Dalmore Port Wood Reserve 46.5% ABV

Initially aged in American white oak casks, before a finishing period in Port pipes. The casks were sourced from port producer W&J Graham.


Appearance: Very oily. Covers the inside of the glass in a shiny glaze that clings for a good amount of time. Pleasing chunky legs form and slowly ooze back to the surface.

An alluring dark amber colour, almost chestnut.

Nose: The alcohol hit is quite robust given the low ABV. An immediate medley of wood, spice and icing sugar. There’s also a sulphur component which, as the dram matures, becomes more pronounced.

It reminds me of Berry Bros & Rudd Sherry Cask Blended Malt, which I’m not a fan of.

The mixture of spices are all quite sweet and Christmas-like. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. There also a scent reminiscent of clove encrusted orange (pomander balls). Behind all these aromas is a veiled sugar coated lemon scent. It’s a pleasant nose but could do with the sulphur being dialled back a bit.

Whisps of a distant woodland fire touch the senses as sips are taken.

Palate: The noticeable alcohol burn on the nose is not evident on the palate, which is a pleasant surprise.

The delivery is nice and viscous, milky notes and a feather light touch of grapefruit. The orange factor from the nose is persistent on the palate too. There’s a lovely sweet edge to the palate that’s more dominant than it was on the nose. It’s a very easy whiskey, one you could easily find yourself finishing several drams of while sitting in front of a fire on a winter’s night.

The sulphur doesn’t appear to survive through to the palate, which is very welcome! Luckily, those Christmas spices do. Very pudding like, with custard and cream mixed together.

It might sound odd, and probably this is a different smell to everyone, but it tastes autumnal. Earthy, woodland floor aromas as well as tree bark, wild berries and that far away damp wood fire.

Finish: Short. Sweet with Christmas spices. Those creamy flavours longer for a short while too.

Overall: One of those rare drams (for me, at least) where the palate is superior to the nose. Based on the nose alone, I wouldn’t be bothered about trying this again. The palate and finish, however, save this dram and leave me wanting more.

I wouldn’t buy a bottle, but if I saw it listed at a bar or hotel I’d find myself ordering it for sure.

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