During a recent visit to the Deanston distillery, the tour guide mentioned that 80% of their output went into steel vats and instantly sold to other companies. These companies would then fill the spirit into casks for their own purposes. 80% seems an awfully high percentage but anyway the end result of that is the blends and independent bottlings which make up a large segment of the whisky market.
One such bottle is this keenly priced 16 year old Dalmore from the Connoisseurs Choice range of whiskies by Gordon & MacPhail. I have only ever reviewed one other Dalmore on this blog which was the official 15 year old Dalmore 15 Year Old. At the end of this review I will try to compare the two products and decide which I prefer.
Like all Gordon & Macphail bottles, this is naturally coloured and non chill-filtered. The bottling strength is 46% and it has spent its whole life in refill ex-sherry hogsheads. Judging by the colour the casks will probably have been well used before 2001.
When we compare those statistics to official 15 then we find that the whisky is not naturally coloured, the contents were filtered and there is a wide variety of fortified wine casks used in the recipe.
Colour – Lemon Juice or barley water
Nose – Icing sugar and barley water followed by quite a lot of charred wood notes.
Palate – Lemon and lime cordial dominate followed by more icing sugar and some earthy herbs.
Finish – Citric fruit rind gives a bitter finish and toasted casks to round it off.
This independent bottle from Dalmore is unlike any official Dalmore you will ever come across. For that reason alone it is worth picking up but I am not sure I enjoyed it as much as the more colourful (in more ways than one) official bottling. Going into this review you might have assumed I would go for the bottle naturally represented and lacking in marketing hyperbole. Perhaps I was expecting that as well but it just goes to show that sometimes even if you do everything “wrong” you can still end up with a decent product in the end.
Please cut the artificial colouring though guys!