What is your favourite dram, Dan? As you can imagine, I get asked this question quite often - yet, I still find it rather difficult to answer...
Why? Well, in my opinion, there is no such thing as “the perfect/best whisky” but there is a right dram for the right situation - be that the time of day, the mood you find yourself in, your immediate surroundings or the food you are having it with - or having it after. So, it’s a bit more complicated and like many other things in life, it’s the journey, and the detours, that matter. And, despite an almost 25-year journey by now, mine is not over, it will very likely never be.
However, there are of course a few “companions” whom I’ve grown very fond of. You can usually find them half-full in my whisky cabinet. In addition, there is a growing number of bottlings that are gone since either the distillery has closed or the specific edition is not available anymore, at least not within my price range. Some of them are sorely missed.
But, let’s celebrate three that are still around:
In my early whisky drinking days, I quickly developed an interest in the mighty, smoky, peaty malts of #Islay. I was simply fascinated by the boldness and the rich sweetness that comes with them. Lagavulin 16 is still one of my favourites today and I often enjoy it on a cold winter’s day walk from my pocket flask - a nice winter warmer! Lagavulin also does a “Distillers Edition” where the spirit is finished in a Pedro Ximénez cask which adds another dimension of sweetness, a cracking dram!
While #Islay is a bit further away from us, we have so many fantastic distilleries just around the corner. The closest - unfortunately not open to visitors though - is Royal Brackla, the first Scotch whisky ever granted a Royal Warrant in 1833. Quite likely, the flavour profile has changed since the days when King William IV enjoyed it. However, if you manage to get hold of their own or an independent bottling, give it a go, you won’t be disappointed: A smooth, yet tasteful dram that is hard not to drink at any time of day.
How about a nice touch of smoke, combined with rich fruit, toffee and a nice lasting finish? Benromach 10 incorporates the resurrection of a lost style of #Speyside Single Malt. A malt like it was made in the “old days” of distilling, when it was common to dry the malted barley over a peat fire and when the whole process of malting was hard physical work. The people at Benromach still do a lot of things by hand today and it is their passion and expertise that turn their whisky into a great dram with a distinctive character.
Aye, you’re right, this is just a wee glimpse into my whisky cabinet, but I guess it’s time to pour a wee dram and to raise a toast to Scotland’s gift to the world. Happy World Whisky Day! Slàinte!