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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 19: Timorous Beastie

by Whisky Santa     19. December 2014 00:00

Timorous Beastie

'Twas six nights before Christmas, when all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring, except for a mouse!

Not just the situation in Jake from Master of Malt's home, but also in the homes of all those with Whisky Advent Calendars. In the latter case though, the mouse in question is fortunately none other than Douglas Laing's Timorous Beastie! A tongue in cheek name for a corker of a Highland blended malt that's created by the jolly folk behind one of my other favourites, Big Peat at Christmas. (Plus, I like his beard.)

Timorous Beastie is made exclusively with malts from Highland distilleries including Dalmore, Glen Garioch and Glengoyne!

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 18: Arran - Batch 4 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

by Whisky Santa     18. December 2014 00:00

Arran Batch 4 That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Followers of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's batches of Arran single malt Scotch whisky will know that the label features Boutique-y illustrator Emily Chappell stranded on a desert island. Not the most festive of scenes, perhaps, except if you look carefully at Batch 4 you'll see that she's actually put up her Christmas tree!

An appropriate choice for day 18 of the Whisky Advent Calendar then! There's even some festive spice and warming rye-style notes in this batch, although it's very much still a charming Arran, and I'm rather partial to a charming Arran...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 17: Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

by Whisky Santa     17. December 2014 00:00

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Plenty of Japanese whisky in the news lately, of course, but we all know that Japan has been making fantastic whiskies for years, don't we? Behind window 17 of your Whisky Advent Calendars you'll find a belter of a Japanese whisky from Masataka Taketsuru's Nikka, which founded its first distillery back in 1934.

Masataka's fascinating life and his relationship with his Scottish wife Rita Cowan recently became the topic of a popular Japanese television drama. I'd recommend it but it is in Japanese and I know you're not all fluent like me. (Omniscience, isn't it.)

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel, meanwhile, is delicious, powerful and also entirely affordable. In fact, after trying a dram you may not be able to resist buying a whole (very stylish) bottle, and if that's the case you should definitely keep reading...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 16: Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old

by Whisky Santa     16. December 2014 00:00

Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve

Day 16 brings with it a second Irish whiskey in your Whisky Advent Calendars. You'd think the fact Tullamore D.E.W. didn't have its own distillery between 1954 and 2014 might be a slight problem, but the brand became the second best selling Irish whiskey in the world during that time! Owned by William Grant since 2010, spirit has now been running at the Tullamore distillery since September and will in time provide all the spirit they need.

This 12 Year Old Special Reserve of theirs though, it was a travel retail release originally, which tends to get on my Oreamnos americanus. I mean, how many people clock up more air miles than me?! And yet I still can't get my hands on a number of new releases just because I don't happen to use inefficient muggle non-supernatural transportation methods. Fortunately, many of these whiskies (including this Tullamore D.E.W.) graduate to their brand's main ranges. Ho, yes!

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 15: Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon

by Whisky Santa     15. December 2014 00:00

Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon

I listen to a lot of music when I'm out in my sleigh on Christmas Eve. 'Blue Christmas' by Elvis, 'Lonely This Christmas' by Mud, 'Christmas in Hollis' by Run-D.M.C.. You know, the hits. I do have one tradition, though. Whenever I head through Little Rock, Arkansas, to leave presents for the chaps at the Rock Town Distillery, I always listen to 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' by Brenda Lee, 'Rockin' Robin' by the Jackson 5 and of course 'Let There Be Rock' by AC/DC.

Speaking of the Rock Town Distillery, you'll find a dram of their ace Arkansas Bourbon Whiskey behind window 15 of your Whisky Advent Calendars! Delicious stuff, packed with raisin, corn and vanilla notes.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 14: Balvenie 12 YO Single Barrel

by Whisky Santa     14. December 2014 00:00

Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill

Day 14 is upon us, which means two things...

1) We're 10 days away from Christmas. This could either instil joy or fear into your heart, dependent on whether you've figured out what gifts you're going to get everyone. (By the way, do you think the reindeer will mind getting a hamper full of carrots for the 18th year running?)

2) Behind the window of your Whisky Advent Calendars today, you'll be finding a delicious dram of IWSC Trophy-winning Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel - First Fill! A superb single malt from the spectacular Speyside distillery, matured in first fill bourbon casks, with each bottle being one of no more than 300 drawn from a single cask. Top quality mince pie accompaniment, this is.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 13: Paul John Edited

by Whisky Santa     13. December 2014 00:00

Paul John Edited

Indian single malt, eh? Something you may or may not have tried before, but as a man of the world I can assure you that top quality whisky is now being produced across the globe! The Paul John you'll find in the Whisky Advent Calendar today is produced in Goa, India by John Distilleries and their master distiller, Michael John (amusingly, no relation).

Their Edited expression is made using whiskies produced from both Indian 6-row barley from the Himalayan foothills and peated barley from Scotland, with the final single malt containing 15% of the peated spirit. It's matured in bourbon casks for probably around 3-5 years but, as with fellow Indian whisky Amrut, the tropical climate causes greater evaporation (around 12-13% a year compared to 'only' 2% or so in Scotland). This in turn means they effectively mature faster and even if there's no real substitute for time, the results are darned impressive!

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 12: Monkey Shoulder

by Whisky Santa     12. December 2014 00:00

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

On the Twelfth Night ye shalt discover a fabulous, unpretentious blended malt in your Whisky Advent Calendar. Why it's Monkey Shoulder, of course: "Better a witty fool than a foolish wit"!

Why is it called Monkey Shoulder, you ask? Well, back in what you refer to as 'the old days', maltmen turned the barley by hand - a very labour-intensive job. With the strenuous work and long hours these chaps undertook, they ended up with a bit of a hunch, known as 'Monkey Shoulder'. I end up with something similar on Boxing Day after carrying around my heavy sa... my heavy bag of presents all night. Luckily I get a year to rest up afterwards!

Made exclusively with malt whiskies from William Grant's three Speyside distilleries (Glenfiddich, Balvenie & Kininvie), Monkey Shoulder's matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks and married for three-to-six months. It's a lovely treat served neat, with ice or indeed in cocktails.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 11: Glenfiddich 18 Year Old

by Whisky Santa     11. December 2014 00:00

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old

Behind the eleventh window of your Whisky Advent Calendars you'll find a very famous name: Glenfiddich. It's famous because it's the world's best-selling single malt and the one that basically created the modern single malt category back in 1963! Some whisky drinkers tend to overlook whiskies from the top-selling distilleries, although it's often fun to see the same whisky drinkers try a couple of them! (All the better if they do so blind!)

Today, we have the pleasure of Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, the full bottle of which has received some fancy new packaging recently. Could be the perfect time to pick up a bottle (with some added treats below...) or else try and win yourself one...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 10: Glen Garioch Founder's Reserve

by Whisky Santa     10. December 2014 00:00

Glen Garioch 1797 Founder's Reserve

"Behind window 10 you'll find Glen Garioch, a dram that's sure to make you cheery." Now, if that rhymed then well done, you're pronouncing Glen Garioch correctly and David Mitchell won't have to shoot you.

It should come as no surprise that I'm rather more jovial and benevolent than Mitchell & Webb's Grammar Nazi character when it comes to the sometimes tricky names that pop up in the whisky world though. I'm all about education rather than snobbery, so yes: simply say "Glen Geery" and you've got it. The taste is much more important than the name anyway, and this is a traditional highland single malt treat bottled at 48% without chill-filtration.

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