2013 is here and it’s time for January’s selection of recommended tipples to help wash away those post Christmas blues (with their deliciousness you understand). With the all but unavoidable over-indulgence of the festive season now behind us and the prospect of Burns Night on the horizon, it seemed wise to venture beyond Scotland this month and indeed to feature a few whiskies ideally placed to reinvigorate jaded palates.
The disparate producing regions of Ireland and Japan are our focus this month. The former offers up both a spritely single grain from the much lauded Cooley Distillery and an equally loved Pot Still Whiskey from Midleton’s range. On the other side of both the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans we find Suntory’s excellently balanced Hakushu Bourbon Barrel release, alongside the ever-popular and multi award winning Yamazaki 18 year old. Enjoy!
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
Greenore 8 Year Old
A single grain indeed and a hugely popular one at that, in fact this bottling from Cooley is one of the catalysts for what has been a consistent rise in the styles popularity. That said, I remain less convinced by Single Grain than a number of other tasters, often finding it just a little too bland and predictable. That said, it always has its place and as a post Christmas reinvigorator it's hard to beat this budding classic.
£28.12 at www.masterofmalt.com
I'm an unashamed advocate of Single Pot Still Whiskey and, along with Redbreast, Green Spot has remained the most enduring name through the styles somewhat turbulent history. Nowadays Irish Whiskey's most characterful of spirits is going from strength to strength and Green Spot remains an eminently drinkable, richly flavourful and easily recommendable whiskey! One to keep around for all occasions.
£35.55 at www.masterofmalt.com
Hakushu Bourbon Barrel
A delightful, delicate single malt whisky from Japan. The nose opens on lemon sherbet and pear drops with vanilla wafting through a spritely, light and fresh delivery. There’s also a more astringent, vegetal note threaded through which balances out those sweet aromas. The palate is as light and delicate as the nose promises. Some whiskies amaze with their power and intensity, others beguile and enchant. This is the latter. Any well balanced whisky cabinet should have at least one expression in this style.
£64.49 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Yamazaki 18 Year Old
With Pierre picking a fresh delicate bourbon barrel matured Japanese malt I’ve decided to to go to the other end of the spectrum with this richly coloured 18 year old. Surprisingly fresh and zesty for a sherried whisky this still has plenty of deep raisin and figgy notes. Its beautifully rich and sticky on the palate with more fig along with some nuts, peel and sherry. Complex and slightly elusive. Always lovely.
£110.00 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Prices correct on date of publishing