Dalwhinnie distillery was founded in 1898, in the Highlands of Scotland, in the Grampian mountains. In fact, it’s located at over 1000 feet, making it one of the highest distilleries in the UK. A chequered history has seen it change hands a few times and even being damaged by a large fire in 1934. The distillery was only then reopened in 1938, just in time for it to be shut down during World War II. Now it’s owned by Diageo (who isn’t? I’m beginning to think even I am), and sees its whiskies as being the ‘Gentle Spirit of the glen’.

The Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old is part of Diageo’s Classic Malts of Scotland range, and is bottled at 43% ABV – there’s not much information on how its made. (Being one of very few Dalwhinnies on the market, you might question what happens to the rest of Dalwhinnie’s production. Well, parts of the Internet suggest it gets used in Johnnie Walker blends…)

Colour: pale gold, as light as honey can get. On the nose: blast of citrus freshness. Malty, briny, ever-so-soft sweetness. Pinot Grigio. Custard. Cider. Delightfully refreshing. Very pleasant.

In the mouth: clean as a whistle. All of those notes come crashing through into something deeply crisp and clear. Again the wine/cider notes are there, but so gentle. A waft of smoke, but not much. Spongecake to go with the custard. Maltiness and nuttiness again on the finish. Elegant. All very simple, but just done so very well. It’s as balanced as a perfect Vriksasana.

The Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old is absolutely the Gentle Spirit of the glen. And at £35 a bottle? That’s wonderful value for money. What’s more, I’d say this was a great introduction for someone who doesn’t yet like whisky. Arm your drinks cabinet with this, ladies and gents, and you can’t go wrong.


I've written about (and reviewed) whisky for Whisky Magazine, among other publications, and have been a whisky judge for competitions including the World Whiskies Awards. I've done other writing too: several mass market genre novels, a few short stories, including for BBC Radio 4. For my day job (I know, I don't get out much) I work in digital content. Follow me on Instagram.com/maltreview/ or Twitter.com/MaltReview. Generally, my tastes lean towards ex-sherry cask and ex-wine cask influences on the spirit, but I'm not so fussed as long as the whisky's gone into good wood.

  1. raithrover says:

    Do prefer this standard edition to the Distillers Edition which was ruined by a short stay in sherry casks. A good light dram and a lovely distillery set in the hills off the A9.

  2. Pingback:10 Great Scottish Single Malts That Don’t Cost The Earth | Malt - Whisky Reviews

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