old (Scotland)
One of a brace of new cask strength additions to the Glengoyne stable, this 14-year-old expression has been matured in an American oak Sherry hogshead. Big and leathery on the nose, with black treacle, fruity Sherry, a hint of cedar and cigar boxes. Intensely fruity (black cherries?) on the palate at cask strength, with soft spices, toffee, Sherry and a slightly perfumed note of marshmallows. The fruit becomes more muted with the addition of water, but the attractive, perfumed note persists. The finish is medium in length, with flake tobacco and an increasingly bitter, but not unpleasant, oakiness. One of the very best Glengoynes tasted to date. 296 bottles 59.6% ABV, 70cl, £90.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glengoyne, Single Cask 20-Year-Old (Scotland)
The second new Glengoyne offering has spent 20 years in a Spanish oak Sherry butt. The nose presents medium-sweet Sherry, figs, coffee and a faint whiff of sulphur. The palate is somewhat bitter, with brittle toffee and, again, a note of sulphur. The finish is medium to long, dry, peppery and rather oaky. Water helps soften the aggressive edges significantly. An interesting and slightly challenging whisky. 592 bottles. 54.2% ABV, 70cl, £125.00, specialist whisky merchants.

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