It’s worth noting that the collection has been created by Richard ‘The Nose’ Paterson, who is Whyte & Mackay’s talented (and world-renowned) master blender – and according to the blurb here, each expression is different and reflects the character of Scotland’s four greatest salmon rivers.
I have to be honest here: I don’t taste the character of the Spey river in this particular dram, and I didn’t taste any other river characters in the other drams – but this is a metaphorical reflection rather than a literal one, which I suppose is a good thing. I suspect I wouldn’t enjoy a whisky that literally reflected the character of a salmon river, no matter how pristine and well-preserved, quite as much as I enjoy these Dalmore drams.
All that said – on with the Spey. And as much as it’s a fine whisky, this is further up the floral end of the spectrum than you might ordinarily associate with a Speyside whisky – and that’s because it’s not a Speyside. Being a Dalmore means that it’s a Highlands whisky, regardless of how much of the spirit of the Spey the expression metaphorically reflects.
There’s a light note of jasmine on the nose, and not much of anything else. Perhaps a little lavender. The palate is fairly unchallenging – sweet and subtle with hints of macadamia and marzipan – and while the finish isn’t abrupt, it is rather light with just a touch of pepper and bergamot.
Rather disappointingly, since this is the Rivers Collection I’m finishing on, this is for me the least of them. Still, if you wanted to make a contribution to the upkeep of the Spey river – or indeed all of the rivers – or if you wanted to collect the set, this would certainly be one to get. But for my money, if you’re choosing just one of the four – go for the Dee dram, which was the second one I tasted.
I still have a sample of Dalmore to try that came in the same box, but it’s not one of the Rivers Collection. This is the one I’ve been saving for best: the Dalmore Castle Leod… and I’ll be tasting that one in a couple of days time. Look forward to that one.