It’s nice to see The Dalmore supporting the needy. A substantial contribution from the sale of each and every bottle of The Dalmore Cromartie goes towards “the matinenance of the clan estates at Cromartie”. Well, what more impoverished group is there in our world than our land owners? Those sprawling castles don’t fix themselves. So this is, really, a benevolent purchase, and I’m doing a good thing by buying one. And buy it I did – not win it at auction. There are a few bottles around if one cares to Google thoroughly.
The Dalmore Cromartie is the third in a series of limited edition releases crafted by master distillery Richard Patterson in homage to the clan Mackenzie. I was very keen to hunt it down as, having tried most of the core range from this distillery and there’s not much in the way of limited edition Dalmore without stepping up to the premium bottlings. It’s been matured in American white oak casks before being decanted into to Oloroso sherry casks from Spain’s world-renowned bodega Gonzalez Byass, Jerez de la Frontera. Part of the reason Dalmore bottles cost a lot is because Richard Paterson ensures the distillery buys expensive, top-notch casks like this.
It’s bottled rather strongly for a Dalmore – at 45% ABV, which is up from the usual 40-43%. This one cost me about a £100, which is what you’d expect to pay at auction (without those extra fees). Though as I mentioned, it is still out there if you care to hunt hard.
Colour: tawny, to polished mahogany. On the nose: eye-quivering fruits: blackberries, raspberries for the post part, rather than dried fruits at first. Jammy, then with a note of yeast. It’s a lot like you’ve peeled apart a sponge cake and you’re pressing your nose against the gooey innards. A little wood – not much. Wine notes towards the end.
In the mouth: ooh, Richard Paterson, you tiger. This is nice. Classic Dalmore texture. Figs and dark chocolate, and blackcurrants too – Black Forest Gateaux. Chocolate liqueur. Now we’re talking dried fruits: sultanas, raisins, layer after layer. There’s just the element of stewed apples here, and a hint of bitterness – I’m not sure it’s a woody note, but something else. A mellow dark chocolate finish. That extra strength is really noticeable here, as well, because all of what I’ve just mentioned comes through very intensely.
If you’re a fan of the Dalmore 18 Year Old, you’ll love this – as it’s better. I’m not going to get carried away though. It’s not massively complex, but it is certainly a charmer and I love it. Like some Lothario of a whisky: satin sheets, open-neck shirts, and a wink, though there’s possibly not too much going between the ears.
Can’t help but smile when you drink it, though.