It turns out that Dalmore's premiumization extends all the way to their miniatures, which are definitely classier, but (at least in this case) also 40 mL as opposed to the standard 50 mL. Pay more, get less. This feels like a sign.
This whisky was aged in a combination of Matusalem, Apostales, and Amaroso sherry casks, then bottled at 40% with coloring and chill filtration.
I purchased this sample from The Whisky Exchange in 2012.
Dalmore 15 Year
Nose: big raisin notes, sugar cookies, dark brown sugar, violets, cinnamon/allspice, vanilla, fresh malt, cedar/pine resin, yogurt, mustard?, Jamaican rum funk. After adding a few drops of water the sherry fades into background, the floral notes and rum funk expand, and it gains a pleasant oak-y mustiness
Taste: opens with bittersweet sherry, creamy malt underneath in the middle, floral notes and very gentle oak at the back. After dilution the sherry and malt fully integrate to give a more consistent set of flavors across the palate, there's a nice musty oak/pine thing going on around the back, but there's an unpleasant tartness up front.
Finish: rather floral, fresh malt, pleasant oak, darker sherry
Well, that was an odd duck. When I first poured it my initial impression was that it was all raisins. Like they were trying to ape the style of Glendronach 15 Year, but don't have the spirit, casks, or skill to do it. With more time the aromas really opened up, though it feels more like a hodge-podge than a coherent profile. Don't get me wrong, I kind of like it messy, but it's an odd choice given the image Dalmore presents.
The flavors were a little more generically sherried, though I like the floral lift at the back that makes you want to come back for more of the darker sherry notes. In that respect it reminds me of sherried Bowmore. With a little more heft (46%, NCF, etc) I could see myself enjoying it enough to want a whole bottle. As is it's just not quite enough to make me want more.
countess of the caribbean
9 hours ago