Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In the whisky cupboard ... Dalwhinnie 1990 'Distiller's Edition'

dalwhinnie 1990 distiller's editionDalwhinnie is one of the most remote distilleries in Scotland. Located at the furthest most south westerly point of the Speyside region in the middle of the Grampian mountains, it is commonly regarded as a Highland whisky rather than a Speyside. The distillery is owned by Diageo and forms part of their six 'Classic Malts' series and represents the Highlands region. It is Scotland’s highest operating distillery and the village of Dalwhinnie holds the enviable honour of having the coldest average annual temperature of anywhere in the mainland UK (a chilly 6 degrees centigrade!). Despite producing only 1 million litres of whisky per year, Dalwhinnie has climbed in to the top 15 for world single malt sales. There are two core bottlings, a 15 years old and this ‘Distiller’s Edition’ which is 17 years old and finished for the extra two years in an Oloroso sherry cask. Independent bottlings are pretty much non existent.

The colour of this is dark and golden with a hint of dusky red. It smells great on the nose with a blast of fruitiness (dried fruit like raisins and sultanas) marrying with rich honey and loads of heather (it is almost like being in the middle of the Highlands). On the palate, this is rich and full bodied, feeling thick in the mouth. There is a lot of sweetness and this comes from the mixture of sherry cask influence (that dried fruit again), some maltiness, something candied (like candied orange peel or marmalade) and a big dollop of honey. The finish is long, warm, rich and very enjoyable. This is a really superb whisky, although it is also one of the sweetest and richest that I have tasted to date so may not be to everyone’s taste. It is definitely more reminiscent of a Highland whisky than of a Speyside, which are normally lighter and fresher. We received this as a wedding present and would be very pleased to receive another bottle sometime. It is a limited release but is reasonably available, although the batches may be different, and retails between £35-40 depending on where you go.

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