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The Dalmore 21 Year Old: 5 things to know about our whisky of the month

A stunning whisky that is subtle in its superiority.

The Dalmore 21 Year Old: 5 things to know about our whisky of the month
Marc Chacksfield
26 August 2022

There are special editions of whisky and then there are special editions. The Dalmore 21 Year Old is very much the latter.

The big news of late in the whisky world is that The Dalmore has committed to the next five years to have a permanent 21 year old whisky. Called the Principal Collection, it's a pinnacle of what the distillery can offer.

To put this into context, it comes just a year after Master Distiller Richard Paterson received an OBE for his whisky-based endeavours.

And, let's be honest, the '21 year' will mean a whole new batch of coming-of-age folk will hopefully be given a whisky that they will cherish for years to come. While it's not quite a key to the door, we'd bet more on whisky right now than the housing market.

While we at ShortList are well past the age of 21, we were lucky enough to be given tasting access to this rare whisky release.

Here are 5 things we learned about Dalmore 21 Year Old 2022 Edition...

1. The gift box is jaw dropping

We love the dedication that's been put into the gift box that comes with the Dalmore 21 Year Old 2022 edition. It's a sturdy, imposing box that has a material latch which you pull and the bottle appears through a brilliant revolving door.

Now, we would love to say that the door reminded us of the revolving door of The Ritz in its hey day but our modern mind was reminded more of the seats on The Voice, when they spin around when the judges are impressed. We weren't the ones spinning around but we were still utterly impressed.

The gift box is a lovely, inspired way of introducing the whisky within, complete with an embossed 12-point stag logo that The Dalmore prides itself upon.

As for the bottle, 2022 is etched on to it so this is certainly one for those looking to gift if the year is special to you.

2. It's not just 21, the number 30 is important

While 21 years is a stunning amount of maturation for a whisky, 30 is a key year for The Dalmore, too. Rare 30 Year Old Matusalem oloroso sherry casks were hand-selected by The Dalmore. They got these from González Byass, residing in Jerez, in Andalusia. This cask partnership has lasted over a century between the pair and is integral to the liquid within the barrels. Impressive. Most impressive.

3. This 21 Year Old is in good company

Wisely, The Dalmore has the same DNA as some of the other whiskies available from Dalmore. While 21 years is at the top, there is also an 18 Year Old, 15 Year Old and 12 Year Old in the Principle Collection.

The Dalmore 21 Years: 5 things to know about our whisky of the month

4. The taste is moreish (but should be savoured)

Yep, we are probably one of the few that will tuck into the Dalmore 21 Year Old 2022 edtion (seriously, you need to keep this one for a special occasion) but this is one whisky that does not disappoint.

Our immediate reaction was the lack of heat. The years of maturity have created a mellow whisky with just a wisp of warmth. It makes for a fantastic sip, offering more than we were expecting and it mellowed even more through our taste testing.

And then there's the smell. A deep sniff offers chocolate orange. Again, no nostril singeing here - mere wafts of chocolate and a bitter coffee hint that's cut with a touch of apple acidity.

5 Taste and taste again

We are well aware of the price of the Dalmore 21 Year Old. At over £500, we are talking about £20 a dram but, boy, do you get what you pay for.

We've already mentioned the chocolate orange aroma, but this soon replaced with a darker taste. We got a caramel feel, with richer fruits. Dark cherries and more stone fruits came to mind, with a touch of brandy burned away.

The finish cuts through the rest. It's cleaner, with a sweet sharpness - a touch of grapefruit that adds to the warmth of the dram.

The Dalmore 21 Year Old Edition: final verdict

It's been a long time since we were 21 but this whisky made us feel as alive as we did then.

A beautiful warmth is complemented by a swathe of fruit favours. This isn't one for those who want some smoke, but there is touch of burnt caramel to proceedings.

Couple this taste with a gift box that has the wow factor and we are utterly impressed with the The Dalmore 21 Years 2022 Edition. So much so we are a touch disappointed that we had to spoil things to taste test.

But that does mean when you eventually do your own taste test, you won't be disappointed.

The The Dalmore 21 Years 2022 Edition is available now for £575, with one available per customer.

  • If you are looking for something a little more affordable, then head to our best whisky guide.