So, now I’m heading north-west from the Dee to the Spey, the second of The Dalmore Rivers on my Highland excursion – from the safety and warmth of my living room. With this one, I just had to jump right in, so to speak. It pays to really take your time with this one. It takes a while for it to fully open up, but when it does, it gives you a lot to play with.
On the nose it leaps out like a salmon swimming up stream with a big spirity hit. Once it settles down there’s a warm, sweet, bread dough aroma with a touch of creosote on a garden fence in the summer. There is a lot of long, drawn-out sweetness with and open tin of treacle next to a bowl of ripe mangoes and kiwis. Like the Dee, there’s a smell of caramelised sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice. As it takes a bit of time to grow in the glass it becomes slightly sulphurous, but as this passes it’s like a margarita with plenty of fresh lime juice and rock salt on the rim of the glass.
The palate started off with bitter oranges but then moved on to a rich and fatty mealie pudding*. In a contrast to the meaty cereal, fresh red cherries follow with a touch of bitter chocolate, burning wood and salt. That salty, dry character carried on throughout the aftertaste, the now familiar beach pebbles, then dried orange and lemon peel, all topped-off with hot, milky drinking chocolate.
The length on this one was much better than the Dee, and there are significant differences making it an interesting journey of discovery. It has less weight to it, and given the oily-gold and shiny appearance, the texture is slightly disappointing in its lightness. Despite this, it kept me interested and pleasantly challenged for a good while.
There are enough layers in this to keep it interesting with aromas and tastes coming out in droves. So, for experienced and novice whisky drinkers alike, it’ll keep you day-dreaming about relaxing by the river on a warm summer’s evening.
*Mealie pudding is a mix of suet, oatmeal, onions and spices formed into the shape of a large sausage.