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In 1839, Alexander Matheson searched for the perfect distillery location, but his criteria were not the same as others. Some had already chosen to build their distilleries in the Speyside valley, due to its established transport links and more hospitable climate. But Matheson was not swayed by creature comforts. His only concern was where he could find the best natural resources to make the finest whisky. So he settled on an isolated area on the banks of the Cromarty Firth, laid bare to the harsh winds of the North Sea. On this wild land Matheson started from scratch, building everything from warehouses to railways. Matheson forged his own path and by doing so ensured The Dalmore would always have its own unique character and taste.
Conventionally, whisky stills are uniform in shape and size. Luckily for whisky drinkers though, The Dalmore is never one to let convention stand in the way of making the best whisky possible. We believe the combination of different stills, of various sizes, produce a stronger and more complex character. So even though their irregular shapes mean that the distillation needs more skill, care and attention, the exceptional whisky makes it all worthwhile.
Others may try to replicate the artistry found in every drop of The Dalmore but they will never be successful. That’s because our maturation process is completely unique. Many expression of The Dalmore is matured in two precious wooden casks: American white oak ex-bourbon casks and exclusive aged sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass.
We have had a special relationship with Gonzalez Byass for over 100 years, and The Dalmore is the only distillery in the world permitted to use select aged casks. Our Master Distiller Richard Paterson hand-picks every cask, and each one has matured exceptional sherry, packing the wood dense with character. It’s from these casks the spirit is gifted with its deep copper colour and flavours of crushed almonds, cinnamon, ginger and citrus.
The American white oak ex-bourbon casks, sourced from the Ozark mountains in Kentucky, impart flavours of intense vanilla, spice, honey and tropical fruits. This is a particularly treasured wood as an entire tree will yield only two barrels.
To create a more complex character, some of The Dalmore whiskies benefit from an extra flourish of creativity. Select expressions are finessed in exceptional casks, showcasing woods from world-renowned bodegas and exclusive wineries. Each cask gifts its own unique characteristics, flavours and aromas.
In the case of King Alexander III, Cabernet Sauvignon barriques from Haut-Marbuzet’s vineyard in Bordeaux add highly distinctive flavours of blackcurrant, red berries and cedar wood; while Madeira drums gift notes of black forest fruits, crushed apple and pear.
Marsala barrels from Sicily infuse an amber colour along with a warm, sweet taste, and delicate notes of sweet damsons and fresh flowers. Port pipes from the Douro region of Portugal add a host of complex characteristics, such as fleshy plums, blackcurrants, sweet figs and raisins.The Art of Maturation
The Dalmore have always had the courage to push the boundaries of excellence. We are unafraid to allow the whisky the time it needs to fulfil its potential and gain as much character as possible. The devotion to achieving perfection has been at the heart of the distillery and its people for the last 150 years, and it is a dedication which will live on.How to taste whisky