Dalwhinnie was one of the first Diageo distilleries to follow in Talisker’s footsteps and release and entry-level no-age statement expression (I’m still amazed there isn’t a Lagavulin NAS to be honest). Like all such expressions, this one comes with a story that explains its name, except it’s not as fanciful as I had expected (I won’t mention the bit about putting it in the freezer and having it cold). This Dalwhinnie is made up of whisky distilled exclusively in the winter months, when the copper of the condensers is colder. As I’m not a chemist I’ll leave the discussion at that – let’s see what the whisky is like:
Nose: The Dalwhinnie honey note is there, but accompanied by some youngish notes of fresh oak and pineapple. With water, plums and other stone fruit. I’m pleasantly surprised by this – it’s quite expressive and fruity besides the obvious oak.
Palate: Good body at 43% with apricot, orange peel and honey. A hint of coconut in the development, indicating youth and active oak, but it’s very pleasant overall.
Finish: Good length, quite spicy, vanilla
Comments: Thanks partly to its 43% bottling strength, the Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold is a notch above your average entry-level NAS whisky. Its main problem, however, is that the 15 year-old Dalwhinnie is better, has an age statement, and is normally about the same price. So I don’t see the point of the Winter’s Gold – if it was consistently £10 less it would have been easy to recommend.