Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold

Diageo's Dalwhinnie distillery is centrally located and renowned as Scotland's highest (and coldest!) distillery. Cashing in on that has taken a bit of time but finally we have "Winter's Gold," a 2015 release of vatted casks laid down during the winter months and released without an age statement. Given that Diageo's marketing wing recommends drinking this from the freezer we can safely assume that we're dealing with a chill-filtered expression (so the liquid isn't cloudy when it gets a wee bit of a chill). I've never had any success with straight-from-the-freezer dramming so rest assured that this one will be sampled at a pleasant room temperature of 68F (20C).

Behind window #21: Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold, 43% alc., £33/$49

C: Golden (not surprisingly)

N: Quietly floral at the outset with hints of apple and pear, honey, and dried barley -- which is all to say it noses like a young whisky

P: Starts to liven up here with pronounced honey, toasted oats, pear skin, and clove -- credit where it's due, there's more texture than I anticipated despite the chill-filtration  

F: Moderate with lingering spice (cinnamon and clove) and dark honey

In conclusion: After a slow start on the nose the palate and finish really open up. There's a pleasant spiciness that builds on the palate after two or three sips and remains in the back of the throat after a few more. I'm really surprised; didn't think this would be nearly as tasty as it is! Maybe I'll have to return to it and see if the straight-from-the-freezer bit is more than marketing mumbo jumbo.

Sincere thanks to Master of Malt's Drinks by the Dram for the sample.