Thursday, October 31, 2013


Warning - this post is boring and selfcelebrating

I invented a word last month. Unknowingly. It was on a whiskyforum discussion about a recent release of whiskies that got a price hike relative to the year before.

I decided to google the word, just to check it, I might have spelled it wrong - it does happen for me.


I invented a word!. Wohoo. A word that actual have a sensible use - at least for me :-)

So what does Dalmorisation mean? What did I mean by using that word ?

It is inspired by the distillery Dalmore. Nothing wrong with Dalmore whisky. In my opinion it's a rather average scottish distillery, but as scottish distilleries tends to make good whisky on average, that's not really bad.

But something goes wrong with Dalmore from cask to bottle to the shop. You can, and I can, argue about the whisky they put in the bottles. Whether we like it or not. It's an opinion of taste.

There's a few things to be noted about Dalmore. It's a premium whisky. It's even named "The Dalmore". But we all know that premium means expensive, but does it also mean superior?. It should, but maybe it doesn't.

The hype and premiumisation about Dalmore is not created by entusiast and fans praising the product. Trust me, Dalmore is more or less a non existent distillery in the mind of the whisky entusiast. I can't ever recall anyone organising a Dalmore vertical. And I've been around for a while, and I've been to quite a lot of tastings. It must have happened somewhere and sometime for sure, but I am pretty sure we can all agree it happens nearly next to never. It's not in top 100 of distilleries on whiskybase where it has a D rating. Not many have rated more whiskies than Serge on Whiskyfun and he has Dalmore on the 6th tier with 74 distilleries or so above it.

Dalmore's premiumisation is solely created and driven by a marketing department. Unlike other destilleries that has created stardom based on stellar released, often bottled in the past.

The term Dalmorisation is related to the saying "Lipstick on a pig"

What are they doing ?. In my opinion they are pricing whisky at a lot higher level that is justified from the quality of the whisky. It's not really that uncommon, quite a few others are doing the same. Dalmore just seem to be better at it and doing it on a larger scale than most others. Sometimes I won't buy a whisky for sale at 150£ because I think it really should be around 90£. But here we are talking about whisky at 600£ that I think should be around 90£.

And Dalmore did this before everyone else. The problem is, that this tendence is spreading. I bet it works. It makes the brand appear exclusive and will boost the sales of lesser and cheaper products. It's also an attention catcher.

Attention catchers works very well here in the days of the internet. Try to compare the noise an expensive, overpacked product creates compared to a cheap bargain. The difference is substantial.

Facebook, twitter, blogs, forums. Some days, in whisky circles, everybody just talk about the same things, and these things are very well controlled by the companies making whisky. People are sheeps. Yes we are

I really think the best way to deal with overpriced and overpackaged whiskies is to ignore them as a blogger, forumist, on facebook and on twitter, but it's hard. I try, but nobody's perfect. And now I did this piece, totally against my principles.

Am I annoyed by Dalmore. NO and YES. No, because I would probably not have bought their whiskies whatever they were priced. YES, because this Dalmorisation is spreading like the plague and when pricehikes happen to bottles I want it's annoying!

I would be happy to say that whisky cost exactly what us consumers are willing to pay, but when it comes to marketing this falls apart. What distillery makes the best whisky? The one which has a 40yo at 250£ that noone talks about or the one that have a 40yo at 4000£ that everyone talks about. You and me knows better, but does everybody else in the world ?

If you google Dalmorisation today there will be hits! The first two hits created were my usage on a forum. This post should create more hits :-). I almost feel like when I google myself :-)

PS Worst case of Dalmorisation I have ever seen is the Sirius grains which I ranted about here.


  1. Awesome rant! I love it. And I love that word. Dalmorisation. Just slapping a huge price tag on a worthless piece of crap and that crap is all of a sudden worth something to some people.

  2. I totally agree. Great Word for a ridiculous trend. Actually it is just as ridiculous as Whyte & Mckay's master blender Richard Paterson.

    Unfortunately it is also happening to one of our beloved brands: Ardbeg.

    Difference is that the quality of Ardbeg actually is very good. But the prices are getting far too high and some of their bottlings doesn't make much sense to normal single malt drinkers.

    But what can you expect when their owner is LVMH.