What’s it like to drink liquid gold

Okay, it’s not actually molten gold because that would be dangerous. It’s actually whiskey. This spirit brand was named “liquid gold” because it holds the record for selling the most expensive bottle of whiskey in the world.

In 2013, The Dalmore sold its 1951 Constellation Vintage for $350,000 (P17.5M). That’s worth roughly about four condominium units or 17 cars or 87 engagement rings or a Ferrari or 50,000 tubs of ice cream or 35,000 boxes of pizza. A bit excessive, yes, but the Scottish whiskey brand is very proud of its tradition of making the world’s most pricey single malt whiskeys.

The Dalmore Constellation Collection
The Constellation Collection consists of 21 vintage whiskeys and is worth P18M.

Recently, the luxury whiskey opened its first flagship store in the Philippines at Uptown Parade in Bonifacio Global City. It houses some of the brand’s most expensive blends including The Dalmore 50, a 50-year-old scotch dedicated to its master distiller Richard Paterson. It’s worth P3.5M and it already has an owner. The store also houses the Constellation Collection a 21-piece set composed of vintage whiskeys including a 1992, 1980, and a vintage 1964. The collection costs a whopping P18M!

But how do The Dalmore make its single malt whiskey and what makes it so luxurious? Do they have stills made of pure gold? Do they use barrels made from 100-year-old trees? Do they transport barley on the backs of legendary unicorns?

Actually, the distillation process they employ is pretty much the same as other distillers but the similarities end there. First, they use fine quality barley that comes from one supplier. In fact The Dalmore got its name from the fields near the distillery. When founder Alexander Matheson discovered the location of the distillery in Cromarty Firth, the farmlands was so extensive and impressive he named the brand Dalmore which means “big meadow” in old Scots.

The water the distillery uses comes from a loch (lake) located in the highlands of Scotland. Loch Morie’s water comes from the melting ice of nearby mountains. According to resident whiskey expert of The Dalmore for Asia Adam Knox, the rugged terrain of the highlands is what gives their whiskey that distinct character.

The Dalmore 12
The Dalmore 12 is a versatile single malt that can be paired with all sorts of food and can also be used in cocktails.

“The very rugged terrain reflects the character of our whiskey. Compared to the lowlands with a flat landscape, the whiskey produced there has a more light-bodied character. Ours is robust and full-bodied, just like our landscape,” the British expert says.

The whiskey company also uses a flat top copper stills, which is extraordinary considering that most distilleries use swan neck stills or stills with elongated necks. Knox says that this also gives their whiskey a full-bodied character.

Now, when it comes to the casks, The Dalmore probably owns some of the best in the world. And unlike other distilleries that blend together spirit aged in different casks, the process it practices is the transfer method. This means that they first age the spirit in fine oak barrels for a number of years and transfers the spirit and finish the aging process into a different cask. Its finishing casks, the Spanish Matusalem Oloroso Sherry are 30-year-old casks from Spanish sherry house Gonzales Byass. The house exclusively gives the mature casks to The Dalmore.

“We are the only distillery permitted to source this cask so it can’t be replicated,” Knox explains.

The flagship store also carries the brand’s principal collection that includes its youngest whiskey, The Dalmore 12 (P3,200). This was the whiskey we were able to sample at the special dinner pairing. This whiskey has fruity notes like mandarin and a very smooth finish with hints of chocolate. According to Knox, The Dalmore 12 is the most versatile, which can be paired with food or be used in a cocktail.

We were also able to sample the King Alexander III (P11,800), which has a darker color with citrus and caramel notes and has a spicy finish of cinnamon and ginger.

The Dalmore 12 best paired with chocolate
The Dalmore 12 is best paired with chocolate, specifically, dark chocolate

So is it worth it? Personally speaking, I will not spend that insane amount of money on whiskey alone. The Dalmore, however, proves that it does not only produces the most expensive whiskeys, it also makes the best whiskeys in the world. One thing’s for sure, they make damn good single malt whiskeys.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

The Dalmore flagship store, Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City


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