Speyside proffers the lighter, sweeter drams. Body is brought with age and some of the heavily sherried, well-aged Speyside single malts are particularly full. The lighter, younger whiskies can be rather delightful with superb balance. The sweetness is often honeyed and delicate and peat is rarely used, nor are the drams particularly salty. Speyside whiskies are rarely finished in exotic wood.
An independent bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from the Balmenach distillery in Speyside. Though not the first distillery to spring to mind when thinking of Speysiders, they produce an intense, interesting spirit which is well worth a look, if you're in the mood for something a little different. This single cask bottling was distilled in October 1988 and bottled in January 2015 with an outturn of 191 bottles, presented by Signatory for their Cask Strength Collection.
A rather rare 1970s bottle from the Dufftown distillery, which states itself to be "the House of Bell's" on both the label and the presentation box. Certainly the distillery was owned by Arthur Bell & Sons, who bought the distillery's owner, P. Mackenzie & Co. in 1933.
Single malts from Islay tend to be the most pungent and peaty of all Scotch whiskies. This is particularly true to the south of the isle, where peat smoke is rife, as is tar and salinity. Further north there is not quite the peaty intensity; instead there is often plenty of fruit and refinement. There is always a good degree of balance, wherever one is on the isle.
A much sought-after single malt with the massive peat-smoke that's typical of southern Islay - but also offering richness and a dryness that turns it into a truly interesting dram. The 16 year old has become a benchmark Islay dram from the Lagavulin distillery.
This is an independently bottled, single cask, 21 year old Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky. Yes, writing that sort of thing is always pretty exciting to do - almost as much as reading it! This Islay single malt was distilled at the Ardbeg distillery back in September 1993 and left to mature in cask #1289 until December 2014, when it was bottled for the Mackillop's Choice range with an outturn of 280 bottles. If this piques your fancy, make sure you grab one quick before they're all gone.
The Islands is a diverse region, though the single malts are usually rather rich. Smoke is a recurring theme, as is balance and richness. There is often a good peat, salinity and counteracting cereal sweetness. There are no hard and fast rules for the Islands, for the terroir and production methods differ greatly between distilleries.
Sigurd is a travel retail release from Highland Park's Warrior Series, and is named after a legendary hero of Norse mythology, who was given fragments of a broken sword by his dying father. The single malt Scotch whisky itself is made with a high proportion of European oak casks, resulting in oodles of dried fruit, peppery spice and warming cinnamon alongside that fantastic, familiar Highland Park smoke.
An Old Malt Cask bottling of 24 year old Isle of Jura single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a single refill hogshead. It was distilled February 1991 and left to age until March 2015, when it was bottled at its natural cask strength of 46.8% ABV by Hunter Laing. 259 bottles were produced.
The Highlands is a broad appellation, though the whiskies tend to be full in body. The Highlands is divided into four regions; Northern Highland whiskies are full, cereal sweet and rich; Southern Highland whiskies are slightly lighter with dryness and fruit; Eastern Highland whiskies are full, dry and very fruity; Western Highland whiskies are full and pungent with plenty of peat and smoke.
A Hepburn's Choice bottling of 12 year old Auchroisk single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a single refill hogshead from 2002 until 2014. It was bottled with an outturn of 407 bottles, all filled with ace Highland whisky.
An independent bottling of Clynelish single malt Scotch whisky, distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2014 at 19 years old and 54.8% ABV. Before it was bottled by Duncan Taylor, it was given a short finishing period in a tiny Sherry Octave cask, the size of which helps increase interaction between the wood and the whisky. Only 88 bottles were produced.
Whiskies from the Lowlands tend to be light and gentle. The single malts are usually quite dry. Peat is very rarely used. The single malts are soft and delicate and triple distillation is practiced, indeed it is for this that the region is known. There is very little salinity and plenty of floral notes and balanced fruit.
The 2000 vintage Glenkinchie Distillers Edition, bottled in 2014 at 43% ABV. It was finished in Amontillado Sherry casks, imparting a gamut of gorgeous, spicy aromas and a depth of dark fruit on the palate, which works very well with the honey'd freshness of Glenkinchie single malt.
Single grain Scotch whisky from the Girvan Patent Still range, presented at 57.1% ABV. Despite its higher strength, this single grain retains its mellow, creamy vanilla and vibrant citrus notes that other expressions from the range exhibited. However, the bumped-up ABV does increase the intensity of the vanilla and the zestiness of the citrus peel notes.
Campbeltown single malts are rather dry and gentle smoky. The proximity to the coast proffers a salty character. One can imagine a cross between the Western Highlands and the Lowlands, with a little salinity. There are now just three whisky distilleries in Campbeltown.
An independently bottled single malt Scotch whisky, distilled by Glen Scotia in Campbeltown in 1992. It was bottled for the MacPhail's Collection by Gordon and MacPhail in 2014. The perfect opportunity to try some tasty Campbeltown whisky.
A continuation of the Spirit of Freedom blend from the Springbank distillery owners, J & A Michell. Spirit of Freedom 45+ is a blend of over 45 different whiskies, presented at 52% ABV, rather then the 45% which the previous edition
was bottled at. The name is a reference to the the percentage of voters who voted 'Yes' in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.
Blended whisky is Scotland’s best-selling spirit. A Scotch blend is made up of both malt and grain whisky. The grain whisky is easy to produce, it being distilled in a column still. It is a little more neutral in taste, thus the malt whisky is added for flavour and body. Currently, blended whisky accounts for 90% of Scotland’s whisky production.
It's here, the 2014 Whisky Advent Calendar! Look at it. Regard it. What is surely the greatest advent calendar known to humankind is back for a third Christmas countdown, and there's still no better way to get into the festive spirit!
Behind each of the 24 windows lies a different 3cl Drinks By The Dram sample of delicious whisky, so this year be sure to count down to Christmas in style (again). And if you like this, why not take a look at The Premium Whisky Advent Calendar
You can view the contents below if you really
want to know by selecting 'Read more' - although we've still placed them in a random order below so the surprise won't be completely ruined!
Very handsomely presented Ballantine's Limited, an illustrious, prestigious expression from their range of blended Scotch whiskies. Stupendously sleek and stylish, this one. Top stuff.