Our wine and spirits expert has put together some inspiration from around the world
In tribute of Father’s Day, our wine and spirits expert, Adrian Smith, has put together some inspiration from around the world when it comes to the whisky or whiskey that’ll earn you some brownie points.
We’ll delve into some drams with a story before offering a dash of mixology for those who like to shake up something special. To top it all off, we’ve got Colin Hampden-White on hand to showcase the top affordable whiskies on the market.
8 Drams From Around The World
You may be surprised to know that whisk(e)y is produced all around the planet. In an effort to aid a little global exploration, I’ve chosen 8 tipples from the more well-known regions of Scotland and Ireland to the lesser-known wonders of India, Sweden and Texas. Enjoy!
The Last Drop Distillers Single Malt Glenrothes 1968 (Scotland)
Likely one of the most beautiful whiskies on the planet, this is the 12th limited edition release from The Last Drop Distillers, renowned pioneers of truly exceptional and rare spirits from across the globe. This single malt edition boasts an incredibly rare bounty, taken from just 2 casks of 1968 Glenrothes found deep within the distillery. With only 309 bottles in existence this is a collector’s item that won’t be around for long.
Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon (USA)
Here we have one of my all-time favorite bourbons – and it’s done a fair bit of traveling on our marble, too. Aged for anywhere between 6-8 years on land, this bourbon then takes to the sea for a further 6-10 months, crossing the equator 4 times. The result? A salted caramel delight, teaming with floral and citrus notes, a light crushed black pepper and slight salinity, reminiscent of Islay whiskies. A true wonder that must be explored.
Balcones Baby Blue (Texas, United States)
This creamy delight unravels notes of stewed bananas, caramelized apples and a sweet indulgent vanilla. The palate brings forth an assortment of baked apples, dark caramel chocolate with a little sea salt and a rich mouthfeel that adds layers and layers of complexity. A kiss of vanilla sweetness becomes more apparent as the finish draws in, a little spice complimenting the finale.
Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky (India)
This rich and intense beauty from the Himalayas is truly unique. Its nose gives you smoked bacon with burnt caramel alongside an incredible fruity and citric palate. Fruit loaf is the key here and offers a true indication of some seriously great whiskey coming from India.
Here we have a beautifully blended malt whisky created from a selection of both Japanese malts and specially selected malts from around the world (a pioneering force for WORLD whiskey day!). Kamiki is the first whisky to use yoshino-sugi (also referred to as Japanese Cedar) as their cask finish. While the nose offers baked apples, citrus and a peatiness, the palate gives an incredible floral element alongside pine needles, apricot and white pepper.
Mackmyra Svensk Rök (Swedish Smoke)
Sweden and whisky is a thing. Named ‘Swedish Smoke’, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Layers of peat and an expressive campfire smoke flow from the glass with rich hints of oak, vanilla and waffles. The palate offers a punch of juniper, more of that creamy vanilla and a blast of pine smoke on the finish. Did I mention this is smoky?
Knappogue Castle 12 Year (Ireland)
This triple distilled wonder is incredible smooth and balanced. There’s a biscuity element on the nose which opens up in white pepper and fruit cake. The taste brings forth more dark fruits, marzipan and sticky toffee pudding with brown sugar and vanilla. Incredibly mellow and elegant, this has to be one of my all-time favourites.
Deanston 12 Year Old (Scotland)
The Deanston 12 Year Old is one of my constant go-to’s. There’s something about the dense marmalade notes on the nose with a citrus cereal combination that entices me. The palate brings forth a silky caramel with macadamia and hazelnuts as a little oak emerges. The finish also combined caramel and fudge with a little more of that marmalade zing. I do love my marmalade and I really do love this whisky.
What’s The Deal With Ice, Water & Whisk(e)y?
Of course, it is! Some whiskies end up giving you much more on both the nose and palate if you add a little fresh water to them, the same for ice. If you find the flavour overpowering, try adding a little dash of water (around 2 tablespoons), this should mellow out the harshness of the alcohol and allow you to enjoy the unique flavours a lot more. Some distilleries even sell the water used for producing their whiskies.
While some people like their whiskey on the warmer side so it wraps around their tongue and gives more mouthfeel, others prefer it to be chilled, that’s where your ice comes in. Remember, big blocks as opposed to little ones will ensure your whisk(e)y doesn’t get too watered down – there’s nothing worse than adding too much water, as you can never go back after that!
What He/She Said: The Top 5 Affordable Whiskies For Your Money
In this editions guest segment, we hear from Colin Hampden-White, Keeper of the Quaich and world renowned whisky expert. Here’s what Colin had to say about the 5 most affordable whiskies on the market right now.
There is a plethora of whisky on the shelves of supermarkets today. The packaging all looks good and the information on the bottle makes the whisky sound delicious, and many are around the same price point, but which ones are really the best value for money?
Glenfiddich 12 Year Old (70cl)
Glenfiddich is one of few family-owned – and the only family-run – distilleries in Scotland, and their 12-year-old whisky is a classic. It has lots of orchard fruit flavours mixed with touches of vanilla and honey. Very easy going and smooth.
Glenmorangie Original (1L)
Glenmorangie Original is a ten year old whisky and forms the base for many of the more expensive expressions of Glenmorangie. With lots of orange citrus flavours mixed with vanilla, this whisky is light, fruity and zingy; perfect for summer.
Bowmore 12 Year Old (70cl)
Whisky from Islay has legendary status. Finding an affordable yet excellent expression can be tricky, but the Bowmore 12 year old holds all the cards. It is smoky, but not too smoky, and the overall taste is balanced well by lots of fruit flavours.
Tullamore DEW (70cl)
The principal difference between Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky, apart from the extra “e”, is the number of distillations. Generally there are two for Scotch and three for Irish, and this gives Irish whisky particularly smooth. Tullamore DEW is not only a good example of this characteristic but also a well-balanced blend.
Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old (70cl)
This is a go-to blend for many whisky connoisseurs. It is complex, fruity, with a touch of smoke, and is very well-balanced. Its blend of around forty whiskies make it more of a symphony than a single instrument.
Something A Little Bit Different
Peanut Butter & Jelly Old Fashioned
If you’re a whisky buff who likes to go all-natural, this may not be your first choice, but let me tell you – it’s damn tasty. For those who like a kick of sweetness or a bourbon cocktail, it’s the perfect remedy to a long day’s work. A trickle of homemade raspberry syrup combined with the unique texture and mouthfeel of this combination give you peanut butter and jelly bourbon. The raspberry wax scented seal locks in the flavour. Something for those who like a little creativity in their lives.
10-Day Immersive Whisky Tour In Scotland
For the hard-core whisky lovers who truly deserve to be spoilt, I give you the ultimate crème de la crème experience. Embark on a whisky discovery as you are chauffeured throughout the major regions of Scotland by your person driver and tour guide, visiting some of the most renowned distilleries in the world. An experience you will never forget.
Glencairn Whisky Glasses
From the famous crystal-producer of whisky’s favourite glassware, there’s a plethora of glasses, decanters, mixers and more within the Glencain range. Known to many as the ‘official whisky glass’, this is the perfect gift for those who like to indulge on a dram, the right way.
“The Whisky Event” By Whisky World
If you want to experience hundreds of whiskies all under one roof, then it’s ‘The Whisky Event’ you want on your radar. This London-based whisky-paradise takes place in the UK once a year and is a haven for being able to taste whisk(e)y from just about every country on the planet that is producing the stuff!
It may not be marmite, but it’s the next best thing for whisky lovers. I’m always delighted to see something ‘a little bit different’, and this truly is just that. A great little treat without breaking the bank to put a smile on Dads face!
Full-Day Whisky Experience In Edinburgh
This is the perfect VIP indulgence for a whisky lover in a completely accessible part of Scotland. Not only do you get a private chauffeur for the day, you get to experience masterclasses, sensory whisky tastings, a visit to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a bespoke distillery visit and so so much more. Something for the bucket list.
Four Whiskey Cocktails For The Daring DIY Mixologist
I always feature rather easy cocktails, but today, let’s take things to a new level, shall we? I’ve spent a lot of time shaking up with whiskey, but lately I’ve been overwhelmingly impressed with Balcones from Texas, so grab your bottle of their Baby Blue or Balcones Rye and get mixing!
Thyme Tells All
1 ½ oz. Baby Blue
¾ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Rich Thyme Syrup (see Syrups)
Glass: Double Old Fashioned Glass
Garnish: Thyme Sprig
Prep: Add all ingredients into shaker and fill with ice. Shake until cold and strain into glass.
Thyme Tells All- Rich Thyme Syrup Recipe:
(450 g. water, 9 g. thyme, 900g. superfine sugar)
Add water and thyme and heat until aromatic. Strain out thyme and add water back to pot and add sugar and stir until dissolved.
2 oz Baby blue
1.75 oz lemon
¼ oz orange
1oz rosemary simple syrup (see syrups)
1 tsp maple
1 tsp orange marmalade
1 egg white
Glass: Coup Glass
Garnish: Lemon Twist & Rosemary Sprig
Prep: Mix juices, syrups and marmalade and egg white - shake with no ice until frothy. Add ice and baby blue, shake until cold. Strain and serve.
Rosemary Simple Syrup:
(300g water. 600g white sugar, 2 cups rosemary needles)
Prep: Bring water to below boil. Slowly stir in all sugar until syrup forms. Once syrup complete, turn off heat. Add rosemary to pot and cover. Let sit for 15min. Strain out rosemary needles.
Rich Chocolate Old Fashioned
3 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
2 oz Rye
1 tsp Rich Turbinado Syrup
Prep: Build bitters, rye and syrup on ice cube in rocks glass. Stir and garnish with lemon peel
.5 oz Lavender Simple Syrup
1 oz lemon
Glass: Collins or Canadian
Prep: Combine all in shaker with ice and shake until cold to touch, strain over crushed ice in collins garnish with lemon twist