Hart Brothers – Dalmore 2012

While I was excitedly telling people there would be an independent bottled Dalmore in my next explorers pack, the responses were quite mixed. More than once I got the question: Do you know for sure it doesn’t have added colouring? Yes, the Dalmore has a bit of a bad reputation amongs die hard whisky fans. But perhaps their core range just isn’t aimed at whisky afficionados per se, that doesn’t necessarily mean the spirit that comes from their stills isn’t up to snuff. Something this Hart Brothers Dalmore 2012 can proof to us all.

Personally, I don’t mind the Dalmore at all. In fact, I believe they make some amazing whiskies. But the fact that it’s mostly chill-filtered, coloured, bottled at a low ABV, and comes with a premium price tag puts me off a bit as well. But then there’s this Hart Brothers bottling, which takes away all those aspects. It’s reasonably priced, natural colour, unchill-filtered, and bottled at cask strength. What more can a whisky fan like myself want?

Tasting Notes: Hart Brothers – Dalmore 2012

ABV: 55,6% (111,2 proof)

Age: 11 years old

Distillery: Dalmore Distillery

Bottled by: Hart Brothers

Cask: First Fill Ex-Burgundy Cask

Category: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Picture by @peaty.dominique

Literally the first thing that popped in my head while nosing this dram was: this is lovely! You barely notice the high ABV at all, and there’s so much complexity. Fresh baked apple pie and cinnamon rolls, mulled wine with oranges and cloves, gingerbread and a steaming hot “hot toddy”. It’s all there to savour and explore.

Mocha, dark chocolate, and dried cranberries. Coffee, liquorice, and strawberry marmalade. Walnut, pecans, and port syrup. The palate is without a doubt as complex as the nose has promised us. The high ABV is noticeable here, but it’s still very much drinkable as is. The mouthfeel is almost creamy. This dram goes down like a charm!

This dram has a long finish with notes of tiramisu, and freshly ground coffee that linger. There are also some creamy notes that remain, vaguely reminiscent of a well-made panna cotta. Some tannins appear near the end, but only barely. This is one to savour for a long time after the last sip.

As enthusiastic as I was to try this independently bottled Dalmore, the Hart Brothers surely didn’t let me down. This is some absolutely amazing stuff and I’m suspecting my own bottle won’t last me very long. This bottling is also a great example of the amazing contribution independent bottlers bring to the whisky industry. No matter how much you think to know about a distillery, it’s the independents that will manage to surpass your expectations time and time again!

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