The nose on this whisky is unlike any other I’ve ever smelled. Or smelt. Or dealt. The heady mix of aromas is completely integrated, and it’s quite difficult to pull apart, but the pieces at play include: Sherry-skinned cheese (I don’t know what that means, but it seems right). Coconut husks smoked with cedar, then left to dry in Death Valley. Dried cranberries so large they don’t get through Ocean Spray’s filters, so they’re set aside for local apple head doll artisans seeking to create a Native American line of figures (did I mention they were also racists?). But most of all, a grapefruit steeped in port, rind and all. The nose also has a spatial dimensionality to it: it takes up space, it gets in your face, pushes you out of place, gets on your case… OK, I’m done.
The mouth is winey and sweet, like that glass of dessert wine your crazy uncle gave you after your first day of second grade (that happened to you, too, right?). It’s port-soaked raisins in a quinoa oatmeal sweetened with coconut sugar, served straight up in a merino wool sock (rolled down at the top, of course). Overall, though, the mouth is stodgy: think burl wood, leather chairs, and power-brokering deals.
The finish is a delicate and rare treat. Dates filled with marscapone cheese and dik dik horn buttons. Rhinoceros horn spritzed with Polo cologne (and they guy lived to tell about it!). There’s also soapy cologne on the chest of an impressionable young man (hoping to impress) alongside cherry and nectarine flavors blossoming quietly in the background.
With water, it’s a remarkably similar dram, just…thinner. The mouth goes from the aforementioned to full-on plummy jammy (a.k.a. Robert Parker’s wet dream). After adding water, the finish lingers and churns, but not in an ostentatious or flashy way: it’s a houseguest who’s such a good one, you forgot he was staying in the house. Still, it fires across the tongue like soft lava, quietly removing any imperfections from one’s tongue.
The Dalmore 12 Year from Single Cask Nation is Monty Python–Wonderfully original, crazy, wild, edgy, and beloved. Nobody did that sort of comedy better, nor has anyone since.
–Our thanks to Joshua Hatton and Single Cask Nation for the sample!