• Robert Majamaa

A Highland aperitif

The broad depiction of a stag’s head on the bottle of The Dalmore 12 Year Old Highland Scotch Whisky is due to an honorarium bestowed upon the Clan MacKenzie in 1263 by King Alexander III.

The 12 points signifying a Royal something or other, or so I read. The 12 points also allude to the barrelling time, in years, of the distillery’s youngest single malt; for those keeping score, that’s two years longer than many other distilleries.

It spends an initial nine years in American ex-bourbon casks. Then half spends time in ex-oloroso sherry casks and half stays in the ex-bourbon casks until it's ready to be bottled.

What is the result of this patience? Appearing mahogany in colour in the bottle, the whisky colour in the glass might be described as tawny. I would lean towards an initial medicinal smell after the pour. Taken neat, the whisky exhibits a fiery start that transforms to a smooth body with a lingering caramel finish.

A small addition of water changes the bouquet to reveal some fruitiness, but seems to take away some of the finish when drinking. I’d enjoy this one neat as a very nice aperitif. About $95.