Nose: Fruit and Nut chocolate bars initially, then gets quite leafy and herbaceous. Plenty of sweet notes but not in an OTT way. Hints of orange liqueur, raisin...perhaps chocolate sponge cake? Then more sweetness - hazelnut liqueur, dark chocolate shavings. Real depth and complexity. A lot going on, but everything very well-integrated.
Palate: Medium-full. Follows on from the nose, although neither as sweet nor as full as expected. Instead we have a superbly elegant, nutty dram (brazilnut, hazelnut, walnut), with honey and generous flashes of cocoa, that glides across the tastebuds in the slick, super-smooth fashion that one expects from its creator. Mid-palate, a burst of pepper keeps the tongue on its toes (so to speak), before notes of redcurrant and some toasty oak start to emerge.
Finish: Lingering peppery spice and residual sweetness. Tongue-tingling and exceptionally more-ish.
Comment: Some recent Dalmores have been accused of lacking slightly in oomph and, to be totally honest, my heart sank a little pre-tasting when I saw that this was 40% and had caramel colouring added. I personally have felt a bit cross with Dalmore in the past and still believe that the 12 and 15yo would be even better at 43-46%.
However, this is a dram to confound the nay-sayers: sherried without being heavy or sulphury; remarkably fresh and lively for a whisky pushing thirty years old; medium-bodied, yet still complex and characterful. A delicious drinking whisky.