As Scotland’s highest distillery, this is not the first time that owners Diageo have tried to link Dalwhinnie to cold weather. Winter’s Gold – another in the continuing line of ‘serve from the freezer’ whiskies was released in 2015. And it seems that some retailers have got rather confused and are pitching Winter’s Frost with the same cribbed serving suggestion. Diageo do not seem to be making this claim this time around – they’ve already done so with JW White Walker after all. Nevertheless, I do not believe that *any* single malt whisky is improved via time spent next to your frozen peas – so, in either case, please don’t bother.
Winter’s Frost is listed as being 100% matured in ex-bourbon casks. It’s delivered at 43% and is available from Master of Malt for £49.63 – with a dispatch date at the end of May – when the second enormous batch of these limited whiskies is due to be released.
Nose: Fruity little number. Plenty of apple – Red apple, toffee apple, apple crumble – alongside poached pears and peach cobbler. Throughout – maltcake, baked loaves and a very hearty kick of vanilla essence. Reduction adds both cotton candy sweetness as well as emphasising the underlying spirit maltiness with barley and toasted cereals. All in all quite pleasant.
Taste: A nice initial weight (more than 43% would sometimes infer) is unfortunately not built on with consistent flavour. There’s little of the nose’s expressive fruitiness – more a vague sense of peach, lemon juice and raisin. Again, malts push through and are supported by both honey and hazelnut, but, this is super simplistic with little development to note. Water brings out some baked apples and ginger but dulls everything else into an ambiguous jumble.
Finish: Short, spice focussed with white pepper and nutmeg.
After the welcoming fruit-forward nose, Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost is over quicker than a red wedding. Whilst inoffensive, the palate lacks punch, definition and development – yes, the flavour combinations you’d expect from this distillery (fruity maltiness) are present, but they’re quite anaemic compared to the 1/3 cheaper 15 year old.