Time for a Sunday treat! And it’s a good’un for day 15 in Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar. We’ve taken a trip up… and up… and up some more to Scotland’s highest working distillery. Today’s drop is… Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old!

If you’ve taken the A9 in Scotland all the way from Perth to Aviemore, you’ll know a number of things. Firstly – it’s a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. And we mean seriously. The mountains, the views… It’s a dream. You’ll also know it really is high. There are actual snow gates – at over 1,000ft altitude, the weather gets inclement pretty quickly. You’ll also have likely caught a glimpse of Dalwhinnie, the single malt distillery renowned for its gentle drams. And that’s exactly what we’ve got behind door number 15 in the Whisky Advent Calendar! It’s…

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old!

Visit Dalwhinnie and you’ll get to breathe in the expanse of space across the valley between mountains. It’s all trees, fresh air, and, of course, that distinct aroma of maturing whisky. The environment plays a pivotal role in the spirit’s character – and it really is fascinating. Here to tell us more is Catriona Mackenzie, brand home manager up at the distillery!

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

Say hello to Catriona Mackenzie!

Master of Malt: Dalwhinnie is the highest distillery in Scotland! What impact does this have on the style of whisky you produce?

Catriona Mackenzie: Our elevation of 1164ft above sea level contributes to an average temperature of 6°C here at Dalwhinnie. Because it’s so cold, our worm tub condensers are outside, with cold water running through them. Our spirit vapour can condense very quickly with minimal copper contact, giving our spirit a heavier mouthfeel yet gentle character.

MoM: Bring us up to speed on visitor centre developments at Dalwhinnie…

CM: We’ve launched a Fill Your Own Bottle experience at the distillery, so visitors who make the journey can draw from a single cask of cask strength liquid on site. Visitors can also write their own personalised label and record their bottle in our HMRC ledger which is such a unique opportunity, so has proved really popular. Our final tasting room has been refurbished and now there is a lovely space to enjoy a dram at the end of a tour.

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

Dalwhinnie Distillery looking particularly festive

MoM: What have been your 2019 highlights at the distillery?

CM: It has been a very busy year for us and we have enjoyed meeting lots of new visitors from all over the world. However, the biggest highlight has to be that we’ve retained our 5* Tourist Attraction status from Visit Scotland which we are incredibly proud of.

MoM: What trends or developments do you think we’ll see in the world of whisky in 2020?

CM: 2020 is going to be incredibly exciting for Edinburgh with the new Johnnie Walker Princes Street opening, along with the ongoing upgrade program across many of the Distillery Brand Homes. Scotch in cocktails will continue to be a trend, with more and more bars innovating and surprising whisky lovers with exciting new serves and flavour combinations.

MoM: What will you be drinking this Christmas?

CM: I will be drinking our Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition as it is a firm favourite, and I will be giving one of our Fill Your Own bottles to my father (I hope he will be sharing it).

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Tasting Note:

Nose: It’s all about the orchard fruits here. Dalwhinnie isn’t called the gentle dram for anything! There’s apple, pear, nectarines, honeysuckle, custard and perhaps a whisper of smoke.

Palate: It’s mega malty with lashings of honey and Victoria sponge cake. There’s the waft of smoke again, along with the sweet spices.

Finish: Long, gentle and nutty