I’ve learned to expect wonderful things from The Dalmore. When the cork is set free from its keep and the aromas lift high from the slender neck of the stag-faced bottle, the anticipation grows with every atom-sized distance of motion and momentum as the crystal dram is filled and the mouth receives the prize. With that, lend your ear for just a moment and allow for me to paint a portrait of the 21 year old Sherrywood edition.
It was only yesterday that I was travelling a main thoroughfare near my office when what do I see approaching in my rearview mirror? What joy and alas! It is a brand new Porsche Boxster. Enchanted and distracted only momentarily, and certainly not anything that endangered my road-fellows, the anticipation of catching a glimpse of such automobile royalty caused me to retreat from cruise control in my not-so-regalious vehicle so that this mark of precision could overtake me much sooner.
As my humble carriage began to noticeably consume the road markers much more slowly, I kept glancing into my mirrors so as not to miss and confirm the sighting. And yet, for some reason, the car appeared to be struggling to overtake me. After a few minutes, and eventually going from 60 miles-per-hour to just a little more than 40, the Boxster finally matched me. It was not as I expected.
The meretriciously plastic blonde-haired aviator — big sunglasses, tanned skin, cigarette in hand — was warring with the gear shifter; grinding metal, slowing down and speeding up, doing all that she could to at least appear as though she wasn’t better suited to be driving a remote-control Porsche from Toys-R-Us that is amazingly realistic at 1:78th the size of her current ride. Okay, so maybe she could have handled an automatic.
My point: It was not what I expected. It was good, but not that good.
The nose of this edition promised a subtle sweetness, approaching in the mirror with what appeared to be sherry-dipped chocolate. Nice. Inviting. But the palate pulled up alongside and began a rather bitter gear grinding of spice that was out of sync with the nose. Again, it was acceptable, but it certainly was not aligned with The Dalmore reputation which has rung down through the ages as superb. It simply isn’t the experienced driver that the label attempts to portray.
As it was for the blonde, so it was The Dalmore 21 year old. The finish lacked the expected “smoothness” and with a somewhat medium length finish, it seemed to have trouble pulling away while it left behind jumbled hints of what it could have been — nutty, honeyed, fruity? It just couldn’t find the gear.
I own two bottles of this whisky, and I will drink them (unless of course someone would like to make me an offer), but before I get googly-eyed* about a 21 year old Dalmore, I will first take a ride in a lesser, Yugo-type whisky. (But that could be a problem, because I don’t own anything like that.) In that light, even my beater would be a step up toward enjoyment.
* I am adding this little addendum because of a few little messages I have received, and for the sake of peace and tranquility and truth. I love my wife most dearly. See my review of “Black Bottle.” It should be noted that the term “googly-eyed” was used in reference to the Porsche and was excluding the blonde completely. I like Porsches, but only from a distance as I’ll never be able to afford one. In my junior high days, together with my friends Spencer and Darin, we formed a little club called “Porsche Boys.” We had an official constitution and everything. To make my case even further that it was the car and not the woman to which the comment was directed, as a boy growing up in the 70s and 80s, while many of my friends enjoyed the television show “The Dukes of Hazzard” (and I as well), they chose posters of “Daisy Duke,” but it was the bright orange 1968 Dodge Charger we all knew so affectionately as the “General Lee” that adorned my walls. Sweet car! Honk the horn, sing “Dixie!” But Hazzard County, Georgia moonshine… Blech! You know my preference.