Wow, than you for such an incredible response to the GreatDrams Top 10 Christmas Presents for Whisky Lovers article a couple of weeks ago. I've been truly overwhelmed, and following the success of that list I have decided to compile another ten unmissable presents for the whisky lover in your life this Christmas, this time I've chosen presents that are a little less mainstream.
I Want To Know Whisky is an online guide that gives you the basics and builds on these so you have a working knowledge of everything Scotch related.
I think think this makes a great Christmas gift for any Whisky lover out there, giving them the chance to gain an insider’s knowledge about the inner workings of the Scotch industry.
At the end of the course you are also given an official certificate to print out, authenticated by Whisky legend Charles MacLean. This is the cherry on top for any true Whisky enthusiast.
The staple of their range is a no age statement single malt that has been running rings around its fellow countrymen to claim several gold medals and the title of Best Irish Malt.
The nose entices you with bursts of juicy summer berries like blackberries and blueberries. There is a slight bitterness to these that intertwines with a subtle and dulling woody oak tone.
The palate develops wonderfully with a smooth mouthfeel and the flavours become spicy and sweet. Cinnamon and nutmeg join the berries, with slight nods towards jam and toast.
A really enjoyable whiskey and with a very interesting back story (read more about it in our review soon!)
The Glenrothes has always taken an interest in different approaches in which to showcase the depth of the distillery’s character. At first, classically by experimentation with different casks, sizes and wood then, secondly, by looking outside the current box.
By delving into the distillery’s heritage it was discovered that one of the first associations with another distillery was with a company called Highland Distilleries back in 1887. This was an association formed between The Glenrothes and the Islay Distillery Co Ltd.
The research provided the inspiration for the new expression, the task now was to identify some excellent whisky. Deciding on Vintage 1992, The Glenrothes was given a temporary home in a cask hailing from the peaty lands of Islay. It doesn’t take much time to add a kiss of peat smoke to complement but not overpower the usual Glenrothes characteristics.
This first release is pretty limited to get to M&S now and pick up a bottle or two.
What could be more Irish than Whiskey called after the infamous Pogues?
Well known for far more than their drinking and THAT Christmas hit, the Pogues have been making music and touring for more than 30 years.
The Pogues blend is 50/50 grain and single malt and is very young, having been matured for only three years and a day.
But that doesn’t seem to have done much harm to the liquid, which although not being too complex, considering the age, is quite impressive.
This expression is supposed to capture the character of the band themselves, but lets hope they don’t go too far to bottle the riotous behaviour associated with the them or we could all be drinking cigarette butts and heroin.
Released in June 2015 at Imbibe Live, The Dubliner Irish Whisky is an exciting expression straight out of the greatest city on the Emerald Isle, although don’t let on to Belfast!
Matured in Bourbon Casks and with the typical Irish Whisky smoothness, this is a fantastic malt with a velvety soft mouth feel.
This new release continues the brand’s aims at capturing the character of the city of Dublin.
Packed full of history and culture, the energy exuded by the city is mirrored in this dram.It was blended by The Dubliner master blender John Drenan and is brimming with the craic.
This is quite an exciting release from The Lakes Distillery, bringing together drams from all across the British Isles with a deliciously rich sherry cask finish.
It was released to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the distillery, and the second anniversary of the Whisky itself.
Limited to only 3,335 bottles, this blend was finished in oloroso sherry hogsheads and is a really great dram that is definitely worth getting your hands on.
Their previous versions of The ONE have been award winning and it would be no surprise if this limited edition were follow suit.
Made from some of the finest malts from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, this is a cross border Whisky with great depth and complexity.
The oloroso sherry finish on this limited edition, is the cherry on top, giving a sweet richness and juicy undertone of ripe fruits throughout.
Aimed at a younger audience but with the backing of a long heritage, Grant’s Signature Blend is a relatively new release from the legendary Whisky family.
The official website describes it as “easy to drink” and “also tastes a bit like biscuits”, perhaps in an effort to attract those who have not yet discovered the joys of the dram.
A really good value dram at around the £15-20 mark from supermarkets.
Before this release they launched a 12-Year-Old single malt and were rewarded greatly for their efforts. They won Best Single Malt 12-Year-Old and under at the 2014 Irish Whisky awards.
Fingers crossed their 15-Year-Old will have the same effect!
This particular expression is a limited edition and only 500 bottles have been released. So snap it up while you still can, and just in time for Christmas too! Perfect for every Irish Whisky lover!
It has been matured in premium Bourbon Casks, giving it sweet and smooth mouth feel that perfectly complements the smoothing effects of Irish triple distillation.
Ballantie’s have released their new expression called Hard Fired in a nod towards the use of fire to bring out the natural flavours of the oak and to enrich the Whisky with a smoky depth.
Most barrels used to infuse smoke into Whisky are charred once and scaled according to just how charred they are.
The barrels used for this expression are charred twice, or technically, “hard fired”, unleashing the hounds of flavour into the liquid and giving a boost to the already smoky nature of the dram.
I was at the launch and it is a lovely whisky and sold at a great price too.
On Saturday 4th July this year, twenty five years to the day, William Grant & Sons
Three casks have been bottled, numbers 8 (going to Taiwan), 20 (going to Germany) and 21 (going to the UK) and the interesting thing here is that the Grant family typically keep the first forty casks of every new distillery’s first run as family heirlooms but in this case have released some of the lower numbers.
The bottle will be priced at £400 per 35cl which is quite a bold price for the bottle size, although I understand the viewpoint of William Grant & Sons… this really is proof that ‘great things come in small packages’.