The Dalmore. Cigar malts and stag heads..
Dalmore. This is my brother in-laws favorite! For my sister’s and his wedding he was given the 18 year old and I actually wrote about his tasting note a few months ago. The distillery is located in Invergordon, right down the road from their owners, Whyte & Mackay. Whyte & Mackay also own Fettercairn and Jura. Dalmore is one of those brands that doesn’t produce a lot for single malts. They have a small product line and only about 15% of their production goes to the branded single malts. The rest of production goes to blends. Their master blender is Richard Patterson who apparently will take the highest scoring GCD candidates and work with them for a day. This is motivation for my upcoming exam!
You can’t miss the branding for Dalmore. The stags head is an amazing logo featured on every bottle and is very recognizable. This stag doesn’t come from the current owners, but from the McKenzie brothers who started the distillery. The stag is in their family crest and it has been carried through the brand ever since. Currently they are producing 4.2 million liters of new make spirit per year. They run three waters through their mash tun and do three mashes a day. Actually, the nice girl, Jodi, giving me the tour seemed to know the mash tun operator very well. More than just acquaintances. She saw my curiosity and told me it was her dad! They have 8 washbacks and all are Oregon pine. Fermentation period will last about 50 hours.
Their stills and still room in general are very unique. The original wash and spirit still that the McKenzie brothers used are seen first as you walk into the still room. The wash still is very similar to a Lomond still shape, which the only other one I have seen like this is at Scapa and Bruichladdich. Scapa is actually the only one who uses the unique still for whisky production. Bruichladdich uses it for their gin. Next to it is a small spirit still with a bulge and steep lyne arm. Now if you look across the long still room, you will see the same exact style and shaped stills but larger. When Whyte & Mackay purchased the distillery they wanted to increase capacity right away. They loved the spirit characteristics and decided to have the two small stills replicated to keep flavor and ramp up production. The old wash still held about 8,000 liters of wash and its larger sister now holds 16,000 liters. They were both doubled in size. You actually do a double take when walking through. Production is running 24/7 at the moment and the men work 12 hour shifts. There are 9 warehouses on site and you can prominently see the Dalmore Logo proud and bright from the highway when driving north right before you reach Invergrodon.
At Dalmore, everything single malt starts it’s life in a bourbon barrel. From there they have many different finishing casks ranging from Oloroso and Manzanilla Sherry along with wine casks. They have a limited edition malt called King Alexander that was finished in six different casks: bourbon, marsala, sherry, port, madeira and then cabernet sauvignon. I didn’t try this one, but it must have such an interesting flavor profile! The drams I tried are below…
12 Year Dalmore
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Creamy coco, vanilla, malt balls, maybe some espresso?, cream soda, tangerines.
Palate: Milk chocolate, hot chocolate, orange rhine.
They say triple sec, which I kind of know what that tastes like, but I don’t like triple sec, so we are going to say that isn’t in it so I enjoy it more!
Cigar Malt- Non Age Statement
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Ripe apples, dark chocolate, cookies and mint ting-a-ling ice cream!
Palate: Apple chai spice, very easy and smooth. Some nuttiness and caramel too.
This was a bottling quite a few years ago and then they went away with it. It was always asked about and they finally brought it back. Apparently it is hard to get your hands on the original Cigar Malt. I would love to compare them!
Next up is Balblair..