Dalmore is one of those distilleries whose name I have always known, but I’d never actually tried any of their whisky. They’re a Highland distillery, and have a very distinctive deer head motif on their bottles.
They always seem exceptionally well represented in duty free shops; it may be that my natural suspicion of ‘mass market’ alcohol is what’s put me off trying them before.
Dalmore 15 Year Old is a dark amber dram, which is explained by a three year finish in three different sherry casks.
The nose is tempting – sweet with dark fruits; dates and raisins. There’s a slightly nutty wood character lurking below, and a surprisingly gentle alcohol. Watered, the fruit disappears and the nutty notes come through stronger – much less seductive than before.
It’s curious in the mouth; sweet citrus and a slight creaminess but also a jarring harsh spirit which is all the more unexpected given the mild alcohol aroma. Water smooths the harshness, but also smooths out those sweet fruit flavours. It exposes a spicier edge, a touch of ginger and a more generous finish.
It’s more approachable watered, but at the expense of a glorious nose. The whisky is nice enough, but there’s just something missing that would make me fall in love with it. 2.5 stars.