Thursday 31 December 2020

Dalmore "King Alexander III" [Tasted #509]

One last post for the sh*t of a year that's been 2020....

Whilst I've tried at least one incredible Dalmore in the past 18 or so months on this blog (sadly, a 1 of 1 bottle which sold for £108,000, leaving me zero chance of trying it again), it's been many years since I'd visited the core range - not since 2015, in fact, when Master Blender Richard Patterson came to town.

To change that, I was recently (and very kindly) sent an unprompted bottle of Dalmore King Alexander III, part of the distillery's core lineup which I'd originally tried back in 2015, and about which I'd said at the time:
"The Dalmore King Alexander III, as Richard explained, is finished in a whopping 6 different casks (Port, Madeira, Marsala, Cabernet Sauvignon, Small Batch Bourbon and Matuselm Oloroso) and is designed to give rich plummy characteristics. Despite not carrying an age statement, King Alexander III is typically 20 years old, at 40% "because that's how I wanted it" (Richard's words)"

It's always fun to revisit drams after several years, as both palates and whisky batches can change. So without further final dram for 2020.

Dalmore "King Alexander III" (40% ABV, NAS, Highlands, Scotland, $1,580HKD / £159.85 / $300AUD)
Colour: Bright red copper.

Nose: Earthy at first (damp grass, moss) giving rise to ripe strawberries and then floral, potpourri notes.

Palate: Very muted. Spiced initially, then vanilla bean, walnuts, some oak spice and slight tannins, Mandarin and grapefruit notes with an underlying damp moss earthiness...but it feels like the ABV could do with a decent increase - it really is a very subtle palate (some might say "smooth", one friend called it "watery"). Perhaps though, that's more a reflection on the number of cask-strength drams I've tried since 2015 - which would likely number in the thousands.

Finish: Medium to long in length, with spiced apple cider notes and residual oak.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 87/100. A nice pleasant dram and one I think would make a great introductory dram for someone just getting into whisky, or concerned about high-ABV spirits, as it's genuinely one of the subtlest drams I've had in recent memory. There's quite a lot going on in terms of different flavours, but for me, I think I prefer Dalmore when it's from one or two types of casks (say, ex-Port or ex-Sherry), rather than the "assemblage" we have here.

A big thanks to Telford HK for the bottle tasted here.


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