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Dalwhinnie distillery was built by investors John Grant, George Sellar and Alex Mackenzie in 1897 under the name of Strathspey and is located in Inverness-shire in the western Highlands. Production started in February 1898 but the owners soon met with financial difficulties that led to the distillery being sold to John Somerville & Co and A P Blyth & Sons in November of the same year. The new owners changed the name to Dalwhinnie and remained in charge until the distillery in 1905 was acquired by America’s largest distillers at the time, Cook & Bernheimer. In 1926 ownership was transferred to Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) and in 1930 to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD). In 1934 Dalwhinnie was seriously damaged by a fire and it took four years until the distillery opened again. After that production went on uninterruptedly until 1986 when a complete refurbishing took place. Another refurbishment took place in 1992 and kept the distillery silent until 1995 when it was again reopened. The 15-year old is Dalwhinnie’s standard expression and became one of the selected six malt whiskies in United Distillers’ “Classic Malts” back in 1988.
The nose is fresh and grassy. Vanilla and honey are followed by touches of butter and cereal. At the end soft smoke creeps in.
The palate is medium-bodied, creamy and grassy. Vanilla and honey are back, now accompanied by hints of milk chocolate, cereal and wood smoke. Rather well balanced, I must say.
The finish is of medium length, grassy and malty.
This is a well balanced and refreshing yet somewhat unambitious single malt. While I like the smoky element on the fruity nose and palate, my overall impression is that this is an unassuming and gentle everyday dram, fitting to be recommended to people new to the world of single malt whisky.