New Whiskies

Batch 57

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Batch 57 new whisky tasting notes

If you’re willing to bide your time trying Cù Bòcan’s 2005 limited edition, it’ll be well worth it, says Dave Broom. But dominating this week’s new whisky tasting notes is the recently revamped travel retail collection from Dalmore: Valour, Regalis, Luceo and Dominium. All of this is topped off with a 12-year-old Kilkerran, which shows the brand’s more grown-up side. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Cù Bòcan 2005 Limited Edition

    Score 7.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Cù Bòcan 2005 Limited Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    This takes a long time to develop, so be patient. Initially, there’s dry tree bark/Ryvita cracker, then it starts to mellow and throw out dried fruits, a very gentle nut (green walnut?) element and Callard & Bowser Butterscotch (RIP). In time, there’s light birch wood smoke and a slightly meaty/savoury element. It needs water, which helps to accentuate spiciness. 

    Palate

    An amazingly aromatic burst of allspice, five spice, hot cross buns and Muscat grapes. Good tongue-clinging properties and again some heat, necessitating water to be added, which helps to tease out the smoke. Well-balanced and surprisingly exotic.

    Finish

    Light smoke, but always some hot embers.

    Conclusion

    Although patience is needed, it’s worth the wait.

    Right place, right time

    Named after a mythical hellhound, which in reality isn’t quite as scary as it seems. Still, it’s an excuse to play some Robert Johnson

    Dalmore Valour

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dalmore Valour
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Thick toffee, with immediate Dalmore notes of blackberry pie filling, plum jam and marmalade. This, however, also has a very firm and nutty/malty element behind, suggesting a younger age profile. There’s a slightly uneasy balance trying to be struck here between the firmness and the plush, sweet, fruity elements from the cask. Water brings out currant leaf and a more savoury note akin to fresh varnish water, and a slight bitter element.

    Palate

    Initially it is very Dalmore – all thick and chewy, with plump, even jammy (and sloe-like) fruits. The maltiness and oak add dryness and structure, which works in a slightly more harmonious way here than on the nose.

    Finish

    Fat, heavy, cassis.

    Conclusion

    The first of a new (or revamped) quartet of travel retail exclusives from Dalmore, all of which are (for once) very keenly priced. This has been finished in a mix of American oak, Matusalem Sherry butts… Oh, and Port. It’s aimed to be a crowd-pleaser and, while not as glossy as some expressions, it’s none the worse for that.

    Right place, right time

    The jazz club is waking up. People are dancing; the sax player has an edge to his mellow tone.

    Dalmore Regalis

    Score 8.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dalmore Regalis
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big, with a touch of pomegranate molasses, treacle toffee, walnut and prune. The aroma somehow brings to mind heavy velvet drapes before there’s typical, dusty black fruit, clove, almond and a note akin to an aged Slivovitz, with a background of dried lavender and aromatic woods. More obvious toffee with water. 

    Palate

    Fatter than Valour and structurally different as well. There’s less maltiness here – it’s now drifted into Darjeeling tea and considerably more impact from the sweet Sherry. Dried fruit, chocolate, then Ribena and Walnut Whips with a strange – but pleasing – touch of pistachio ice cream. It’s all about the back palate, where compressed black fruits take over, thankfully balanced by some red fruit acidity.

    Finish

    A mix of a sweet Sherry and a sweetened South American rum like Diplomatico. It does fall off a bit quickly. Higher strength would help.

    Conclusion

    It’s very Dalmore; wears its heart on its sleeve. This has been finished in American oak and amoroso (sweetened oloroso/aka Bristol Milk). Sweeter and better-balanced than Valour. Ticks the value-for-money box as well.

    Right place, right time

    It’s 4am in the same club. Cigarette smoke, a tired piano player and sun creeping in. A softer sax starts up.

    Dalmore Luceo

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dalmore Luceo
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    There’s more overt oak here, albeit behind those enormous dark fruit elements, which suggest Moscatel perfume, as well as the thick, raisined blur of PX. Briar fruits, blackcurrant and a tart, tight nutty element (perhaps from the Apostoles casks?). Water brings out scented black cherry. 

    Palate

    This has more home-made caramel, coffee, cigar leaf and roasted red pepper. In time, you get tannin and bitter coffee, which adds grip and dry edges, but the fruit adds sufficient suppleness to balance. Water brings out the signature marmalade and marzipan.

    Finish

    Sweet, with the Moscatel element dominating, alongside plums and a slight earthiness.

    Conclusion

    Finished in American white oak and Apostoles palo cortado. It’s fair to say that if you like this style, then you’ll like all of these Dalmores. This has just a slightly leaner element to the palate.

    Right place, right time

    Across town, a couple walk home, the sound of John Coltrane’s Lush Life in their hearts.

    Dalmore Dominium

    Score 8.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dalmore Dominium
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Immediately complex, with a considerably more mature profile. Yes, there are some malty elements, but here it is malt loaf, some waxiness, and a very Spanish note of paprika and pork fat, before roasted almond and a touch of cream cheese behind. Layered, elegant and also more restrained (for Dalmore, that is) as there are oxidised elements coming through, rather than just a mass of sweet fruits and Sherry. Water reveals cherry tobacco, raisin and sultana.

    Palate

    Switches gently between the sweet and savoury. The cask (ie oak, rather than liquid) plays more of a role here, as does oxygen. It is as if Dalmore needs that time to show its true character.

    Finish

    Becomes more perfumed, with clove oil, bay rum, molasses and chocolate.

    Conclusion

    Like Valour, this has been finished in American oak and Matusalem (though not Port), but the flavour profile suggests older stock being used. This actually drifts more towards Brandy de Jerez territory (using those casks would be really interesting). Here we have Dalmore entering the third phase of its development, when the weight and richness of the spirit begins to shift forwards and maltiness recedes.

    Right place, right time

    As the bartender slowly falls asleep on a pile of fur coats, Ben Webster starts to play.

    Kilkerran 12 Years Old

    Score 8.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Kilkerran 12 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweetly perfumed, with an immediate soft touch of nutmeg, bouquet garni, sweet hay loft and a little Plasticine. It then becomes the olfactory equivalent of a custard slice – vanilla, almond, icing and pastry. It’s slightly hot when neat with a touch of smoke. Water makes it more buttery, with a hint of copper coins. Just lovely.

    Palate

    A gentle start, but with more oiliness than the nose suggests. The spices come forward – cassia and pepper being added to the mace and nutmeg. Gently pear-like mid-palate, but it does need a drop of water to allow all these elements to bind together. Water adds more smoke and also orange to the existing lemon zest. 

    Finish

    Pickled pears. 

    Conclusion

    A mix of ex-Bourbon (70%) and ex-Sherry (30%), this shows Kilkerran reaching a new level of maturity after the always fascinating Work In Progress. The palate weight bodes well for further development. Marked within its competitive set.

    Right place, right time

    A sneaky sweetie and Woodbine behind the bike sheds.

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