Dalwhinnie distillery was founded in 1898 by John Grant of Grantown-on-Spey, George Sellar and Alexander Mackenzie, both of nearby Kingussie. They enlisted the renowned distillery architect Charles Doig to design the facility, and invested around £10,000 of their money into the build. They succeeded in getting the project off the ground but were in liquidation within a year.
The decades that followed saw regular changes in ownership before the distillery eventually found a permanent home with Diageo where it represents the central highlands in their classic malts range.
Dalwhinnie stands 1164 feet above sea level, making it the highest distillery in Scotland and leaving it at the mercy of some very temperamental weather. It is surrounded by some spectacular scenery which I was able to see for myself upon a recent visit there.
I arrived at Dalwhinnie in late June having previously admired it in passing. A closer look merely confirmed my initial impression that this was a fine looking distillery, which must surely rank as one of the most attractive in the Highlands, with whitewashed buildings crowned by a pair of pagoda’s, nestling in a rather wild and rugged landscape.
*Alas, photos were not allowed inside the distillery (never quite understood that one) so all shots are external or inside the visitor centre.
Our tour guide Davy offered a warm welcome and provided an informative and entertaining look round the distillery and warehouse before leading us back to the visitor centre to be greeted with an enticing lineup of six drams, each paired with a beautifully crafted chocolate from Iain Burnett. There were samples of Dalwhinnie 15 year old, Distillers Edition, Winter’s Gold, Distillery Only, 21 year old and a wonderful single cask which had apparently never been bottled for sale. I was quite impressed with the whole range and decided to buy a bottle of the 15 year old to enjoy at home and of course, to review.
Smell: Heather & Vanilla with Cream, Apple & Pear, Almond & the faintest hint of Smoke.
Taste: Toffee & Malt, Caramel, Chocolate and a touch of Wood Spice, again just the softest hint of Peat.
Value for Money: Comes in the £35 – £40 range. No complaints from me at that price.
Score: 40 / 50. About scoring…
A solid, dependable, highland malt whisky.
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