Its that time of year again where we all search for that perfect dram, for ourselves, or indeed for others, whether its for St Andrews Day, or its for Christmas Day or its for bringing in the New Year at Hogmanay. It was after being asked from some close friends last year for some whisky buying advice, I decided to place an annual review on this blog to help those in need. Here is last years. . . .
Aberlour 10 year old // Speyside
A whisky that I had the pleasure of enjoying twice this year, with two separate bottles. My wife got me a bottle and my daughter picked one up for me for Father’s Day. A delicious whisky, the colour alone makes you want to keep sipping it. I really enjoyed this with cake, mainly my wife’s walnut and courgette cake, it seemed to be just the right mixture of sweetness, mixed with the dark fruity raisin flavours of the whisky. I will most certainly be buying this again.
Auchentoshan Classic // Lowland
I had the chance to visit my local distillery again this year and had a wonderful tour, this time we tried the full range and I enjoyed each one, however the Classic was possibly my least favourite. The Three Wood stole it for me, and after having a really good tasting with friends one night, we had the opportunity to try the Valinch before it was released. That very same night my good friend treated me to the Springwood, again it felt quite young and almost not ready, but a nice light dram all the same.
Dalmore Tweed Dram // Highland
A generous gift from my Brother and Sister in law. I really enjoyed this and the bottle disappeared quite rapidly. Definitely one to try if you haven’t already and a fantastic bottle too. The colour is not dissimilar to the Aberlour but the taste was not quite as sweet, so still had the the kick of a full flavoured Highland whisky.
Fettercairn Fior // Highland
Another generous gift from my Brother and Sister in law (man, they’re good to me. . . ). A delicious whisky, just the right amount of peat for someone who is not (yet) a fan of the darker more mysterious stuff that makes your throat burn and go numb. Its a full mouthful of everything you’d expect from a highland whisky and then BAM, there is the peat! Just a wee touch though to remind you that the barley was in fact dried with a peat fire. Lovely, and a great bottle.
Glenkinchie 12 year old // Lowland
A gift from my Mum and Dad, and the bottle we took to have over the New Year into 2013 down in Dumfries and Galloway. Nice wee dram for a lowland malt with plenty to talk about, flowery and tasty however for me there is nothing too threatening or distinct that makes it stand up against some of the more interesting belters. A safe bet for someone who hasn’t tried it.
Isle of Jura Superstition // Island
Similar to the Fettercairn, a little finish of peat in this one. I’ve actually been really enjoying this little dram with some water, which believe me, it unusual for me. I think it maybe is just opening up the peat a little and giving more of the nose. A gift from my brother for my birthday, its November and I still have it…..its done well.
Ledaig 9 year old // Island
The peaty little monster that lives in the same distillery as Tobermory, I really enjoyed this as it was a gift from friends that had asked me to play at their Wedding, which to be honest, was a gift in itself. It was one of the Glenkeir treasures from The Whisky Shop, and the unusual age made for an interesting dram. Similar to some of the more peaty Islay beauties, this was a rare treat. I’d definitely try some of the other years if I get the chance.
Macallan Gold // Highland
My brother picked this up for my Christmas this year, and I loved it. Its difficult to go wrong with The Macallan, and its actually difficult to go wrong with Highland / Speyside whiskies. I had just finished this bottle when I read an article mentioning that there is a trend that distillers are following that will do away with ages and instead use descriptors such as; Gold, Amber, Sienna, Ruby. I however hope this trend doesn’t catch on, I love knowing the age of my whisky.
Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old // Speyside
A favourite of my good friend and whisky drinker, Beano. I’ve had a couple of bottles of this and have just taken the neck out of my latest. A unique shaped bottle, and a really pleasant little warmer. Nice and smooth with just enough kick to remind you that you are in fact drinking whisky. Personally, I normally enjoy a wee bit of peat, but this is a really good little change if you’re searching for something that little bit lighter or something to have before those really really cold nights come along. . . and then you would look for the Ardbeg or Laphroiag.
Over the last few months I also had some little nights out where I’ve been in good company to enjoy a wee dram or two, mainly from some of my favourite Glasgow pubs. (The Lismore, Dram, The Scotia Bar and the Ben Nevis).
In no order, I’ve enjoyed my first taste of Deanston, I had a nice glass of what the late Mr Iain Banks calls ‘The Perfect Dram’, Glenfiddich 21 Year Old (I think, thanks Beano). I also have been lucky enough to finally enjoy the wonderful oily and strong nectar of Kilchoman in their 2013 Machir Bay Release, and was blown away by both the Ardbeg Corryvreckan and the Isle of Arran 10 Year Old.
Dedicated to Mr Iain Banks. . .