Homeblend 13: The Dalwhinnie Testblends

by Matti

Here’s another post to sate your lust for the blend. This time I’ll be chronicling a few testblends I did last night, so in contrast to most of the blends I talk about on this blog, these are unmarried and more or less freshly poured (I let them sit with a cover on the glass for 30 mins before tasting, but that’s it).

Dalwhinnie 15yo is a subtly flavoured single malt, so I chose three more or less subtle malts to partner it with: Glenmorangie 10yo, Clynelish 14yo and Glen Elgin 12yo. My expectations beforehand were that the resulting blends would be rather similar, with differences in the nuances, but as it turns out at least one of these managed to do some contortionist trick in the glass and come out altogether different on the other side. Let’s kick off with the first one, the Clynewhinnie:

A schematic representation of the whisky homeblend 'Clynewhinnie', containing Dalwhinnie 15yo Single HIghland Malt and Clynelish 14yo Single Highland Malt.

I’ll keep the tasting notes fairly broad, as I’ve only tasted all these once. The Clynewhinnie seems to validate my preconceptions: both nose and taste are floral and a bit spicy with some honey from the Dalwhinnie and a waxy feel from the Clynelish, but nothing that really blows me away and certainly not anything that is better than either. At this point I feel a bit anxious about these blends and I am gripped by the fear of having to pour them all into my living bottle out of sheer mediocrity.

A schematic representation of the whisky homeblend 'Dalmorangie', containing Dalwhinnie 15yo Single HIghland Malt and Glenmorangie 10yo Single Highland Malt.

This all changes when I try the Dalmorangie, though. The nose is… oh my… wonderful… I’m hit by caramel, then banana, then the two flavours combine into caramelized-banana-cream (if that doesn’t exist, someone should invent it. Right Now.). The taste continues the theme with variations on caramel and butterscotch supported by floral honey notes. The finish is very interesting as it has a drying mouth feel and contains the beeswax I expected to get from the Clynelish in the previous blend… All in all, I have only one word for this: yum-fingerlicking-yum! (okay, sorta three words).

A schematic representation of the whisky homeblend 'Dal Elgin', containing Dalwhinnie 15yo Single Highland Malt and Glen Elgin Single Speyside Malt.

The Dal Elgin has a tough act to follow.  The nose performs like expected with fruity notes from the Glen Elgin and spicy/honeyed notes from the Dalwhinnie. Tastewise it is actually quite interesting, a subtle meld of clover honey, caramel and sweet floral notes lead to a finish that becomes waxy and honeyed. It is not a blend which bowls you over like the Dalmorangie, but in it’s own quiet, sweet way it does deliver.

The result of this evening is that both the Dalmorangie (duh) and the Dal Elgin will be spending a week or so in a bottle, marrying the living hell out of eachother and as a little stab in the dark I also poured the remains of all three blends together just to see if anything interesting will happen there.

Summarizing: it’s great how these simple-as-can-be blends can still surprise you and offer an unexpected taste sensation. i can’t wait to try these once married and you can be sure I’ll report it right here when I do!