Dalwhinnie is an underrated distillery, despite representing the Highlands region in the Diageo Classic Malts range from the outset, and despite being one of the most visited whisky sites, due to its ‘strategic’ location between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Northern Scotland. The reasons for this underestimation are obscure to us, perhaps they are related to the fact that very few are the independent bottlers of Dalwhinnie. Even if the OBs are quite rare, too: apart from the 15 yo, there are a couple of NAS and a little more. From time to time, however, Diageo puts on the market a ‘premium’ edition like this 2015 Special release: a 25-year-old aged only in ex-bourbon refill barrels, so not first-fill. A cask strength limited edition of less than 6000 bottles. So let’s go for it!
N: what a warm welcome! The nose is elegantly highlander, with a mineral note (between damp earth, beeswax and even a delicate shade of heather). It’s immediately seductive and of great persistence. Then there is a very intense fruity freshness, between the apple pie (you can smell every ingredient: the dough, the fruit, even the fragrant oven after cooking…) and the orange jam; a mere reminder of strawberry, very delicate. Vanilla and honey, then almonds and hazelnuts; sweet wood. Very well chiselled. Scented pipe tobacco.
P: non-existent alcohol. This whisky can be drunk very well, without resistance, and the profile is consistent with the nose: mineral and very elegant. Again the first impact is on wax, beeswax, beautifully mineral (honey, heather); a citrus mix reminds us of a certain acidity, fresh and pleasant, not excessive. Then again, a mouth-filling and creamy apple pie sweetness, a bit of vanilla, perhaps still raisins. Excellent.
F: very long and persistent, even if interely played on delicate notes of flowers, wax and a slight smoke. And how not to mention our renowned apple pie?
Really convincing, with those ‘dirty’, waxy and mineral notes typical of the Highlands combined with a ‘sweet’ and fruity side, ripe and mottled. We had no doubt about the quality of Dalwhinnie, and in the next few days we’ll publish a review of an equally good 15 years old: in the meantime, we’ll rate it 90/100. PS. In point of fact, considering the whole series, it’s relatively cheap (around €300 on the market, you can still find some bottle).
Recommended soundtrack: Mastodon – Show yourself.