Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Whisky Review: Dalwhinnie 15 vs. Distiller's Edition

Another set of provisional reviews, this time of two offerings from the Dalwhinnie distillery.

Dalwhinnie 15 Year

Nose: raspberries, sherry, raisins and creamy peat, with the peat moving forward and gaining a bit of vanilla after dilution

Taste: lightly sweet with a bit of sherry, which becomes drier and gains a bit of mocha near the end after adding a couple of drops of water

Finish: light vegetal peat, slightly flat, which gets a bit more pep with peaty, sherried chocolate and malt after adding water

I found this to be a decent, but somewhat uninspiring whisky. The nose is rather fruity and the vegetal peaty that pokes through in all stages of the drinking experience is nice, but it wasn't enough to make me want to go out and buy a bottle. With that said, it is rather reasonably priced for a 15 year old, coming in around $50-55. If I didn't already have a decent number of whiskies in the "light, vegetal peat over sherry" vein, I probably would go out and buy it.

Dalwhinnie Distiller's Edition

Nose: light sherry influence, malt, a bit of both vegetal and smokey peat, which becomes sweeter with maple syrup, malt, peat, sherry and a bit of pine sap after dilution

Taste: light, creamy malt up front, fades into sherry further back, which gains a burst of gin botanicals right before the finish after adding a few drops of water

Finish: malty vegetal peat, which becomes bittersweet malt after adding water

Much like the time I tried Oban 14, I drank this whisky at the wrong time. In this case it was after a dram of Aberlour A'Bunadh, which is obviously a rather hefty whisky. So again, there are probably subtleties that I missed due to my taste buds and nose having been retuned to cask strength. This is a fairly nice whisky, though other than the interesting gin note in the palate, I didn't feel like it brought much to the table that you can't find in the regular 15 year old Dalwhinnie, especially considering the extra $20-25 you'd have to shell out for a bottle.


  1. I bought a bottle of this whiskey last week and , whilst I am a novice whiskey drinker, found this to be very smooth, with good flavour and a velvety finish. Good enough for me for sure.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I actually just bought a small bottle of Dalwhinnie 15, so I'm looking forward to spending some more time with it.

  3. I just bought a bottle of the distillery edition I am a novice amature whiskey drinker, and amd starting into my mid 30's and interested in experimenting with learning to enjoy a good night cap. There was a bottle of Chivas next to it but I must admit the box looked nice LOL. I will report back my amature findings hen I crack this tonight. I am ultimately looking for advice in the $100-180 dollar range on good scotch to be had for that price. I am not a fan of that bitter snap you get from some whiskeys, and like very smooth, sweeter types. so fo reg Whiskey we can say JD is not for me.Thoughts would be appreciated, but i will report back later on the Dalwhinnie. Cheers, Mike

    1. If you like smooth and sweet, the standard Dalwhinnie 15 will actually be a great pick. I don't think you need to spend that much money to find something you'll enjoy. In fact, older (and thus more expensive) whiskies often have more oak impact, which brings bitter tannins into the mix (there are exceptions, but it's a decent rule of thumb). There's usually a balance to be struck, with the barrel imparting caramel and vanilla as well as woody flavors.