Dalwhinnie 25 Years Review

Dalwhinnie 25 Years Review

Dalwhinnie 25 Years is part of the 2015 Diageo Special Releases that we recently tasted at a LAWS meeting. This little 1 wash and 1 spirit still distillery is located in the western Highlands in the Strathspey region where it has been pumping out whisky since 1898 when it went by the name Strathspey. The name was changed to Dalwhinnie when it was bought by the Dalwhinnie Distillery Co. only a few years after it had opened.

Dalwhinnie, to me, is an an interesting distillery to include in this lineup because while it is part of Diageo’s “Classic Malts” it’s not exactly well regarded as being a particularly interesting or complex whisky. It’s often been referred to as a single malt that drinks like a blend because it’s so “smooth” and lack luster. A “meh” quality that, as you’ll see in the Dalwhinnie 25 Years review, follows through even in the high-end “Special Release” realm.

Dalwhinnie 25 Years Info

Region: Highland, Scotland

Distiller: Dalwhinnie
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: Hogshead
Age: 25 Years
ABV: 48.8%

Bottles: 5,916

Price: $475

Dalwhinnie 25 Years Review

EYE
Straw

NOSE
Weak malt, fruit, strawberry Necco, oxidized chocolate (liked after melting and putting in the fridge) and cantaloupe skin with a light floral touch and a bit of wood that’s reminiscent of a box of tooth picks. Light and just sort of… “meh”.

PALATE
Fruit, malt, spice and dried fruit with that same light floral touch and tooth-pick-like wood. The nose is a bit more complex than the palate where the whisky seems to flatline.

FINISH
Short and watery with light notes of malt, fruit and a bit of earth.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and light watery feel.

OVERALL
Dalwhinnie 25 Years is uninteresting, but not offensive. I flirted with giving it a C, but really there should be some major flaws before it hits that realm. Here its biggest offense is just being weak and lack luster. While it is one of the more attainable of the 2015 Diageo Special Releases it’s nowhere worth its $475 price tag. Dalwhinnie 25 Years is in no way, shape or form worth its asking price. I can make business cards that say I’m a doctor, but it doesn’t mean I am and just because it’s labeled as Special doesn’t mean that it is.

For comparison, my previous experiences with the Dalwhinnie 15 would be pegged in the C range as it’s even more “blah” than the Dalwhinnie 25 Years, but not by too much. This similarity between the two means you could save yourself $410 by picking up the 15 yr and be rewarded with a similar drinking experience. Which brings us to the question of value for this “special” whisky. Is every additional year in the cask from 15 – 25 worth a price increase of $41? Me thinks not.

SCORE: 77-79/100 (C+, consumed at a tasting)

Dalwhinnie 25 Years Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 77
  • Palate - 77
  • Finish - 77
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 77

Summary

Dalwhinnie 25 Years is in no way, shape or form worth its asking price. I can make business cards that say I’m a doctor, but it doesn’t mean I am and just because it’s labeled as Special doesn’t mean that it is.

Dalwhinnie 25 Years Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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2 Responses to Dalwhinnie 25 Years Review

  1. I don’t disagree with your rating, as I haven’t tried the 25 (and won’t at that price!), but do find the 15 to be a better whisky than a “C” rating. The 15 is a subtlety complex whisky that needs to be evaluated in a quiet setting, not in a group or crowd. There are many nuances that will otherwise be missed. When I do drink this, it is as an opening dram to set the senses before moving to more overtly flavored whiskies. My one issue with it is a bottle of the 15 costs about 50% more than I really think it’s worth. That, to me, is a real problem, and why I was confused to see a $400+ Dalwhinnie released.

    • Hey Robert,

      It’s been a while since I’ve had the 15 and yes, it’s always been at the bar or someone’s house. I agree that even at its modest price it’s more than I want to spend for what I get, but it is a cheap enough whisky that I’m thinking about picking a bottle up to compare and taste at home and do a formal review of. Expect it in the fairly near future. Cheers!

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