Whiskey was once the jewel in the Scottish crown, with oak barrels maturing the amber nectar in shrouded distilleries across heather-strewn land. But these days whiskies are far more international concern, as companies making the spirit are popping up all over the world. Now you can get Japanese breweries or distilleries located in Sweden that are coming up with varieties of whiskey with a real punchy difference.
If you have a whiskey drinker on your Christmas list, here’s what to get them:
This is a really good affordable whiskey that has a slight minty note to it, alongside woody tones and sweet spices. Smooth as you like and very rich on the palate. Great bargain.
If you like your whiskey to put hairs on your chest, this one ticks all the boxes. A ball-busting ABV of 61% means that only real men need apply to drink this. Has a distinct undertone that reminds us of sherry and those dried fruits you steep in rum before putting them into a Christmas cake.
There was always going to be a Glenfiddich in our best whiskies, but which one? We plumped for the PIA Experiment, which is delicate with fruity undertones of fresh green apples and pears, middle notes of citrus and finishing with a smooth vanilla that stays on the palate.
This whiskey is a little bit special. It has been first aged in barrels that contained Bourbon or Oloroso sherry for around nine to twelve years. Then it is poured into Spanish oak barrels that have held Lustau Oloroso sherries. This gives the whiskey a unique flavour combination not seen anywhere else. Expect creamy marzipan, ripe plums and a sweet finish that lasts.
Japanese whiskey is relatively new but not to be sniffed at. If you prefer a lighter spirit this may tickle your fancy. This Hibiki Japanese Harmony is blended from Japanese malt and grain whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. We like the faceted bottle with 24 sides that represent Japan’s seasons. Delightful citrus notes of orange alongside a smooth chocolate finish.
This single oak from Westland Distillery is said to be the very best of their whiskies and for good reason. A unique creamy texture that is very rich yet dry and hints of vanilla and ripe bananas. Definitely one to impress.
A big and bold whiskey here from Taiwan that has been matured nicely in virgin American oak casks and the distillery’s own refill casks. Packs a punch with several different layers taking you from fragrant oak and biscuits to mango and banana leaf and finishing with spiced orchard fruits.
For a 21 year-old malt this is an amazing price and the flavours are simply divine. A nutty undertone that delivers sweet vanilla and a touch of lavender towards the end with an overall smokiness that reminds us of dry sherry.
A single and full-bodied rye whiskey here that may split our readers. Rye has a very distinctive taste and some may not appreciate it. This whiskey embodies flavours of sweet vanilla, spiced apple and dried fruits and finishes clean on the palate. One to try if you fancy something a little different.
When the whiskey industry agree on one single malt that they all love, you know you are onto a winner. This malt from Highland Park has notes of honey and spiced sherry and is considered to be one of the best balanced whiskies of all time.
An interesting whiskey here from Sweden that uses wine casks to mature their whiskey. Expect fruity undertones of blueberry, raspberry and cranberry alongside vanilla sponge and spiced wood.
Established in 1790, this distillery just happens to be the reigning champion Spirit of Whisky Fringe 2016. This 1990 vintage is matured in different casks including American Oak ex-bourbon for 21 years and finishing off in Spanish Oak ex-sherry casks for the last two years. This is an award-winning vintage whiskey that has huge depth of character and bold flavours.