I don't know about you but every time I go to a party nowadays I feel like I should be taking a bottle of whisky instead of a bottle of wine. More expensive? Yes. But it is more suited to me, my expertise, and by the sound of some of my friends when I don't... expected! With that in mind I started to think about the best ones to take a long so here are my top three bottles of whisky to take to a dinner party, based on the expected type of night you'll be having.
1. The party with whisky connoisseurs in attendance - something random
So you are at a dinner party where people there all love whisky? Great! But because they all love whisky there it is more than likely that they know all the store-available products and even a few limited editions so you have to do something a little special.
My preferred way of wowing when it comes to events like this, provided I have enough time to get it sorted, is to buy something random from a whisky auction site.
It does not have to be expensive or the most limited bottle ever produced but it should be either dusty or interesting, or preferably both.
You’d be surprised as to what you can pick up online for around the £70 – £100 mark, I frequently buy ‘vintage’ bottlings of brands such as Jura, Glenmorangie or Johnnie Walker for around that price point or less. They will be the same line as available now so Black Label, 10 Year Old or whatever but they will have been released in the 1970s or 1980s so look a bit special and likely contain completely different liquid to what we would expect today, tho will hopefully taste similar!
If that fails, just get a bottle of The Macallan Ruby, always sure to impress.
2. The party with people who want to try something new - the latest limited edition
Limited editions are unlimited in reality, there were more of them released last year across the Scotch industry than in the previous ten years combined so you should have no trouble finding one.
I often pick up SMWS or Duty Free bottles in the £45 – £75 mark for just this occasion as they are unlikely to have been bought by many people, if any, in attendance and create a talking and educational point as much as a libation focus.
Talisker Dark Storm or anything cask strength from SMWS is sure-fire winners
3. The party where no one there normally drinks whisky - something good but economical
That may sound harsh but there is no point using your latest super-limited edition or favourite 2012 release of the Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 Year Old here, something that is good and enjoyable will suffice, a little surprising too would be perfect.
The Black Grouse is good for this, or the mainline Laphroaig 10 Year Old or even a Teeling Single Grain release to mix it up a bit.
I think the key thing here is not to spend in the wrong places; if it is to be a low tempo dinner party where there are no true expectations or existing whisky knowledge, don’t force something ridiculous on them. By no means am I saying take a poorly perceived bottle but buy smart and enjoy yourself.
Whereas if you’re there with a bunch of fellow whisky geeks you will want to impress, take something dusty, interesting or something random you found on an auction site. What are your top three bottles of whisky to take to a dinner party?