Known as "the gentle spirit", Dalwhinnie hails from smack dab in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, right on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, just north Loch Ericht. Here you will find the Dalwhinnie distillery doing business beneath its pagoda-lined rooftop in the same way they've been doing it for over a hundred years.
Classified as a member of the Speyside family of Single Malts, Dalwhinnie may be the southernmost Speyside single malt in Scotland. For those of you with a penchant for Googling, you may already know that - on a map - Speyside is but a tiny area of land on the northeastern coast of the greater Highlands. How then, Tanner, is it possible for a whisky distilled so far south from where it gets it classification, to still be classified thusly? Well, don't accuse me of poor information just yet; as the late Billy Mays would say "wait, there's more!"
From Spey Bay, the River Spey flows 73miles southwest - as the crow flies - before emptying out into the somewhat tiny Loch Spey in the middle of Nowheresville Melgarve. For the entire expanse of that river, which with all its winding measures 107-miles long, and along either side of it, is what's called Strathspey. You might have already guessed it but this simply means the "strath" of the River Spey... so what's a strath? Answer: it's a wide river valley. So the Strathspey is the land that expands out from the edges of the River Spey. As long as you are within the borders of Spey's strath, you're technically in Strathspey Scotland.
And that is how a distillery over 60 miles south of Spey Bay (again, as the crow flies) can still be considered a Speyside whisky. So, now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about a river you didn't know existed, I expect that you'll be checking out Scotland's tourism website and booking a vacation to visit soon.
The Dalwhinnie distillery features a unique tasting process wherein drams of various offerings are paired with specially crafted Highland chocolates; creating a match made in Speysider heaven. Admission to the distillery runs from 6 to 13 dollars American depending on the age of the visitor. If you're going to be in Scotland anytime in the near future and are interested in booking a tour, you can get more information by navigating to discovering-distilleries.com/dalwhinnie
- Nose: Ever so slightly smokey, very sweet but not overwhelming. The headlining protagonist is the Heather Honey. Small bits of nectarine, and minute floral traces.
- Palate: Nuts marinated in rich, almost velvety, honey. Vanilla and an ever-present but extremely muted smokiness.
- Mouthfeel: thin, pretty non-descript.
- Finish: Quite a long finish, exclusively nutty with the final note being of barely-there almonds.
- Special note: If you're a fan of Meade, I think you could transition to this quite easily.
Dalwhinnie's 15 Year Highland Single Malt Scotch runs between $45 and $70 depending on where you get it and whether or not there are any sales going on. I purchased my bottle at Crown Wine and Spirits in Boynton Beach, Florida. Located in the Sunshine Square plaza at the intersection of Federal and Woolbright, Crown Wine and Spirits has an incredibly friendly and knowledgeable staff and can help you find whatever it is you're looking for; and if they can't, they can order it. I highly recommend checking them out the next time you're spirit shopping in the Boynton area.
Other offerings from Dalwhinnie include:
- The 1992, 95, and 97
- The 25, 29, and 36 year olds
- The Manager's Malt and various Manager's Choice offerings
- The 15 Year Old Centenary edition, modestly priced at $340