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Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old bottled 1980s

Gentle Ingenuity

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@RPSReview by @RPS

15th Jan 2012


Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old bottled 1980s
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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'The Gentle Spirit' says the label upon the bottle. I'm both intrigued and worried, for the (admittedly magnificent) 12 year old Glenkinchie I reviewed two weeks ago promised a delicate touch that was almost too subtle and refined for its own good. Now, in sprawling Victorian handwriting, the Dalwhinnie 15 year old is promising the same. This has to be a supreme balancing act on their part if they are to avoid disappointment.

The distillery is located deep in the Highlands, and is one of the coldest villages in the United Kingdom (summer temperatures rarely reach double figures, I'm assured). Nonetheless, the hardy villagers of Dalwhinnie need only this single malt by the fireplace and they'd soon be as warm as anywhere else. Even now, as I type, my chest has been soothed and warmed by nothing more than a small dram of this glorious liquid.

And as my glass is emptied, the Dalwhinnie's claim as 'The Gentle Spirit' now looks almost modest. It is a triumph; its nose, sweet, honeyed with a vanilla and smokey effect, becomes softer with every sniff (surely down to the Oloroso wood the whisky is stored in). The tongue is greeted by warm and smooth honey, with a hint of smoke and spice (which compliment the sweetness of the whisky perfectly). Heather and apple are just detectable, but no flavour overpowers the palate. The finish is long and delicate, with traces of almond, honey and heather.

I reviewed a 14 year old Oban recently, and scored that very highly. 'That', I thought, 'will surely be the best whisky I have for months.' Not, however, if the Dalwhinnie has its way. This is a whisky that should grace any cabinet.

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