I’m suffering from an asthmatic bronchitis, with a serious cough and a blocked nose, so I’m currently relying on ‘back-up’ tasting notes if you don’t mind. A shame really with all these new samples on my desk…
Since 2020 The Dalmore 12 Year Old is called The Dalmore 12 Years ‘Sherry Cask Select’. The first thing that struck me is the bottling strength: 43% ABV, up from 40% which has been a recurring comment for so long now.
The previous version was matured for nine years in ex-bourbon casks before being further matured in Matusalem Oloroso sherry casks. Dalmore claims the new Sherry Cask Select comes with a more intense finishing. It is finished for three years in casks from three cooperages in Jerez (Tevasa, Vasyma and Paez), seasoned with a custom blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez.
Mind that Matusalem has always been a blend of Oloroso and PX. However the sherry regulations have changed and the name Oloroso can only be used for dry wine now. Matusalem is now officially a Cream sherry. So down the line the differences between the old and new seasoning practices are probably minimal.
The Dalmore 12 yo ‘Sherry Cask Select’ (43%, OB 2020)
Nose: good aromas, fairly expressive even with the still modest ABV. A nice combination of all things sherry: soaked raisins, milk chocolate and toffee, as well as brighter hints of raspberry jam, orange juice and subtle balsamic whiffs. Also mint and light nutty notes. Quite faultless really.
Mouth: same comment: underpowered, which is a shame because the flavours are spot-on. Caramel sweetness, light tobacco, cinnamon pastry and chocolate cake. A little vanilla roundness. Herbal touches and baking spice. A hint of roasted coffee beans.
Finish: not too long, quite honeyed, with latte, more chocolate and gentle oak spice.
I’m not the biggest fan of The Dalmore, but while 46% or 48% would lift this even more, this is simply a good composition and proof of really excellent cask management. Somehow this only seems to be available from The Whisky Shop and a few shops in mainland Europe.