Our next review is of a whisky that we were requested to review by one of our friends; he wanted to know if it was something we would recommend buying. This whisky is from the Dalwhinnie distillery, and it is their recently released NAS bottling ‘Winter’s Gold’.
The Dalwhinnie distillery is situated on the Highland/Speyside line, it is categorised as a Highland malt due to its location though its water source is a tributary of the Spey, so there is some argument as to which it should be. Perched at a lofty 1,164ft above sea level it is claimed to be the highest distillery in Scotland. Dalwhinnie is a Diageo owned distillery and is one of their ‘Classic Malts’ which also include Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban, Cragganmore and Glenkinchie. As it is one of these ‘Classic Malts’ it is fairly available as a single malt though as is the case with most distilleries the majority of their output is blended into obscurity, for Dalwhinnie it is into blends such as Buchanan’s and Johnnie Walker.
The bottling that we are trying today, Winter’s Gold, is a relatively new release onto the market, being launched towards the end of 2015. The inspiration for this bottling comes from the harsh, cold winters experience by the distillery, where they claim to have an average annual temperature of only 6 degrees! It suggests on the packaging that to reflect this you should put it in the freezer before serving…. we’ll give that idea a miss and get straight down to the tasting.
Classic Dalwhinnie nose, lots of honeyed sweetness, delicate floral heather and a sulphury-malty note running through it. Compared to the standard Dalwhinnie bottling (a 15yo) there is a lot more wood spice to it and is a bit fresher feeling too. It’s got quite a young, sappy wood character that is also fairly acidic, reminiscent of fresh wood and pine needles, as well as this, some candied lemon peel, ginger and brown sugar.
Well the nose on this whisky was fairly promising; unfortunately the palate doesn’t quite live up to that. The whisky in this bottling is just slightly too young and it’s just lacking that cask influence, it is still good stuff though. Lots of sweet vanilla, caramelised sugar and nutmeg, with plenty of honey. As well as this there is damp wood, leather and a lick of smoke, but it is fairly young feeling and quite spirity.
The finish is fairly short, and quite astringent. Again there is that sappy, fresh wood taste that carries through the finish but this is accompanied by bags of sweetness which balance it out and make it fairly pleasant.
Ok, so I realise that there are a few notes and comments that don’t seem too complimentary here, but it is actually a very good whisky. For an NAS bottling I think that Diageo have done very well here, it’s balanced, light and has plenty of character. Personally I’m not a huge fan of NAS bottling’s as I like knowing what it is that I’m drinking, but this is pretty good. The pricing for this whisky is a bit confused, I paid £25 for it, though I has seen it set as high as £45! If you get the chance to try it then I would definitely recommend doing so, though for my taste I would probably rather spend an extra £10 and get the 15yo, if you’re on a budget though, it’s got that Dalwhinnie style, just a bit spicier and fresher.
So as I previously said this review was requested by one of our friends, if anyone has anymore requests or recommendations then please let us know.
Gary & Steven