Dalwhinnie 15 year old Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Along with Cragganmore, this is one of the underrated members of the original Classic Six. Quite why has always slightly baffled me. OK, it isn't smoky, but the nose has a deep, soft, honeyed sweetness: think caramelized fruits, hints of thick cream, and a light touch of fennel and sharp citrus. Thick in the center and very gentle, it's that chunkiness in the middle that is the secret to its beauty.
Opening aroma is assertive, dry, with peppery scents of barley husk, grainy oil and cracked wheat wafer; seven more minutes bring out a mildly sweeter, slightly vanilla bean, brown rice-like side. Palate entry is pleasantly prickly, textured and moderately sweet; at midpalate, the taste profile turns stunningly sappy and resin-like. Finishes dry to off-dry and keenly resiny.
If you're looking for a Highland malt then the Dalwhinnie is for you. A spirit that is totally unique, given that it is the only distillery that is allowed to use the spring water that flows from Lochan an Doire-Uaine, it has the soft grassiness of a Lowland malt with the firm character of nearby Speyside. Notes of heather and peat on the nose, with a delicate, honeyed citrus palate with vanilla and anise accents that is soft and lingering. Satisfying.