Just over a year ago I was pleasantly surprised by the Dalmore 12 Years Sherry Cask Select. And I wasn’t the onlyone. That’s why I thought it could be good fun to take a closer look at the Dalmore Port Wood Reserve also. Who knows, this might be another gem hidden in plain sight.
It might be tempting to ignore a distillery that veers too much towards the luxury segment, which is certainly a category The Dalmore fits in. But not trying whiskies that seem to have been made more to stimulate the eye than the taste buds would be a disservice. Firstly to myself, because I enjoy trying whisky from all kinds of backgrounds. And secondly to you, because to the surprise of absolutely no one, it’s whiskies like The Dalmore and The Macallan that are immensely popular. People want to read about them, either because they are genuinely interested, or because they like to hate read these kinds of things.
I’ll admit that when I get press releases from The Macallan, most recently about the Rich Cacao or One Night In Scotland for example, it is often a challenge not to immediately delete them. The superlatives are often in the way of any real information about the liquid. But in the end there’s always something to take away, no matter how miniscule. Hopefully the same can be said for The Dalmore Port Wood Reserve.
At the very least it tempts me to refresh my very basic knowledge of Port wines. Nothing more than a quick Google search, mind you. I’m not yet trying to become an expert here, I just need a little bit of background before I get to tasting. The Dalmore Port Wood Reserve matured in ex-Tawny port pipes — a very large sized cask type, sometimes bigger even than butts. Barrel aged Tawny port is (simplistically) characterised as sweet, nutty, spicy and with dried fruits. Lets find out if any of these characteristics found their way into The Dalmore Port Wood Reserve.
Dalmore Port Wood Reserve (46.5%, OB, 2021)
Nose: It’s shy and somewhat muted. Touches of cranberry juice, plums and apple skin, but also some touches of cherry syrup, aniseed and a whiff of white pepper. Surprisingly, it takes a while for a sulphuric edge to rear. Taste: Thick, sticky almost, but with a spicy edge. Some cloves and cinnamon, a pinch of pepper too. Then there’s plums and dark chocolate, but also some burnt matches. A hint of sage too. Finish: Lingering notes of caramel, matches and mint. Medium in length.
Not bad but with one obvious defect: sulphur. It takes away from what otherwise might be a fairly balanced whisky. The complexity of the Dalmore Port Wood Reserve is okay but not very high. Decent overall but no highflyer.