Dimple is one of the world's most popular aged blended whiskies. Most blends do not carry any age statement but when they do it indicates the youngest whisky that is present in the blend. Therefore, the youngest whisky here is 15 years of age and the blend includes over 30 different single malt and grain whiskies in total, some of which are much older. The main single malts included in Dimple are Glenkinchie and Linkwood.
Dimple was first released in 1890 by Haig's. The company's founder was John Haig, who opened Scotland's first grain distillery - Cameron Bridge - near the town of Dunfermline in Fife in 1824. He produced high quality grain whiskies that were to later become widely used within the blending industry. As the popularity of blended whisky grew during the 1880s, Haig was persuaded by his son (also called John!) to develop their own blend and the first form of Dimple was born. The distinctive three sided bottle was introduced in 1893 and this original design remains in use today. It is a classic piece of opulent late Victorian design and resembles a half deflated rugby or American football surrounded with gold wire cord.
The Dimple brand name is now owned and marketed by drinks giant Diageo, although Haig's still produce the whisky. It is the fourth biggest selling aged blend in the world and its main markets are southern Europe (especially Spain, where we tried it, and Greece), Germany, south east Asia (especially Korea), the USA (where it is known as Dimple Pinch) and Mexico. Versions at 12 and 18 years of age are also released, although these are more limited.
Dimple has a colour of dark amber and the nose is full of sherry cask influence - especially dried fruits (think of raisins, sultanas and candied peel) and warm woody spices (like cinnamon and nutmeg). On the palate this feels rich, creamy and buttery. There is a slightly unpleasant alcoholic burn to begin with but this dies away slowly to reveal some rich, sweet caramel and some woody oaky vanilla. Some honey and warm spices (especially cinnamon) are also present and these add to the rich feeling. The finish is fruity (that dried fruit again) with an interesting woody bitter note and is shorter than expected for something of this richness and sweetness. We decided to add some water as it was a hot day and this certainly helped Dimple become more refreshing and palatable. More sugary caramel, honey and fresh rather than dried fruit came out (the combination reminded us of toffee apples). The feeling was that it would also handle ice well, although we did not try this. As Dimple 15 years old is an aged blend then it costs more than regular blended whiskies, retailing for £35-40 a bottle in the UK.