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Dalmore King Alexander III was matured in at least six different types of casks, and it would seem that some online sources conflict as to the specific types of casks used. According to whiskycritic.com, KA3 spent time in “French wine barriques, Madeira drums, sherry butts from Jerez, Sicilian Marsala barrels, port pipes from the Douro, and bourbon barrels from Kentucky.” I’ll trust that if only because of the added detail provided.
The reviewed sample, one of those 50ml test-tube things (see: tinyurl.com/kkuqhy2) was a Thanksgiving gift from my wife. I’ve tried only a few Dalmores, with each being a rather meh experience. Let’s see what one of Mr. Paterson’s more creative efforts has to offer.
Nose: Very crisp and fresh. Oranges and vanilla at first, followed by…more oranges and vanilla. Large traces of burnt caramel and chocolate; small traces of melon and sweet pipe tobacco. It’s a nose calculated for effect, but it’s a nice effect, well-calculated. Far and away the best part of the experience.
Palate: Flavors are abundant but too tame. It’s a nicely textured body with a lingering oiliness, but the result is more surface than substance. Loudest flavors are malty and citrus-y, with a surprising amount of grain and/or cereal. Almost blend-like at first, but it dissipates the longer it sits. A little dry sherry, chocolate, and more oranges as well.
The finish comes on strong and fades quickly. An initial blast of peppery caramel promises much, but it soon turns thin and bland. There’s some good-quality oak, along with more chocolate and oranges, all of them very quiet during their slow exit.
Some nice and unique flavors here, to be sure. But I also find Dalmore KA3 to be one of the more concocted whiskies I’ve tasted, with every component soooo perfectly placed and balanced that all the spirit has been sucked out of the spirit. So much flavor potential struggling under the strain of 40% ABV! Add the usual grumblings about e150 and chill filtration...and, in this case, the ridiculous price tag.
Let’s put it this way: I was very glad my wife gave me this sample. I would have been less glad had she given me a full bottle.