Staff Picks time again at Whisky Maketplace and, as ever, we have tried to come up with a few particularly delicious bottles for your delectation. It’s never easy to choose these recommendations, and with so many high quality releases reaching the market these days, it’s unlikely to get any easier. Not that we are complaining of course, the research involved could hardly be considered a chore.
After last month’s rather scotch-centric selection, we are being a touch more eclectic this time around, featuring an excellent small batch American whiskey and a special release from the good people at England’s first whisky distillery in over 120 years. Scotland is anything but absent though, being represented by a cracking single cask Ardmore and a reliable favourite from the AnCnoc range.
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
A really excellent independently bottled example of Ardmore from Speciality Drinks, and one that I rated highly in my recent review. The typically dry, gentle Ardmore smokiness is twinned with a fantastic range of slightly exotic fruit notes and a lovely freshness. When you combine all of these complimentary traits with the particularly attractive price, this one is very difficult to ignore
£64.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
A perfect venture into small batch American whiskey for those who have only encountered the better known brands. On the nose things kick off with some sweetness and plenty of spice and herbs, especially tarragon and mint. Building with a hint of gloss paint, it develops to something that reminds me of an old fashioned English mint sauce - great with roast lamb, people! Of course the usual bourbon suspects are here and so too is some fresh red apple peel. On the palate things become more savoury and really open up with a drop of water. Those herbal, aromatic notes coming forward, delivered in a nice oily mouthfeel. A drying finish finally gives up a note of root beer. Robust and flavoursome- this is a terrific small batch bourbon.
£36.13 at www.masterofmalt.com
AnCnoc so often gets overlooked or passed over as a fairly unremarkable “typical” Speysider. This is a great shame really as when you dig just a bit deeper, the spirit of Knockdhu has so much more to offer. This 16 year old is a good example and mixes a light, well-integrated American Oak influence with the spirit’s naturally understated complexity and, unlike a number of others, happily manages to avoid too much heavy, vanilla-rich oak.
£41.33 at www.masterofmalt.com
The nose gets going with a top note of sticky toffee, beneath that gloopy syrup lies a layer of pear drop and liquorice, rather like a 1950s sweet shop. The only way they could have made this more vintage-British would have been to inject a wisp of coronation chicken! If you're worried that this all sounds a little sickly, fear not! On the palate things dry out considerably with some spicy notes, underpinned by a gentle sweetness, presented on a nice firm texture and leading to a peppery finish. All in all this is really very good. So does our dear old Queenie enjoy an occasional drop of the good stuff? I know some of her predecessors certainly did. Either way, if she fancies a nip to celebrate her diamond year, she could do a lot worse than this.
£59.95 at www.thewhiskybarrel.com
Prices correct on date of publishing