I’ve had a bottle of the Dalwhinnie 15 year old whisky sitting in the drinks cupboard for well over a year. This doesn’t mean I’m avoiding it, it’s more a case that I’m having trouble deciding what to think of it. Before we get to the tasting notes it’s time for a little background (and a picture).
The Dalwhinnie distillery’s unique selling point is that it’s the highest (working) whisky distillery in Scotland, located 357m above sea level. The idea being to use the fresh mountain water from the nearby highland loch, Lochan-Doire-Uaine. The location also makes the area damn cold, with an average temperature (in 1994) of 6°C, making it the coldest inhabited place in Scotland, yikes. I guess both the cool temperature and high altitude give the Dalwinnie either unique challenges or a unique taste profile depending on whether you working in marketing or not. The distillery is now in the hands of drinks giant Diageo, and the 15 year old is marketed as part of Diageo’s Classic Malts range. Now, on to the tasting.
Price: Here in Germany it’s retailing for around €35 to €42 for 70cl. Expect to pay more if you are shopping at a duty-free somewhere.
Colour: According to the marketeers at Diageo it’s Gold, which in this case I can live with.
Nose: To me it’s actually quite a fruity nose, mainly apricots, or maybe peaches and raspberries.
Taste: Soft and slightly sweet at first, followed by a malty taste. If you leave it too long on your tongue it turns a little burnt-rubbery (imagine, if you can, a burnt Weetabix).
Finish: Strangely a reasonably pleasant short peaty burst. I’m no fan of peated whiskies, but this is one I can live with. I guess this is why it has “The Gentle Spirit” tag.
Bottom Line: (2 out of 5) Actually it’s probably somewhere between a 2 and 3, out of five, but I’m reluctant to over-rate whiskies. It’s a good peat whisky for those, like me, that don’t generally like peated whisky. The down side is the burnt-rubber taste I mentioned earlier. Best to try before you buy.