Dalwhinnie: Winter’s Gold

Christmas isn’t over yet

Christmas has come and gone and the smells and tastes of this time of year are now fading.  In a desperate attempt to stall the sands of time I thought I’d look back on one of the drams that has kept me going through these cold winter nights.

Dalwhinnie is noted as the distillery that sits at the highest elevation of all the Scottish distilleries.  For 120 years (punctuated by the occasional short closure) rugged and honey noted whiskies have been produced at this remarkable location.  

Winter’s Gold is an expression that plays on the distillery’s reputation for being bitterly cold.  Recently picked up in Waitrose at a discounted price of £25 (normally £39) I found this to be a delightfully drinkable dram that could carry you through the most frigid and freezing of December evenings.  The stout bottle holds an amber liquid that warms one from the inside and shines brightly in the light of a fire.

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On the nose it is gentle and tickling; not notably fragrant but with enough to hint at what is to come.  Honey and vanilla vie for attention in the nostrils and a gentle scent of truffle underlies the two.  Heather is also present as it is in nearly all of Dalwhinnie’s whisky.

In the mouth the dram fills every nook and cranny with a soft and warming light.  It really comes through with strong creme caramel and honey notes, all ever so gently spiced to ensure you know what time of year it is.  Perfect with a mince pie or two this smooth dram lingers in the mouth and brings cinnamon, clove and orange along with it’s savoury undertones.  It is as fine a Christmas whisky as you’ll try, but does not have the dominant dried fruit flavours that so often come with that label.  

Although a great whisky it is not the most complex nor is it smoky and deep in flavour.  Rather this is a dram that can be sipped throughout an evening, constantly bringing one back to the comforting roar of a fireplace and a small plate of wintry treats.  As a simple winter whisky for a very reasonable price it would be hard to beat a bottle of Winter’s Gold.

B.

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