I think this is the first appearance of The Dalmore Distillery here; based a little north of Inverness, it produces a range of Highland malts that for some reason I don't seem to come across very often (or more likely, I'm too easily distracted by whiskies from the islands!)
This is their Mackenzie expression. Actually, strictly speaking this should be called "The Dalmore The Mackenzie" but that way lies madness. What is it with the whisky industry and their obsession with the definite article?
I digress. Named to honour the Clan Mackenzie, who owned the distillery for the best part of a century in it's early days, this is from their higher end "most exclusive" collection.
The nose is filled with rich, dark prunes with some lurking orange peel. There's also some oak wood tones, and all the aromas are nicely tied together with a pleasantly gentle alcohol heat – the Mackenzie is bottled at a relatively low 46% ABV.
Watered, the darker fruit is less pronounced but there's still lots of citrus peel, playing with an emphasised wood. Curiously, the alcohol doesn't feel affected at all.
On the tongue, once again there is plenty of sweet dark fruit giving you a surprisingly full body. After that a big spice hit comes through, and underneath both is a sharper almost lemon tang. That peppery spice gives you a surprisingly lingering finish.
With water, everything is preserved but the sting is taken out of that spice; the finish is shorter and the whole dram rounded off and smoothed out.
Very different with and without water, but delicious both ways. I'll definitely be seeking out other bottles from The Dalmore in the future.
Thanks to The Dalmore for the sample.
This review was originally published 22nd August, 2012. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.