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The Bar July 5th, 2024

A Whisky Fit For A King: The Dalmore’s King Alexander III

The Bar July 5th, 2024

An in-depth review of The Dalmore King Alexander III whisky.

There’s whisky and then there’s whisky. The good stuff. The refined stuff. The unique stuff. The really special stuff. King Alexander III from The Dalmore’s Principal Collection is all of those things and more. It’s an award-winning, one-of-a-kind, single malt with a rich and complex character, created to celebrate one of the most towering figures in Scottish history.

In this post, we’ll explore The Dalmore’s King Alexander III in detail, learning a bit more about the whisky’s namesake, the presentation, tasting notes, value for the money, and more.

King Alexander III: History & Legend

Reigning from 1249 to 1286, King Alexander III was a monumental figure in Scottish history. His rule is remembered as a golden era of Scotland, marked by unprecedented prosperity, political stability, and impressive territorial expansion.

Alexander’s diplomatic skills were particularly noteworthy, as he managed to maintain peaceful relations with England, an often contentious neighbor. Quite an achievement at a time when conflicts between nations were quite frequent.

However, his reign ended tragically with his early death, a pivotal event that plunged Scotland into a period of instability and conflict. This tumultuous phase is known as the Wars of Scottish Independence, a series of military campaigns that had a significant effect on Scotland’s future.

Benjamin West’s “Alexander III of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of a Stag by the Intrepidity of Colin Fitzgerald (‘The Death of the Stag’)” from the Scottish National Gallery.

Titled “Alexander III of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of a Stag by the Intrepidity of Colin Fitzgerald (‘The Death of the Stag’),” the painting above is by Benjamin West and illustrates the artist’s heroic and monumental style — a style certainly fit for a king.

It depicts a Scottish legend dating back to 1263 in which Colin Fitzgerald, the founder of the Clan Mackenzie, saves the life of the Scottish King. The legend goes that Alexander III was out on a hunt with Colin Fitzgerald. The King was attacked by a stag and then saved by Fitzgerald who kills the beast by spearing it through the forehead — the Mackenzie armorial bearings actually show a stag bleeding from the forehead. To show his gratitude, King Alexander III granted Fitzgerald the lands of Kintail in Ross.

The painting was commissioned by Francis Humberston Mackenzie (1745-1815) who became chieftain of the Mackenzie Clan in 1783. The 12-point Royal Stag emblem that Fitzgerald was rewarded with is the same emblem that today adorns every bottle of The Dalmore.

The more you know.

Back to the whisky.

Unboxing the The Dalmore’s King Alexander III

The Dalmore King Alexander III whisky comes in a beautiful black presentation box. The box itself is an extremely heavy cardboard, which feels substantial. On the front, you have the 12-point stag emblem, The Dalmore logotype, and the name of the whisky with the statement, “A unique assemblage of six exquisitely curated cask finishes.”

On the back of the presentation box is a brief description of the whisky’s origin story, a little about The Dalmore, about the whisky itself, and its tasting notes. On the top, you will find the stag emblem embossed and on the side that opens up, an embossed Dalmore logotype.

dalmore king alexander iii presentation box

The Dalmore King Alexander III presentation box.

Opening the box up, you reveal the King Alexander III bottle nested on the right side complete with the name below and a handy tab around the neck of the bottle, making it easy to remove.

On the left side of the box is a detail from Benjamin West’s painting — in black and white — illustrating the legend we discussed above. Below the artwork is the piece’s truncated title (’The Fury Of The Stag’) along with the artist’s name and where the painting is on display (National Galleries Of Scotland).

dalmore king alexander iii bottle

It’s a wonderful presentation and feels more than appropriate for a bottle at this price point. (More on that below.) I particularly like the black, white, and silver color scheme that also continues to the bottle’s badge and foil. The monochrome backdrop provides the perfect canvas to highlight the color of the whisky itself, which stands out in stark relief.

And that’s the way it should be with a whisky this special.

King Alexander III Tasting Notes

Before getting into my personal tasting notes, let’s take a quick look at the King Alexander III notes provided by The Dalmore on their website:

  • Aroma: Red berry fruits and hints of passion fruit
  • Palate: Citrus zest, vanilla pod, crème caramel, and crushed almonds
  • Finish: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger

Just a note on notes in general. I’m always open to suggestions and guidance because no matter how “refined” my palate — or nose, in the case of fragrance — becomes I still quite often find it difficult to place what I am tasting or smelling. It’s pretty much the same issue I have with foreign languages. For example, I studied Spanish for five years but I’m much better at reading it and understanding what people are saying than I am at forming actual sentences myself.

I also often find notes to be a bit esoteric and/or over the top. Like, what normal person knows what labdanum smells like? And what the hell does a slightly moist river rock in autumn taste like? (To be fair, I made that last one up, but I’ve seen stuff like that!)

I wanted to provide that slight bit of exposition — and suspicion — to set up the fact that 1) I appreciate how simple and understandable The Dalmore’s King Alexander III tasting notes are and 2) that they pretty much capture my personal experience tasting the whisky.

Speaking of my personal experience…

In terms of aroma, I don’t necessarily get red berry fruits and a hint of passion fruit. Not that that’s not present, but my overall impression when nosing this whisky is of depth and sweetness. Personally, get whiffs of sherry and port. This makes total sense when you consider the fact that King Alexander III is the result of six different cask finishes, including small batch Bourbon casks, 30 Year Old Sherry cases, Madeira and Marsala casks, Port pipes, and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques.

On the palate, I get an initial bit of spice or zing, which quickly calms down into a rich, creamy, and velvety middle before transitioning into a bit of a drier character. That definitely tracks. Read the notes above again.

enjoying the dalmore king alexander iii scotch whisky

And then on the finish, I definitely get a rush of cinnamon to start — just a touch of sweetness — and then it eases into a fantastic and very mildly spicy sensation that lingers for just the right amount of time before fading away. Which means you’re ready for your next sip!

Overall, I find The Dalmore’s King Alexander III to be a very rich and complex whisky that is incredibly easy and enjoyable to drink.

Price and Value for Money

I’m not going to beat around the bush here — The Dalmore King Alexander III is an expensive bottle of whisky. How much? Well, priced at $360, it’s definitely not something you’re going to pick up at the liquor store as your daily dram.

(But, you know, if that’s how you roll, more power to you!)

Priced as it is, I would put King Alexander III into the “special occasion” category. It’s the nice bottle you have around the house during the holidays to share with family and friends. It’s the bottle you gift to your dad on Father’s Day. It’s the bottle you’d pull out to celebrate a milestone, like graduating college, getting married, landing your first job, or retiring from the military.

dalmore king alexander iii served in old fashioned glass

One thing that a seasoned whisky snob might balk at here is the fact that a bottle of “King Alex” comes in at 40% ABV (alcohol by volume). The deeper one descends down the single malt rabbit hole, the more someone might start looking for higher ABVs or cask strength juice as that it typically regarded as a purer expression of the whisky itself.

However, I find that to be far from a detriment in this case. One of the things The Dalmore is known for is its exquisite cask curation. They’ve honestly elevated it to an art form and the care and thought put into the selection of the six different cask finishes for King Alexander III is on the level of artistry displayed in Benjamin West’s brush strokes.

So the price of this bottle is reflective of the care, quality, and craftsmanship that went into creating this whisky. I don’t know about you, but those are three things that I can 100-percent respect and that I’ll always pay a premium for. Oh, and let’s not forget that it’s a wonderfully rich and complex whisky that is absolutely delicious.

About The Dalmore Distillery

Located in the Scottish Highlands, The Dalmore Distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson and has become known as one of the best and most prestigious whisky producers in the world.

As mentioned above, the distillery is renowned for its incredibly meticulous craftsmanship and innovative use of cask finishes, which often involves employing a wide variety of casks, including sherry, port, and wine.

For more information about The Dalmore and its whisky collections, visit

The Bottom Line

King Alexander III is an incredibly rich, complex, unique, and great-tasting whisky offering from The Dalmore’s Principle Collection. It’s distinctive character and flavor is the result of a careful curation of six different cask finishes, including small batch Bourbon casks, 30 Year Old Sherry cases, Madeira and Marsala casks, Port pipes, and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques.

While I would consider King Alexander III to be a special occasion or celebration bottle, its easy-drinking quality makes it an excellent choice for any whisky aficionado.

I mean, great story, great presentation, great whisky. What more can a man ask for?

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa

Brian Sacawa is the Founder of He Spoke Style and one of the original men’s style influencers. Since 2013, his goal has remained the same: to provide men the advice and inspiration they need to dress well, develop their personal style, and gain more confidence. Brian’s interest and passion for men’s style and luxury watches has led to his writing for The Robb Report, The Rake, and Sotheby’s and he has been quoted on menswear in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Brides Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He lives in the woods north of Baltimore with his wife, Robin, kitties Nick and Nora, and German Shepherd/Collie mix Charlie.

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Sponsored by The Dalmore

Photography by Rob McIver


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