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A Holiday Season Wish List of Whiskies

A Holiday Season Wish List of Whiskies 1December 11th, 2017

For many whisky and whiskey lovers, the Holiday Season represents a time to celebrate the blessings of good friends and family by gifting and broaching special bottles of the water of life. With this thought in mind, I’d like to offer up a few spirituous suggestions. I’ve intentionally bypassed harder to procure, more esoteric and – yes – often far more expensive whiskies, and instead focused on selections that should be easier to find.

Here we go!

Ardbeg Uigeadail (54.2%ABV – Scotland) is now a well-established Islay classic. The almost assaultive, room-filling aroma offers an invigorating lead-in to a fabulously intense, layered and ultimately alluring flavour spectrum. This one provides ample proof that a no-age-statement whisky can still attain true excellence. For peat lovers.

Highland Park 18 Year Old (43%ABV – Scotland) has, over the years, garnered much praise for its breadth of stylistic nuances and consistency. This Orkney gem opens with a plethora of scents before caressing the palate with a sensuous textural quality. It’s well-nigh perfectly proportioned, and ‘has it all’.

Talisker 18 Year Old (45.8%ABV – Scotland) is distilled on the Isle of Skye. Its assertive yet composed aroma reflects those additional years of maturation during which the spirit rests prior to bottling. The tremendously rich and round mouth-feel appears disarmingly succulent at first. However, small shoreline fires continue to flicker amidst the sweeter malt notes from start to lengthy finish. Simply superlative.

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A Holiday Season Wish List of Whiskies 4Booker’s Bourbon (this particular batch 64.55%ABV – Kentucky, USA) is complex and composed on the nose, as well as thick and smooth on the palate right out of the starting gate. Kernels of concentrated flavour continue to pop on the palate, and seem to go on forever. This high-proof masterpiece is nothing less than Mount Rushmore in a bottle.

Redbreast Single Pot Still 15 Year Old (46%ABV – Ireland) takes the complex and satisfying attributes of its 12-year old sibling to the next level. The depth and balance of the whiskey are noteworthy. Here’s one that’s definitely not to be missed by any fan of Irish whiskies.

Nikka Black Pure Malt (43%ABV – Japan) is a whisky that melds together malts from the parent company’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. The spirit is rich, complex and constantly evolving on the palate. And despite strands of smoke and spice lurking in the background, malt sweetness finally ends up stealing the show. Dangerously drinkable.

Wiser’s 18 Year Old (40%ABV – Canada) exhibits a sophisticated autumnal demeanour, with bittersweet oak-laced rye notes surging forth throughout the proceedings to counterpoint the more mature and ‘quiet’ characteristics. Here is a whisky that amply displays true Canadian elegance.

Happy Holidays everyone!
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Doug Kuebler is an inveterate aficionado and collector of wines and whiskies. Apart from organizing wine and food seminars, Doug has also written extensively on wines and liquors over the last three decades. His first published book-set, The Tumbler’s Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky, has been well received in North America, the British Isles and Asia.