Think of a whisky snob. For me it conjures up a stuffy, plummy voiced person, bespoke Saville row suit (more Gieves and Hawkes than Kilgour), lots of rules about how you have to do this or do that, they’d probably tell you that if you put ice in your whisky they’ll kill you. They’d probably do something stupid like throw whisky on the floor to “season the glass”. They’d be Robert Paterson. How is he not treated as the clown of whisky? The Ronald McDonald of Dalmore? He gave himself a nickname of “The nose” for God sake. What more does it take?!
Dalmore title their website “Luxury whisky”. Even Macallan don’t go that far and God knows they’ve released some shite in their time. Their gaudy bottles, from their 40% abv to their heavy use of E150 just scream “buy me if you have no taste”, in both senses of the word.
At the height of the whisky bubble Dalmore released the constellation collection, a collection of single casks that makes me want to punch something every time I remember it exists. What was special about the constellation collection? Nothing. It was a collection of single casks of Dalmore. What was wrong with constellation? The price. It was insulting. The 1989 came out at £3235 a bottle. A single cask independent 1989 Dalmore goes for £186, that’s a 1639% increase. Ah yes, but don’t all distilleries put a premium on their official releases. Yes, they do. Port Ellen attracts a 80% increase. Ardbeg 21 a 50% increase. Macallan 25 is a 50% increase. 1639% is just “let’s take the piss out of our customers” increase. Ah yes, but this was an investment, you’re not supposed to think of it like that. If it was an investment, it was a particularly poor one. Various bottles have come up for auction. They’ve taken an absolute battering. The twenty bottles I’ve seen came with a combined loss for the owner of £74,032. If you have that kind of money to burn just buy decent whisky and drink it.
Dalmore’s owners, Whyte and Mackay have been sold eight times since 1971, an average stay with their new owners of just over five years a time. They also own Jura, a distillery with distinct potential which has been under performing for years. Perhaps this is the reason they feel the need to continually cash in and grab money, ready for the next sale. Of course, the ultimate rebuttal must be that they’re a business, and they can do what they like. They are and they can. But I’m a consumer and I can say, and buy what I like. It certainly won’t be Dalmore.