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This is the second of the four drams my wife bought me for Christmas (I'll be reviewing five, because the Talisker 18 I've reviewed previously, and the Glenfarclas 15 came with tasting bottles of the 21 and 25 year olds).
The nose is full of malt, orange zest, and notes of dried spices. There is a underlying hint of caramel sweetness, but it takes a number of seconds for it to become apparent. With a little water the spiciness fades, bringing to the fore a slightly earthy muskiness and a hint of the smell of old leather. Very pleasant.
The taste is crisp and mouth-watering. The orange zest provides a refreshing counterpoint to what is a creamy toffee tasting dram, with hints of the spice and old leather from the nose. Brilliantly balanced, and just complex enough to keep you interested without being overwhelming.
The finish is full of vanilla and toffee - it starts creamy and goes through velvety to silky with just a lingering hint of spiciness.
After a Christmas breakfast with my wife's family, and then Christmas lunch with mine, it is an excellent way to wind down the afternoon. It's a refreshing mix of sweet and savoury tastes, and works quite well on a Summer afternoon (which very much works for the Australian Christmas period - it's about 20 degrees Celsius here, so pleasantly warm). This isn't a top of the food-chain dram, but it is within spitting distance, and in the right conditions (ie Summer) would hit the spot better than most that are.
I also have to admit, that I very much admire the bottle the Dalmore comes in - very pretty.