The Dalmore Mackenzie – Review

*Thanks to the good folks at the Baddish Group for the sample.

Just a few famous MacKenzies throughout history:

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820) was a Scottish explorer who crossed Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1793, besting Lewis & Clark’s more celebrated crossing by nearly 12 years.

Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st Lord Mackenzie of Kintail (1569-1611), who with the support of the crown, succeeded in conquering the Isle of Lewis in 1610.

Gisele Mackenzie (1927-2003) was a Canadian-American singer well-known for her 1955 hit “Hard to Get” and her dryly funny violin duets with Jack Benny.

Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail (c.1400) was the 6th Lord of Kintail, but the first to show up consistently in recorded history.

Bob McKenzie and his brother Doug. How’s it goin’, eh? Not real Mackenzies or real Canadians or actually real people for that matter, but still important historical figures nonetheless.

Mary Beth McKenzie (1946 – ) is an American contemporary realist figure painter who has several works in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sir Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972) was a Scottish author and active Scottish nationalist. Appropriately enough, one of his most famous works is 1947’s Whisky Galore

Mackenzie Phillips (1959 – ) is an American Actress who, granted, is not even close to a real Clan Mackenzie Mackenzie but you have to admit, Schneider was pretty awesome.

Needless to say, this is just a small sampling from a very long list. The Mackenzie clan has figured in to Scottish for more than 800 years and in to The Dalmore’s history for close to 150. Three Mackenzie brothers were hired to operate the distillery in 1867, eventually buying it out right in 1891. It remained family-owned until 1960 when they sold to Whyte & MackayThis exclusive bottling  of 3000 was created as the first in a series of whiskies that will celebrate the Mackenzie Clan with a portion of the profits being donated towards the restoration and maintenance of the clan’s Castle Leod. Aged initially in American white oak casks for 11 years, it was then aged for another six in ex-port barrels. Interestingly, this was bottled at 46% ABV, higher than The Dalmore usually opts for.

The Nose:  A very, very fruity nose, replete with poached pears, ruby-red grapefruit, juicy red-wine grapes, tannic currants and a bit of cherry cough syrup. Subtler notes of cinnamon, ginger, polished oak and faint tobacco emerge more as it opens up, the fruit taking on a very dark chocolate covered quality.

The Palate:  Lightly oily, silky mouthfeel is sweet to start but not nearly as fruity-sweet as the nose hints at. Toffee, raisins and candied nuts, and…hell, I’ll say it, holiday fruitcake! Really, there are nice dried fruit and nut notes, a toasty graininess, and lots of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg baking spices…fruitcake…and I mean that in a very good way. More wood grows nicely alongside the spicy nuttiness and a bit of wood smoke drifts in from the corners.

The Finish:  A nice continued winey-ness, tannic and grapey, with cloved orange and that nice whiff of woodsmoke.

Thoughts:  Really, really good stuff. I liked the heavy influence of the port pipes on the nose, though the “fruit” notes tend to outshine the subtler notes. I especially liked that fruitcake palate, a deft combination of sweet, nutty, spicy, and woody with just a touch of smoke. A good one for after dinner, definitely after dinner in the late fall or around the holidays. Even though it’s a limited bottling, the price seems a bit high for a 17 year old ($150+), that’s an unfortunate trend I see with The Dalmore range. Still, if you have a chance to taste this one, do so, definitely recommended.

The Dalmore Mackenzie, Highland

46% ABV

Score:  87


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