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Scotch

Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 2023

$90.00

OVERALL
RATING

8

Whisky Review: Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 2023

Tasting Notes:

About:
Appearance:
Light straw almost a white wine.
Nose:
Effervescent with light and airy notes of grasses, tropical fruit like papaya or pineapple. There is a hint of coconut lingering in the background behind the tropical notes. Finally a soft touch of graham to even out the nose.
Palate:
Surprisingly watery with a thin body to the mouthfeel. There is pepper and baking spices, a light char and a touch of peat smoke before balancing the sip to fresh grains. The tropical fruit is gone and replaced by a traditional Scotch taste. The finish is dry, long, and slow. It builds across the palate without being a disruptive flavor.
Finish:
Comments:
This is another really enjoyable cask finish. From the nose through to the finish there are dozens of unique notes to this one. They all play a roll in creating an enjoyable drinking experience, but none of them try to steal the show. Almost as though they each take their respective bow and leave the stage. The 15-year Scotch is an excellent backdrop for this one, it has the strength to stand up to the finishing cask while still being able to work with the new flavors. I think the Oloroso is well matched with the Dalwhinnie.

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs. 

Diageo North America, a goliath in the spirits world, has released their 2023 Distillers Edition line up here in the United States. This is an annual release from their portfolio of brands, and this release focuses on their Scotch portfolio. They take a brand’s standard offering (like Lagavulin 16-year) and double-mature that whiskey in different casks to illicit a new take on the old standard.

This year’s collection crosses four main distilling regions: Speyside, Islay, Highlands, and Lowlands. Only Campbeltown is missing. The distilleries include: Lagavulin (Islay), Talisker (Islay: Isle of Skye), Cragganmore (Speyside), Oban (Western Highland), Dalwhinnie (Highland), and Glenkinchie (Lowland).

Each expression has a revered legacy in the Scotch world with an expansive history to match. Diageo produces one batch of these whiskies per year. This year Diageo has curated the release with an extra step by designing unique labels for each bottle encompassing stylistic elements of each distillery and the core expression used.

“We’re proud to introduce the latest Distillers Edition line-up, a collection created to celebrate some of Diageo’s finest Single Malt Scotch Whiskies and their distilleries,” says Hannah Todd, Director of Single Malt Whiskies Portfolio at Diageo. “The collection has a long history dedicated to its aging process and craftsmanship, making it the perfect gift to commemorate special moments with. Whether celebrating a holiday, gifting a loved one, or toasting to a special occasion, the Distillers Edition collection has a liquid for every type of person in your life.”

This review will focus on the Dalwhinnie 15-year-old core expression finished in Oloroso casks. Oloroso sherry is an extremely popular finishing cask. The Whiskey Wash reviewed the 2021 Distillers Edition – that review by Ian Arnold can be found here.

Sherry often uses the solera system for aging. For those unfamiliar solera sherry barrels are arranged according to the age of sherry inside them. At the time of bottling the liquid is extracted from the oldest barrels. By law the barrel can only be emptied one third at a time, whereafter the next oldest barrel will be used to refill the emptied barrel.

Here Dalwhinnie, a Highland scotch, is touted for its simple, but clean, flavors in the 15-year core expression. It is a popular whisky and for many is a bellwether for Scotch. I am a little disappointed Diageo didn’t try a different finishing cask for this expression. I am not a distiller nor a master blender, at best I’m an armchair enthusiast, but I am a little disappointed this is essentially the same whisky from 2020 or 2021, just with a different package. With that we turn to the glass.

Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 2023 review
We review Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 2023, a 15 year old Highland scotch single malt that’s been finished in Oloroso sherry casks. (image via Diageo)

Tasting Notes: Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 2023

Vital Stats: 15-year-old finished in Oloroso cask, 43% abv, SRP $90.

Appearance: Light straw almost a white wine.

Nose: Effervescent with light and airy notes of grasses, tropical fruit like papaya or pineapple. There is a hint of coconut lingering in the background behind the tropical notes. Finally a soft touch of graham to even out the nose.

Palate: Surprisingly watery with a thin body to the mouthfeel. There is pepper and baking spices, a light char and a touch of peat smoke before balancing the sip to fresh grains. The tropical fruit is gone and replaced by a traditional Scotch taste. The finish is dry, long, and slow. It builds across the palate without being a disruptive flavor.

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