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This is a SMWS bottling of a 10 year old Dalmore at 59.3% from a refill ex bourbon barrel, distilled on May 12, 2005.
Of course I had to know what a young unsherried Dalmore tastes like, and I was pleasantly surprised by the elegance and quality of the base malt.
On the nose: Mezcal. Hello. Muted butterscotch. Buttery chocolate like one finds in the best Highland Parks. Becoming hot. How are you? Reminiscent of the tamarind candies that Mexicans roll in chili powder. Coffee. A hint of coconut. A gorgeous nose. Nice to meet you. I never tire of it.
On the palate: At full strength, big. A slightly subdued, cherry-like sweetness. Like rye. The malt coming out now. And the chilies tamarinds are back briefly. Then burnt butter and a medium-long finish of dark chocolate and bitter coffee. If you're used to high ABVs, this is quite drinkable without water. Great balance. It could be more complex, but what is here is outstanding.
A big, elegant, buttery sweet dram with great balance and more complexity than you would expect from a 10 year old ex refill bourbon. A great dram. I like it better than the Dalmore 12, 15, 18, the Daniel Boulud "bespoke assemblage" or the Cigar Malt, which it most closely resembles, minus that malts dry tobacco notes. This was a great education and, at $105, a rare and incredible value.