Dalmore

  • Pronunciation: DALL-Morr
  • Meaning: Big Meadowland
  • Founded: 1839
  • Region: Northern Highlands
  • Status: Operational
  • Owner: Whyte and Mackay Ltd (United Spirits)
  • Production Capacity:  3,700,000 litres a year

Opened in 1839 by Alexander Matheson, the distillery was bought by the Mackenzie family in 1891. The Clan Mackenzie has a rich history which Dalmore has always capitalised on. A predecessor of the Clan supposedly saved King Alexander from a rampaging stag. The King then presented the stag's head for use on the coat of arms. This stags head is present on Dalmore's bottles today.  There are others that believe the coat of arms comes from the Celtic pagan god Cernunnos, perhaps expect a new bottle of Dalmore to hold this name.

Under the skills of celebrity master blender Richard Paterson, Dalmore are forging ahead into becoming one of the leading premium whisky brands.Some of the most rare and exclusive whiskies in the world come from Dalmore, quite often selling for record breaking sums.

Dalmore's core releases are the 12 year old, 15 year old and 18 year old. They have also pioneered a great relationship with Hunters and Frankau to release a Cigar Malt. These releases are headed up by the King Alexander, a combination of ages matured using no less than six different casks.

The Dalmore Mackenzie was produced as a tribute to the Clan Mackenzie and they contributed a generous fraction of the profits from this malt in support of the Mackenzie Clan Gathering back in 2010. Initially matured in American white oak for 11 years, and then switched to port pipes from Oporto for a further 6 years. This release was followed by Castle Leod. This limited edition bottle celebrates the home of Clan Mackenzie. Castle Leod has been home to the Caberfeidh, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie, since 1606 and is located just 14 miles from the The Dalmore Distillery. This 1995 vintage was matured in American oak and Spanish sherry, then finished in Bordeaux. The final release was Cromartie. It was in tribute to the ancient lands of Cromartie, heartland of the Mackenzies, and site of Castle Leod, the clan’s historic seat where they still reside today. Sales from this helped maintain the clan estates at Cromartie. Distilled in 1996 at 45% ABV, The Dalmore Cromartie was initially matured in American white oak casks before being transferred to Oloroso sherry casks.   

The Dalmore Gran Reserva is an intense whisky, typically aged from 10 to 15 years, from first fill oak casks, combining  both Oloroso sherry butts and Bourbon barrels. These are no longer available at retail but are still highly sought after.  Additionally, the ‘original’ cigar malt, known for its very rich sherried character, is worth searching for, particularly if you’re a fan of the big sherried monsters.

Dalmore has also previously released a 30 year old expression called The Ceti, 23 years in refill bourbon then 7 years in Matusalem sherry butts. The Matuselem sherry cask is regularly used by Dalmore for its rich flavours : the 1981 vintage, the 1979 and 1978 have at some point been in these casks.

There is also Selene, a unique 58 year old expression sharing the name of the Titan goddess of the moon – a deity that embodied all things tasteful, beautiful and divine. The whisky consists of two casks both filled on the same day, 7th June 1951. Also named after a Titan goddess is Eos, the Titan goddess of the dawn. A 59 year old single malt, Eos is sister to Selene, the  1951 vintage and was selected from the same two outstanding sherry casks, having been left to mature for a year longer than the Selene.

At the highest end of the price spectrum sits The Dalmore Trinitas. Containing spirit dating from 1868, 1878, 1926, 1939, The Dalmore Trinitas is a 64 year old single malt that is as exceptional as it is rare. Described as the pinnacle of Dalmore's great distillery history. One of these three bottles would cost approximately £100,000.

More recently Dalmore has released the ‘Dalmore Constellation’ series, a collection of 28 vintages ranging from 1964 to 1992, worth a total of approximately £250,000.   

NEXT AUCTION: Starts on Friday 27th January and finishes on Monday 6th February 2017. Bottles required by January 16th.

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