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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 5, 2022




The 20th Anniversary Celebratory Sessions, today Dalwhinnie


Why Dalwhinnie, you may ask. Well, first because the Distillery is lovely, because it's got worm tubs, because it's high in the mountains (well, as far as Scottish mountains go), because the people there are superb (well they were last time I visited), and because as one of the Classic Malts, it's played a huge part in the discovery of Single Malt for millions of good people. What's more, it's always been a little unclassifiable amongst the peaters (Lagavulin, Talisker), the light Lowlander (Glenkinchie), the coastal Oban, the classic sherried Cragganmore and the… well, yes, the 'Highlanders'. No one exactly knows what's exactly a Highlander, Glengoyne is a Highlander, Highland Park is a Highlander, Clynelish is a Highlander, Edradour is a Highlander and, indeed, Dalwhinnie is a Highlander. In fact, some good people are even claiming that it's actually a Speysider, but there's a lot of overlapping anyway. You see, that's what I like, plenty to discuss around a glass or three…



Dalwhinnie 15 yo (43%, OB, +/-2021)

Dalwhinnie 15 yo (43%, OB, +/-2021) Two stars and a half
Dalwhinnie's presentation has been kept deliciously unchanged. Let's only hope they changed the content a wee bit, as we did not find earlier batches extremely convincing. Colour: light gold. Nose: pure sweet maltiness, barley syrup, nougat, touches of lemon liqueur, fresh brioche, Weetabix and probably rounded eaux-de-vie such as mirabelle. Fine and easy this far. Mouth: sweetish, almost liqueury arrival. Barley syrup indeed, a little white chocolate, marshmallows, then gummy bears and indeed, brioche. I have the impression that they're making Dalwhinnie lighter ever year. Some kind of ueber-blend, or access-category malt whisky, in the ballpark of the entry-level Glenfiddich or Glenlivet. I had thought that was Cardhu's job, but it's true that Cardhu's entirely drunk by a handful of countries. Such as the French, naturally. Finish: medium, sweet, cakey, malty. Comments: it's really getting sweeter, unless that's me (getting bitterer, haha).
SGP:551 - 79 points.

Dalwhinnie 2006/2021 'Distiller's Edition' (43%, OB, D.SC.315)

Dalwhinnie 2006/2021 'Distiller's Edition' (43%, OB, D.SC.315) Three stars and a half
Double-matured in oloroso, which is probably the best you could do as far as finishing in wine is concerned. I rather liked earlier vintages, for once I thought the finished-up versions were better than the natural ones. Colour: light gold. Nose: it is the case, this has more structure, more profoundness, and less easy sweetness. Notes of stout, chocolate, cigars, walnut cake… That's all very nice indeed. Mouth: certainly crushes the regular 15. More toffee, coffee (and, err, Nescafé), walnut wine again, Ovaltine (isn't Ovaltine or Ovomaltine disappearing these days?) and proper chocolate. I mean, chocolate by a chocolatier, not chocolate from a huge factory. Drops of stout once more. Finish: a very malty finish, with some smoke (wood). Some bigger barley-y sweetness coming through in the aftertaste, thank God this is the aftertaste. Comments: really very good, with this coffeeish side. In fact, it reminds me a bit of the older regular 15s.
SGP:552 - 84 points.

Dalwhinnie 16 yo (15?) (43%, Sestante, +/-1980)

Dalwhinnie 16 yo (15?) (43%, Sestante, +/-1980) Four stars
I've tried this before, but I'm not sure this is the same batch and second, independent Dalwhinnies are as rare as a promise kept by Prez. Putin. Now this should be G&M CC bearing bespoke labelling. Colour: gold. Nose: wee OBE (metal polish), otherwise cakes and a little sulphur, struck matches, new tyres and inner tubes, then a growing maltiness, pretty spectacular and, should you enjoy malty notes, hard to resist. Feels like some very old white Bourgogne that lost its freshness, but ventured into wonderfully nutty territories. In the ways of an amontillado, if you will. Mouth: excellent, with oranges this time, caramel, malty cakes, chocolate, Mars bar and millionaire shortbread, then strong honey and even molasses. Finish: long, same, the 43% vol. do not feel. Mocha and chicory coffee, which is wonderful. Comments: I'll say it, this is rather a carbon copy of the early official Dalwhinnie 15s, circa 1980-1990. The ones that we'll always remember…
SGP:652 – 87 points.

Dalwhinnie 33 yo 1987/2020 (49.8%, OB, Casks of Distinction for Abbot Society, 1st fill American oak, cask #819, 156 bottles)

Dalwhinnie 33 yo 1987/2020 (49.8%, OB, Casks of Distinction for Abbot Society, 1st fill American oak, cask #819, 156 bottles) Four stars
One of those Private Casks Diageo are selling to individuals or small companies or groups while they had spent the last twenty-five years telling other individuals (such as this very one) that they would never do that. I suppose the saying 'only fools do not change their minds' does also apply to very large multinationals, and no, it is not only a matter of money. Love Diageo anyway. Colour: gold. Nose: Dalwhinnie's proverbial wee smokiness does feel this time, the maltiness is big too, as expected, while all kinds of cakes would be bursting out later on. Mouth: I'm finding it a little rough despite these very nice honeyed notes, the maple syrups, watermelon liqueur, triple-sec… Lots of cakes. Finish: same, long and cakey. Touches of grass and rubber in the aftertaste. Comments: this one's been having a little trouble after the Sestante, which was rather better chiselled, with a clearer line, but it sure remained an excellent drop.
SGP:452 - 85 points.

(Thank you Aaron and your friend!)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Dalwhinnie we've tasted so far







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