Dornoch Distillery Cask #2 & Dornoch Distillery Cask #3


Another couple of bottles from one of the more interesting new distilleries today.

Dornoch Distillery Cask #2

Region: Highlands

ABV: 58.3%

Price: £100.00 (500ml)

Cask #2 was distilled on the 5th of July 2017, and spent five years in a first fill bourbon Octave before being bottled 31st August 2022. Only 91 bottles were released.

Nose

A big hit of fruity pebbles cereal right off the bat. We're finding tinned pineapple, malt loaf and a little bit of tropical rum funkiness. It's a powerful nose, not with alcohol (although you definitely notice it), but just the depth of aromas that are very impressive. Air reveals mandarin peel, ginger cake, cream cheese frosting and cotton candy sweetness right at the end of the nose.

Palate

We're met with a spicy ginger flavour initially, moving into tropical notes of mango and fresh pineapple, and a hint of cocoa towards the latter palate. It's quite rum flavoured, overripe banana drizzled with caramel sauce and molasses. We're also finding some darker chocolate and coffee flavours start to appear as the dram opens with air. The mouthfeel is good, not overly oily but not thin and it still manages to carry the flavours well. The alcohol is a touch spicy though, you can really feel the spice and punch of the spirit.

Nose (with water)

Water opens up more of an orange essence / orange oil aroma, a little earthiness and some freshly grated nutmeg. It's still got some of those tropical fruits and ginger spice, but they're further in the background now. 

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate hasn't changed too much, we're finding richer flavours of dark brown sugar, caramelised banana and warm cinnamon spice. The mouthfeel has lost a little bit of texture, but that's nitpicking really.

Conclusion

If we were trying this blind, we'd think this was some sort of rum cask finish. It's got that Carribean funk which makes the whisky quite different (and interesting). We think we prefer the nose to the palate as we're not huge fans of those Caribbean rum flavours, but it's still really good whisky and if you like the sound of the tasting notes you'll really enjoy this. We'll go with 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10


Dornoch Distillery Cask #3

Region: Highlands

ABV: 60.0%

Price: £100.00 (500ml)

Like Cask #2, Cask #3 was distilled on the 5th of July 2017, and spent five years in a first fill bourbon Octave before being bottled 31st August 2022. Only 84 bottles were released.

Nose

We're finding lemon balm, candlewax, barley sugars, banana essence and wholemeal bread. There's also a mix of green apple skin, pears poached in white wine and green papaya. Leaving it in the glass and we're getting maltier notes, plywood and a petrol like note right in the background. The nose is punchy, but the alcohol seems in good balance overall.

Palate

The palate starts off with pineapples and cream, with a slight smokiness coming through afterwards. The palate is actually quite creamy, a good texture that coats the mouth well. We're also finding a nice citrus burst of sweetened lemon and orange, a little bit of ginger and some boiled sweets as well. The finish is has a medium length, with toasted oak, caramel and vanilla sweetness.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose gains a slight mustiness, along with chocolate covered toffee, honeycomb and light menthol notes. It's got much more of a virgin oak/bourbon typical nose than before.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has more acid, sour lemon instead of sweet, and the addition of lime pith. There's also a touch more bitter oak coming through. We'd avoid adding water, it's lost a fair bit of balance.

Conclusion

Impressive for such a young whisky, the octave maturation has imparted so much flavour into the light, esthery spirit. For such a high ABV, it's warming yet well balanced, and has a great texture to boot. We can't wait to see what a few more years will do to the Dornoch spirit, but at the moment this is an 8/10 for us.

Score: 8/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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