Tag Archives: Highlands

60 Second Whiskey Reviews — Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold

Some quick thoughts on the Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold Single Malt.

The Geekery
According to Charles MacLean’s Whiskypedia, Dalwhinnie is the coldest distillery in Scotland with an average annual temperature of 42.8 °F (6 °C).

Founded in 1897, Dalwhinnie was sold in 1905 to American distiller Cook & Bernheimer, making it the first Scottish distillery under foreign ownership. The advent of US Prohibition in 1919 ushered its return to Scottish hands. Through mergers and acquisitions, the distillery changed owners multiple times over the years with it eventually ending up in the Diego stable where it is part of the Classic Malts series representing the Highlands.

The Winter’s Gold is a non-age statement bottling sourced from spirit distilled during the heart of winter between October and March. Like others in the Dalwhinnie line, it is crafted with lightly peated malt from Roseisle and water sourced from Lochan Doire Uaine in the Drumochter Hills. The whiskey is aged in mostly ex-bourbon barrels.

A unique expression, the distillery recommends enjoying the whiskey straight from the freezer.

The Whiskey
(Room temperature) Fruity nose, like candied citrus and honey. Some subtle oak spice. No note of peat.

(Freezer) Still very fruity but instead of citrus there is a mix of apple and tropical fruit. The spice completely disappears.

By Andrew Wood, CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikimedia commons

The Dalwhinnie distillery is often snowbound during the winter.

The palate at room temperature is sweet with the honey and fruit being very prevalent. The peat appears finally but is slight. Very light in body at 43% ABV.

From the freezer, everything gets more muted except, paradoxically, the peat which becomes more of a floral heather peat like a very lightly peated Highland Park.

The Verdict

An interesting dram but I’m not sold on the “enjoy from the freezer” marketing angle and preferred it at room temp. It follows the typical light & sweet Dalwhinnie style and would be a good “Breakfast Scotch”.

At around $45-50, it offers a decent value but, personally, I think the jump to their 15 year in the $70-75 range delivers a lot more depth.

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60 Second Whiskey Reviews – Balblair 1999

A few quick thoughts on the 2nd release of the Balblair 1999 that was bottled in 2016.

The Geekery

According to Charles MacLean’s Whiskeypedia, Balblair is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries with a history dating back to 1790. Originally owned and managed for over a century by the Ross family (who also leased Brora in the 1830s), the distillery went through a succession of owners including Robert Cumming (of Old Pulteney fame), Hiram Walker and Allied Domecq.

Since 1996, Balblair has been a part of the Inver House Distillers portfolio which includes Old Pulteney, AnCnoc, Balmenach, Knockdhu and Speyburn.

Located in the Highlands in the village of Edderton, water is sourced 5 miles away from the Struie Hills. The distillery uses unpeated malt from Portgordon Maltings and ages its whiskey in mostly ex-bourbon casks with the 1999 seeing some time in ex-Sherry casks as well.

The Whiskey

A very spicy nose with the Sherry notes quite evident. There is some meatiness but nothing like a Mortlach or Glenfarclas. I also found a little cereal note which makes me think of savory crepes.

On the palate is a very intriguing note of celery salt that contributes to the spicy and savory profile. Mouthwatering with a silky oilness. Very nice balance with the Scotch holding it’s 46% ABV well. This is a whiskey to enjoy neat.

By Alan Jamieson, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54197146

The Balblair Distillery


The Verdict

A very impressive dram that is almost a meal in itself. Lots of layers that you want to spend time savoring and unfurling around your tongue.

At around $70, it is a fantastic value for essentially a 17 year single malt and would still be well worth the price up to the $100 range.

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60 Second Whiskey Reviews – Edradour 10 year

A few quick thoughts on the Edradour 10 year Single Malt Scotch.

The Geekery

Located in Milton of Edradour in the Highlands region of Perthshire, the distillery has a very colorful history according to Charles MacLean’s Whiskeypedia, beginning with its founding in 1825 as GlenForres and continuing through its time as part of J.G. Turney & Sons where it was featured in the blends of House of Lords and King’s Ransom.

During this time, the whiskey was frequently smuggled into the US during Prohibition by “sales consultant” and known mafioso Frank Costello who is rumored to be one of Mario Puzo’s inspirations for Vito Corleone in The Godfather.

It was first release as a single malt in 1986 by Campbell Distillers (owned by Pernord Ricard) and in 2002 was purchased by current owner Andrew Symington of Signatory Vintage Scotch Whiskey.

The whiskey is aged in a blend of Sherry and Bourbon casks before bottling at 40% ABV.

The Whiskey

Medium plus intensity aromatics. Extremely honeyed. You feel like Winnie the Pooh breaking into the honey jar. There are some Sherry wine notes but it is more like honey toasted almonds than the usual “Sherry-bomb” style of Macallan or Glenfarclas.

From Wikimedia Commons by Sylvia Berger released under  CC-BY-SA-4.0

Barrels in the Edradour warehouse


The palate is smooth and noticeably sweet. More vanilla comes in but the honey is still dominant. This isn’t as sweet as something like the Glenmorangie Nector d’Or, Balvenie Caribbean Cask or the Ainsley Brae Sauternes Finish but its not far off. Thankfully some spice comes out on the long finish to add balance to the sweetness. It’s a tad light at 40% ABV and I find myself craving a bit more weight.

The Verdict

It’s a sweet Scotch, no doubt, but it is very well made. At around $68 for a bottle, it falls inline with the Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or ($70) and Balvenie Caribbean Cask ($75) but is a bit higher than the non-age statement (NAS) Ainsley Brae ($35) made by Alexander Murray. The spice is a bonus in the complexity department but this is definitely a whiskey for when you are craving something smooth, light and sweet.

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