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The village of Dalwhinnie has the perhaps unfortunate accolade of being the coldest settlement in the UK, with an average annual temperature of around 6Cº. This ambient climate actually has a significant impact on the flavour of the whisky – cooling it significantly quicker than usual, resulting in a thick, fragrant spirit that appears honeyed with maturation.
The distillery wasn’t actually constructed until 1897, but the location had previously been used as a spot for whisky smuggling, with farmers from around Scotland joining on the road south to Falkirk’s markets. Legend has it that the occasional small barrel of whisky was stashed under the shaggy wool of sheep.
Historically associated with the Black and White blend, Dalwhinnie is now counted amongst the whiskies deemed ‘Classic Malts’ by Diageo. This 30 year old expression, double the age of the standard 15 year old, is one of the finest bottlings ever produced by the lofty distillery.
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A warm malt aroma first greets the drinker, soon joined by supple sweet pastries, freshly shaved oak, some charred wood, vanilla bean, heather honey and red strawberry lollies.
A chewy and satisfying palate brings creamed honey, subtle peppery spice, vanilla danishes, malty strawberry shortbread, all balanced nicely by a building oaky astringency.
Warming, long and spicy, with lingering flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, clean malt and slightly charred oak. A supreme rendition of Dalwhinnie’s style.