Monday, 5 January 2015

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Dalwhinnie Triple Matured - Friends of Classic Malts - 48%

It's Dalwhinnie, Jim........

A few years ago, back at the start of my whisky journey, my boss bought me a bottle of Dalwhinnie 15 as a leaving present. More than likely it was on offer at the local supermarket and she grabbed it on her way to the checkout. I remember politely thanking her, all the while thinking "Dalwhinnie? Sounds like a rip-off of Balvenie." Yup, if I could go back in time I'd slap me too.

I don't remember much about that bottle, save for the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it. A year or so later, I managed to grab a bottle of the Distiller's Edition as a birthday present for Agent X (he's a real person, allegedly). I don't remember much about that bottle either, although I know he poured me a glass and I know I thoroughly enjoyed it. Later on that year at TWE's Whisky Show, I got to try the 1987 25yo. I don't remember much about....meh, you get my point. Dalwhinnie, to me at least, is the Rohypnol of the whisky world (Diageo - you can have that for your next ad campaign). So when I heard that it was being added to the triple matured FoCM releases, I told myself enough was enough; time to get a bottle for myself.

Like the school tuck shop on a summer morning. A whole host of fizzy sweets flood the senses, mixed in with dew-drenched flowers and cut grass. Underneath it all there's a rich maltiness with the occasional threat of spice coming to the fore. Nothing is really taking centre stage here; it's all so complex and well-balanced.

Drier and spicier than you'd expect. The sweet, heather-honey of the standard 15yo is present but there's a rich, almost savoury spiciness that dominates and challenges the taste buds. A small slug of water dials down the spice and boosts the honeyed sweetness. Beautifully layered and balanced now. 

Sweet and drying in turns. A good hit of spice and a solid length. Malty and, dare I say it, a touch of bitter smoke in the dying seconds. 

This is a big, ballsy, grown-up Dalwhinnie, closer in nature to the 25yo than the 15. Wonderfully balanced on the nose but really benefits from a teaspoon of water to get the palate going. If I was being really picky, I'd say a tad too sweet on arrival and tad too spicy on the back end but that's about it. It's a very, very good whisky.

Grade: A
Though it just scrapes the top grade, this is definitely one to watch out for. Bold, beautiful and worth every penny.

No comments:

Post a Comment