Recently, The Dalmore quietly released a new expression with understandably little fanfare. This special edition is limited to just 1000 bottles in the U.S., a 21 year old single malt that has been finished in “hand-selected 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry casks, unique to The Dalmore” after an initial maturation in bourbon barrels.
We received a small sample for review. Let’s give it a whirl.
For starters, there’s been no shortage of time in that sherry barrel with this whiskey, which is redolent with old, oxidized wine right from the get-go. Intense notes of polished wood — heavy on the polish — mingle with walnut oil, pepper, and some notes of fresh greenery. It’s almost overwhelming at times; if you’re not a sherry fan, the whisky can come across as off-putting.
The palate finds more balance, but it leads with its strengths: well-oxidized, nutty sherry that dominates the experience and pushes an agenda of flamed orange peel, roasted chestnuts, and some almond skin, before eventually settling in to evoke some gentle notes of oiled wood, leather, vanilla, and grassy cereal notes. Sherry is never far from sight throughout, lingering on the finish just about forever.
It’s not exactly elegant, but this whisky does know what it is trying to accomplish. A massive whisky designed for a massive, special occasion — note of course that it is priced accordingly.