It seems to be that time of the month again, that is to say the appropriate moment to divulge a few delightful tipples that have been entertaining us as the nights draw in. Interestingly we seem to be taking a slight break from the somewhat stereotypical wintery warmer associations of sherry casks and smouldering peat smoke, instead leaning towards a more fruity, vanilla laden quartet.
There’s a classic, and “slightly” wallet-thinning Islander in the form of Highland Park’s ever-consistant 30 year old, while a long lost Lowlander is getting it’s second airing on the blog after an already favourable review. Then comes a surprise entry from India – in terms of the distillery at least – that had, until recently, been all but unknown to the whisky fraternity at large. Then finally we have a true cracker from the first batch of Buffalo Trace’s dependably excellent Antique Collection. Enjoy!
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
Highland Park 30 Year Old
This ticks an awful lot of boxes - if only all O.B.s were as sophisticated, complex and rewarding. The nose enters on a sweet fudge note and a gentle thread of peat, developing with freshly peeled red apple, toffee and a hint of mustiness which brings to mind a subtle sherry oak influence. On the palate the flavours promised on the nose intertwine beautifully, delivered in a smooth, richly textured and well balanced package. The taste progresses to a little tarriness and the finish concludes with a gentle salty edge. Mature, smooth & rounded but never dull. Wonderful.
£197.00 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Littlemill 1990, The Whisky Barrel Burns Malt
I may have already featured this bottling in a full review, but I couldn't help lending it another well deserved recommendation here. While sadly closed, Littlemill has been one of the stars of 2012 and this example is an ideal example of why. Its well priced, characterful and shows a rich depth of fruit notes to rival many an older and more costly malt. Go on, treat yourself to an early Christmas present.
£54.99 at www.thewhiskybarrel.com
Paul John Single Cask Whisky
Indian single malt has been a point of much interest for some time now, indeed we at WM have already featured two bottlings from Bangalore's Amrut distillery as Staff Picks. This new entry to the fray seems set to broaden India's whisky making status even further. This first single cask release made a splash at The Whisky Exchanges annual whisky dinner, while a hugely positive review from Jim Murray has only served to pique the interest of the whisky world at large. Rest assured a full review will be following shortly; for now, lets just say its delicious stuff that's unlikely to last long!
£59.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
William Larue Weller 2005
Luscious from start to finish. The nose is big, rich and sticky. Intense dark cherry fruit, deep toffee, molasses and a gorgeous dusting of cocoa are underpinned by clove spice and vanilla. Bourbon max! With a little water, the aromas open up with pine resin, herbs and a touch of espresso. The palate surprises at first with an expansive, aromatic and oily warmth. Things move on with a little spicy heat, dried orange peel and a touch of cherry-cola. Water emphasises those warm herbal strains we detected on the nose. I haven't sampled the most recent WLW releases but I understand this 2005 release is a little more rounded, without the hot, spirity bite of the latest expressions. That said, this whiskey is none the worse off for it and, at over 60% ABV, is something of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
£100.00 at www.whisky-online.com
Prices correct on date of publishing