Colour: Full Gold
This is the danger we face today as whisky enthusiasts. When drama and flair overtake the fundamentals of quality. That by building a story and dressing it up in tassels becomes the only way to pander a product.
And Mr Richard Paterson is a master of this craft, I must admit. So much so that I think he believes him self too.
Unveiled at a tasting recently amid much fanfare and oohs and aahs this gloriously packaged 600GBP bottle is a sight for sore eyes. But sight is the only sense it stimulates.
Nose: The expected nose of chocolate gravy and rum cake, black peppercorns, orange peel and grated ginger greet you in one massive THUD! No complexity. No layers. Just a square blow to your face.
Palate: The equally one dimensional and medium bodied palate is chocolate sweet and peppercorn spicy but does introduce a fig in a cigar box quality to it.
Finish: The medium finish is spicy and retains that cigar box touch.
Look, I don’t mind this whisky but if you’re going to set it up so high you better deliver. But the ultimate victory belongs to the marketeers who know there’s enough people out there who will gladly shell out this kind of money just to parade this in front of formal company.
And that’s the danger.
I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Paterson recently and one of the whiskies he shared with us was the Dalmore 18.
Very much like Mr Paterson’s personality the nose is big! Huge creamy chunks of sugar and vanilla. Like dipping your head in a bucket of caramel. As you shake your head from side to side capturing all the sweet honey vapors you’re hit in the face with black berries and strips of licorice. Then there is the unusual aroma of black salt. Like picking up a black rock on the beach and smelling the salt on it.
A lot of flavors on the palate though I’m not sure always in balance. The dry delivery brings with it the obvious honey and vanilla notes. Then there is the black salt. It appears suddenly and then just sits there among the toasted nuts. A second sip makes you think of banana smeared on wood and then dipped in citrus.
Once again I am torn between Mr Paterson’s infectious enthusiasm and my own palate. It is not my favorite dram but there is something unusual about that black salt that’s stuck to me for some reason. Just to experience that I will drink this one again.
Rating : 87
The color is a very nice deep, dark amber thanks to the Oloroso sherry finish and I suspect the sherry is behind the thick dollopy legs that cascade down the side.
I find the nose quite complex with touches of honey, orange peel, cinnamon (maybe clove?), a faint wisp of oak and quite a strong presence of butterscotch toffee! It’s very easy on the palate but I would have preferred a few percentage ABV points more than the 40% it has on offer. I found understated raisins and red apples initially and that gave way to toffee and barley in the middle. It ended rather quickly for my liking on a note of heathery dryness. But that quickly goes away. Three precise drops of water make it quite chewy and a full bodied affair. For some reason it makes it a tad dryer in the end as well.
Overall this is a beautiful dram though I think the bottle is what I like best about it!
Rating : 90