What It’s Like to Taste ‘120 Years of The Dalmore,’ New York’s Most Expensive Whisky Flight

Lineup of whisky bottles
The “120 Years of The Dalmore” flight features four rare pours of the fabled Highland single malt: 25 Year, 35 Year, 40 Year, and Constellation Collection 1991, bottled at 20 years old. Kenneth Ho

What’s your whisky budget? No matter how high, it probably doesn’t exceed your monthly rent or mortgage payment. New York residents statewide pay an average monthly rent of just under $1,600 for a one-bedroom apartment. But they could divert those funds to indulge in Manhattan’s most expensive whisky flight, currently on offer at Fine & Rare: “120 Years of The Dalmore.” The total cost? A mere $1,850, before tax and tip.

We know, we know, there are endless other ways to blow the dough: You could stock up on your favorite splurges, buy antique bottles at auction, or just spend it all in one sitting on a select set of rare pours at a whisky bar all too happy to take your money in exchange for a lineup of Staggs or a few drams of Macallan older than you.

But trust us, “120 Years of The Dalmore” is truly worth the exorbitant price tag. Given its propensity for long aging and concomitant high prices, single malt scotch usually takes the top spot for spendiest whisky on the bar. Set a few high-end scotches together in a flight and the price tag really balloons.

“120 Years of The Dalmore” Earns the Distinction of Most Expensive Whisky Flight in New York

The “120 Years of The Dalmore” flight features four rare pours of the fabled Highland single malt: 25 Year, 35 Year, 40 Year, and Constellation Collection 1991, bottled at 20 years old. In totality, it encompasses over a century’s worth of aging.

And at $1,850, it earns the distinction of being the most expensive whisky flight in New York. It tops the previous record holder—the Brandy Library, which offers a $1,200 flight of The Dalmore that includes whiskies totaling 100 years of age.

When you’re laying out that much dough for four ounces of whisky, you want to know what you’re getting. The Dalmore’s reputation is sterling. Regularly topping best-of lists, it nets high scores from the likes of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge and Whisky Advocate.

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After Macallan, it’s the most collectible single malt scotch in the world, achieving prices as high as $271,000 for a single bottle.

Fair enough, but how does the whisky actually taste?

"120 Years of The Dalmore"
Kenneth Ho

What to Expect From “120 Years of Dalmore”

I’ve had my fair share of expensive, extra-mature scotch, including 50-year-old Glenlivet, 65-year-old Macallan, and 70-year-old Glen Grant. Having consumed over $50,000 worth of single malt by myself, of course I’m eager to up the ante and try Fine & Rare’s Dalmore flight to see how it measures up to the many superlative pours I’ve been privileged to taste.

Full tasting notes for each of the whiskies are below—but first, the presentation of the flight, which is as much a part of the experience as the liquid itself.

When you order “120 Years of The Dalmore,” the server brings out an engraved Christofle silver tray set with four custom Baccarat flute tasting glasses. Each bottle in the flight is presented individually, its weighty topper uncorked before being measured and poured. You’ll want to take your time nosing and sipping; and, if you plan to add water, do so sparingly for the first three whiskies, which are low in proof and delicate in character—thanks to their advanced age.

The luxe and unhurried atmosphere of Fine & Rare is an ideal setting for lingering over the flight.

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As owner Tommy Tardie says, “We want to deliver an experience. Our guests can become our ambassadors.”

After you’ve savored the last sip of The Dalmore—I recommend making it the Constellation Collection 1991—you’ll walk away with a goodie bag including a tasting glass and silver stag pin, plus the memory of a once-in-a-lifetime whisky experience.

And if $1,850 plus tax and tip is out of your budget? Fine & Rare offers “45 Years of The Dalmore”—a flight of 12-, 15-, and 18-year-old whiskies, plus a trio of custom Vosges chocolate truffles—for just $125.

You’ll lose 75 years of age, but will still be able to make rent.

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Tasting Notes From “120 Years of Dalmore”

The Dalmore 25 Year Old

Initially matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks, this single malt is transferred to Matusalem oloroso sherry and tawny port casks, which amplify raspberry purée, brown sugar, and chocolate notes on the nose and palate. At 42 percent ABV, it’s a soft whisky, yet still mouth-filling, with leathery and nutty flavors, and a finish of gingersnaps and cigar wrapper.

The Dalmore 35 Year Old

At 40 percent ABV, this is the lowest proofed of the bunch, yet it retains a vivacity that’s surprising and welcome. Finished in Matusalem oloroso sherry, as well as colheita port casks, it showcases rose petal perfume, fresh raspberries, and lemon curd on the nose. Spritely flavors dance on the palate at first, then give way to mature fruit and citrus oil. The finish comes softly, tiptoeing in on dried orange peel, apple skins, and a whiff of tobacco.

The Dalmore 40 Year Old

Heavy with the scents of orange blossom water, almonds, and floral perfume, the complex maturation that includes Matusalem oloroso sherry and colheita port pipes expresses itself more fully on the palate in flavors of ginger, dark chocolate, leather, and cherries. Still energetic in spite of its advanced age and low proof at 42 percent ABV, it finishes with leather, tobacco, and oily fruit and floral notes.

The Dalmore Constellation Collection 1991 (Cask 27)

An outlier in the group as the youngest, at 20 years old, and at cask strength of 56.6 percent ABV, this whisky is nevertheless the rarest. Just 761 bottles were released back in 2012. The nose begins with a tart richness of dried cherries, figs, and plums, then progresses to candied floral sweetness and vibrant fruit. Ample and full sherried flavors from the finish in amoroso oloroso casks pervade the palate, which is boldly spiced, fruity, and leathery, studded with almonds and hazelnuts, raisins, dark chocolate, and dried orange peel. The finish is full and rounded by ginger and dark chocolate-covered orange peel.

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