Dalmore 15


Dalmore 15, 40% ABV.

While it is always good to have some whisky at hand, there are times when it is particularly beneficial.  This is one of those moments, on a weekend where venturing outside is not advised due to the advancing ice storm.  The only question was which whisky I would pull out of the cabinet.  After some thought, I decided upon revisiting a Highland Scotch.  With a little exploration, I selected my bottle of Dalmore 15.

Dalmore 15 is a Highland single malt that is initially aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon casks, then is divided equally into each of three different sherry casks.  According to the Dalmore web site, the three types of sherry casks are Amoroso, Apostoles and Matusalem oloroso.  After three years, the whisky is merged again in a sherry butt for the finish.

Given both the origin and this aging process, it is not surprising that this whisky comes across rich and sweet on the nose.  The sherry comes on immediately.  As I take a second and third pass, I find a bit more nuance in the sweetness, bringing to mind raisins, plums, and a bit of a ginger-influenced spice.  On the palate, I initially find a rich, smooth, sweet sherry presentation.  There are elements of orange and raisin in the taste, and mid-palate brings some spicy notes, maybe a little nutmeg.  The sweet, rich, nature of this whisky carries into the finish.  The warmth on the finish is relatively short, perhaps reflecting in-part the lower ABV, with the sweet sherry mingling with some cinnamon and orange peel.

I think that this is a very fine whisky with a good balance of sweet and lightly-spiced sherry.  If you are a fan of the more sherried whisky, I would think that you would enjoy including a bottle of Dalmore 15 in your collection.   For my taste preferences, it is a bit more like a dessert whisky, an alternative to a nice after dinner port.

Two other observations.  First, the price on this whisky is reasonable for today’s market, giving one a better dram-per-dollar than for many with similar profiles.  Second, at 40% ABV, it will be more for those who find too much burn in standard 46% and higher cask-strength whisky.

Glenmorangie Tùsail

Glenmorangie TusailGlenmorangie Tùsail, Private Edition, non-chill filtered, 46.0% ABV.

I have been curious about this latest Glenmorangie private edition offering as it is an interesting departure from their usual offerings.  Tùsail is made using an old strain of barley, called Maris Otter, which is more traditionally used in the brewing English ales.  It provides a very distinctive taste profile.

The nose has some unique notes of earthiness, malt-like, along with orange and ginger.

The palate has an earthy sweetness.  That sounds odd when I read it, but somehow that is the dual personality I find in this whisky.  I find it to have initial malty, biscuit tones with orange, toffee, and ginger emerging. The Glenmorangie heritage is evident, but with strong malt and barley grain foundation.

The finish is on the sweet side, lightly spicy fading to dry grain. A short to intermediate finish.

While I sometimes enjoy a nibble of chocolate to complement a single malt, sipping this dram makes me think more about getting some Carr’s Whole Wheat Biscuits as the food pairing.  Not in a bad way, just different.

Like the Glenmorangie Companta, it is a special expression from this distillery that shares a common heritage, but comes with a fun twist.  On the balance, an interesting whisky that I will enjoy.

Glenmorangie Burgundy Wood Finish 12

Glenmorangie Burgundy 12Glenmorangie Burgundy Wood Finish aged 12 years.  43% ABV

After trying the newer Glenmorangie Companta, I wanted to revisit some of the earlier Glenmorangie offerings.   I have a number of the various ‘wood finish’ 12 year aged offerings.  I pulled out a bottle of the Burgundy Wood Finish.

The nose is slightly sweet, raisins, earthy.

The palate is vanilla, sweet, lightly syrup, muted spice.

The finish is modest, not lingering, sweet grape. 

It is a very interesting contrast between the two.  The Burgundy is, on the balance a sweeter, more subdued, single malt.  It lacks the complexity, aggressiveness, and finish of the Companta.

Glenmorangie Companta

glenmorangie compantaGlenmorangie Companta.  46% ABV.

As I have mentioned before, my preferences have for a time moved me in the direction of the Islay single malts.   But, lately I have been drawn to revisit some of my original favorites, particularly some of the highland single malts.   Glenmorangie single malts were a great introduction for someone new to this pursuit.

In contrast to the earlier Glenmorangies I sampled, the more recent offerings do not come with age statements.  But, the distillery does provide some background.  The Companta is a combination of a “vatting of 1999 vintage whisky finished for 4 years in Clos de Tart Burgundy casks and 1995 vintage whisky finished for 8 years in sweet fortifed Côte du Rhône wine casks” 

The nose hints to the wine heritage, with some sweetness and underlying earthy, leather, dry notes.

The palate surprised me, I was anticipating a tame entry.   It was spicy, with layers of semi-sweet chocolate and red wine undertones.   Gradually,the spicy notes converge to a lingering pepper.

The finish is wonderfully long, with hints of allspice and distinctly clove.

This is a most pleasant dram.  A rich complexity, distinctive flavors but the finish does not let you forget … that more than anything … that you are tasting a finely crafted whisky.   One I think I would prefer as an after dinner drink, it would follow a meal accompanied by a dry red wine quiet well.


Oban 18

Oban 18Oban 18, 43% ABV.

This is a West Highland single malt, from a small distillery with limited production.  The Oban 18 is aged in oak casks.

A subtle nose, understated citrus notes.  On the palate, I find peach and honey with an emerging spice and oak.  The finish is long and warm with nuanced spices.  I found the finish pleasantly surprising, the character and depth of this scotch unfolds in smooth waves.

This is an excellent whisky.  If you want pronounced peat and smoke, Oban 18 is not the dram for you.   But, if you want a smooth, easy drinking, not overly sweet single malt, I would recommend giving this one a try.  It has all the character you would expect to find in a complex whisky.



Glenmorangie 18 Extremely Rare

Glenmorangie 18Glenmorangie 18 Extremely Rare.  A classic Highland single malt.  Aged 15 years in bourbon casks, then finished for 3 more years in sherry casks.  The nose is sweet, honey, hints of fruit.  On the palate, it is smooth, honey and almond, with just a slight bite.  It heats up for a nice long finish.

At the start of this journey, Glenmorangie was an early favorite.  The various bottling with finishes in casks that infused a little sweetness.  While my tastes have gravitated toward the Islay varieties in the past 15 years, Glenmorangie  is still among my favorites.  Based on my experience, I think it is a great introduction to the complexities of single malts for those first discovering this pursuit.   A comfortable dram, warm and easy sipping – an ideal companion for a comfortable chair, a warm fire, and a good book.