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Dalmore King Alexander III

Average score from 6 reviews and 18 ratings 86

Dalmore King Alexander III

Product details

  • Brand: Dalmore
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%

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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.

Very hit and miss. A shame because I find several good flavors in Dalmore. I also find they never know how to showcase them to best advantage. ABV is usually too low. Texture tends to overwhelm taste. Finishes are too anemic. But the noses are always nice.

From what I've read about Dalmore, it is a little hit and miss eh? (There appears to be not a widespread approval).


N: very nice sweetness, easy steady arrival, dark fruits, tiramisu, caramel. W/ H2O caramel dies down, so does everything else. P: even on the tongue, shallow, black pepper, expecting sweet but not there, sour/bitter. not complex, smooth (this is a critism). F: medium-short, bitter peppery. Final note: not worth the money for whisky anoraks. impressive packaging, would be a nice gift. I can nose this all night, a pick annother dram to sip.


The 1263 from the name of this Dalmore refers to the year in which the Clan MacKenzie (later owners of the land on which the distillery was built) saved King Alexander III from being killed by a wild stag during a hunting party. Since then Dalmore has prominently and proudly displayed the stag in its logo. The Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III is a vatting (oops, a blend – horrible) of whisky from 1990 until now and matured on no less than six different casks: bourbon, Madeira, Marsala, Port, Cabernet Sauvignon and Oloroso sherry. Knowing Dalmore, the bottle is pretty expensive: around 150 EUR.

The nose is soft, sweet and pretty grainy. A bit of oak. Quite some orangettes, faux-leahter, plums, berries, stone fruit, but also some grapefruit and fresh figs. Kiwi! Vanilla, caramel and a tiny bit of honey. Sound reasonably complex, but it is not. Not really. Know what I mean? Nice, but not devastatingly so.

The taste is very soft and bittersweet. Somewhat thin body, though. The fruit returns, although it is more a stew now (which is a good thing). But the tannins (or is that the wine cask) starts to play havoc on the palate. From the spice rack, I remember nutmeg and mint.

The long finish evolves from sweet (chocolate) and spicy (ginger) to bitter and drying and is the weakest part.

This whisky seems to be at a loss of where it is headed. Too many casks in the mix?


I could have titled it 'Not The Last King of Scotland' but the movie wouldn't fit quite so well with this dram of Dalmore. The King's Speech references much better The Dalmore King Alexander III. They both are a good example of something good and yet so dull.

Master Distiller Richard Paterson has blended The Dalmore King Alexander III from differently-aged malts matured in a mixture of French wine casks, Madeira drums, Sherry butts, Marsala barrels, Port pipes and Bourbon barrels from Kentucky. That is a job well done but does the wide mixture take away something from the character? Do they balance each other out?

Even though I've tasted only two from their range, I'm starting to believe that the Dalmores are very nice and smooth but lack in character.

Nose: Malty chocolate with slightly fruity notes.

Taste: Liqueury and spicy blend of dark chocolate and biscuits. Very very smooth.

Finish: Oak and peppers collide very briefly.

Balance: In good balance but lacks quite a bit in character and the finish is way too quick and mellow, that's why so low score.


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