History of The Dalmore

The distillery of The Dalmore is housed in Alness, some 32km North of Inverness. It is located at the banks of the Cromarty Firth overlooking the Black Isle.

Legend of The Dalmore

The Dalmore sits on a legend that dates back to 1263, where Colin of Kintail, the then Chief of the clan Mackenzie, acted in good faith to save King Alexander III of Scotland from a charging stag during a hunt. Colin of Kintail killed the stag with a spear in its forehead, shouting “Cuidich ‘n’ Righ” – Gaelic for “Save the King” as he struck the killing blow. The grateful king awarded Brave Colin the lands of Eilean Donan and the motto “Luceo Non Uro” which means “I Shine, Not Burn”. Colin of Kintail and the clan of Mackenzie were also granted the right to bear a 12-pointed Royal Stag as their crest.

Establishment of The Dalmore Distillery

The distillery of The Dalmore was established in 1839 by entrepreneur Alexander Matheson. He searched for the perfect location for his distillery, but he wanted something that was different from the others. Not willing to give in to creature comforts in Speyside, where many other distilleries were located, Matheson strived to find the perfect location in which the best natural resources could be used to make the finest whisky. He finally settled on the isolated area at the banks of the Cromarty Firth, in full mercy of the harsh winds from the North Sea. On this wild uninhibited land, Matheson built everything from scratch – from warehouses to railways. This uniqueness of its founder is the reason that The Dalmore continues to have its own unique character and taste up till today.

The Mackenzie took over The Dalmore

After running The Dalmore for 28 years, Alexander Matheson wanted to pass the distillery to new owners in 1867. At this time, Andrew and Charles Mackenzie took over the helm of The Dalmore, gifting the iconic 12-pointed Royal Stag emblem to the brand. Their passion for creating exceptional whiskies fuelled a whole new era in the history of The Dalmore. That passion stands up till today, where Master Distiller Richard Paterson continues to create exceptional whiskies for The Dalmore.

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    This is How Scotch Whiskies are Categorised


    Most people would know Scotch whisky as single malts, but there are also other forms of Scotch whiskies that you should know so that you can enjoy whisky completely! In this article, we will share a little about the different categories to pip your curiosity!

    Scotch Whisky Categories

    The Scotch Whisky Regulation 2009 defined five different categories of Scotch Whisky to regulate how Scotch whiskies are made and marketed across the world. The relevant category must be labelled clearly and prominently on every bottle of Scotch whisky that are sold around the world.

    Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    A single malt Scotch whisky must be distilled in a single distillery from water and malted barley without adding any other cereals. It must be batch distilled in pot stills and bottled in Scotland.

    Single Grain Scotch Whisky

    A single grain Scotch whisky must be distilled in a single distillery from water, malted barley and the addition of whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. Some Scotch whiskies which does not comply with the definition of single malt Scotch Whisky are also labelled as a single grain Scotch whisky

    Blended Scotch Whisky

    A blended Scotch whisky is simply a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.

    Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

    A blended malt Scotch whisky is a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

    Blended Grain Scotch Whisky

    A blended grain Scotch whisky is a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

    Greater Protection for Traditional Regional Names

    The changes made in the Scotch Whisky Regulation 2009 acts as a better protection for traditional regional names that produce Scotch whiskies, that is, the names of Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown. These names can only be put on the labels of whiskies which have been wholly distilled in the regions. A distillery name cannot be used as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky that is not wholly distilled in the named distillery. Labelling of every bottle of Scotch whisky is strictly monitored so as not to mislead consumers as to where the Scotch Whisky has been distilled.

    Better Protection for Consumers

    These regulations also provide for better protection for consumers who are buying Scotch whiskies all over the world. It helps to keep fraud down to the minimum. Besides, such regulations also help consumers to better understand where each bottle of whisky came from.

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      Understanding Scotch Whisky Regions

      Scotch Whisky Regions

      For a start, we are going to talk about the Scotch Whisky regions, mainly because Scotch whiskies are so popular all over the world, including Singapore. There are originally only 4 main whisky-making regions – Highlands, Lowlands, Islay and Campbeltown. As the distilleries grew in numbers over the years, Speyside (which was originally part of the Highlands) was recognised as one of the whisky-making region on its own because of the sheer number of distilleries located in the locale. As of 2013, there were 105 distilleries located in the locale that is defined by the river Spey.

      The Islands are never recognised officially by the Scotch Whisky Association, the main authority on Scotch whiskies. However, over the years, the whisky distilleries located in the Islands are allowed to put the name of the island that the whisky is made in on the label of the bottle as long as the golden nectar is distilled wholly in Scotland. This make the whiskies in the Island known to the world and now they are unofficially known as the 6th region in Scotland.


      The different regions are generally known for the different profiles of whiskies that they made. Each region is famous for a particular type of profile since the whiskies take on the characteristics of the land they are created in. Here’s a simple description of the whisky flavours in each region.


      The Highlands are marked as the biggest whisky-making region in Scotland, hence, it is not surprisingly to find a wide range of flavours here. You get the light and fruity styles in the Southern Highlands and the more spicy and full-bodied ones in the Northern Highlands.


      Speyside is defined by the river Spey, which runs through this region and provides water to many of the distilleries located here. The whiskies made in Speyside are recognised as the most complex of the lot in Scotland and most of them carries sweet aromas and sophisticated flavour profiles.


      The Lowlands are no longer a popular location for whisky distilleries and only three distilleries are still in operation in the Lowlands – Auchentoshan, Blandoch and Glenkinchie. This area is well known for light-bodied single malt whiskies.


      Campbeltown is a seaside region is which the sea is a heavy influencer on the whiskies produced. The golden nectar from this region usually carry the sea and brine of the region as well as the peat that is popularly used in the production of whisky.


      Islay is another seaside region that is well known for its peaty and strong-flavoured whiskies. They tend to be smoky and rather extreme in taste due to the various extremities of the sea that surrounded the area.


      The Islands are a group of islands that produce whiskies that are in between the sweet aromas of the Highlands and the peaty ones of Islay.

      It is obvious that Scotch whiskies are a complicated lot, but they are interesting. We will continue to bring you new details about these beautiful liquids whenever possible, so stay tuned for more!

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        6 popular whisky myths that are just…myths

        Whisky is a mysterious drink to many people around the world. While the drink is progressively getting popular, especially in Southeast Asia, China, and parts of Southern America, many people are still wary of whisky. Some of the most arguable points in whisky are possibly how to drink it, when to drink it, at what age should you start appreciating whisky and what sex you have to be if you want to drink whisky.

        All these myths are negative ideologies that give reasons why people should NOT drink whisky. To drive home the point, you just need to examine the parts of the world where whisky is getting popular, and you will see that those areas do not subscribe to whisky myths like those above. That is possibly the only real reason why whisky is so popular in these countries.

        Whisky is not an elitist drink, neither is it a drink just for men. It is a complex and flavourful drink that can impress even the most knowledgeable man and woman. Let’s see some of the whisky myths and blast them away with facts!

        Whisky is old-fashioned

        Maybe the scenes of old movies in which a group of men in tweed suits, holding glasses of golden spirits and muttering to one other about peat and flavours come to mind whenever you think about whisky? It is considered as old-fashioned, irrelevant and unable to catch up to the modern world. However, if you would just look at the whisky bars that are springing up one after another in Singapore today, and you will realise that more and more young people are starting to appreciate the complexity of the drink. Just as the clubs are mixing whisky cocktails for the party-goers, the whisky bars of the modern world are serving up drams of excellent whiskies in almost any way that it can be drank – neat, with an ice ball, with ice cubes, with water, or perhaps as a highball. Whisky is not old-fashioned, but our mindset might be.

        Whisky is too strong a drink for women

        That is probably a sexist remark in today’s world. If you walk into a whisky bar today, you may find that many of the knowledgeable bartenders are women. If women are too weak for whisky, why are the bartenders women? To entertain the men? Absolutely not! You will be surprised at what these women bartenders drink if you dare to ask! Besides, there are many women now who enjoy whisky, and possibly drink more than the men. Whisky is for everyone, and definitely not a drink exclusively reserved for men.

        Whisky should be drunk neat

        This is furthest from the fact. Whisky is a versatile drink. It can be drunk neat, but it can also be enjoyed with a splash of water, with an ice ball, with ice cubes, as a cocktail and as a highball. There are so many people in this world who does not know that whisky can be drank in any of these forms! Some old timers are so fixated on drinking it neat that they did not fully appreciate what a dash of water can do to open up the flavours of their well-loved whiskies. Newcomers are usually put off by the sharp taste of whisky when drank neat. Without knowing that whisky can be drank in other ways, these people tried whisky once and never try it again. Isn’t that a perfect waste?

        Whisky is an after-dinner drink

        Whisky might be an after-dinner drink during the Victorian era, where gentlemen retired to the gentlemen’s den for whiskies and cigar, while the ladies return to their chit-chats in the parlour. It is however, the 21st century now, and hardly anyone ever drink whisky after dinner due to the drink-no-drive policies and reluctance of restaurants to serve digestifs after dinner. This makes whisky a drink that can be drank before dinner, at parties and as a late night snack! Just ask those whisky lovers around the world!

        Single malts are better than blended whisky

        This is the one single thing that many people adhere to almost anywhere we go. This could be due to the price tags that are attached to the single malts. Blended whiskies are generally cheaper; hence, it is labelled as inferior, rough, cheap and a dilution of strong character. We need to stop comparing single malts and blended whiskies, because they are different from each other. While single malts are popular because of certain well-known brands, blended whiskies have their fan base too. In fact, in new markets such as China and Vietnam, the whisky lovers sees whisky as blended. Single malts and blend each have their own distinctive characters, complexities and flavours. Comparing the two of them is just like comparing apples and oranges – they are simply not the same, and should be appreciated differently.

        Scotland makes the best whisky


        If you still believe this, you probably stayed in an ice cave all these while! While Scotch is undisputedly the largest whisky producer, it is definitely a mistake to associate it as the producer of the best whisky. Just check out Irish whiskies with their sweet, juicy drinkability and Japan, whose precise, complex single malts have won awards in recent years. How about Taiwan? She is slowly but steadily building whiskies that are flavourful and complex, winning awards and fans along the way. There is probably no “best whisky” since the appreciation of whisky is subjective to individual preferences.

        Whisky is therefore, a drink that is for everyone. Appreciating and understanding whisky may take time, but we promise that it will be a journey that you will hugely enjoy! So, sit back, relax, rise your glass and say slainte!

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          Whisky Review #07 – House of Hazelwood – 25 Years Old Expression


          The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s classic elegance of Shanghai, a city that stood at the centre of Cathay elegance in the 1920s. This expression is the pride of the Master Blender as every single malt that earned its place in his final selection are rare in their own ways. All these prized single malts are then married in American oak. The complex and diverse flavours are then allowed sufficient time to infuse and mellow, resulting in a magnificent whisky that is at once rare and unique.

          Tasting Notes:

          Colour: Amber
          ABV: 40%

          Nose: We get hit by refreshing caramelised brown sugar at first waft followed by variants of vanilla, maple and soft spice. Hints of freshly sawn wood adds to the complexity while citrus zest and orange blossoms lingers in the background. (16 points)

          Palate: A pleasant combination of spice and sweet vanilla rolls off the tongue as we sipped. The spice adds a tingling to the tongue while the sweetness of vanilla softens the sharpness of the spice. (15 points)

          Body: While it may not be as well balanced as the 21 years old expression, this expression adds points to the body by keeping true to its sweet vanilla overtones in both the nose and the palate, making it a pleasant and luxurious drink. (32 points)

          Finish: Long and yet dry, the 25 years old expression lingers long in the mouth with the hint of sawn wood. (17 points)

          Total Grade: 80 points

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            Whisky Review #06 – House of Hazelwood 21 Years Old Expression

            The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s sultry beauty of Mumbai. This expression is the bolder, slightly spicier version of the 18 years old expression, making it a more robust and well balanced whisky. The special notes for this whisky is the addition of some 21 years old malts which were aged in sherry casks made of European oak.

            Colour: Dark Gold
            ABV: 40%

            Nose: Spice and dried fruits dominates the nose with a somewhat sticky sweetness of rich fruit cakes. A splash of water changes the nose and adds complexity to the whisky by bringing a subtle hint of tobacco leaf. (16 points)

            Palate: A bold taste of woody spice coupled with cinnamon and clove hits our tongues immediately with the first sip. To bring out the influence of the sherry casks, a splash of water is needed. Water changes the palate a little, bringing out the sweet oiliness of treacle, dates and polished leather. (16 points)

            Body: A more robust expression than the 18 years old, this whisky delivers in its palate what is promised on the nose. A well balanced whisky with a little bite. (34 points)

            Finish: Dry but short finish, the spiciness does not stay long in the mouth, making it pleasant to drink. (17 points)

            Total Grade: 83 points

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              Whisky Review #05 – House of Hazelwood 18 Years Old Expression


              The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s classic elegance of Paris, this expression releases a classic and elegant whisky blended from the purest expression of Kininvie and Girvan spirits married in Portuguese oak.

              Colour: Soft Gold
              ABV: 40%

              Nose: The tender notes of sweet vanilla waft up the nose and stays dominant for the whole time. Possibly the simplest nose with just soft oak to add to the complexity. (15 points)

              Palate: Creamy toffee with a soft sweetness of vanilla gently rolls through the tongue as we sipped. The sweetness is enhanced by soft oak undertones, making this whisky gentle and approachable, but yet defined by age. (17 points)

              Body: The body of this whisky is balanced and consistent. Light and luxurious in feel as compared to other blended whiskies. (30 points)

              Finish: A long and elegant finish with lingering vanilla and oak undertones. A thoroughly enjoyable whisky. (17 points)

              Total Grade: 79 points

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                Exclusive Whisky Pairing Event: House of Hazelwood

                WhiskyGeeks is very honoured to be invited to an exclusive whisky pairing event by William Grant and Sons on 3 July 2017. Held at Violet Oon at the National Gallery, this is a media-only event that introduced their vivacious new blended Scotch whisky inspired by the family luminary Ms Janet Sheed Roberts.

                This new range of whisky is named the House of Hazelwood. Composed of three exquisite expressions, each of them is blended to perfection, with its own inspiring story to tell. While all three whiskies are inspired by the 1920s, each whisky lives to tell a story of a different country. The most distinguished 25 years old is a representation of 1920s Shanghai, and a source of pride for its creator, Master Blender Brian Kinsman. It is followed by the 21 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Mumbai and the 18 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Paris.

                This event is a whisky pairing session, which means food is served. As the event is held in Singapore, the organisers proudly paired the whiskies with Peranakan food.

                While the whiskies are not paired with every serving of the food, WhiskyGeek enjoyed the selection of Peranakan food that was paired with the whiskies. Having attended many different whisky pairing sessions, it is in our opinion that blended whiskies are best paired with spicy food because the rich flavours of spicy food brings out the taste and flavours of blended whiskies, and vice versa.

                Food aside, let’s talk a little bit more about the whiskies. WhiskyGeeks’ opinion is that all three expressions have their own distinct characters but their similarity lies in their light but luxurious feel. From the packaging to the decanter to the whisky itself, all three expression exude luxury and exclusiveness. Personally, we prefer the 21 years old expression as compared to the other two variants as we find the bolder, spicer taste more robust and balanced. You can find the detailed tasting notes of the three expressions in our tasting notes section – The Liquid Gold.  Blended whiskies have their characters too, and can be better than some of the single malts that we have in the market right now.

                The packaging themselves are inspirations from the three mesmeric cities that are forerunners of the Art Deco movement – Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai. The designs are focused on creating a unique visual leitmotif which is associated with each city.

                The House of Hazelwood was launched exclusively in the Global Travel Retail in February last year. With an ABV of 40%, all three variants are available in a 50cl art-deco decanter style bottle and you can find them only at the exclusive retailers in Singapore Changi Airport. Remember to grab them if you are travelling anytime soon or they will soon be gone!

                More about William Grant and Sons, Ltd and Janet Sheed Roberts

                William Grant and Sons, Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. The oldest family-owned luxury spirit company of Scotland is run by the fifth generation of his family today and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich, The Balvenie  range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s along with iconic premium spirits brands Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky, Drambuie and Milagro Tequila.

                The House of Hazelwood is created  by William Grant and Sons, Ltd, inspired by both their ancestor Ms Janet Sheed Roberts and the Hazelwood House, a sturdy house that was bought by the Gordon family back in the early 1020s.. Janet Sheed Roberts united  the Grants and Gordon families, and became the undisputed matriarch of William Grants and Sons. She found her love for whisky from her grandfather while living in the Hazelwood House, travelled extensively and became the epitome of the progressive era-defining attitude of women in the 1920s and 30s.

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                  The Handy Guide to WhiskyGeeks’ Tasting Notes


                  We must emphasise that whisky tasting is subjective and every whisky blog has a different opinion on the whiskies that they have written about. While there might have been similarities, there will always be something that we might not agree on. The same could be said between us and you, as our readers. Perhaps the whiskies that we love and grade highly taste horrid to you; or the whisky that you absolutely adore is trashed by us. None of us is right, but none of us is wrong either! Remember, it is always subjective!

                  Nonetheless, we would like provide you with a handy guide so that you can easily use our tasting notes as a way to help you decide if you might like or dislike the whiskies you want to try. Our tasting notes are simply broken down to the following:

                  1. Nose
                  2. Body / Structure
                  3. Palate
                  4. Finish

                  Grading is done using the following:

                  1. Nose – 20 points
                  2. Body / Structure – 40 points
                  3. Palate – 20 points
                  4. Finish – 20 points

                  With a total of 100 points, we will use the above grading system to determine whether we think the whisky is good in our opinions. The reason that we give the body a much higher weightage is because we believe that the body of a whisky is a determining factor to whether the whisky is a good one.

                  We will also talk sightly about the colour, the alcohol content and the packaging whenever these information is available to us.

                  We hope that this simple guide is useful for you when reading our whisky tasting notes! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any comments, questions or feedback.

                  Thank you!

                  The WhiskyGeeks

                  Whisky Review #04 – The Macallan Ruby (NAS)


                  The Macallan Ruby is the last of the four whiskies in the 1824 Series and is considered the crown jewel of the lot. Having the richest and deepest colour in the range, the Ruby is majestic to behold. Matured and aged in the finest sherry casks, its appearance is natural; the colour and flavours are drawn directly from the casks.

                  Tasting Notes:

                  Colour: The darkest and richest red that a whisky can give, the Ruby is almost dark mahogany as we hold it up to the light.
                  ABV: 43%

                  Nose: We get strong European oak almost immediately before hints of rich, dried fruits and a trickle of treacle creep in to tickle our noses. The subtle sweetness of the dried fruits does not last and the oak reasserts itself quickly. It is burnished and matured, something that Geek Spice and Geek Choc appreciate. (15 points)

                  Palate: Ginger, nutmeg and resin rush in the moment the liquid touches the mouth, giving a rather sharp taste. Orange, sultana and raisins take over with their subtle sweetness to soften the taste, before we taste a subtle hint of clove before it is gone. The final winner is oak as we swallow. (15 points)

                  Body: A balanced whisky that deliver what the nose promised. Definitely a more assertive whisky than Macallan Sienna, the balanced body takes its time to reassert the strong oak character. (30 points)

                  Finish: A long and lingering finish that is reflective of the palate. Strong and definitive; suitable for those who loves a long finish. (16 points)

                  Total Grade: 76 points

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