Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Prince or the Pauper? Dalmore King Alexander III

Monarchy is something that divides people. There are those who see the divine appointment of a despot as a sword in the side of the people; a system of oppression and feudal poverty to be overthrown by a popular (and smelly) movement of the peasants ahem… people. To others monarchy is something magical, they see it as a world of chivalry, glamour and Prince Harry’s glorious red cheeks. Whatever your views are on monarchy it is hard to get away from the connotations of knights in armour and gallant kings riding into battle or pulling swords out of standing stones. If anything the ideas of monarchy are an escape from reality, an escape to a world of wealth and adventure, and this is exciting. Furthermore the tales of damsels in distress and dragons with heartburn become part of the rich tapestry of our history, albeit mythical.

The whisky world is also rife with the tales of kings, notably the Highland Park Earl Magnus series, which traces the story of Earl Magnus and his canonization followed by his murder at the hands of his dastardly cousin Earl Haakon the bloodthirsty Viking. Another whisky that has royal pedigree is the Dalmore, in particular the King Alexander III bottling, and it’s story is quite impressive. In 1263 an ancestor of the Mackenzie Clan saved Alexander III from being gored to death by a mighty stag with a single arrow. It was because of this courageous act that the Mackenzie’s were given permission to use the stag’s head on their coat of arms forever more. In turn, the Mackenzie’s affiliation with the Dalmore has led to the stag’s head adorning their sturdy bottles. However the question is, how regal are their whiskies? Well the King Alexander III expression certainly has a lot to say for itself having been matured in six types of wood: Wine, Madeira, Bourbon, Marsala and Port, plus two types of Sherry wood. In addition, it comes in suitably ornate packaging, so does it live up to its ancestry?

King Alexander III 
40% - No Age Statement – Dalmore
Nose: Incredibly rich stewed red berries, spiced rum, classic Dalmore orange, dark chocolate, and a hint of pinot noir.
Palate: Very spicy with nutmeg and cinnamon, orange zest and Christmas cake, with a surprisingly light mouth feel.
Finish: Oak is clearly present on the finish but having been matured in six types of wood is this surprising? The finish is also fairly creamy with a liqueur quality and a tannic vinous edge, with pepper playing out to the end.
Overall: A regal malt indeed. However I found the nose to be more majestic than the light palate, which I found disappointing. It wasn’t that the palate was in any way poor just light in comparison to the big spicy nose, like the nose is the prince and the palate the pauper. A whisky for further consideration certainly.

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