What’s in a decade? This collection follows the long and rich history of the luxury Scotch whisky brand
For a lot of people, a year—365 days or 8,760 hours—already seems like a long, long time. Two years, especially amid a global health crisis, feels like an eternity. What more a decade, which in itself is a marker for a period in a person’s life? Many things happen in 10 years. In like manner, some events occur only every after 10 years, such as the blooming of rare flowers in California’s Death Valley National Park, or the river of fog in the Grand Canyon caused by a rare weather phenomenon known as temperature inversion. Then there’s a generation, made up of two to three decades. And so, a decade is truly momentous.
Among the whisky world’s most sought-after and celebrated brands, The Dalmore is auctioning off its Decades No. 6 Collection, a once-in-a-lifetime selection of exceptional spirits that, as the name suggests, spans six decades.
“If The Dalmore was a Rolls-Royce, the Decades No. 6 Collection is a golden Rolls-Royce,” says master distiller of the luxury Scotch brand, Richard Paterson. Each of the crystal decanters carry the highland single malt distillery’s pursuit of excellence.
From one of its oldest liquors to its first concoction in the new Millennium, Decades No. 6 honors the 180-year-strong legacy of the company, its creators, the stories behind each bottle, and the chance to own these iconic pieces of history.
Richard has been on a mission over the past 50 years to push the boundaries of whisky production, as he sought to optimize potential over time. The collection is his personal selection and a culmination of his custody of the exceptionally rare casks the distillery enjoys.
In six decades, Richard has had his watchful eye over their superlative inventory of rare whiskies, giving them guidance to mature and reach their full potential in the finest casks sourced all over the globe. “Each bottle marks a very special milestone in the brand’s history and has a unique story to tell, which I hope the lucky collector will enjoy with those closest to them. If the last year has taught us anything, it is that life is to be enjoyed now,” says the pioneer in the art of cask curation, speaking to a select few journalists over a video conference earlier this month. “This collection is a memento of our 180-year history in the making. We are proud to share the pinnacle of six decades of whisky making, the result of potential earned and honed over time.”
The Dalmore is truly a masterpiece in the making, according to head of Whisky Discovery Kieran Healey-Ryder. “And it takes time to become a masterpiece,” he said in his opening remarks. “We are in a really special place up in the distillery for our whiskies to be made. It is there [Alness, Scotland] our whiskies lie in carefully curated wooden casks, not just many years, but decades, decades in which we celebrate with you now.”
Here’s what comprises the one-of-one, six-bottle collection.
The Dalmore Decades 1951
One of the oldest whiskies ever released by the brand, this 60-year-old single malt has been matured in twin sherry casks. It has whispers of black treacle, ginger spice, as well as cocoa powder. It is the last of the whisky distilled during the Mackenzie era. The heritage of the Mackenzie family, the founders of the distillery, enables The Dalmore to proudly display the 12-point royal stag on every bottle.
Expertly composed spirit
The Dalmore Decades 1967
The elegant 53-year-old single malt was laid down in 1967, a landmark year in which the stillhouse as it stands today was created. Its final maturation in a Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine barrique provides complex, but wonderfully intriguing layers of clementine, tangy ground coffee, and muscovado.
Curating exquisite casks
The Dalmore Decades 1979
A tribute to the longstanding relationship between González Byass and The Dalmore. The 1979 has enjoyed maturation in a particularly fine Matusalem Oloroso sherry butt before a final maturation in a Graham’s Port Vintage 1952, one of Port’s rarest vintages. The resulting 40-year-old single malt has exuberant sultanas and toasted pistachios, and ends in pleasant notes of maple syrup, pineapple, and succulent dates.
‘If The Dalmore was a Rolls-Royce, the Decades No. 6 Collection is a Golden Rolls-Royce.’
Unbroken chain of visionaries
The Dalmore Decades 1980
The ’80s marked Richard Paterson’s arrival at The Dalmore and his tutelage by the last Mackenzie. Like his predecessor, Paterson’s long-standing tenure embodies a commitment to the vision of the distillery established nearly two centuries ago.
The 40-year-old spirit reverses the traditional maturation the brand is known for. The whisky moves from Bourbon casks into Matusalem sherry butts then spends over five years back in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks before bottling. Doing so brings renewed life and vivacity to the alcohol. The 1980 promises beautifully orchestrated single malt layers, which include a gentle whisper of bitter chocolate, marzipan, and cocoa powder.
A star is born
The Dalmore Decades 1995
The ’90s ushered in the creation of the iconic minimalist bell-shaped bottle, its sinuous curves echoing the voluptuous shape of the stills through which the distillery’s matchless spirit runs. Matured in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in spectacular Tintilla de Rota port pipes, it offers a burst of glazed nectarines, red berries, frangipane, and moist pecan pie on the palate, building to a triumphal finish.
Into the new Millennium
The Dalmore Decades 2000
On Saturday, first of January 2000, at 12:02 a.m., as the world saw the dawn of a new age, The Dalmore distillers were at their posts securing a notable achievement. The first in Scotland to run the new spirit off the stills in the third millennium, officially witnessed just minutes after midnight.
Maybe the most distinctive of all, Decades 2000 has spent all 20 years of its life in a Matusalem Oloroso sherry butt in a radical departure from the distillery’s practice. Rare and intriguing, black maraschino cherry and bitter chocolate drench the palate, as well as a final kiss of licorice and tarte Tatin ebbs slowly in the background. It may have taken two decades to conceive, but its exceptional quality can be recognized in a matter of seconds.
A significant percentage of the sale will be donated to Scotland’s design museum and V&A Dundee, the first V&A Museum outside of London. The Dalmore recently divulged its long-term commitment to the design and creative sectors via its four-year partnership with Scotland’s first design museum. In a world-first collaboration, the fastest-growing luxury single malt whisky is working with design museums to champion and nurture creative talent. The relationship is anchored on an unyielding quest for excellence as champions of Scottish culture, and in exporting shared purpose, talent, and stories. The four-year collaboration allows V&A Dundee and The Dalmore to curate and advocate for exceptional design on a global scale.
Only one set is available in the market and can be found via Sotheby’s website. A live auction will be held in Hong Kong this Oct. 8, 11 a.m. H.K.T, as part of the brand’s Autumn Sales series. www.thedalmore.com | www.sothebys.com/wine