There is never a shortage of finished single malts on the market these days, a process that can disguise otherwise underperforming whisky as something serviceable. But there’s also an art to finishing, and when done well, it’s an experience to savor.
Matured in ex-bourbon casks for a decade and finished in a combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks for two years, this particular Dalmore expression is slightly higher in alcohol content than the original flagship 12-year old expression (which goes through an odd finishing process where half of the whisky is finished in Oloroso sherry casks for three years). In all, a very enticing proposition.
The amber color foreshadows a classic sherry profile, and the nose confirms it: It’s rich in dark cherries, black tea, raisins, and a faint note of oak. With a few drops of water and some time in a covered Glencairn, matters turn holiday-levels of festive with figs, orange, and chocolate arriving. The palate keeps things moving in an orderly and predictable fashion with a chocolate and cinnamon blend that dominates and remains to linger through a rather lengthy and dry finish.
Fans of The Dalmore and sherry finishing will find plenty to enjoy here: There’s a warm, wintry quality to the expression that evokes well-worn tropes of fireplaces, leather chairs, and wood-paneled rooms but proves up to the challenge of delivering the goods. The sherry finish is tempered with just enough fruit and spice to make this an excellent way to cap off a heavy, savory dinner or serve as an accompaniment to a good book.
B+ / $80