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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Aurora Of The Lion

It's been quite a week in the life of Richard Paterson. Firstly congratulations to him for an extraordinary 40 years working in whisky, a sentiment, which i'm sure most of you will share. Secondly, congratulations on winning Whisky Magazine's Icon's Of Whisky 2011 Ambassador Of The Year. I'm told that there were a few 'tashed up impersonators spotted floating round Whisky Live and clearly 'The Nose' (and 'tash') has become a whisky institution.

But facial hair elegance aside, last week Richard was back doing what he does best and introducing a small assembled crowd gathered at London's Selfridges to another of his recent creations- Dalmore Aurora.

Richard, with one of
Dalmore's 'big' stills

After taking the group through several other Dalmore expressions, including the 15yo (lots of dark orange peel and drying spices) and the sublime Gran Reserva (a superb balance of woody, cigarbox cedar n' spice and fruity undertones) it was time for the main event, which saw Richard mounting a table, regaling attendees with the story of the distillery, its stills (described by Richard as 'big bastards') and the behind-the-scenes making of Aurora- taking its name from the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. The spirit began life on the 29th April 1964 and the remaining contents of the cask (which we believe was originally an Oloroso sherry butt?) are now decanted into just 200 bottles. Would Aurora be a delightful 'Dance Of The Spirits' on the tastebuds, or a limp version of David Brent's Disco moves....

Dalmore Aurora - 45yo - 45% - limited to 200 bottles

Nose: Superb sweet, floral plums, into sweetened licorice, rich bonfire toffee, ferns and ripe red apples. There is also a hint of musty dunnage warehouses, indicating that this is an old beast indeed. (the whisky, not RP... ;-) )

Palate: Very dry, mouth coating with cocoa beans, lavender floral notes, wax, leather and spicy tobacco notes. There could also be a hint of something peaty in here, just a wisp mind...

Finish: Huge, powerful and lengthy, with a crescendo of mint humbugs.

Overall: Impressive, not too over-oaked or woody, with a very eloquent spicy story to tell. Very much like its creator then... ;-) At £3000, this isn't going to be on everyone's bottle lists at christmas, especially with so many super, super premium bottlings available- including the Highland Park 1970 vintage, forthcoming 50yo Highland Park and Bowmore's 40yo. There's now another competitor in this field, dancing to a merry tune.