Close your eyes and name a Scotch with a stag’s head on the front label…..The Dalmore? Located on the other side of Loch Ness, far from Glenfiddich, these copper stills belong to The Dalmore’s Alness distillery. Founded in 1839 by an opium trader, the stag on the label came from a MacKenzie family legend after they bought the distillery in 1886. The legends says that a MacKenzie saved a Scottish King in battle and was granted the royal stag as his family crest.
Variations in The Dalmore’s flavour profile from year to year are heavily influenced by the River Alness, which imparts an organic profile to The Dalmore’s malts. 1990 must have favoured the growth of lots of organics in the river. The nose of this Duncan Taylor bottle is a distinct mix of all the elements of tomato pesto: olive oil, nuts, garlic, basil and a very strong ripe tomato smell. I actually had a tough time identifying the more traditional highland flavours of orange and spice. The palate impression is also oily and is balanced from the start to finish, mellow and savoury as the dried fruit and nut notes join the party. The basic Dalmore 12 available at my local liquor store received new packaging this summer, with a new black box and $15 increased price. If you can find an old white box Dalmore 12 pick it up while it’s still around. Find reviews of both at Scotch Hobbyist andWhiskyparty.