Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold
Freezing my bottle so you won't have to
Two years ago, I had just heard the heartbeat of my unborn son for the first time during a standard echo. Being my first child, realising I was becoming a father once more, I walked into a local liquor store and bought a bottle of whisky on sale to deal with this thing called "feelings". It was the Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold. I enjoyed it in the following weeks with friends and family. A quick bottle kill. During a whisky meet at my place, the empty bottle became part of a discussion. Apparently, other liquor stores were selling these bottles with the advise to keep it in the freezer.
Now, I've heard of keeping your limoncello or vodka at below zero temperatures, but whisky? We left the discussion with an open end and enjoyed some other drams that night. But I kept remembering the story.
Last October, more than 2 years later, I received a bottle of Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold for my birthday. And immediately I remembered the discussion and decided to do a test. So, for the next planned whisky meet, I poured some of it in a smaller bottle and stuffed the big bottle in my freezer.
During the discussion we had about freezing the bottle, my main argument was that the cold might reduce the taste of the whisky.
Why? Because I assumed that cold means less moving molecules, meaning less aromas to be smelled. And since smell is also a big part of what you taste, a reduced taste.
Counter argument was that adding ice to a drink could give it more flavor. Think about cocktails being mixed over ice or adding a ice cube to your whisky.
Someone countered that one with the argument that that was about slow dilution and therefore giving of more aromas over time. As you can imagine, we could not figure it out. Partly because other drams were enjoyed and our arguments went from science based arguments to comments like: " No, you're stupid!"
The next day I used Google and found a lot of mentioning of drinking it out of the freezer, but I could not find an official Dalwhinnie source mentioning the fact that I should put my whisky in the freezer. (Please let me know if you know where to find this.)
So, having a second chance two years later, we planned the A/B test.
Sharing this experience with two other whisky fans, I poured the room temperature whisky in one glass, and the whisky from the bottle that spend 48 hours in the freezer in the other.
On the eye: The whisky does not change color. The glass of the "Frozen" whisky (To be named Frisky now) did fogg up. The frisky seemed a little more syrupy in the glass after a quick dance in the glass and showed a little thicker legs.
On the nose it loses quite a lot and becomes more earthy, going towards nutshells on autumn leaves.
Both carry the aroma of warm apple with some white pepper and bergamot. I also got some lactescent funky notes. With the frisky going towards frozen yoghurt.
The taste does not differ much for me, the mouth feel is different, but the flavors are very close with some vanilla, caramels, apples and some milk chocolate, finishing with a light white pepper.
The finish is rather short on the tongue, but stays a bit in the throat.
Again, the frisky has a different feel, but no spectaculair effect.
Final verdict: It was fun to do, but I do not think I will put my bottle in the freezer again. The Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold is a nice daily sipper, but the frisky variant did not do much for me.
Thank you Matti, for the bottle and the fun test we were able to do becasue of that!