With Christmas just around the corner, time is running out to restock drinks cabinets or buy gifts for your whisky-loving friends and family. Celebrate the season in style with this eclectic selection of exceptional Scottish whiskies.
Ardbeg Wee Beastie
The youngest release in Ardbeg’s core range, the five year old Wee Beastie is anything but timorous, packing the smoky punch characteristic of so many Islay single malts, with an extra side of smoked ham. Peaty and meaty collide with eucalyptus, pine, aniseed, and softer flavours like orchard fruits and vanilla. The effect is disorienting but pleasurable, and the generous 47.4% ABV provides a little extra oomph.
Benriach the Original Ten
Master blender Rachel Barrie describes the Original Ten as the “classic, sweet, fruit-laden style of Benriach”. Fresh apples, nectarines and creme patissiere are all present in this bright, refreshing dessert of a Speyside whisky. Aged in a mix of sherry, bourbon, and virgin oak casks, and bottled at 43% ABV, a hint of peat smoke lends it a subtle edge.
£35.99 from masterofmalt.com
Glenfiddich Time Re:Imagined 40 Year Old – Cumulative Time
What could be more festive than three spirits, contemplating different aspects of time? Glenfiddich’s Time Re:Imagined series includes 30, and 50 year old expressions as well as this innovative 40 year old. Cumulative Time is the result of “remnant vatting”, an iterative process in which a batch is carried over from a previous vatting, to marry with the next, accreting layers of flavour, and demonstrating changing tastes over time.
£3,650.00 from clinkspirit.com
Aging in vanillin-rich virgin American oak casks, and the use of chocolate malt – more commonly an ingredient for brewing stouts – has resulted in a characteristically clean and fruity Glenmorangie whisky, boosted with notes of creamy espresso and chocolate pudding. Signet was the entirely deserving winner of the Whisky of the Year award, at the 2016 International Whisky Competition. Hugely versatile, and deeply satisfying.
£156.55 from masterofmalt.com
The Singleton of Dufftown 25 Year Old
Diageo Master Blender Maureen Robinson has recently retired, but the Singleton 25 year old remains as a shining example of her expertise in secondary maturation of old whiskies. Spirits were aged according to a “trinity harmony philosophy”, which balanced the effects of ex-bourbon, European oak, and American oak casks, to develop bold and well-rounded tropical fruit flavours.
£350.00 from malts.com
Spiritfilled Glenrothes 15 Year Old
Part of the Mythical Beasts collection from independent bottlers Spiritfilled, this multi-award-winning Speyside single cask was aged in a first fill sherry butt, and offers sumptuous seasonal flavours of stone-fruits, toasted almonds, gingerbread, marmalade, and nutmeg. Bottled at 55% ABV, dark oak is balanced with acidity, and more delicate fruit, in a satisfyingly long, dry finish. With only 588 bottles in existence, you should seize this beast before it becomes truly mythical.
£120.00 from spiritfilled.co.uk
Torabhaig Single Malt – Allt Gleann
Only the second release from Skye’s second whisky distillery, Allt Gleann is not only a wonderful drink in its own right, but a promise of exciting things to come. It has the smoke and salinity that Talisker established as typical of Skye whiskies, but it hints at new characteristics that may one day develop into Torabhaig’s unique distillery style. Medicinal flavours, finish in sweet fruits, but the salt and bituminous smoke persist to the end.
£52.50 from torabhaig.com
The Whisky Exchange A Good Old-Fashioned Christmas Whisky 2022
While the other whiskies in this list are single malts, this year’s edition of the Whisky Exchange’s Christmas whisky is a blend of malt and grain whiskies, from some of Scotland’s greatest distilleries. This is a masterful blend, crafted to deliver the familiar flavours of Christmas, from sweet, nutty fruit cake, to rich, spiced mince pies. Leave a glass out for Santa.
£84.95 from The Whisky Exchange