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Dalwhinnie was almost unknown prior to its inclusion in Diageo's Classic Malts seriesin 1987, and the majority of the spirit produced there still goes into the Buchanan's and Black and White blends, despite it being in the top 15 best-selling malts worldwide.
The distillery's declared status as the Highlands representative in the Classic Malt range has raised a few eyebrows over the years, given that many writers (including Michael Jackson) consider it to be in the sub-region of Speyside (already represented by Cragganmore in the Classic Malts). Indeed, the distillery's original name was Strathspey, and its closest neighbouring distillery is The Speyside. It was formally classified a Speyside malt in 2009 when the region's borders were defined in The Scotch Whisky Regulations of that year.
Minor quibbles aside, the standard-issue Dalwhinnie has remained a consistently pleasing whisky, with delicate peat notes and a floral edge around a clean, honeyed, malty centre. The Distiller's Edition of Dalwhinnieis finished in oloroso casks, adding an extra depth, while a trio of long-aged cask-strength expressions appearing over the last few years as part of Diageo's Special Releases have been very well-received, proving that this well-made spirit can age extremely well.
In common with its Classic Malts stablemates, independent bottlings of Dalwhinnie are so rare as to be practically non-existent.