Dalwhinnie Winters Gold

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Distillery/Brand: Dalwhinnie | Region: Highland | ABV: 43% | Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: 21 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 21 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 84

Review
Tricks. Tricks. Tricks. Everyone’s up to some trick or the other.

Like this NAS Dalwhinnie for example. Released as a whisky to be consumed totally chilled. Seriously?

I know what chilling a whisky does to it? It kills the nose entirely. Drops a lot of the delicate notes on the palate. And is, in my opinion, not how you should drink whisky. The only one exception I will make is with the Chivas 18. Drop that puppy in a freezer for a couple of months and experience the magic.

Anyway.

I didn’t bother with all this chilling nonsense and chose to taste it at room temperature instead. My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 43%

Nose: Citrus. Lime. Menthol. Ginger. Gingerbread. Honey. Touch of smoke. Hint of oak. Moist apricots. A little underwhelming if you ask me. Some might call it delicate. I like to be a little pretentious. 21/25

Palate: Green apples. Citrus. Touch of herbs. Clove. That minty stuff again. Little spicy thanks to the gingerbread. Malt. It’s not bad if you ask me. Just a bit ho hum. 21/25

Finish: Short. Hint of spice. Raisins. 21/25

Overall Comments: I wish when I had first started drinking whiskies someone had poured me a glass of this. Instead I quaffed half a bottle of Vat 69 in twenty minutes and then ended up fighting for my life on top of the toilet. It would have made for a much easier transition.

And if you ask I think I will try it frozen. Just to see if it makes it any better.

Rating: 84

Dalwhinnie 25 Years

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Distillery/Brand: Dalwhinnie | Region: Highland | ABV: 52.1% | Colour: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
What fascinates me the most about my hobby is that I will routinely stumble across some facts and information that I did not know about before. Some times it is through a learned friend. But mostly it is through complete accident.

And those accidents normally happen when I’m researching facts about a certain whisky I’ve drunk and want to know more of.

Which is what happened when I sat down to taste the Dalwhinnie 25.

My initial thoughts were that this whisky had at some point come in contact with European sherry. I make it a point not to research the whisky before I drink it so as not to be biased.

My notes contained a few references to sherry, however, upon research I discovered that this Dalwhinnie had been matured exclusively in American Bourbon hogsheads.

Strange, I thought.

But as I pressed on I discovered that those were not ordinary American Hogsheads; they had been rejuvenated. Now I didn’t really know what that meant until I dug a little deeper.

Rejuvenating casks is a pretty recent phenomena (not more than 20 years old) and has been put into practise to combat the scarcity of oak casks from around the world. Essentially rejuvenating casks is done by scraping off the tired wood from the existing staves to bring out new wood from the layers underneath, re-racking them and re-toasting them to create a new surface for the spirit to interact with.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Rejuvenated casks are commonly seasoned with Pajarete which is a colouring and sweetening wine consisting of a Pedro Ximenez reduction. This is done using a process called ‘bain marie’ which is basically a fancy way of saying ‘hot bath’.

This seasoning is done to give the wood a certain sherry-cask profile.

Now I don’t know for sure but I’m pretty certain that this whisky’s profile is the result of this particular treatment. I could be wrong since there is no concrete evidence to support this but I would love to be right.

My sample is from a brand new bottle, distilled in 1987 and bottled in 2012 at a cask strength of 52.1%

Nose: Lovely warm sherry. Chocolate milk. Touch of oak. Sweet honey. Wild berries. Mocha frappuccino. Caramel. Touch of limestone. Lime zest. Something green. Gets sweeter over time. Strawberry jam. I like noses like these. 23/25

Palate: Full bodied. Nice texture. Spices. Sweet chocolate. Coffee. Butterscotch. Caramel. Mocha. Cinnamon. Gets woody. Fudge cake. Berries. Hint of tannins. I think the oak had just about started to give up when this was bottled. Might have been different at 24 years of age instead of 25. Just a thought. 22/25

Finish: Long. Lip smacking. Oily. Cinnamon. Woody. 22/25

Overall comments: This is one of my more long-winded posts but I wanted to touch upon my new learning. It’s always nice when things connect. I like this whisky, though, I think it would have been fabulous had it been bottled a touch younger (I don’t know what the infatuation with multiples of five is) but I guess we’ll never know.

But mostly I will remember this whisky for teaching me something new.

Rating: 89

Dalwhinnie 15

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Distiller:
Dalwhinnie

Region:
Highland

ABV:
43%

Colour:
Full Gold

Review:
My first review of a Dalwhinnie and the 15 year old expression I was after for a while. Finally managed a taste and it seems like I’ll be sourcing a few more.

The nose is typical Highland complexities with a strange floral inclination. My first impression is lavender bath oils and touch of rose water. A subsequent nose confirms the presence of barley and then, just like a nostalgic surprise, comes the comforting smell of wet wood.

The palate is a tad dry as the oak makes it’s presence felt. Then peeking from around the corner are the most delicious coffee beans I’ve ever had. This is all wrapped in swirls of honey. Honey that’s been exposed to gentle smoke and infused with star anise.

Go out and get one now!

Rating : 92