LOOKING for the right whisky to enjoy this St Andrew’s Day? Then look no further as Sean Murphy provides some great dram recommendations to enjoy on the day
One that caters for all tastes - Benromach 10 year old
I chose this because it’s simply a great whisky. Trying to be poetic, I once described the Benromach 10 as tasting like ‘eating a delicious apple in the middle of spring, while somewhere close by peat smoke is drifting from a cottage chimney and you catch a whiff just as you take a bite.’
My career as a poet probably won’t take off but the description stands; if you’re looking for a whisky that will appeal to everyone - from peat-lovers to sherry fans - then look no further.
Price: approx. £30 Available from: gordonandmacphail.com
One for the peat heads - BenRiach Birnie Moss
Most of you that love your peat will know that currently, Islay is king.
I say currently because some Speyside distilleries are making a bid for the title themselves.
BenRiach is one of the best examples of these challengers; a relatively young company who have been making waves with their use of peat and wood variants.
The Birnie Moss, named after the windswept moorland close to the distillery, is a classic peat monster, although the peat of the mainland has a far earthier finish than that of its saltier Islay counterparts. At 35ppm, it sits quite high on the peat scale, but has a honey sweet finish that complements the smoke.
Great value and great taste but most importantly, something a little different for those who think they know peated whiskies.
Price: approx. £30 Available from: thewhiskyexchange.com
One for those after a gift bottle - Lady of the Glen: The Secret Speyside
For those of you looking to buy someone a gift bottle, then you should look no further than new kids on the block, Lady of the Glen.
A great new company that is not only bottling some really excellent malts but also provides some beautiful hand made Scottish floral pouches to keep them in.
The Secret Speyside is from an unnamed (for legal reasons) Speyside distillery and is a smashing little 20-year-old dram with a sweet nose and interesting complexity (citrus fruits galore).
The best part? It’s only £60 a bottle.
As an aside, a little birdie tells me that certain issues to do with the bottles themselves might make this particular edition a collector’s item (especially seeing as there is only going to be 262 of them), so if anything you might want to buy two.
Price: £60.00 and you can get a pair of Glencairn gasses with it for £65.00. Both include delivery too. Available from: ladyoftheglen.com
One for the big spenders - Balvenie Tun 1509
If you’re looking for something towards the premium end of the scale, then the Balvenie Tun 1509 is for you. Part of the Balvenie’s tun series, this particular bottling combines seven European oak Sherry butts and thirty-five American oak barrels, left for several months to create a really special dram with layered complexity and depth.
These 42 casks have been specifically chosen by malt master David Stewart and for those of you who know of him, will know how good his choices usually are (highlighted by the success of the tun 1401 series). You’ll need to be quick though , as batch 1 was selling out fast.
Price: approx. £220 Available from: masterofmalt.com
One for those after a wild card - Haig Club
By now you’ll have seen it or heard about it, and if not then you soon will. David Beckham’s Haig club, with its ubiquitous blue bottle, may look like aftershave (with an advertising campaign to match) but it’s actually quite a smart little whisky.
Many of you may raise an eyebrow at that but bear with me - I’m a massive fan of single grain whisky and such a highly exposed bottling can only be good for raising the profile of the category.
The whisky itself, from Cameronbridge, is clean and surprisingly full of flavours, though I’d expect nothing less from a gem of a distillery that was previously only enjoyed in working men’s clubs in Fife.
If you’re looking to try something new, or you’re curious to see if Goldenballs has good taste in whisky then this is well worth a look in, especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a nice bourbon but struggles with Scottish whisky - this might just bridge the gap for you. Price: £50 Available from: thegoodspiritsco.com