Whisky Month is a big deal for us here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, as you’ll know if you’ve had a read of our recent blog post on how to celebrate it with a dram or two. It calls for some seriously special whiskies to raise a toast with, so Bar Manager Ian has chosen a selection with a particular theme for this year’s Whisky Month. In February, we published a blog post covering Scotch whiskies that’ll make you fall in love with Scotch whisky; this month we’re singing the praises of whiskies that a serious whisky fan will tell you to try. Read on and enjoy!
“The 18th of May is a very important day for whisky lovers, because it’s World Whisky Day! World Whisky Day invites everyone to try a dram and share the ‘water of life’, and events will be held all over the world to honour whisky in all of its forms. We’ll be celebrating on the big day, and to help you celebrate we have picked out eight cracking drams that you can try in our McIntyre Bar and Amber Bar!
Lowlands: Auchentoshan 18 year old
The Auchentoshan distillery is a bit of a rarity in the world of Scotch whisky. A large number of distilleries in Scotland will practise a double distillation method, whereas Auchentoshan will consistently practise triple distillation when making their whisky. If you’re a fan of Irish whiskey already, then you’ll enjoy the whisky from lowland distillery Auchentoshan as most Irish whiskey distilleries employ triple distillation as well.
As a general rule, the more you distil your spirit, the lighter in character your whisky is going to be and Auchentoshan is definitely light in character. This 18-year-old single malt is also sweet, oaky, and very fresh and clean in aroma and flavour.
Highlands: Balblair 15 year old
Balblair is a distillery that was, until recently, known for attaching vintages to their bottles: really quite rare in the world of Scotch whisky. However, they have revamped their entire range and those vintages have now been replaced with the classic ‘age statement’, meaning whiskies labelled with a particular age in years (which refers to the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle). Trying our Highland single malt this month will mean you’re among the first people around the world to sample the new Balblair range – always a great tip if you’re a budding whisky connoisseur. The 15-year-old Balblair single malt particularly smells absolutely incredible: expect lots of fruit salad, a hint of sherry spice and a little bit of vanilla.
Speyside: The Singleton of Dufftown Tailfire
The Singleton brand is a really interesting one because it’s a brand that represents three different distilleries, and The Singleton’s single malt whisky range are a firm favourite among the team here at the Scotch Whisky Experience. The Singleton Tailfire comes from the Dufftown distillery, located in the heart if the Speyside region – a must-visit town if you’re exploring this much-loved whisky region, and home to the closest concentration of whisky distilleries anywhere in Scotland.
The Tailfire uses a combination of European and American Oak casks, giving you aromas of fresh berries, plenty of pleasant sweetness, and a lot of grassy freshness as well.
Campbeltown: Glen Scotia 18 year old
Definitely a region to explore if you’re keen on getting deeper with your whisky knowledge, Campbeltown was once a hub of whisky distillation, boasting over 30 distilleries. Nowadays, just three distilleries remain, and whiskies from Campbeltown certainly have a unique flavour profile compared to other regions. The 18 year old in this month’s selection is an expression from one of our favourite distilleries from Campbeltown: Glen Scotia. This 18-year-old single malt Scotch has been finished in oloroso sherry casks, giving this Glen Scotia has a bit of spiciness alongside those typical sea spray flavours that are so typical of a Campbeltown whisky, plus some floral notes and an intense sweetness. A cracking dram!
Islay: Smokehead High Voltage
Now here is an Islay whisky that pulls no punches! Smokehead is created at an undisclosed Islay distillery and is independently bottled, so we honestly can’t tell you where this whisky was made. What we can tell you is that the Smokehead High Voltage is cask strength and heavily peated so it’s definitely not one for the faint of heart – as indicated by the bottle design! Smokehead whisky is perfect to try if you’re already a self-proclaimed lover of that iconic Islay whisky flavour: you can obviously expect smoke flavours and aromas from this single malt, alongside lots of maritime notes, but it’s also incredibly rich with some coffee and dark chocolate hiding in the background.
Blended: Nevis Dew 12 year old
Blended whiskies can be underrated by those who aren’t clued up on just how crucial they are to Scotch whisky’s global success; the creation of blended Scotch whisky really is a work of art that a real Scotch whisky connoisseur can appreciate just as much as their treasured single malt. Nevis Dew 12-year-old is one such blended Scotch whisky that has just as much character as many single malts: fruity, spicy, oaky, rich, and sweet all at once! If you are someone who dismisses blended Scotch whisky and only ever drinks single malts, you may want to give this blend a try: it may well convert you.
Liqueurs are another string in the Scotch whisky bow that are often overlooked by some whisky aficionados. However, we would argue that without liqueurs then we would have fewer whisky drinkers – it’s the dram of liqueur that gets many a non-whisky drinker into the amber nectar for the first time! And, in the right time and place there are some whisky liqueurs that really hit the spot.
Take Glayva for example, a Scotch whisky liqueur made with honey, spices, almonds and tangerines, creating a sweet, spicy, orangey, and aniseed experience. Glayva Liqueur is the perfect dram to have as a digestif, at a time when a single malt just won’t
Luxury Scotch: Glenmorangie Signet
The Glenmorangie Signet single malt Scotch whisky is really something quite special, created using “chocolate malted barley”, which is known to be used in the craft beer scene. Although we aren’t told the age of the whisky, we do know that some of Glenmorangie’s oldest and rarest whisky stock has been use to make the Signet expression.
And this is a whisky that will definitely remind you of a mocha. Expect lots of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans, alongside dried fruit, and a lot of vanilla sweetness: the definition of decadence!
We definitely hope you will be raising a dram during Whisky Month, and on World Whisky Day itself. If you are going to be visiting the Scotch Whisky Experience on the 18th of May, make sure that you grab one of these cracking drams to celebrate with!