Jan 10th, 2016.
Evelien de Vogel visits Scotland to trek through snow capped mountains to the Dalwhinnie factory where this year’s hottest new drink is warming up the cold. Here are her thoughts:
For most of us, December is the month of back-to-back brunches, lunches and pub nights; long days, long nights – ‘party we must’ seems to be this month’s reigning motto. Christmas then brings the festivities to an all-time high, and New Year’s Eve ends the party season with a (literal) bang.
It’s a fun-filled month, but it’s also really, really tiring – I bet I’m not the only one who is secretly quite excited about being ‘allowed’ to ignore my social responsibilities for a bit come January to recuperate!
For me, that preferably involves a cosy pub with a fireplace (or a cosy cafe with heaters and blankets; ‘cosy’ is the operative word here) with those who matter most, soft, knitted jumpers and cute hats, good food and a few drinks here and there. Pretty straightforward and not much to ask, but yes, this is my interpretation of a ‘happy place’.
You might think now, ‘Drinks?! Didn’t we just drink like there’s no tomorrow for 31 days straight? Isn’t it time for a break?’ Dry January is certainly getting more and more popular every year. But to me, there is a big difference between a drink and a drink – you wouldn’t smash through a bottle of Dom Pérignon unless there was something to celebrate, would you?
For me, January is about those drinks; drinks that make you go ‘ahhh’ while you recline in your chair and close your eyes out of contentment.
Dalwhinnie’s latest addition to their whisky collection, Winter’s Gold, certainly falls into this category. The malt whisky is as easy to drink as it is satisfying; making Winter’s Gold a sure crowd-pleaser even among those who are yet to board the whisky train.
Dalwhinnie’s Winter’s Gold is both sweet and delicate, spicy and smoky in flavour and the secret to this peculiar mix is in the location of the distillery: it’s both the highest (351m) and the coldest distillery (6.6°C as a yearly average – in comparison, London’s average temperature in January is 7°C!) in the UK. Where else would one create a true winter drink?
Besides just being a very nice whisky, Dalwhinnie throws a curveball with its suggested serve: frozen. Now for those of you who aren’t as familiar, whisky should traditionally be served at room temperature, so serving Winter’s Gold frozen certainly shakes things up!
The Experience Colour
Gold (or to be more specific, burnished bronze)
Smooth, sweet and full-bodied, with a fruity character and a hint of smoky notes
Hints of honey followed by a richer texture balanced with ripe fruit fall – which then give way to soft, rich smoky flavour
Sublime and heartwarming, happiness flows through the body
Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold works best straight out of the freezer (try to chill it for at least 24h) – this transforms the liquid’s texture to that desired syrupy-mouth-feel. Let your hands warm the liquid in the glass to then unlock the heather-honeyed charms.
Winter’s Gold lighter, sweeter notes make it pair well with desserts, while the smoky notes also makes cheeses an excellent choice.
Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold is available to buy from selected retailers in markets across the country (RRP £33, 43% ABV)