Here’s an old standby that I have never reviewed and which I last tasted so long ago that I do not remember when it was. Dalwhinnie is one of those distilleries that Diageo plucked out of obscurity by including it in its Classic Malts lineup in days of yore but—like Glenkinchie from the same lineup—it has never really had much of a profile. Very little Dalwhinnie has ever been released—indeed, until the recent NAS “Winter’s Gold” release this 15 yo was the only regular release from the distillery. It was also included in Diageo’s random Game of Thrones money grab and that’s the only Dalwhinnie I’ve reviewed on the blog until now. An older Dalwhinnie was in Diageo’s Special Release lineup last year; it got good reviews but I’m never going to be tasting that. Given the paucity of independent releases my count of Dalwhinnie reviews is not likely to rise dramatically any time soon—though I should try to track down a sample of the Winter’s Gold at some point. I am nonetheless glad to double my current count with this review.
Dalwhinnie 15 (43%; from a bottle split)
Nose: A mix of bright citrus and a leafy note. Rather anonymous at first but also quite pleasant. Some malt on the second sniff. The acid expands as it sits and moves in the direction of tart apple with some sweet plum mixed in. A drop or three of water and it gets maltier still
Palate: Comes in sweeter here but the acid kicks in as I swallow. A nice bite at 43% I have to say. As on the nose, first impressions are rather anonymous but also rather pleasant. The malt expands as it goes and there’s some sweeter fruit (a hint of peach?) but there’s not much other development to speak of. More citrus with water.
Finish: Medium-long. Not a whole lot happening here: there’s a cardboardy note that’s joined later by some lime peel and then expands into a more bitter end. With more time the sweeter notes hang out into the finish and the bitterness subsides. Sweeter with water and the bitterness is now all but gone.
Comments: As I say a couple of times, anonymous but pleasant; very much a blender’s whisky—you can easily see how this would be the base malt to which others would be added for accents along with the grain. I wouldn’t buy a bottle but I wouldn’t turn down a pour if offered. The nose was, I thought, the best part and I thought it was better all around with a touch of water.
Rating: 82 points.