Can you imagine spending 45 years working for one company? Richard Paterson, High Priest of The Dalmore, has spent 45 years in the whisky industry working for Whyte & Mackay. He even spent a few years working in the industry before that.
He became Whyte & Mackay’s Master Distiller at the age of 26, and since then he’s earned a fine reputation. Not only as someone who can craft some amazing whiskies, including recreations of the Shackleton whisky, but who puts on some amazing events too.
What’s interesting, whenever you read or hear about Richard’s approach you see his foresight to stash away tons of old whiskies for ageing. Whereas a lot of distilleries now have to buy back old stocks, or rummage around warehouses to find enough whisky to release, The Dalmore are sitting on plenty of aged stock. Which is perhaps why we’re seeing plenty of older releases from them.
So to coincide with Paterson’s epic milestone, The Dalmore are releasing two new older whiskies, a 21 year old and a 30 year old.
The Dalmore 21 is matured American white oak before then being decanted into first-fill Matusalem oloroso sherry butts. These casks come from the Gonzalez Byass bodega in Jerez de la Frontera, with whom The Dalmore have an exclusive relationship. The wood is actually European Oak, which is the good stuff, whereas a lot of sherry wood these days tends to be American white oak as well. (For more on sherry casks and their influence on whisky, take a look at this post from a couple of months ago.)
It’s a limited edition of just 8,000 bottles and is bottled at 42% ABV.
Colour: auburn, polished mahogany. On the nose: plum jam, tomatoes (almost ketchup like), prunes, redcurrants, blackberries. It’s insanely autumnal. Pears and cream. Chocolate, praline, with some hints of sherry – although more port, I think.
In the mouth: such a knee-tremblingly good texture. Dalmore is good at this stuff, but this is really something else, a velvet glove of a dram. Redcurrants, elderberry wine. Damson jam. Indeed, the dried fruits on display here are classic, yet they seem quite intense. It’s like one of those flourless brownies made with vanilla, walnut, dark chocolate, dates, syrup, with a touch of coffee.
It is absolutely divine. I’m not messing.
Probably the best Dalmore I’ve had at home; the recent Constellations were something else, but I wasn’t able to spend much time with them alone in a darkened room. The Dalmore 21 is a great showcase of Richard Paterson’s talents. And even at £250 – £300 a bottle, I’m seriously thinking about getting one.
I mean, if I just eat baked beans from Aldi for two months I think I’m pretty much there…
Note: this was a sample received by the kind folks at The Dalmore. But we should all know by now that Malt is an honest whisky church.