Dalmunach 2014 4 Years (Distillery Reserve Collection)
Happy New Year, dear reader! I’m very glad you decided to come back as we’ve progressed into a new decade. I figured I’d start the new year with something a little different. Still single malt whisky, but not something you see everyday. Actually, you’ve probably never seen this before, unless you own one of the 348 bottles of the Dalmunach 2014 4 Years.
Just a few months after I visited Dalmunach the distillery released its first ever whisky. Not an official release, but it’s safe to call it a semi-official release at the very least. This Dalmunach 2014 4 Years is part of the Distillery Reserve Collection, a series from owner Chivas Brothers only available at the visitor centres of some of its distilleries, like Glenlivet, Aberlour and Strathisla.
As far as I know the collection consists of single casks only and are a great reason to travel to a Chivas distillery. They usually have at least six to eight different single cask bottlings from the entire Chivas portfolio available, which has included Dalmunach since it was opened in 2014 on the site of the former Imperial distillery.
I love distillery exclusive bottlings—not just because it is the only whisky worth buying in Scotland, as whisky is simply cheaper on average in the Netherlands. A distillery exclusive serves as a nice memento to what usually is a special moment. Every time I pour a dram from one of my preys from Scotland, I’m transported back.
That’s one of the best things about whisky actually, its ability to evoke memories and feelings. A distillery exclusive especially was designed to do this. Admittedly though, I did not buy this Dalmunach at the distillery. Actually, I didn’t buy it in person even. A friend picked it up for me at Aberlour and my bottle is still waiting for me in Scotland.
Despite that caveat, I’m convinced this Dalmunach from the Distillery Reserve Collection will still have that same transportative effect. How do I know this? Because Noortje was kind enough to share a sample from her bottle and the minute I took my first sniff, I found myself wandering through Dalmunach again. How great is that?
However, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically good whisky. To be labeled as such it needs to offer much more.
Dalmunach 2014 4 Years (64.5%, Distillery Reserve Collection, C#1301909)
Nose: Rich notes of lemon peel and a whiff of greek yoghurt, as well as cloves and a touch of pine needles and green grapes. After a little while it progresses into soft barley sugar, followed by vanilla custard, making for a much sweeter experience. Water brings out sour beer and fermented notes.
Taste: Sweet arrival (vanilla) and a nice viscous mouthfeel. Slightly dry with notes of barley, roasted peanut skins, almonds and oatmeal cookies. Surprisingly quaffable at natural strength, despite the fair amount of oak shavings. Surprisingly, the mouthfeel remains thick and oily after a good splash of water (not a few drops, don’t be scared to dilute this a bit). The palate remains drying and nutty, but with an added dose of peach.
Finish: More of the above. Medium in length.
Honestly very decent stuff even at a young age. It has all the markings for potential greatness, it just needs time. Lots more time. Like another 15 years maybe. Be patient my friends.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.