Single malts

Unopened virgin single malts await

More about the Scotch Bucket.

Kind readers have decried the lack of smoky Islay single malts in my Scotch bucket. That’s probably because I’ve only recently begun to appreciate their smoky flavour, but I do have some smoky single malts reserved for very special friends. Can you spot the Islay in this row of brave Scots soldiers waiting to do battle?

The Scotch bucket is where all my opened bottles, mostly single malts, end up before being offered en masse to guests for their selection after dinner. Only seven or eight bottles fit into the bucket, large wooden antique though it is. The rest await unopened as yet in the drinks cabinet. Their turn will come soon, I am sure. Six single malts are in the bucket now, I wrote earlier: Aberfeldy 12, Auchentoshan Springwood, Auchroisk 28,The Balvenie Signature 12, Highland Park 18, The Singleton of Glendullan 12. I erred in saying that the Highland Park 18 was in the bucket, it was the Highland Park 12. The 18 still awaits a taste test. There was one blended scotch: Té Bheag.

Here are another dozen for your consideration from my personal collection. Perhaps we will get to enjoy a wee dram from one of them together? I have eight Speysides, one Highland, one Island, one Islay and one premium blend for us to choose our favourite.

Aberlour 16, a Speyside single malt, matured in a combination of former Bourbon and sherry casks giving it a rich golden amber colour. Owned by Pernod Ricard and very popular in France. (Not shown above.)

Balvenie New Oak 17, a limited edition Speyside single malt. Malt Master David Stewart used casks coopered from American white oak which were toasted then charred and unusually had never previously held any liquid. He created a marriage of 17 year old Balvenie matured in traditional whisky oak and sherry casks and then transferred this to 53 new oak casks for a further few months maturation. Owned by independent distillers William Grant & Sons.

Dalwhinney 15, a Highland single malt from one of the highest distilleries in Scotland, situated between the gentle, grassy style of the Lowlands and the austere, firm body of Speyside, which begins some 25 miles to the north.  Owned by Diageo.

Glenfiddick 30, a rare Speyside single malt, matured in Oloroso sherry and Bourbon casks. The world’s most popular single malt and sister to Balvenie. Owned by independent distillers William Grant & Sons.

The Glenlivet 18, a Speyside single malt, noted for having far more depth and character than the standard 12 year old. Owned by Pernod Ricard.

Highland Park 18, an Island single malt from Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland’s northernmost distillery.Owned by The Edrington Group.

Lagavulin 16, an Islay single malt aged for 16 years in oak casks, their youngest release. The Islay peat bogs, which provide the water for the waterfront distillery, inform the intensely smoky flavour, which also has a hint of seaweed, apparently.

Longmorn 16,  a Speyside single malt. The 16 year old is a relaunch to replace the 15 year old in a bid to turn this great distillery into a global super-premium brand. Most Longmorn product is used in blends. Owned by Pernod Ricard.

Macallan 12, a Speyside single malt.  Matured in oak casks, sherry seasoned in Jerez, Spain.  Owned by The Edrington Group

Macallan Fine Oak 17,   a Speyside single malt.  Triple matured in a combination Spanish and American oak casks seasoned with sherry, and American oak casks seasoned with bourbon.  Owned by The Edrington Group

Speyburn Solera 25,  a Speyside single malt. The recently released 25 year old is a premium addition to the more popular 10 year old. Owned by Inver House Distillers.

Johnny Walker Blue (bottle No. LD614495JW)  a premium big flavoured scotch, created by Master Blender Jim Beveridge from rare casks of whisky. Owned by Diageo.

I’ll be travelling again soon and I always enjoy mooching around the duty free shop to see what sort of interesting single malts they have. The last few visits, I’ve been boring and just bought one of my old standbys, but now I’m going to be as adventurous as I feel. Please let me have your comments and your favourites so we can get a good side-bar scotch discussion going.

Continuing my series of articles on travel, good living, Scotch whisky and food, I now hope to publish weekly in the New Year. 

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