Review: Dalmore, 1990 Rum Cask Cadenhead’s

Dalmore Caden

Dalmore – 24yo 1990 Cadenhead’s Rum Cask

(Distilled 1990, bottled July 2015, in a rum cask since 2006, 468 bottles, 54.9%)

I will admit to a certain scepticism about wacky cask finishing (ACEing or finessing or whatever you would like to call it). I’m a simple soul at heart, and I don’t like monkey business. Having said that – indie Dalmore (see note below) is usually a solid deal, Cadenhead’s bottle some great rums (I assume this was finished in one of their own casks), and nine years in a rum cask is somewhat different from sticking some sub-standard juice into a cask that’s had a bit of sherry briefly splashed around in it. So, I will approach this with optimism and a spring in my step.

Nose: Immediately there’s a charred sugarcane rumminess going on, and beyond that just loads and loads of oranges. Then, huh, some metallic notes (copper, freshly cleaned with Brasso) and something earthy and dirty. Bit Campbeltown, actually. There’s some tropical fruit too, again a bit dirty and fetid – hints of durian maybe. After a while in the glass some green leafiness emerges.
Taste: Big, thick, syrupy and chewy mouthfeel. Wow. There’s still lots of orange, combined with the dense and dark semi-sweetness of unrefined sugar, and then some scorched smokiness. It’s quite an oily, dirty (that word again) sort of smokiness, with some Army & Navy sweets mixed in. After the arrival it becomes very menthol-ish suddenly, even a bit minty, and then…
Finish: …a big wave of smoky liquorice. It’s very slightly salty too, like a mix of Pontefract cakes and Salmiak. Lingers for a good long while on that, combined with treacle toffee and tangerine peel.

I wasn’t too sure about the nose on this, but it really works on the palate. The finish in particular works hugely well, with a lovely long slow development and enough freshness to keep all the big, bold, dark flavours from becoming too much. The best rum-finished whisky I’ve had: recommended.

(Note #1: I recently spoke to a chap from Dalmore who told me that they no longer provide whisky to independent bottlers, so bottlings like this are likely to become increasingly rare in the future.)

(Note #2: I’ve been informed that this was matured in a 1970s demerara rum cask. Thanks to @zenlabyrinth)

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