Main Great Whiskeys
Great WhiskeysDK Publishing
The ideal drinking companion for any whiskey lover-generous, knowledgeable, and willing to go anywhere-Great Whiskeys covers every whiskey style, from single malt, blended, and grain, to bourbon, rye, and more. Covering 22 countries of heritage and innovative brands, enthusiasts and converts alike will not find a more comprehensive, accessible, and travel-friendly resource.
You may be interested in
Most frequently terms
GREAT WHISKEYS Material previously published in World Whiskey GREAT WHISKEYS 500 OF THE BEST FROM AROUND THE WORLD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CHARLES MACLEAN LONDON, NEW YORK, MUNICH, MELBOURNE, DELHI US Editors Jenny Siklós, Shannon Beatty DK INDIA Editorial Manager Glenda Fernandes Senior Art Editor (Lead) Navidita Thapa DTP Manager Sunil Sharma Designer Heema Sabharwal DTP Designers Manish Chandra Upreti, Mohammed Usman, Neeraj Bhatia DK UK Editor Shashwati Tia Sarkar Designer Katherine Raj Managing Editor Dawn Henderson Managing Art Editor Marianne Markham Senior Jacket Creative Nicola Powling Production Editor Ben Marcus Production Controller Dominika Szczepanska Creative Technical Support Sonia Charbonnier Material ﬁrst published in the United States in World Whiskey, 2009 This edition ﬁrst published in 2011 by DK Publishing 375 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 11 12 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 001–179127–April/2011 Copyright © 2009, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-7566-7184-6 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or SpecialSales@dk.com. Printed and bound in Singapore by Tien Wah Press Discover more at www.dk.com CONTENTS Introduction 6 A–Z of Great Whiskeys 8 Whiskey Tours Islay 60 Speyside 148 Ireland 202 Japan 330 Kentucky 370 A–Z of Whiskeys by Type 378 A–Z of Whiskeys by Country 380 Acknowledgments 383 INTRODUCTION There’s an old saying in Scotland: “There’s no bad whisky. Just good whisky and better whisky.” The whiskeys featured in this book come from all over the world. As you will see, great whiskey is now being made in South Asia, Australasia, and Europe, not just the “established” whiskey countries of Scotland, Ireland, the US, Canada, and Japan. Whiskey is recognized as the most complex spirit on the planet. It is made from the simplest and most natural of ingredients—cereal grains, water, and yeast—yet the craft and tradition that goes into its making elevate it to the rank of “noble spirit,” presenting a huge spectrum of aromas and tastes. Like people, every whiskey is different—each has its own personality. Some are big, bold, and rowdy; others delicate, elegant, and shy. Some you may not take to immediately may later become good friends. My selection has been guided by six of the world’s leading whiskey writers—Dave Broom, Tom Bruce-Gardyne, Ian Buxton, Peter Mulryan, Hans Offringa, and Gavin D. Smith—and I am deeply grateful to them for writing up the individual entries. How you choose to enjoy whiskey—with or without water or ice; with soda or lemonade; with ginger ale or cola—is a matter of personal preference. In China they like it with iced tea, in Brazil with coconut 6 water. However “ﬂavor” is not just about taste, it also embraces smell. Indeed, to truly appreciate the nuances of ﬂavor in whiskey, particularly malt whiskey, you should add nothing but a dash of water, and present the drink in a glass that allows you to consider its aroma to the full. Secreted within this listing of world whiskeys are tours that will guide you to whiskey regions of Scotland, Ireland, the US, and Japan. No experience adds more to the enjoyment of whiskey than visiting a working distillery, to savor the aromas, appreciate the skill, dedication, and time that goes into making this profound spirit, and of course, to sample a dram right at its source. Maybe you are just setting out on this journey of discovery; perhaps you’re well down the road to becoming a connoisseur. Either way, I hope this book will be a useful guide and will introduce you to some interesting ﬂavors. Explore and enjoy! Charles MacLean 7 8PM India Owner: Radico Khaitan www.radicokhaitan.com WHISKEYS Launched as recently as 1999, 8PM had the singular distinction of selling a million cases in its ﬁrst year (it now sells 3 million). The brand owner is Radico Khaitan, based at Rampur Distillery, Uttar Pradesh. Established in 1943, it is now a gigantic unit with a capacity of over 20 million gallons (90 million liters) of alcohol a year. The company owns other whiskey brands, including Whytehall, and it has recently formed a partnership with Diageo, the world’s largest drinks conglomerate, to produce Masterstroke (see p248). GREAT A ◀ 8PM CLASSIC BLEND Made from “a mix of quality grains,” this has a core that promises “thaath” (boldness, opulence) and “the reach of a man to the dream world.” 8PM ROYALE BLEND A blend of Indian spirits and mature Scotch malt whiskies. 8 100 PIPERS Scotland Owner: Chivas Brothers WHISKEYS Created in 1965 by Seagram, and named after an old Scots song, 100 Pipers was originally a contender in the “value” sector of the Scotch whisky market, where it was an immediate success. The blend contains malts from Allt-a-Bhainne and Braeval (distilleries that mainly supply malts for blends), and probably some Glenlivet and Longmorn as well. Seagrams developed the brand very effectively and it has continued to prosper under the new owners, Chivas Brothers (themselves owned by Pernod Ricard). It is one of the bestselling whiskies in Thailand, a dynamic market for Scotch, and is growing rapidly in many countries, especially Spain, Venezuela, Australia, and India. GREAT A 1OO PIPERS ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Pale in color. A light and very mixable whisky, with a smooth yet subtly smoky taste. 9 ABERFELDY Scotland Aberfeldy, Perthshire www.dewarswow.com WHISKEYS Aberfeldy was built by John Dewar & Sons in 1898 to supply malts for the company’s blends, but now also offers some single malt bottlings. Its life-long bond with Dewar’s White Label is celebrated at its impressive, fully interactive visitor center, Dewar’s World of Whisky, opened in 2000. Visitors see the rudiments of malt whisky distilling, but the main emphasis is on the art of blending and the role of Tommy Dewar (1864–1930), arguably the greatest whisky baron of them all. GREAT A ◀ ABERFELDY 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV The standard expression has a clean, apple-scented nose with a mediumbodied fruity character in the mouth. ABERFELDY 21-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV Launched in 2005, this has greater depth and richness than the 12-yearold, with a sweet, heathery nose and a slight spicy catch on the ﬁnish. 10 ABERLOUR Scotland Aberlour, Banffshire www.aberlour.com WHISKEYS Aberlour’s extreme popularity in France makes it one of the top ten bestselling malts in the world. As part of the old Campbell Distillers, it has been owned by the French group Pernod Ricard since 1975. Its malt is used in a great number of blends, particularly in Clan Campbell, but up to half the production is bottled as a single malt in a wide range of age statements and ﬁnishes. A GREAT ABERLOUR 12-YEAR-OLD SHERRY MATURED ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV With its deep, reddish hue from new sherry wood, this expression has a nutty, fruitcake character and a creamy, buttery texture. ABERLOUR A’BUNADH SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 60% ABV A’bunadh (a-boon-ahh), “the origin” in Gaelic, is a cask strength, non chill-ﬁltered malt matured in Oloroso casks. It has a sumptuous character of fruitcake and spice. 11 ALBERTA Canada 1521 34th Avenue Southeast, Calgary, Alberta Owner: Jim Beam WHISKEYS Alberta Distillery was founded in Calgary in 1946 to take advantage of the immense Canadian prairies and the ﬁne Rocky Mountain water. Rye is at the heart of many Canadian whiskeys, and is predominant in Alberta. Maturing takes place in ﬁrst-ﬁll bourbon casks, or even in new white-oak casks. Other brands from Alberta include Tangle Ridge (see p339) and Windsor Canadian (see p374). A GREAT ◀ ALBERTA SPRINGS 10-YEAR-OLD CANADIAN RYE 40% ABV A sweet aroma, with rye bread and black pepper. The taste is very sweet, even somewhat cloying, becoming charred and caramelized. ALBERTA PREMIUM CANADIAN RYE 40% ABV Described as “Special Mild Canadian Rye Whiskey.” The aroma presents vanilla toffee, a hint of spice, light citric notes, and fruitiness. The taste is sweet above all, with stewed apples, plums, and marzipan. 12 AMERICAN SPIRIT USA WHISKEYS Wild Turkey Distillery, US Highway 62 East, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky www.wildturkeybourbon.com American Spirit is distilled at the Wild Turkey Distillery (see p368) by Austin Nicholls & Co, and was introduced in September 2007. According to Eddie Russell, who developed this expression with his father, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, the name “American Spirit” seemed to suggest itself. GREAT A AMERICAN SPIRIT 15-YEAR-OLD ▶ BOURBON 50% ABV Richly aromatic and characterful on the nose and silky-smooth in the mouth, with vanilla, brittle toffee, molasses, stewed fruits, spice, and a little mint. The ﬁnish is lengthy and spicy, with gentle oak and a ﬁnal menthol note. 13 AMRUT India Amrut Distilleries, 36 Sampangi Tank Road, Bangalore, Karnataka www.amrutdistilleries.com WHISKEYS In Hindu mythology, the amrut was a golden pot containing the elixir of life. This family-owned Indian company focuses on innovation, quality, and transparency: they use barley grown in the Punjabi foothills of the Himalayas, malted in Jaipur, and distilled in small batches 3,000 ft (900 m) above sea level in Bangalore, where it is matured in ex-bourbon and new oak casks and bottled without chill-ﬁltration. GREAT A ◀ AMRUT INDIAN SINGLE MALT CASK STRENGTH SINGLE MALT 61.9% ABV Lightly fruity and cereal-like; bourbon casks introduce toffee. More woody, spicy, and malty with water. Similar in proﬁle to a young Speyside malt. AMRUT PEATED INDIAN SINGLE MALT SINGLE MALT 62.78% ABV Cereal and kippery smoke on the nose; oily, with salt and pepper. The taste is sweet and malty, with a whiff of smoke in the ﬁnish. 14 ANCIENT AGE USA Buffalo Trace, 1001 Wilkinson Boulevard, Frankfort, Kentucky www.buffalotrace.com WHISKEYS Ancient Age was, from 1969 to 1999, the name of what is now the Buffalo Trace Distillery (see p66). The brand was introduced in the 1930s shortly after the end of Prohibition, initially being distilled in Canada. After World War II, it was reformulated as a straight Kentucky-made bourbon, and went on to become one of the best-known brands produced by its proprietors. GREAT A ANCIENT AGE 10-YEAR-OLD ▶ BOURBON 40% ABV This 10-year-old bourbon is complex and fragrant on the nose, with spices, fudge, oranges, and honey. It is medium-bodied and, after a slightly dry opening, the oily palate sweetens, developing vanilla and cocoa ﬂavors, and a lightly charred note. 15 ANCNOC Scotland Knockdhu Distillery, Knock, Huntly, Aberdeenshire www.ancnoc.com WHISKEYS Named after the nearby “Black Hill,” the springs of which supply its water, anCnoc is the core expression of Knockdhu Distillery. Historically signiﬁcant for being the ﬁrst distillery built by the Distillers Company Limited (DCL), Knockdhu’s new owner, Inver House, has kept the character of the distillery. The traditional worm tubs for condensing the spirit add a slightly sulfury, meaty character to the new make. GREAT A ◀ ANCNOC 1991 SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 46% ABV Vanilla, toffee, and wood on the nose. Fruity and full-bodied, with a hint of peatiness. ANCNOC 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV A relatively full-bodied Speyside malt, with notes of lemon peel and heather-honey on the nose, a fairly luscious mouthfeel, and some length on the ﬁnish. 16 ANGUS DUNDEE Scotland www.angusdundee.co.uk WHISKEYS With more than 50 years’ experience in producing, blending, bottling, and distributing topquality spirits, Angus Dundee is one of the few remaining truly independent family-owned companies in the Scotch whisky industry. It has two malt distilleries—Tomintoul and Glencadam—but is better known for its blending and broking activities. Other company-owned blends include Parkers and Scottish Royal. GREAT A THE DUNDEE ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Hints of orange peel in a malty, medium-weight nose. There are some traces of smoke and some sweetness. Smooth on the palate. OLD DUNDEE 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 43% ABV Richer than its younger counterpart, with a longer ﬁnish. Orange notes develop into candied-peel. Soft in the mouth, and an elegant palate. There’s a sugary tart ﬂavor, but it’s not cloying. 17 THE ANTIQUARY Scotland Owner: Tomatin Distillery www.antiquary.co.uk WHISKEYS Introduced in 1857 and named after a novel by Sir Walter Scott, The Antiquary was a prized luxury blend in its heyday. Beﬁtting its deluxe status, it has at its heart a very high malt-to-grain ratio, including some of the ﬁnest malts from Speyside and Highland distilleries and more than a splash of Tomatin. Islay seems to feature more strongly than previously. A GREAT ◀ THE ANTIQUARY 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV Subtle fruitiness concealing a hint of apples. Outstanding smoothness, depth of ﬂavor, and a long aftertaste. Other tasters have reported a striking peat inﬂuence, new to the blend. THE ANTIQUARY 21-YEAR-OLD BLEND 43% ABV The subtle maltiness with muted peaty notes allows the heather, dandelion, and blackcurrant notes to ﬂourish. A dash of Islay malt creates a truly exceptional dram: well-balanced, rich, and smooth. A stand-out blend that deserves to be more widely enjoyed. 18 ARDBEG Scotland Port Ellen, Islay www.ardbeg.com WHISKEYS If Islay is the spiritual home of Scotland’s pungent, peatsmoked whiskies, then Ardbeg is undoubtedly one of the island’s leading disciples. The distillery was ﬁrst licensed in 1815 in the parish of Kildalton, on Islay’s southern coast just beyond Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Reliance on the blending market left Ardbeg in a vulnerable position, however, and when “the whisky loch” became full to the brim in the early 1980s, the distillery was mothballed. GREAT A ARDBEG 10-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 46% ABV This non chill-ﬁltered malt has notes of creosote, tar, and smoked ﬁsh on the nose. Any sweetness on the tongue quickly dries to a smoky ﬁnish. ARDBEG AIRIGH NAM BEIST SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 46% ABV A rich, spicy malt sweetened with vanilla notes from 16 years in bourbon casks. The name, pronounced arry-nam -bayst, means “shelter of the beast.” 19 ARDBEG WHISKEYS In 1997, Ardbeg was rescued by Glenmorangie, who paid a reported £7m and then spent a further £1.4m on upgrading the distillery. At ﬁrst, the years of non-production caused problems but, as the gaps in the inventory receded, the distillery was ﬁnally able to release a standard 10-yearold bottling. Since then, there has been a raft of new bottlings, which have added to Ardbeg’s growing cult status among fans of Islay’s smoky malt whiskies. A GREAT ◀ ARDBEG BLASDA SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 40% ABV The Gaelic name translates as “sweet and delicious,” a reference to a much gentler style than usual, made from malt peated at only 8ppm, one-third Ardbeg’s usual levels. ARDBEG UIGEADAIL SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 54.2% ABV Named after Loch Uigeadail—Ardbeg’s water source—this has a deep gold color and a molasseslike sweetness on the nose, with savory, smoky notes following through on the tongue. 20 ARDMORE Scotland Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire www.ardmorewhisky.com WHISKEYS Ardmore owes its existence to Teacher’s Highland Cream (see p341). The Teacher’s blend was well-established in Scotland, particularly in Glasgow, where it was sold through Teacher’s Dram Shops, and sales were growing abroad. To keep up with demand, Adam Teacher decided to build a new distillery in 1898 and found the ideal spot near Kennethmont, beside the main Aberdeen-toInverness railroad. Famed for producing the smokiest malt on Speyside, Ardmore released a 12-year-old in 1999 to celebrate its centenary. In 2005 the distillery became part of Fortune Brands. GREAT A ARDMORE TRADITIONAL CASK ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 46% ABV A smooth, relatively full-bodied malt, where the sweet American oak ﬂavors from the cask are balanced by the dry, earthy character from the peat. 21 ARMORIK France Distillerie Warenghem, Route de Guingamp, 22300 Lannion, Bretagne www.distillerie-warenghem.com WHISKEYS The Warenghem Distillery was founded in 1900 to produce apple cider and fruit spirits. It was not until 99 years later that the owners decided to start making other types of spirits, including malted beers and whiskey. There are now two types of whiskey made here: Armorik, a single malt, and WB (Whiskey Breton), a blend. The type of casks used for maturation is not speciﬁed. GREAT A ◀ ARMORIK WHISKEY BRETON SINGLE MALT 40% ABV A young spirit, Armorik is fresh and very spicy, with a salty tang and a dry, oaky inﬂuence in the ﬁnish. 22 ARRAN Scotland Lochranza, Isle of Arran www.arranwhisky.com WHISKEYS When the distillery opened in 1993, it marked the return of distilling on the Isle of Arran after a hiatus of some 156 years. Arran takes its water from Loch na Davie on the island’s north coast, and the island itself is positioned in the Gulf Stream, where the warm waters and climate system are said to beneﬁcially speed up the maturation period. Arran creates a range of blends named for Robert Burns, who was born nearby on the mainland (see p301). GREAT A ARRAN 10-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: ISLANDS 46% ABV Bottled without chill-ﬁltering, this has fresh bread and vanilla aromas, with citrus notes that carry through onto the tongue. ARRAN 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: ISLANDS 46% ABV This expression has an orange peel and chocolate sweetness and a rich, creamy texture thanks to the inﬂuence of sherry wood. 23 AUCHENTOSHAN Scotland Dalmuir, Clydebank, Glasgow www.auchentoshan.co.uk WHISKEYS While Glenkinchie sits just south of Edinburgh, Scotland’s other main Lowlands distillery lies west of Glasgow by the Erskine Bridge and the Clyde River. Auchentoshan, licensed in 1823, produced a modest 50,000 gallons (225,000 liters) a year with a single pair of stills until it acquired a third still. Ever since, Auchentoshan, with its tripledistilled malt, has been almost unique in Scotland. This being the GREAT A ◀ AUCHENTOSHAN CLASSIC SINGLE MALT: LOWLANDS 40% ABV With no age statement, this is a young introduction to the Auchentoshan range, with lots of vanilla sweetness and citrus. AUCHENTOSHAN 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: LOWLANDS 40% ABV This expression replaced the old 10-year-old and has a dense, spicy character thanks to the use of sherry casks. 24 WHISKEYS standard style of Irish whiskey, it soon caught on among the burgeoning Irish community in Glasgow. The Clydebank area was a key target for the Luftwaffe in World War II and, after some heavy bombing in 1941, Auchentoshan has since drawn its cooling water from a pond created in a giant bomb crater. Auchentoshan joined forces with the Islay distillery Bowmore in 1984, becoming Morrison Bowmore, now part Suntory. In the past decade, the range of single malts has been greatly expanded. GREAT A AUCHENTOSHAN THREE WOOD ▶ SINGLE MALT: LOWLANDS 43% ABV This is matured in three different types of cask, and sherry clearly has a big inﬂuence on the color and sweet, candied-fruit ﬂavors. AUCHENTOSHAN 18-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: LOWLANDS 43% ABV This is a classic nutty, spicy malt with plenty of age and complexity on the palate and some fruity sherry notes on the nose. 25 AUCHROISK Scotland Mulben, Banffshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS This modern distillery lies on the main road between Craigellachie and Keith. The site was bought by International Distillers & Vintners (IDV)—now merged with Diageo—in 1970 for £5m, and Auchroisk (which means “ford of the red stream” in Gaelic) was up and running four years later. The principal role of the distillery was to supply malt for the J&B blend, but, after a decade, it was decided to release a distillery bottling as well. This was called the Singleton of Auchroisk. The name was soon abandoned, however, and replaced by a 10-year-old in the Flora & Fauna range and occasional Rare Malt series bottlings. GREAT A ◀ AUCHROISK FLORA & FAUNA 10-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 43% ABV An aromatic Speyside with a wisp of smoke and citrus notes, combined with malty ﬂavors that dry on the ﬁnish. 26 AULTMORE Scotland Keith, Banffshire WHISKEYS Alexander Edward was a seasoned distiller at Benrinnes before establishing the Craigellachie Distillery with Peter Mackie, the whisky baron and founder of the White Horse blend. In 1895, at the peak of the late-Victorian whisky boom, Edward built Aultmore, his third distillery, on the ﬂat farmland between Keith and the sea. After acquisition by John Dewar & Sons and DCL, the distillery was one of ﬁve sold to Bacardi in 1998. A GREAT AULTMORE FLORA & FAUNA 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV The main distillery bottling is a crisp, herbal, aperitif-style malt with a gentle, perfumed nose and a malty ﬂavor that dries on the ﬁnish. AULTMORE SINGLE MALTS OF SCOTLAND 15-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 46% ABV This older expression has a ﬂoral, nutty, spicy aroma coupled with a trace of chocolate. It is medium-to full-bodied and luscious in texture. 27 BAGPIPER India Owner: United Spirits www.unitedspirits.in WHISKEYS “The World’s No.1 Non-Scotch Whiskey” sells nearly 14 million cases a year. An IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor), probably made from molasses alcohol and concentrates, it was launched by the United Spirits subsidiary Herbertson’s in 1987 and, in its ﬁrst year, sold 100,000 cases. The brand has always been closely associated with Bollywood, India’s huge ﬁlm-production industry, and has successfully won accreditation from many movie stars. The company also broadcasts a weekly Bagpiper show on TV, and is a sponsor of talent-spotting programs. GREAT B ◀ BAGPIPER GOLD BLEND 42.8% ABV Gold is the premium expression of Bagpiper, but it still has a somewhat artiﬁcial taste and is best drunk with a mixer like cola. 28 BAILIE NICOL JARVIE Scotland Owner: Glenmorangie WHISKEYS Produced by Glenmorangie, Bailie Nicol Jarvie—or BNJ as it is commonly called in Scotland— is reputed to contain a healthy measure of both Glenmorangie and Glen Moray single malts. In fact, it has one of the highest malt contents of any blended whisky. It is excellent value and has gained something of a cult following, its adherents savoring the idea of being one of the cognoscenti, perhaps, for it is not at all heavily promoted. The label has a satisfying period feel. GREAT B BAILIE NICOL JARVIE ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Smooth, subtle, and full of character, with a delicate balance of sweet Speyside, aromatic Highland, and peaty Islay malt whiskies blended with only the ﬁnest grain whisky. 29 BAKER’S USA Jim Beam Distillery, 149 Happy Hollow Road, Clermont, Kentucky www.jimbeam.com WHISKEYS Baker’s is one of three whiskeys that were introduced in 1992 as Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. It is named after Baker Beam, the former Clermont Master Distiller and grand-nephew of the legendary Jim Beam himself. He is also a cousin of the late Booker Noe, the high-proﬁle distiller who instigated small-batch bourbon distilling. Baker Beam’s namesake whiskey is distilled using the standard Jim Beam formula, but is aged for longer and offered at a higher bottling strength. GREAT B ◀ BAKER’S 7-YEAR-OLD BOURBON 53.5% ABV Baker’s is a fruity, toasty expression of the Jim Beam formula: mediumbodied, mellow, and richly ﬂavored, with notes of vanilla and caramel. 30 BAKERY HILL Australia 28 Ventnor Street, North Balwyn, Victoria www.bakeryhilldistillery.com.au WHISKEYS David Baker, chemist and founder of Bakery Hill Distillery, was determined to prove that topquality malt whiskey could be made in Australia. He has succeeded: his single cask, non chill-ﬁltered malts are already winning awards. At the moment, however, they are only available from the distillery, near Melbourne, Victoria. The barley strains Australian Franklin and Australian Schooner are sourced locally and sometimes malted over locally cut peat. GREAT B BAKERY HILL CASK STRENGTH PEATED MALT ▶ SINGLE MALT 59.88% ABV Intense peatiness on the nose, with dark cherry. The taste is sweet (toffee, honeycomb), with some salt and smoke. It has a good texture. BAKERY HILL PEATED MALT SINGLE MALT 46% ABV A sweet and oaky balance of peat and malt on the nose. These aromas carry through in the taste. 31 BALBLAIR Scotland Edderton, Tain, Ross-shire www.balblair.com WHISKEYS Founded in 1790 by John Ross, Balblair is one of only a handful of 18th-century distilleries that has survived to this day. It remained in family hands for over 100 years. Since 1996, the distillery has been owned by Inver House Distillers, who began with a core range called Elements. This was succeeded by a range of vintage malts in a similar style to The Glenrothes bottlings, right down to the bulbous bottle shape. GREAT B ◀ BALBLAIR 75 SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 46% ABV The sherry-matured vintage expression has a distinct rum-raisin character, with notes of butterscotch and some underlying fruit ﬂavors that taper to a long ﬁnish. BALBLAIR 89 SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 43% ABV Matured mainly in ex-bourbon casks, this has a slightly sweeter nose than the 75, with notes of candy apple, tropical fruits, and vanilla ice cream. 32 BALLANTINE’S Scotland www.ballantines.com WHISKEYS Ballantine’s was a pioneer in developing aged blends. Its range is arguably the most extensive in the world today, and includes Ballantine’s Finest (the standard bottling), as well as Ballantine’s 12-year-old, 17-year-old, 21-yearold, and 30-year-old. The range is the world’s second biggest Scotch whisky by volume and the top-selling super-premium brand in Asia. The blend is noted for its complexity, with over 40 different malts and grains being used. The two Speyside single malts GREAT B BALLANTINE’S FINEST ▶ BLEND 40% ABV A sweet, soft-textured blend, with the Speyside malts giving chocolate, vanilla, and apple notes. BALLANTINE’S 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV Golden-hued, with a honey sweetness on the nose, and vanilla from the oak. Creamy texture and balanced palate, with ﬂoral, honey, and oaky vanilla notes. Some tasters detect a hint of salt. 33 BALLANTINE’S WHISKEYS Glenburgie and Miltonduff form the base for the blend, but malts from all parts of Scotland are also employed. For maturation, Ballantine’s principally favors the use of ex-bourbon barrels, for the vanilla inﬂuences and sweet creamy notes they characteristically bring to the blend. The Glenburgie Distillery has been completely remodeled and modernized and is today Ballantine’s spiritual home. B GREAT ◀ BALLANTINE’S 21-YEAR-OLD BLEND 43% ABV The sought-after older expressions of Ballantine’s are deep in color, with traces of heather, smoke, licorice, and spice on the nose. The 21-year-old has a complex, balanced palate, with sherry, honey, and ﬂoral notes. BALLANTINE’S 17-YEAR-OLD BLEND 43% ABV A deep, balanced, and elegant whisky with a hint of wood and vanilla. The body is full and creamy, with a vibrant, honeyed sweetness and hints of oak and peat smoke on the palate. 34 BALMENACH Scotland Cromdale, Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire www.inverhouse.com WHISKEYS In 1824 James McGregor, like many illicit distillers, decided to come in from the cold and take out a license for his farm distillery near Grantown-on-Spey. It was owned by the family for 100 years until they sold out to DCL. Aside from during World War II, the distillery was in constant production until 1993, when its whisky was available as part of the Flora & Fauna range. In 1997, Balmenach was sold to Inver House, who ﬁred up the stills the following year. A full distillery bottling has had to wait, owing to a dearth of inherited stocks. GREAT B BALMENACH GORDON & MACPHAIL 1990 ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 43% ABV Citrus, grass, and malt on the nose, slight smoke on the palate. Opens up with water. 35 BALVENIE Scotland Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire www.thebalvenie.com WHISKEYS Within six years of setting up Glenﬁddich in 1886, William Grant was converting Balvenie New House (a derelict Georgian pile) next door into another distillery using second-hand stills. This expansion was partly a result of a request from an Aberdeen blender who desperately needed 400 gallons (1,800 liters) of Glenlivet-style whisky a week. B GREAT ◀ THE BALVENIE DOUBLEWOOD 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV After a decade in American oak, Doublewood spends two years in ex-sherry casks to give it a smooth, confected, slightly nutty character. THE BALVENIE SIGNATURE 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV A vatting of three types of cask—sherry, ﬁrst-ﬁll bourbon, and reﬁll bourbon— which give a mix of confected fruit and vanilla with a syrupy texture. 36 WHISKEYS Although physically dwarfed by Glenﬁddich, Balvenie is no boutique distillery: it can produce 1.4 million gallons (6.4 million liters) a year and has built up an impressive range of single malts. As an artisan distillery, it grows some of its own barley, in contrast to Glenﬁddich. It has also retained its ﬂoor maltings to satisfy part of its requirements, and employs a coppersmith and a team of coopers. Indeed, Balvenie’s attention to maturation and different wood ﬁnishes rivals even that of Glenmorangie. B GREAT THE BALVENIE SINGLE BARREL 15-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 47.8% ABV This 15-year-old is bottled one cask at a time, so each is subtly different from the last, although sharing a sweet woody character and nutty ﬂavor. THE BALVENIE VINTAGE CASK 1976 SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 53.8% ABV Autumnal wet leaves and damp, woody aromas. Heavy tannins on the palate, balanced by fruitiness; slightly sweet in the ﬁnish. 37 BARTON USA Tom Moore Distillery, 1 Barton Road, Bardstown, Kentucky WHISKEYS The Tom Moore Distillery in Bardstown, Nelson County makes what were formerly known as the Barton brand whiskeys. Bardstown is in the true heartland of bourbon, and once boasted more than 20 distilleries. The whiskeys made at Tom Moore are typically youthful, dry, and aromatic. In 2009, the Sazerac Company Inc., which also owns Buffalo Trace, acquired the Tom Moore Distillery from Constellation Brands, as well as all the Barton whiskeys produced there, including Very Old Barton, Kentucky Gentleman (see p211), Ridgemont (see p299), Kentucky Tavern, Ten High, and Tom Moore. GREAT B ◀ VERY OLD BARTON BOURBON 43% ABV Six years is comparatively old for a Barton whiskey, hence its name. The nose is rich, syrupy, and spicy, with a prickle of salt. Big-bodied in the mouth, it is fruity and spicy, with spices and ginger in the drying ﬁnish. 38 BASIL HAYDEN’S USA Jim Beam Distillery, 149 Happy Hollow Road, Clermont, Kentucky www.jimbeam.com WHISKEYS Basil Hayden’s was one of the three whiskeys that made up Beam’s pioneering Small Batch Bourbon Collection, introduced in 1992. Basil Hayden was an early Kentucky settler from Maryland who began making whiskey in the late-18th century near Bardstown, and it is claimed that the recipe for this particular expression dates from that period. GREAT B BASIL HAYDEN’S 8-YEAR-OLD ▶ BOURBON 40% ABV The nose is light, aromatic, and spicy, with ﬂavors of soft rye, woodpolish, spices, pepper, vanilla, and a hint of honey on the comparatively dry palate. The ﬁnish is long, with notes of peppery rye. 39 THE BELGIAN OWL Belgium The Owl Distillery, Rue Sainte Anne 94, B4460 Grâce-Hollogne www.belgianwhiskey.com WHISKEYS Master Distiller Etienne Bouillon founded this distillery in the French-speaking part of Belgium in 2004. He uses homegrown barley and ﬁrst-ﬁll bourbon casks to produce a 3-year-old single malt whiskey. The ﬁrst batch was bottled in the fall of 2007. The Belgian Owl Distillery was formerly known under the names Lambicool and PUR.E. GREAT B ◀ BELGIAN SINGLE MALT SINGLE MALT 46% ABV This non chill-ﬁltered malt offers vanilla, coconut, banana, and ice cream, topped with ﬁg, followed by a crescendo of other ﬂavors such as lemon, apples, and ginger. A long ﬁnish, with ripe fruits and vanilla. 40 BELL’S Scotland www.bellswhisky.co.za WHISKEYS “Several ﬁne whiskies blended together please the palates of a greater number of people than one whisky unmixed,” wrote the ﬁrst Arthur Bell. In keeping with this spirit, the current owners of Bell’s, Diageo, lay great emphasis on the skill of the blenders. Bell’s acquired Blair Athol (the source of the single malt at the heart of the blend) and Dufftown distilleries in 1933, adding Inchgower in 1936. The blend always evolves: the company insists that, in blind taste tests, drinkers prefer the new version. GREAT B BELL’S ORIGINAL ▶ BLEND 40% ABV As well as Blair Athol, Dufftown and Inchgower are important components here, along with Glenkinchie and Caol Ila. Medium-bodied blend, with a nutty aroma and a lightly spiced ﬂavor. BELL’S SPECIAL RESERVE BLEND 40% ABV Special Reserve has smoky hints from the Islay malts, tempered with warm pepper and a rich honey complexity. 41 BEN NEVIS Scotland Lochy Bridge, Fort William www.bennevisdistillery.com WHISKEYS Scotland’s most northerly west coast distillery was founded in 1825 by “Long John” Macdonald, who was the inspiration for the once-popular blend of that name (see p238). Sitting by Loch Linnhe, Fort William, the 19th century distillery even had its own small ﬂeet of steamers to ferry the whisky down the loch. Periodic closures during the 1970s and 80s have caused gaps in its inventory, but despite this, a number of older single malts have been released alongside the various Dew of Ben Nevis blends. The 10-year-old is the only regular distillery bottling, although singlecask and wood-ﬁnished releases appear occasionally. Various independent bottlings have also been released. GREAT B ◀ BEN NEVIS 10-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 46% ABV A big, mouth-ﬁlling West Highlands malt with a sweet smack of oak and an oily texture that ﬁnishes dry. 42 BENRIACH Scotland Longmorn, Elgin, Morayshire www.benriachdistillery.co.uk WHISKEYS Of all the Speyside distilleries built on the crest of the great speculative wave of whisky-making at the end of the 19th century, few crashed so badly as BenRiach. It opened in 1897 but only operated until 1903, when it was closed for the ﬁrst half of the 20th century. Then, in 1965, after a major refurbishment, its pair of stills was ﬁred up again. Its subsequent owners, Seagram, having no distillery on Islay, decided to GREAT B BENRIACH 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV More classically Speyside in character than the 10-year-old, with a heathery nose, creamy vanilla ice cream ﬂavor, and a hint of honey. BENRIACH CURIOSITAS 10-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV A bitter-sweet whisky with a dense peaty ﬂavor. Beneath the smoke, there are ﬂavors of tea cookies, cereal, and some citrus notes. 43 BENRIACH WHISKEYS produce a powerful peatsmoked malt at BenRiach in 1983. There were still some stocks of this peated BenRiach left when a South African consortium led by Billy Walker took over in 2004 from Chivas Brothers. This led to the Curiositas and Authenticus bottlings—the only commercially available Speyside single malts distilled from peated malted barley. With 5,000 different casks dating back to 1970 and different levels of peating to play with, Billy Walker has dramatically expanded the range of BenRiach malts available, although he has quite some way to go if he wants to rival Bruichladdich’s 200-plus releases. GREAT B ◀ BENRIACH 16-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV A nutty, spicy Speysider, with a honeyed texture in the mouth and perhaps the faintest wisp of smoke. BENRIACH 20-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV The long years in oak have given this expression a dry, woody ﬂavor, with sharp citrus notes and a clean ﬁnish. 44 BENRINNES Scotland Aberlour, Banffshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS The original Benrinnes Distillery was founded in 1826 at Whitehouse Farm on lower Speyside by Peter McKenzie, but was swept away in a ﬂood three years later. In 1834 a new distillery called the Lyne of Ruthrie was built a few miles away and, despite bankruptcies and a bad ﬁre in 1896, it has survived as Benrinnes. What you see today is a modern post-war distillery, which was completely rebuilt in the mid1950s. It has six stills that operate a partial form of triple distillation, with one wash still paired with two spirit stills. GREAT B BENRINNES FLORA & FAUNA 15-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 43% ABV The only ofﬁcial distillery bottling is fairly sumptuous, with some smoke and spicy ﬂavors and a creamy mouthfeel. 45 BENROMACH Scotland Forres, Morayshire www.benromach.com WHISKEYS With just a single pair of stills and a maximum production of 110,000 gallons (500,000 liters) of pure alcohol a year, Benromach was always something of a pintsized distillery. It was founded in 1898 and changed hands no fewer than six times in its ﬁrst 100 years. At one point, it found itself part of National Distillers of America, sharing a stable with bourbon brands such as Old Crow and Old Grand-Dad. GREAT B ◀ BENROMACH TRADITIONAL SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV This expression has a clean, light, ﬂoral character with a gentle phenolic edge and a trace of caramel. BENROMACH CASK STRENGTH 1981 SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 54.2% ABV The nose is quite closed at ﬁrst, but with water it opens up to reveal ripe orchard fruits and notes of cinnamon and sherry triﬂe. 46 WHISKEYS Then, like so many dispossessed distilleries, Benromach became part of the giant DCL who, as UDV, mothballed the distillery in 1983, along with many others. This time the stills were ripped out and the warehouses knocked down, and it seemed Benromach would never produce whisky again. Benromach’s savior was the famous ﬁrm of independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin, who bought the distillery in 1993. A new pair of stills was installed, and the ﬁrst spirit ﬂowed from it in 1999, when Prince Charles ofﬁcially opened the new Benromach. GREAT B BENROMACH 25-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 43% ABV The bourbon-cask brother to the sherried Vintage. Mellow, soft in the mouth, with a fruity citrus character. BENROMACH ORIGINS SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 50% ABV Origins is a new series. Batch 1 Golden Promise is named for the strain of barley used. Maturation is in ﬁrst- and second-ﬁll sherry casks. 47 BERNHEIM USA Heaven Hill Distillery, 1701 West Breckinridge Street, Louisville, Kentucky www.bernheimwheatwhiskey.com WHISKEYS The Bernheim brand takes its name from Heaven Hill’s Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, where Heaven Hill whiskeys have been produced since the plant was acquired in 1999. Launched in 2005, Bernheim is the only straight wheat whiskey on the US market. Heaven Hill father and son Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam developed the wheat formula with a minimum of 51 percent winter wheat, and the recipe also includes corn and malted barley. GREAT B ◀ BERNHEIM ORIGINAL WHEAT WHISKEY 45% ABV Bernheim exhibits light fruit notes on the spicy nose, with freshly sawn wood, toffee, vanilla, sweetish grain, and a hint of mint on the palate. A long, elegant, honeyed, and spicy ﬁnish. 48 BLACK & WHITE Scotland Owner: Diageo WHISKEYS A fondly regarded brand from the Buchanan’s stable, Black & White originally went by the name Buchanan’s Special. The story goes that, in the 1890s, James Buchanan supplied his whisky to the House of Commons in a very dark bottle with a white label. Apparently incapable of memorizing the name, British parliamentarians simply called for “Black and White.” Buchanan adopted the name and subsequently adorned the label with two dogs—a black Scottish terrier and a white West Highland terrier. Today it is marketed by Diageo in France, Brazil, and Venezuela, where it continues to enjoy a popularity long since lost in its homeland. GREAT B BLACK & WHITE ▶ BLEND 40% ABV A high-class, traditional-style blend. Layered hints of peat, smoke, and oak. 49 BLACK BOTTLE Scotland Owner: Burn Stewart Distillers WHISKEYS Burn Stewart Distillers have made great efforts to invest in the blend quality of Black Bottle, and many commentators agree that the blend proﬁle now resembles that of the original, created in 1879. At the time of writing, the excellent 10-year-old expression is due to be discontinued. This is a quality blend to taste before supplies dry up. B GREAT ◀ BLACK BOTTLE BLEND 40% ABV Black Bottle contains malt from seven Islay distilleries, along with hefty helpings of the company’s Deanston malt. The nose is fresh and fruity, with hints of peat, while the palate is full, with a slightly honeyed sweetness followed by a distinctive, smoky ﬂavor. The ﬁnish is long and warming, with a smoky Islay character. BLACK BOTTLE 10-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV Like the original blend, the 10-yearold contains malt from seven Islay distilleries, but this expression is richer and more rounded. 50 BLACK DOG Scotland Owner: Whyte & Mackay WHISKEYS Walter Millard, a Scot trading from Calcutta, was looking for a blended Scotch to sell in India. In 1883, after some research, he appointed Charles Mackinlay & Co. (now part of Whyte & Mackay) to make up the blend. As an eager ﬁsherman, he named it Black Dog after a favorite salmon ﬂy. Black Dog was re-introduced to India in 2006. The following year, United Spirits, the largest distiller in India, bought Whyte & Mackay. GREAT B BLACK DOG CENTENARY ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Sweet malt, light butterscotch, and cream, with light herbal notes on the nose. A ﬁrm body, with malt, oak, dark chocolate, and caramel in the mouth. 51 BLACK VELVET Canada 2925 9th Avenue North, Lethbridge, Alberta www.blackvelvetwhisky.com WHISKEYS Black Velvet is the third bestselling Canadian whiskey in the US. It was created by Gilbey Canada in the 1950s as Black Label, and made at the Old Palliser Distillery in Toronto. It was so successful that, in 1973, the Black Velvet Distillery was established at Lethbridge, in the shadow of the Rockies, only a couple of hours drive from the US border. In 1999, both Black Velvet and Palliser were sold to Barton Brands, then later became part of Constellation Brands. GREAT B ◀ BLACK VELVET RESERVE BLEND 40% ABV A light and mellow nose with vanilla notes. The palate is mild and sweet, with butterscotch, a faint citrus note, and light spiciness. Velvet-smooth texture, but the ﬂavor lacks depth. 52 BLADNOCH Scotland Bladnoch, Wigtown, Wigtonshire www.bladnoch.co.uk WHISKEYS Scotland’s most southerly distillery was bought and sold several times over the 20th century, spending long periods lying idle in between. Finally, Guinness UDV (now Diageo) sold it to Raymond Armstrong from Northern Ireland in 1994. The deal brokered was that Bladnoch would never produce whisky again but, Diageo relented in 2000 and the distillery is now allowed to produce 250,000 bottles a year. Occasional older bottlings and a Flora & Fauna release can be found. Bladnoch will also sell you whisky by the cask. GREAT B BLADNOCH 15-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: LOWLANDS 55% ABV A light, crisp, aperitif-style whisky with a trace of green apples. BLADNOCH 18-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: LOWLANDS 55% ABV This smooth Lowland malt is bottled at full cask strength without chill-ﬁltration, but is in short supply. 53 BLAIR ATHOL Scotland Pitlochry, Perthshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS In 1798 John Stewart and Robert Robertson took out a license for their Aldour Distillery on the edge of Pitlochry. In an area crawling with illicit stills, life was tough for legitimate, tax-paying distilleries, and Aldour soon closed. It was resurrected in 1826 by Alexander Connacher, who renamed it Blair Athol. Within 30 years, some of the malt was being sold to the Perth blender Arthur Bell & Sons, who ﬁnally bought the distillery in 1933 (see p41). Except for the 12-year-old and the occasional rare malt, nearly every drop goes into blends, particularly Bell’s. GREAT B ◀ BLAIR ATHOL FLORA & FAUNA 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 43% ABV Smooth, well-rounded ﬂavors, with spice and candied fruit, and a trace of smoke on the ﬁnish. 54 BLANTON’S USA Buffalo Trace, 1001 Wilkinson Boulevard, Frankfort, Kentucky www.buffalotrace.com WHISKEYS Colonel Albert Bacon Blanton worked for no fewer than 55 years at what is now the Buffalo Trace Distillery, starting as ofﬁce boy in 1897 and graduating to distillery manager in 1912. When he retired in 1955, the distillery was renamed Blanton’s in his honor. This single barrel expression was created in 1984 by Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee, who worked with Blanton during the 1950s. GREAT B BLANTON’S SINGLE BARREL ▶ BOURBON 46.5% ABV The nose of Blanton’s is soft, with toffee, leather, and a hint of mint. Full-bodied and rounded on the palate, this is a notably sweet bourbon, embracing vanilla, caramel, honey, and spices. The ﬁnish is long and creamy, with a hint of late spice. 55 BLENDERS PRIDE India Owner: Pernod Ricard www.pernod-ricard.com WHISKEYS Since it fell under the ownership of Pernod Ricard, this brand has been neck and neck with Royal Challenge (see p305) as the bestseller in its sector. It is a premium IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor, made from Scotch malts and Indian grains), whose name comes from a story about the master blenders who exposed a cask of whiskey to the warmth of the sun at regular intervals. The delicate sweetness and aromatic ﬂavor of the blend are testimony to the success of their experiment. GREAT B ◀ BLENDERS PRIDE BLEND 42.8% ABV A smooth and rich mouthfeel, with a sweet taste that gives way to a disappointingly dull ﬁnish. 56 BOOKER’S USA Jim Beam Distillery, 149 Happy Hollow Road, Clermont, Kentucky www.jimbeam.com WHISKEYS A brand created by the global Jim Beam company, Booker’s is named after Jim Beam’s grandson, Booker Noe. It is made to the same Jim Beam formula as Baker’s (see p30), and is still bottled unﬁltered and undiluted to maintain its natural barrel ﬂavors. GREAT B BOOKER’S KENTUCKY STRAIGHT ▶ BOURBON 60.5–63.5% ABV Big, fruity, and spicy on the nose, Booker’s is sweet and slightly nutty on the palate, with heat and spiciness in the oaky ﬁnish. A big, traditional, classy bourbon. 57 BOWMORE Scotland Bowmore, Isle of Islay www.bowmore.co.uk WHISKEYS The oldest surviving distillery on Islay was founded in 1779. The distillery remained small for years, until the Glasgow ﬁrm of W. & J. Mutter bought it in 1837, increasing its annual production to 200,000 gallons (900,000 liters) and storing the casks in their warehouse beneath Glasgow’s Central Station. In 1963 it was bought by Glasgow broker Stanley P. Morrison and today is the ﬂagship distillery of Morrison Bowmore, itself part of the Japanese drinks giant Suntory. GREAT B ◀ BOWMORE 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 40% ABV Gently aromatic, with a mix of citrus fruits and smoke on the nose, which carries through to the tongue, together with some dark chocolate. BOWMORE LEGEND SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 40% ABV Dry and bracing, with a faint citrus ﬂavor that develops into a smoky ﬁnish. 58 WHISKEYS Bowmore stands on the shores of Loch Indaal. With the salty sea breeze blowing right into the warehouses, some of it is bound to seep into the casks. The distillery has two pairs of stills, six Oregonpine washbacks, and its own ﬂoor maltings, which can supply up to 40 percent of Bowmore’s needs. Whether using its own malt, which is peated to around 25 ppm, improves the ﬂavor of Bowmore would be hard to prove, but to see the whole process, from the freshly steeped barley to the peat-ﬁred kiln and its dense blue smoke, certainly makes a visit to the Bowmore Distillery that much more special. GREAT B BOWMORE 15-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 43% ABV The deep mahogany color comes from two years in Oloroso casks, which also give a raisinlike sweetness to Bowmore’s signature note of smoke. BOWMORE 17-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 43% ABV Rich caramel on the nose with a background of peat. Creamy texture, with malt, peat, and fruit interplay on the palate, and a long, warming ﬁnish. 59 Whisky Tour: Islay The Hebridean island of Islay is the destination for “peat freaks,” particularly during the annual malt and music festival, Fèis Ìle, in May. You can either ﬂy to Islay from Glasgow then rent a car to get around, or use the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Kennacraig to bring your own vehicle. A four-day itinerary should take in all eight distilleries. SCOTLAND DAY 1: CAOL ILA, BUNNAHABHAIN 1 If arriving in Port Askaig by ferry, the logical place to stay is the charming, family-run Port Askaig Hotel on the coast. From there you can walk to Caol Ila, a large Diageo distillery that is the most highly productive on the island. 2 It’s a car trip or hike along the coastal path from Port Askaig to Bunnahabhain, which makes the most lightly peated of the Islay whiskies. It is possible to rent one of the distillery cottages to stay in. B8018 KILCHOMAN BRUICHLADDICH PORT CHARLOTTE WASHBACKS AT CAOL ILA DAY 2: KILCHOMAN, BRUICHLADDICH 3 Tiny Kilchoman is Islay’s newest and smallest distillery. It’s also a farm with a friendly café. Like other Islay distilleries, it sells special bottlings that may not be available elsewhere. This is a great spot for lunch and the dishes use locally sourced ingredients. 4 Drive back over the hill to Bruichladdich, which produces a huge array of whiskies. It is near Port Charlotte, where you can learn about illicit whisky production in the Museum of Islay Life, then enjoy dinner at the Port Charlotte Hotel. miles 0 2 0 2 kilometers TOUR STATISTICS BRUICHLADDICH DAYS: 4 LENGTH: 60 miles (96km) TRAVEL: Car, walking DISTILLERIES: 8 e rr y DAY 3: LAPHROAIG, LAGAVULIN, ARDBEG P o rt A s k a i g _ Co lo n f sa y 5The Kildalton distilleries, as these three are known, are renowned for their strong peaty character. Laphroaig is reputedly Prince Charles’s favorite dram. The distillery tour includes the splendidly maintained maltings. JURA BUNNAHABHAIN 6 From Laphroaig, take a ﬁve-minute stroll to Lagavulin to compare these two single malts with their assertive peaty ﬂavors. CAOL ILA FEOLIN FERRY PORT ASKAIG START 46 Por t A846 A8 FINISH As k 7 Lastly, there’s Ardbeg, where lunch at the Old Kiln Café is not to be missed. If you like history, there’s a ﬁne 8th-century cross on the road to Kildlaton. aig A847 BRIDGEND –K en na cra ig BOWMORE f er ry MODEL IN LAGAVULIN’S DRAM ROOM ISLAY DAY 4: BOWMORE B8016 46 A8 en na ARDBEG LAGAVULIN K – LAPHROAIG le n cra ig f er ry KILDALTON PORT ELLEN Po r tE l 8 Spend your last morning at Bowmore Distillery, where you can visit the ﬂoor maltings and visitor center. Repair to the Harbour Inn for a ﬁnal lunch before catching the afternoon ferry from Port Askaig back to the mainland. BOWMORE WAREHOUSE BRAUNSTEIN Denmark Braunstein, Carlsensvej 5, 4600 Koge www.braunstein.dk WHISKEYS A microbrewery located in an old warehouse in Koge harbor, Braunstein uses a small still to make spirit from malted barley. The resulting spirit is clean, fresh, and fruity. Maturation takes place in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. A new edition of the whiskey is added each year. The distillery also manufactures aquavit, herbal spirits, schnapps, and a beer called BB Amber Lager. Tastings are held each month. GREAT B ◀ BRAUNSTEIN SINGLE MALT (VARIABLE ABV) Fruits, raisins, and chocolate come to the fore in this single malt that varies in strength from batch to batch. 62 BRUICHLADDICH Scotland Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay www.bruichladdich.com WHISKEYS Islay’s most westerly distillery stands on the shores of Loch Indaal, across the water from Bowmore. Unlike older distilleries on Islay, it was purpose-built in 1881 with state-of-the-art cavity walls and its own steam generator. After repeated sales, it was closed it down in 1994, seemingly for good. Then, days before Christmas 2000, it was rescued by a private consortium led by the independent bottler Murray McDavid. From the start, GREAT B BRUICHLADDICH 18-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 46% ABV There have been two versions of this limited-release bottling: the ﬁrst ﬁnished in German sweet-wine casks, the second in sweet Jurançon casks from France. BRUICHLADDICH 21-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 46% ABV Aged in Oloroso casks and suitably deep in color, this is a pungent, sulfury malt for those who like their whiskies well-sherried. 63 BRUICHLADDICH WHISKEYS the distiller has been Jim McEwan, who left a long career at Bowmore to join the new venture in 2001. In 2003 Bruichladdich became the ﬁrst distillery on Islay to bottle its whiskies on the island. From the heavily sherried Blacker Still and the pink-hued Flirtation, to 3D, Inﬁnity, and The Yellow Submarine, the range of bottlings has been staggering. To date, over 200, many of them in very limited quantities, have been released. While this may cause some frustration among Bruichladdich’s devoted fans, it does allow this privately-owned distillery to punch way above its weight. GREAT B ◀ BRUICHLADDICH WAVES SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 46% ABV A multi-vintage vatting that offers a moderately peated style of Bruichladdich. BRUICHLADDICH PEAT SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 46% ABV A powerful phenolic whisky with the scent of bonﬁres, seaweed, and sweet smoked bacon. 64 BUCHANAN’S Scotland Owner: Diageo WHISKEYS James Buchanan was one of the most notable whisky barons— the Victorian entrepreneurs who brought Scotch to world attention, amassing personal fortunes along the way. Starting as an agent in 1879, he soon began trading on his own and rapidly saw his whisky adopted in the House of Commons. Today the Buchanan’s brand is showing signs of prospering once again under its owners, Diageo. Mainly seen in Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, and the US, Buchanan’s is positioned as a premium-style blend. There are two expressions: a 12-year-old and the Special Reserve at 18 years old. GREAT B BUCHANAN’S 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Rich on the nose, with sherry and spice. Thinner on the palate, with bitter, dried-lemon notes. Winey, with a touch of dry wood. 65 BUFFALO TRACE USA Buffalo Trace Distillery, 1001 Wilkinson Boulevard, Frankfort, Kentucky www.buffalotrace.com WHISKEYS Formerly known as Ancient Age (see p15), Buffalo Trace is located at a crossing point where, in the past, herds of migrating buffalo forded the Kentucky River. The trail they followed was known as the Great Buffalo Trace. Buffalo Trace boasts the broadest age-range of whiskey in the USA (from 4 to 23 years) and is the only US distillery using ﬁve recipes—a wheat whiskey, a rye whiskey, two rye bourbons, and a barley. The Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection of cask strength, wine-barrel-aged whiskeys was launched in 2006. GREAT B ◀ BUFFALO TRACE KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON BOURBON 45% ABV Aged a minimum of nine years, this has aromas of vanilla, gum, mint, and molasses. Sweet, fruity, and spicy on the palate, with emerging brown sugar and oak. The ﬁnish is long, spicy, and fairly dry, with developing vanilla. 66 BULLEIT USA Four Roses Distillery, 1224 Bonds Mill Road, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky www.bulleitbourbon.com WHISKEYS Bulleit Bourbon originated in the 1830s with tavern-keeper and small-time distiller Augustus Bulleit, but production ceased after his death in 1860. However, the brand was revived, using the original recipe, in 1987 by his great-great-grandson Tom Bulleit. Seagram subsequently took over the label and from there it passed to Diageo. Bulleit Bourbon is now distilled for Diageo by Four Roses Distillery (see p124), and has a high rye content of 29 percent. GREAT B BULLEIT BOURBON ▶ BOURBON 40% ABV Rich, oaky aromas lead into a mellow ﬂavor, focused around vanilla and honey. The medium-length ﬁnish features vanilla and a hint of smoke. 67 BUNNAHABHAIN Scotland Port Askaig, Islay www.bunnahabhain.com WHISKEYS Before the distilleries found fame for their heavily peat-smoked single malts, their market was not the whisky drinker, but the big blending houses. The blenders only required limited quantities of smoky malt, however, as too much would leave their whiskies unbalanced. With this in mind, Bunnahabhain used unpeated or lightly peated malt. Bunnahabhain also produces limited-edition bottlings for the Fèis Ìle, Islay’s annual festival. GREAT B ◀ BUNNAHABHAIN 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 40% ABV A clean, refreshing whisky with a scent of ozone and sea spray, which gives way to a nutty malty sweetness in the mouth. BUNNAHABHAIN 18-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 43% ABV With its richer sherry inﬂuence, this has less of the malty distillery character than the 12-year-old. Instead it has a broader texture and woody ﬂavor. 68 BUSHMILLS Ireland 2 Distillery Road, Bushmills, County Antrim www.bushmills.com WHISKEYS Old Bushmills has the amazing ability to be all things to all people: a thoroughly modern distillery housed in a beautiful Victorian building; a boutique distillery that nevertheless produces global brands; and a working distillery that welcomes the public. Bushmills produces only malt whiskey, so the grain used in its blends is made to order in the Midleton Distillery. This is GREAT B BUSHMILLS ORIGINAL ▶ BLEND 40% ABV A fruity, easy-to-drink, vanilla-infused mouthful. Its clean, clear character makes it very approachable. A lovely entry to the world of Irish whiskey. BUSHMILLS BLACK BUSH BLEND 40% ABV A living legend, Black Bush is the lovable rogue of the family. It is a very classy glassful of honey-nut scrumptiousness with an extremely silky mouthfeel. The benchmark for Irish blends. 69 BUSHMILLS WHISKEYS matured on site in one of the 10 working warehouses. Unusually, Old Bushmills doesn’t have a problem selling single malts and blends under the same brand name: it is a distillery that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries. ◀ BUSHMILLS MALT 10-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT 40% ABV As you’d expect from a triple-distilled, peat-free whiskey, this charmer appeals to just about everyone. There’s a hint of sherry wood, but it is the malt that’s showcased here–sweet with hints of fudgy chocolate. A classic and very approachable Irish malt. GREAT B BUSHMILLS MALT 16-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT 40% ABV This malt isn’t just a straight aging of the classic 10-year-old. It’s a half-and-half mix of bourbon- and sherry-cask-matured malt, married for a further nine months in port pipes. The three woods bring their own magic to bear, and produce a riot of driedfruit ﬂavors cut with almonds and the ever-present honey. 70 CAMERON BRIG Scotland Cameronbridge Distillery, Winygates, Leven, Fife WHISKEYS Greatly misunderstood, little drunk in their own right, and sadly misrepresented, grain whiskies are Scotch’s poor relation. Yet, they are the essential component and base of all blends and, when found as a single grain bottling, the source of much pleasure. Cameron Brig is made at Diageo’s Cameronbridge distillery in Fife, a massive complex of giant continuous stills. The sheer scale of grain whisky production offends some purists but, at its best, good grain whisky is very good indeed. You would not expect anything less from Diageo in its only offering in this category, and Cameron Brig won’t disappoint. GREAT C CAMERON BRIG 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE GRAIN 40% ABV The nose is clean and grassy, with some honey. Smooth palate; nutty and ﬁrm, with a hint of bitter coffee in the ﬁnish. 71 CANADIAN CLUB Canada Hiram Walker Distillery, Riverside Drive East, Walkerville, Ontario www.canadianclubwhisky.com WHISKEYS Canadian Club is the oldest and most inﬂuential whiskey brand in Canada. Created by businessman Hiram Walker in 1884, it was named simply “Club” and aimed at discerning members of gentlemen’s clubs. Unusually, in an era when most whiskeys were sold in bulk, it was supplied in bottles, and thus could not be adulterated by the retailer, a practice soon adopted by other Canadian and American distillers. GREAT C ◀ CANADIAN CLUB RESERVE BLEND 40% ABV Blended at birth, then aged in small oak barrels to give a richer ﬂavor. CANADIAN CLUB 6-YEAR-OLD 100 PROOF BLEND 50% ABV The higher strength allows the signature ﬂavors to come through better with a mixer. 72 WHISKEYS The company has had numerous Royal Warrants, from Queen Victoria to Elizabeth II. A less lofty customer, Al Capone, smuggled thousands of cases across the border during Prohibition. The Canadian Club brands were sold to Fortune Brands, the owner of Jim Beam (see p204), in 2005. Canadian Club is always “blended at birth”—that is, the component whiskeys are mixed prior to a maturation of at least ﬁve years. The standard is a 6-year-old; older versions, such as the 20-year-old, are sometimes released onto the domestic and export markets. GREAT C CANADIAN CLUB PREMIUM ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Creamy and cereal-like; rather spirity. Drier than most Canadian whiskeys, with light smokiness and nuttiness. CANADIAN CLUB CLASSIC BLEND 40% ABV Nose of tropical fruits, oak, and honey, with some toffee. The palate is very smooth and very sweet, with a banana aftertaste. 73 CANADIAN MIST Canada 202 MacDonald Road, Collingwood, Ontario www.canadianmist.com WHISKEYS Launched in 1965, this whiskey now sells 3 million cases a year in the US. Its distillery is odd in several ways: the equipment is all stainless steel; it is the only Canadian distillery to use a mashbill of corn and malted barley; and it imports its rye spirit from sister distillery Early Times (see p111) in Kentucky. Almost all the spirit is tankered to Kentucky for blending. In addition to the popular Canadian Mist brand, the 1185 Special Reserve is also available. GREAT C ◀ CANADIAN MIST BLEND 40% ABV Lightly fruity on the nose, with vanilla and caramel notes. Mild, sweet ﬂavor with traces of vanilla toffee. 74 CAOL ILA Scotland Port Askaig, Islay www.malts.com WHISKEYS For years, Caol Ila played second ﬁddle to Lagavulin within the Diageo stable. This is beginning to change, as its owners are now promoting Caol Ila as a top-quality single malt. The distillery was built in 1846, and by 1857 was in the hands of Glasgow blender Bulloch Lade, who reconstructed Caol Ila on a larger scale in 1879. The distillery was effectively demolished in 1972, re-opening two years later with the warehouse the only part remaining. GREAT C CAOL ILA 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 43% ABV Malty sweetness and citrus aromas balance the scent of tar and peat. Oily textured, with treacly, smoky ﬂavors. CAOL ILA DISTILLERS EDITION 1995 SINGLE MALT: ISLAY 43% ABV Sweet, smoky, and malty, with aromatic spices (cinnamon), especially in the lingering ﬁnish. The most rounded expression of the core range. 75 CARDHU Scotland Knockando, Aberlour, Morayshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS Cardhu Distillery was a small farm distillery until Elizabeth Cumming rebuilt it in the 1880s. Soon after, it was sold to Johnnie Walker and became the spiritual home of the blend. In the 1990s, increased demand in Spain for Cardhu 12-year-old led owners Diageo to re-christen the whisky as Cardhu Pure Malt, so they could add other malts and so increase production. But outrage within the industry forced Diageo to withdraw the brand and revert to selling Cardhu as a genuine single malt. GREAT C ◀ CARDHU 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV A heathery, pear-drop-scented malt. Light to medium body; malty, slightly nutty ﬂavor that ﬁnishes fairly short. CARDHU SPECIAL CASK RESERVE SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV More depth and body than the 12-year-old, with an aroma of peaches and a sweeter, more creamy texture. 76 CATDADDY USA Piedmont Distillers, 203 East Murphy Street, Madison, North Carolina www.catdaddymoonshine.com WHISKEYS Piedmont is the only licensed distillery in North Carolina, and its Catdaddy Moonshine celebrates the state’s great heritage of illicit distilling. In 2005, ex-New Yorker Joe Michalek established Piedmont in Madison. It is the ﬁrst legal distillery in the Carolinas since before Prohibition. “According to the lore of moonshine, only the best moonshine earns the right to be called the Catdaddy,” says Joe Michalek. “True to the history of moonshine, every batch of Catdaddy is born in an authentic copper pot still.” GREAT C CATDADDY CAROLINA MOONSHINE ▶ CORN WHISKEY 40% ABV Triple-distilled from corn in small batches, Catdaddy is sweet and spicy, with notes of vanilla and cinnamon. 77 CATTO’S Scotland Owner: Inver House Distillers WHISKEYS James Catto, an Aberdeen-based whisky blender, set up in business in 1861. His whiskies achieved international distribution on the White Star and P&O shipping lines. After the death of his son Robert in World War I, the company passed to the distillers Gilbey’s. More recently, it was acquired by Inver House Distillers. Catto’s is a deluxe, fully matured, and complex blend. Two versions are available: a non-age standard bottling and a 12-year-old expression with a yellow-gold, strawlike appearance that belies its complexity and warm ﬁnish. GREAT C ◀ CATTO’S BLEND 40% ABV The standard Catto blend is aromatic and well-rounded in character, with a smooth, mellow ﬁnish. 78 CHARBAY USA Domaine Charbay, 4001 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena, California www.charbay.com WHISKEYS The father-and-son partnership of Miles and Marko Karakasevic are 12th and 13th generation winemakers and distillers. Charbay Double Barrel Hop-Flavored Whiskey is double-distilled in a 1,000-US-gallon (3,750-liter) copper alambic Charentais pot still. It is made using two-row European malted barley, with the addition of hops to the mash for greater aromatic effect. The spirit is put into new American whiteoak barrels for maturation. GREAT C CHARBAY DOUBLE BARREL ▶ DOUBLE BARREL WHISKEY 64% ABV The ﬂoral nose also features honey, vanilla, oranges, oak, and smoky spice. This big-bodied whiskey offers citrus, spice, and honey on the palate, moving into a long, hoppy, vanilla, and dried-fruit ﬁnish. 79 CHICHIBU Japan Distribution: Number One Drinks, Netherconesford, King Street, Norwich, UK www.one-drinks.com WHISKEYS The newest Japanese distillery was founded in 2007 by Ichiro Akuto, previously of Hanyu (see p175). A small plant, it features what might be the only Japanese oak washbacks in the world. Aging takes place in a mix of Japanese oak, ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and a few ex-cognac casks. Two styles are being tested: one for early maturation; the other for long-term aging. There are plans to malt (or at least kiln) with Japanese peat. GREAT C ◀ CHICHIBU NEWBORN NEW MAKE 62.5% ABV This cannot legally be called whiskey, but gives an idea of the quality to come. Warming, with the typical unripe fruit character of new makes, along with some green pear and jasmine. The palate is clean with well-balanced sweetness. 80 CHIVAS REGAL Scotland Owner: Chivas Brothers WHISKEYS Chivas Brothers was founded in the early 19th century and prospered, due in part to some favorable royal connections. Chivas is owned today by the French Pernod Ricard. At the heart of Chivas Regal blends are Speyside single malt whiskies, in particular Strathisla Distillery’s rich and full single malt. To safeguard the supply of this critically important ingredient, Chivas Brothers bought the distillery in 1950. GREAT C CHIVAS REGAL 25-YEAR-OLD ▶ BLEND 40% ABV The ﬂagship blend, Chivas Regal 25-year-old is classy and rich. A luxury blend for indulgent sipping. Wellmannered, balanced, and stylish. CHIVAS REGAL 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV An aromatic infusion of wild herbs, heather, honey, and orchard fruits. Round and creamy on the palate, with a full, rich taste of honey and ripe apples and notes of vanilla, hazelnut, and butterscotch. Rich and lingering. 81 CLAN CAMPBELL Scotland Owner: Chivas Brothers WHISKEYS Launched as recently as 1984, Clan Campbell is a millioncase-selling brand from Chivas Brothers, the whisky arm of drinks giant Pernod Ricard. It is not available in the UK, but is a leader in the important French market, and may also be found in Italy, Spain, and some Asian countries. Despite its relative youth, its origins are now inextricably entwined with Scottish heritage, thanks to clever marketing and a link to the Duke of Argyll, head of the clan. Indeed, what is claimed to be the oldest whisky-distilling relic in Scotland—a distiller’s worm—was luckily found on Campbell lands. GREAT C ◀ CLAN CAMPBELL BLEND 40% ABV The malt component of Clan Campbell comes largely from Speyside (Aberlour and Glenallachie especially). A smooth, light whisky with a fruity ﬁnish. 82 CLAN MACGREGOR Scotland Owner: William Grant & Sons WHISKEYS This budget-priced blend is sold largely in North America and from Venezuela to the Middle East to Thailand, but not by and large in its Scottish homeland. Sales approach an impressive 1.5 million cases a year and it is one of the world’s fastest-growing whisky brands. Owned by William Grant & Sons, it is primarily a mix of Grant’s own malts (Glenﬁddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie) and grain whisky from its substantial Girvan operation. The label proudly carries the badge, motto, and personal crest of the 24th clan chief, Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor. GREAT C CLAN MACGREGOR ▶ BLEND 40% ABV A blend of grain whiskies and some Speyside malt. Light in style, fragrant, with just a little fruitiness. 83 THE CLAYMORE Scotland Owner: Whyte & Mackay WHISKEYS A claymore is a Highland broadsword. The name was deemed appropriate by DCL (forerunner of drinks giant Diageo) when, in 1977, it attempted to recover some of the market share it had lost when it withdrew Johnnie Walker Red Label from the UK market. Competitively priced, The Claymore was an immediate success. In 1985, the brand was sold to Whyte & Mackay. It continued to sell well for some time, but in recent years has declined and is now principally seen as a low-priced secondary brand. Dalmore is believed to be the main malt whisky in the blend. GREAT C ◀ THE CLAYMORE BLEND 40% ABV The nose is heavy and full, with silky mellow tones. Well-balanced and full-bodied on the palate. Polished ﬁnish. 84 CLONTARF Ireland www.clontarfwhiskey.com WHISKEYS Clontarf has been in the doldrums for a number of years now, and in that time the taste and style have ﬂuctuated wildly. There isn’t a distillery in Clontarf; this is simply a brand, so the whiskeys can come from anywhere. This is a problem, as the consumer loves consistency—especially from blended whiskeys. And with Clontarf you never quite know what you are buying. GREAT C CLONTARF SINGLE MALT ▶ SINGLE MALT 40% ABV Sweet and thin with some nice mouthfeel. Cereal notes with hints of honey, but a bit one-dimensional. CLONTARF CLASSIC BLEND BLEND 40% ABV Toffee popcorn comes to mind when tasting this blend, but not in a good way, unfortunately. 85 CLUNY Scotland Owner: Whyte & Mackay WHISKEYS Although it is produced by Whyte & Mackay, Cluny is supplied in bulk to Heaven Hill Distilleries, which has bottled the whisky in the US since 1988. Today it is one of America’s top-selling domestically bottled, blended Scotch whiskies. It contains over 30 malts from all regions of Scotland (Isle of Jura, Dalmore, and Fettercairn single malts among them), along with grain whisky that is almost certainly largely sourced from Whyte & Mackay’s Invergordon plant. Cluny is sold primarily on its competitive price. Under Whyte & Mackay’s new Indian ownership, it may be a candidate for further international development. GREAT C ◀ CLUNY BLEND 40% ABV Subtle sweet and sour nose, with a slight metallic, bitter tang on the palate. 86 CLYNELISH Scotland Brora, Sutherland www.malts.com WHISKEYS A large, box-shaped distillery dating from 1967, Clynelish has six stills and a capacity of 750,000 gallons (3.4 million liters). Within its grounds is a much older distillery that ran alongside it until 1983. This was Brora, founded in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford. Known brieﬂy as Old Clynelish, Brora made a heavily peated malt during the 1970s to ensure a supply of Islay-style malts for blends like Johnnie Walker Black Label. In 1983 Brora closed for good, leaving just Clynelish. There have been various rare malts and independent bottlings from Douglas Laing and Cadenhead, among others. GREAT C CLYNELISH 14-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 46% ABV A mouthﬁlling malt, quite fruity with a creamy texture, a wisp of smoke, and a ﬁrm, dry ﬁnish. 87 COLERAINE Ireland Coleraine Distillery Ltd., Hawthorn Ofﬁce Park, Stockman’s Way, Belfast WHISKEYS Never underestimate the selling power of nostalgia: the sole reason this blend is still produced is because whiskey drinkers are very brand loyal, and the name Coleraine still has resonance some three decades after the distillery fell silent. It once produced a single malt of some repute, then in 1954 it started to make grain whiskey for Bushmills, before it was eventually wound down in the 1970s. The reputation of the distillery was such, however, that customers still look out for the name, and so a brand and blend were created to ﬁll a niche. Although the company is called Coleraine Distillery, the whiskey is produced elsewhere. GREAT C ◀ COLERAINE BLEND 40% ABV Light, sweet, and grainy. Probably best suited to drinking with a mixer. 88 COMPASS BOX Scotland www.compassboxwhisky.com WHISKEYS Compass Box was formed in 2000 and describes itself as an “artisanal whisky maker,” which may seem disingenuous since it isn’t a distiller but a blender, albeit a highly innovative one. Its technique of inserting additional oak staves into a barrel to produce Spice Tree led to pressure from the Scotch Whisky Association and the eventual withdrawal of the product. For all this, the company has been highly inﬂuential, and in its short life has won more than 60 medals and awards. GREAT C COMPASS BOX THE PEAT MONSTER ▶ BLENDED MALT: ISLAY / SPEYSIDE 46% ABV Rich and loaded with ﬂavor: a bacon-fat smokiness, full-blown peat, hints of fruit and spice. A long ﬁnish, echoing peat and smoke. COMPASS BOX ASYLA BLEND 40% ABV A frequent award-winner. Sweet, delicate, and very smooth on the palate. Flavors of vanilla cream, cereals, and a subtle apple character. 89 CONNEMARA Ireland Cooley Distillery, Riverstown, Cooley, County Louth www.connemarawhiskey.com WHISKEYS In the eyes of the Irish whiskey industry—and many traditionalists besides—Irish whiskey was a triple-distilled and unpeated drink. Then along came Cooley’s John Teeling, who started making Irish whiskey that was double-distilled and peated. It caused quite a stir. Yet, over the last 15 years, Connemara has gone from being a curiosity to winning gold medals. C GREAT ◀ CONNEMARA SINGLE MALT 40% ABV Deﬁnitely its own whiskey rather than “Scotch Light.” It is rural, not coastal, so has no iodine or sea spray, just bog heather, ﬁelds of barley, and far off peat reek. CONNEMARA CASK STRENGTH SINGLE MALT 60.7% ABV A good splash of water unleashes the nose, which is huge and slightly minty. In the mouth, the beast that had been held in check by the alcohol gets loose and explodes into sparks of dry peat and aromatic timber. The ﬁnish is as dry as they come. 90 CRAGGANMORE Scotland Ballindalloch, Morayshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS This was a well-conceived distillery from the start. Built in 1869, it had a reliable source of pure water from the Craggan burn, nearby access to peat and barley, and its proximity to Ballindalloch station enabled it to become the ﬁrst distillery in Scotland to have its own railway siding, to bring in supplies and carry off the freshly ﬁlled casks. Unusual ﬂat-topped stills and worm tubs may add to Cragganmore’s famed complexity. GREAT C CRAGGANMORE 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV Floral, heathery aromas, then a robust, woody complexity with a trace of smoke on the palate. CRAGGANMORE DISTILLERS EDITION 1992 SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 43% ABV Double-matured, including a spell in a port cask, there is a cherry and orange sweetness that dies away into a lightly smoky ﬁnish. 91 CRAIGELLACHIE Scotland Craigellachie, Banffshire WHISKEYS Although the name of John Dewar & Sons is writ large above the modern, plate-glass still house that sits on the main road out of Craigellachie, the distillery was originally tied to White Horse. Peter Mackie, the man behind the famous blend, built Craigellachie in 1891 in partnership with Alexander Edward. Of all the Victorian whisky barons, Mackie was the most connected to malt distilling, having served as an apprentice at Lagavulin, whose whisky was also part of White Horse. Since 1998, Craigellachie has been owned by Bacardi. GREAT C ◀ CRAIGELLACHIE 14-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV Rich and aromatic, with a scent of fruit pie and a touch of smoke. More delicate on the tongue, and some woody notes on the ﬁnish. 92 CRAOI NA MONA Ireland Cooley Distillery, Riverstown, Cooley, County Louth WHISKEYS Craoi na Móna is Gaelic for “heart of peat.” Produced by Cooley, though not one of its own brands, this whiskey can be found in places as diverse as Moscow and London, but so far it hasn’t been spotted in Dublin. Given the huge rise in the popularity of Irish whiskey recently, it’s not surprising that so many drinks companies are trying to cut themselves a slice of the action. But the market place is very crowded and the amount of whiskey being produced in Ireland is limited. What’s left then are too many small companies selling whiskey that’s very young indeed. GREAT C CRAOI NA MONA ▶ SINGLE MALT 40% ABV Sweet and young, this is a decidedly immature peated malt. 93 CRAWFORD’S Scotland Owner: Whyte & Mackay / Diageo WHISKEYS Crawford’s 3 Star was established by Leith ﬁrm A. & A. Crawford, and by the time the company joined the Distillers Company (DCL) in 1944, the blend was a Scottish favorite. Although its popularity continued, it was not of strategic signiﬁcance to its owners, hence the decision to license the brand to Whyte & Mackay in 1986. Whyte & Mackay are today owned by the Indian UB Group, so the future of this venerable label may lie on the subcontinent. Diageo, successors to DCL, retain the rights to the name Crawford’s 3 Star Special Reserve outside the UK. Benrinnes single malt (see p45) has been a long-time component in the Crawford’s blend. GREAT C ◀ CRAWFORD’S 3 STAR SPECIAL RESERVE BLEND 40% ABV A spirity, fruity, fresh-tasting blend, with a smack of citrus, a sweet center, and a dry, slightly sooty ﬁnish. 94 CRESTED TEN Ireland Midleton Distillery, Midleton, County Cork WHISKEYS Launched in 1963, Crested Ten was Jameson’s ﬁrst venture into distillery bottling. The fact that it came at least a century after the Scots started branding and distillery bottling shows how far behind the times the Irish industry was and how close it came to vanishing entirely. Crested Ten is a whiskey you’ll see lurking on a top shelf in many Irish pubs. It’s never on an optic, probably because it’s no good with mixers. Instead, you’ll have to ask for it by name. GREAT C CRESTED TEN ▶ BLEND 40% ABV An old-fashioned Irish whiskey with plenty of pot-still character and its Oloroso maturation in evidence. This is a great big hug of a drink that will reward those brave enough to take it from the top shelf. Have it neat, cut with just a splash of water. 95 CROWN ROYAL Canada Distillery Road, Gimli, Manitoba www.crownroyal.ca WHISKEYS Crown Royal was created by Sam Bronfman, President of Seagram, to mark the state visit to Canada of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939, with its “crown-shaped” bottle and purple velvet bag. Although it was only available in Canada until 1964, it is now one of the best-selling Canadian whiskeys in the US. Since 1992, it has been produced at the Gimli Distillery on Lake Winnipeg. In 2001, Seagram’s shed its alcohol interests and both Gimli Distillery and the Crown Royal brand went to Diageo. GREAT C ◀ CROWN ROYAL BLEND 40% ABV Rich, robust, and balanced. Vanilla, oak, and fruit in the mouthfeel and taste. CROWN ROYAL SPECIAL RESERVE BLEND 40% ABV A big, rich, rounded nose, with fruity (apple, guava, coconut) and ﬂoral notes. 96 CUTTY SARK Scotland Owner: Berry Brothers & Rudd WHISKEYS Blended and bottled in Glasgow by The Edrington Group, Cutty Sark was created in 1923 for Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd., a well-established London wine and spirit merchant who is still the brand owner. The ﬁrst very pale-colored whisky in the world, Cutty Sark uses some 20 single malt whiskies, many from Speyside distilleries such as Glenrothes and Macallan. The wood for the oak casks is carefully chosen to bring out the characteristic ﬂavor and aroma of each whisky in the Cutty Sark blend and to impart color gently during the long maturation. GREAT C CUTTY SARK ORIGINAL ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Light and fragrant aroma, with hints of vanilla and oak. Sweet and creamy, with a vanilla note, and a crisp ﬁnish. CUTTY SARK 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 43% ABV Elegant and fruity, with a subtle vanilla sweetness. Here the malts used are between 12 and 15 years old. 97 DAILUAINE Scotland Carron, Banffshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS Under the shadow of Benrinnes, a local farmer called William Mackenzie built Dailuaine in 1854. His son Thomas later went into partnership with James Fleming to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. In 1889 Dailuaine was rebuilt and became one of the biggest distilleries in Scotland. The architect Charles Doig erected his ﬁrst pagoda roof here, to draw smoke from the kiln through the malt. The idea caught on at other distilleries. With all but 2 percent of Dailuaine used as ﬁllings, single malt bottlings are relatively rare. GREAT D ◀ DAILUAINE GORDON & MACPHAIL 1993 SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 43% ABV Sweet and malty, with spicy notes of licorice and aniseed. Oaky, toasty notes too. Creamier with a little water. 98 DALLAS DHU Scotland Forres, Morayshire WHISKEYS This late-Victorian distillery, founded in 1898 by the Master Distiller Alexander Edward, was one of many owned by the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) to be shut down in 1983 to await its fate. With just two stills and a waterwheel that had provided the power for the distillery right up until 1971, Dallas Dhu never fully embraced the 20th century. But, while its stills have never been ﬁred up again, it has lived on as a museum run by Historic Scotland. Thousands of visitors have taken the tour and tried a drop of the malt in a blend called Roderick Dhu. GREAT D DALLAS DHU RARE MALTS 21-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 61.9% ABV Full-bodied, almost Highland character on the nose, with a trace of smoke and a robust, malty ﬂavor. 99 DALMORE Scotland WHISKEYS Alness, Ross-shire www.thedalmore.com GREAT D While the Whyte & Mackay blend has a long association with Glasgow, its heart lies in the Highlands, in Dalmore on the banks of the Cromarty Firth. The distillery became part of Whyte & Mackay in 1960, and The Dalmore is now the company’s ﬂagship single malt. The name Dalmore is a fusion of Norse and Gaelic and means “the big meadowland.” The distillery stands facing the Black Isle, where some of Scotland’s best barley is grown. With ample supplies of ◀ THE DALMORE 12-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV The well-established 12-year-old has a gentle ﬂavor of candied peel and vanilla fudge. THE DALMORE 1974 SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 45% ABV Smooth and full-bodied, with sherry notes, bananas, dark chocolate orange, coffee, walnuts, and a long ﬁnish. 100 THE DALMORE 15-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV This has the characteristic rich, fruity sherry inﬂuence, but with rather more spice—cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. THE DALMORE 40-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV After years in American oak casks, this Dalmore was poured into second-ﬁll Matusalem Oloroso sherry butts and then Amoroso sherry wood. 101 WHISKEYS D GREAT grain, plenty of local peat, and water from the Alness River, the site was well-chosen. For years, the only distillery bottling of Dalmore was a 12-yearold single malt, but in time a 21and 30-year-old were added, along with Gran Reserva (formerly known as the Cigar Malt) in 2002. That year also saw the sale at auction of a 62-year-old expression for a record-beating £25,877. Since then, the core range has swelled alongside limited-release bottlings. Many of these have played on different cask maturation, a subject that clearly fascinates Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender, Richard Paterson. DALWHINNIE Scotland WHISKEYS Dalwhinnie, Inverness-shire www.malts.com GREAT D Founded in 1897, Dalwhinnie used to claim to be the highest distillery in Scotland, at 1,073 ft (327 m) above sea level, but it has since been eclipsed by Braeval. I ts other claim to fame holds good, however: with a mean annual temperature of just 43˚F (6˚C), Dalwhinnie remains the coldest distillery in the country. In 1905 it became Scotland’s ﬁrst Americanowned distillery, bought by the New York company Cook & Bernheimer, and the Stars and Stripes were raised above the owners’ warehouse in Leith. Since 1926 it has been part of DCL (now Diageo), supplying blends such as Black & White. ◀ DALWHINNIE 15-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 43% ABV Sweet, aromatic, and subtly infused with smoke, this complex malt is thick on the tongue. 102 DEANSTON Scotland Deanston, Perthshire www.burnstewartdistillers.com WHISKEYS Many distilleries evolved from illicit stills on the farm, others from breweries or malt mills, but only Deanston is a former cotton mill. It was founded in 1785 by Richard Arkwright, one of the great pioneers of the Industrial Revolution. The conversion to whisky-making took place in 1965, in a joint venture with Brodie Hepburn, who also owned Tullibardine. Deanston was soon producing a single malt—Old Bannockburn was released in 1971. Having spent most of the 1980s in mothballs, the distillery was bought by Burn Stewart, now part of Trinidad-based CL Financial, in 1990. GREAT D DEANSTON 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV A relatively light-bodied Highland malt, with a nutty ﬂavor and hints of sherry. 103 DEWAR’S Scotland WHISKEYS www.dewars.com GREAT D When it was bought by Bacardi in 1988, the whole Dewar’s enterprise was reinvigorated. The brand was repackaged, with much investment made throughout the business, from distilling to and bottling. New products were developed to augment the standard White Label—one of the biggest selling Scotch blends in the US. First of these was a 12-year-old expression, Special Reserve, followed by the 18-yearold Founder’s Reserve bottling, and ﬁnally an ultra-premium non-age style known as Signature. ◀ DEWAR’S 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV Sweetish and ﬂoral. A full and rich blend, with honey and caramel, and licorice notes in the long ﬁnish. DEWAR’S WHITE LABEL BLEND 40% ABV Sweet and heathery on the nose. Medium-bodied, fresh, malty, and vaguely spicy, with a clean, slightly dry ﬁnish. 104 WHISKEYS The main single malt in the Dewar’s blends is Aberfeldy, although the group’s other single malts—Aultmore, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla, and MacDuff— are also used. Dewar’s is not widely available in the UK, but is dominant in the US. It is also important in parts of Europe and is gaining a following in Asia. Bacardi has expanded global distribution for Dewar’s and greatly expanded its proﬁle through increased advertising and marketing. Standards of production have been kept high, and some would say that the blend quality has improved, especially in the new products. GREAT D DEWAR’S 18-YEAR-OLD ▶ BLEND 43% ABV Here the Dewar’s nose is more delicately perfumed, with notes of pear and lemon zest. Soft on the palate, but drying, with a slightly spicy ﬁnish. DEWAR’S SIGNATURE BLEND 43% ABV A limited-edition blend, with a heavy share of old Aberfeldy malt. Silky textured and mellow, with rich fruit and dark honey to the fore. 105 DIMPLE / PINCH Scotland WHISKEYS Owner: Diageo GREAT D Launched to marked success in 1890, Haig’s Dimple brand, known as Pinch in the US, is today part of the Diageo stable. It has always been a deluxe blend, noted for its distinctive packaging introduced by G. O. Haig in the 1890s. It stood out in particular for the wire net over the bottle, originally applied by hand and intended to prevent the cork from popping out in warm climates or during sea transport. It was the ﬁrst bottle of its type to be registered as a trademark in the United States, although this was done as late as 1958. ◀ DIMPLE 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV Aromas of fudge, with woody notes. Hints of mint, and an initial richness on the palate, with candy apples and caramel; spiciness and dried fruits too. DIMPLE 15-YEAR-OLD BLEND 43% ABV In this blend, there are hints of smoke, chocolate, and cocoa, completed by a long, rich ﬁnish. 106 DUFFTOWN Scotland Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire www.malts.com WHISKEYS This epicenter of Speyside whisky-making was bound to have a distillery named after it, although it took until 1896, by which point there were already ﬁve distilleries in town. Within a year, Dufftown was owned outright by Peter Mackenzie, who also owned Blair Athol. He was soon selling whisky to the blender Arthur Bell & Sons, who eventually bought Dufftown in 1933. Now part of Diageo, Dufftown continues to supply malt for the Bell’s blend and, until recently, had produced little in the way of its own single malt. GREAT D SINGLETON OF DUFFTOWN ▶ SINGLE MALT: SPEYSIDE 40% ABV A sweet and eminently drinkable introductory malt. If this recently launched 12-year-old takes off, there should be plenty available—it comes from one of Diageo’s biggest distilleries. 107 DUNGOURNEY 1964 Ireland WHISKEYS Midleton Distillery, Midleton, County Cork GREAT D No one is quite sure how, but for 30 years, some of the last pot still to be produced at the old Midleton Distillery lay undiscovered in the corner of a warehouse at Dungourney. In 1994 the remarkable survivor was bottled and named after the river it had come from some three decades before. Dungourney 1964 is a time machine: one sniff and you are transported back to the days when Jameson, Powers, and Paddy came from competing distilleries. ◀ DUNGOURNEY 1964 IRISH POT STILL WHISKEY 40% ABV The mushroom edge to the nose gives a hint of age, but the body is still ﬁrm. They made whiskey differently back then, which is why this tastes slightly oily, but the tell-tale, almost minty, kick of pure pot still whiskey is still evident. 108 DYC Spain Beam Global España SA, Pasaje Molino del Arco, 40194 Palazuelos de Eresma, Segovia www.dyc.es WHISKEYS The ﬁrst whiskey distillery in Spain was founded in 1959 close to Segovia. It stands next to the Eresma River, famous for the excellent quality of its water. DYC (which stands for Destilerías y Crianza del Whiskey) comes in three versions. The Fine Blend, and the 8-year-old, are both blends of various grains. The Pure Malt is a blended malt. American oak is used for maturation. GREAT D DYC 8-YEAR-OLD ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Floral, spicy, smoky, grassy, with a hint of honey and heather. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel; malty with hints of vanilla, marzipan, apple, and citrus. A bittersweet, long, smooth ﬁnish. DYC PURE MALT BLENDED MALT 40% ABV Fragrant bouquet with hints of citrus, sweetness, honey, and vanilla. Full-bodied, rich malt ﬂavor. The ﬁnish is long, sophisticated, and subtle, with hints of heather, honey, and fruit. 109 EAGLE RARE USA WHISKEYS Buffalo Trace Distillery, 1001 Wilkinson Boulevard, Frankfort, Kentucky www.buffalotrace.com GREAT E The Eagle Rare brand was introduced in 1975 by Canadian distilling giant Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Inc. In 1989 it was acquired by the Sazerac Company of New Orleans. In its present incarnation, Eagle Rare is part of Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which is updated annually. ◀ EAGLE RARE 2008 EDITION BOURBON 45% ABV This variant of Eagle Rare is from barrels that were distilled in the spring of 1991, and the nose offers caramel, maple syrup, almonds, and vanilla, while the palate boasts more vanilla, worn leather, summer fruits, dark chocolate, and a hint of mint. There is a delicious, spicy, crème brûlée ﬁnish. 110 EARLY TIMES USA Brown-Forman Distillery, 850 Dixie Highway, Louisville, Kentucky www.brown-forman.com WHISKEYS Early Times takes its name from a settlement near Bardstown where it was created in 1860. It cannot be classiﬁed as a bourbon because some spirit is put into used barrels, and bourbon legislation dictates that all spirit of that name must be matured in new barrels. This version of Early Times was introduced in 1981 to compete with the increasingly popular, lighter-bodied Canadian whiskies. The Early Times mashbill is made up of 79 percent corn, 11 percent rye, and 10 percent malted barley. GREAT E EARLY TIMES ▶ KENTUCKY WHISKEY 40% ABV Quite light on the nose, with nuts and spices. The palate offers more of the same, along with honey and butterscotch notes, leading into a medium-length ﬁnish. 111 EDDU France WHISKEYS Des Menhirs, Pont Menhir, 29700 Plomelin, Bretagne www.distillerie.fr GREAT E The Des Menhirs Distillery started as a manufacturer of apple cider in 1986, but in 1998 ventured into whiskey. Most fruit distillers that go into whiskey-making use their existing equipment to distill it on the side. Not so Des Menhirs, which built a separate still just for the production of whiskey, which it distills not from barley but from buckwheat (eddu in Breton). ◀ EDDU SILVER BUCKWHEAT WHISKEY 40% ABV Aromatic rose and heather on the nose. Fruity, with a touch of honey, marmalade, and some nutmeg. Velvety body, with vanilla and oak in the ﬁnish. EDDU GREY ROCK BLEND 40% ABV A blended variety containing 30 percent buckwheat. Orange and apricot ﬂavors combine with broom ﬂower. A faint sea breeze is framed by a hint of cinnamon. Balanced ﬂavors and a long, long ﬁnish. 112 EDGEFIELD USA 2126 Southwest Halsey Street, Troutdale, Oregon www.mcmenamins.com WHISKEYS Operated by the McMenamin’s hotel and pub group, Edgeﬁeld Distillery is located in a former dry store for root vegetables on the beautiful Edgeﬁeld Manor Estate at Troutdale. The distillery has been in production since February 1998 and features a 12-ft (4-m) tall copper and stainless-steel still. According to McMenamin’s, it resembles a hybrid of a 19th-century diving suit and oversized coffee urn, a design made famous by Holstein of Germany, the world’s oldest surviving still manufacturer. GREAT E EDGEFIELD HOGSHEAD ▶ OREGON WHISKEY 46% ABV Hogshead whiskey has banana and malt on the sweet, ﬂoral nose, with vanilla and caramel notes on the palate, plus barley, honey, and oak in the medium-length ﬁnish. 113 EDRADOUR Scotland WHISKEYS Pitlochry, Perthshire www.edradour.co.uk GREAT E With an output of just 6,600 gallons (90,000 liters) of pure alcohol a year, this picturesque distillery would have been one of many farm distilleries in the Perthshire hills when it was founded in 1825. Today it feels much more special, and a world apart from the large-scale malt distilleries of Speyside. It became part of Pernod Ricard in 1975 but, as the French group expanded to become a huge global player in the whisky industry, tiny Edradour began to look increasingly out of place. In 2002 it was ﬁnally sold to Andrew Symington, owner of independent bottler Signatory. ◀ EDRADOUR 10-YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT: HIGHLANDS 40% ABV Clean peppermint nose, with a trace of smoke. Richer, nutty ﬂavors and a silky texture on the tongue. 114 ELIJAH CRAIG USA Heaven Hill Distillery, 1701 West Breckinridge Street, Louisville, Kentucky www.heaven-hill.com WHISKEYS The Reverend Elijah Craig (1743–1808) was a Baptist minister who is widely viewed as the “father of bourbon,” having reputedly invented the concept of using charred barrels to store and mature the spirit he made. There seems to be no hard evidence that he was the ﬁrst person to make bourbon, but the association between a “man of God” and whiskey was seen as a useful tool in the struggle against the temperance movement. GREAT E ELIJAH CRAIG 12-YEAR-OLD ▶ BOURBON 47% ABV A classic bourbon, with aromas of caramel, vanilla, spice, and honey, |plus a bit of mint. Full-bodied, rounded on the mellow palate, with caramel, malt, corn, rye, and a little smoke. Sweet oak, licorice, and vanilla dominate the ﬁnish. 115 ELMER T. LEE USA WHISKEYS Buffalo Trace Distillery, 1001 Wilkinson Boulevard, Frankfort, Kentucky www.buffalotrace.com GREAT E Elmer T. Lee is a former Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace (see p66), having joined what was then the George T. Stagg Distillery in the 1940s. During his time there, the name changed ﬁrst to the Albert B. Blanton Distillery (1953), then to the Ancient Age Distillery (1962), and ﬁnally to the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 2001. Lee is credited with creating the ﬁrst modern single barrel bourbon in 1984. ◀ ELMER T. LEE SINGLE BARREL BOURBON 45% ABV Aged from six to eight years, this expression offers citrus, vanilla, and corn merging on the fragrant nose, with a full and sweet palate, where honey, lingering caramel, and cocoa notes are also evident. 116 THE ENGLISH WHISKY CO. England St. George’s Distillery, Harling Road, Roudham, Norfolk www.englishwhisky.co.uk WHISKEYS According to Alfred Barnard, in his 1887 tome Distilleries of the United Kingdom and Ireland, England had at least four distilleries in the 1800s. These had all gone by the turn of the 20th century and it was not until 2006 that pot stills produced malt spirit in England again, thanks to The English Whisky Co., which hired distilling legend Iain Henderson to set things up. GREAT E ENGLISH WHISKY CO. CHAPTER 3 ▶ NEW MAKE 40% ABV It’s not whiskey, as it has not been matured for 3 years, but the new make is very fruity. Iain Henderson also made some peaty spirit in 2007. 117 EVAN WILLIAMS USA WHISKEYS Heaven Hill Distillery, 1701 West Breckinridge Street, Louisville, Kentucky www.heaven-hill.com GREAT E The second biggest-selling bourbon after Jim Beam, Evan Williams takes its name from the person thought by many experts to be Kentucky’s ﬁrst distiller. Evan Williams was born in Wales but emigrated to Virginia, moving to what would become Kentucky in around 1780. He set up a distillery at the foot of what is now Fifth Street in Louisville. ◀ EVAN WILLIAMS BLACK LABEL BOURBON 43% ABV Aromatic, with vanilla and mint notes. The palate is initially sweet, with caramel, malt, and developing leather and spice notes. EVAN WILLIAMS SINGLE BARREL 1998 VINTAGE BOURBON 43.3% ABV Aromatic nose of cereal, dried fruit, caramel, and vanilla. Maple, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and berry notes on the palate. Then a whiff of smoke, plus almonds and honey in the spicy ﬁnish. 118 THE FAMOUS GROUSE Scotland Owner: Edrington Group www.thefamousgrouse.com WHISKEYS The bestselling blend in Scotland was created by the Victorian entrepreneur Matthew Gloag in 1896. At ﬁrst, it was known simply as The Grouse Brand, but it evolved to become The Famous Grouse. The company was passed down through the generations until 1970, when death duties forced the family to sell out to F GREAT THE FAMOUS GROUSE FINEST ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Oak and sherry on the nose, well balanced with a citrus note. Easygoing, and full of bright Speyside fruit. Clean and medium-dry ﬁnish. THE FAMOUS GROUSE BLENDED MALT RANGE BLENDED MALTS 43% ABV Aged at 10-, 12-, 15-, 18-, and 30-years-old, each expression is a blend of malt whiskies from Edrington’s distilleries. These are all fruity, spicy whiskies, with vanilla and more tannic, sherry inﬂuences becoming increasingly marked through the age range. 119 WHISKEYS THE FAMOUS GROUSE GREAT F Highland Distillers, today part of the Edrington Group, which also owns some of Scotland’s ﬁnest single malt distilleries—Highland Park, Macallan, and Glenrothes among them. Of course, there are high proportions of these whiskies in The Famous Grouse blend. Since 2007 there has been a number of interesting initiatives. The Black Grouse contains more strongly ﬂavored Islay malt in the blend, while Snow Grouse is a grain whisky, intended to be drunk cold from the freezer, like vodka— a creamy mouth-coating effect results. The Famous Grouse also produces a range of blended malts, aged from 10 to 30 years. ◀ GOLD RESERVE 12-YEAR-OLD BLEND 40% ABV Floral and oaky, with a fruity palate, and spicy taste. Rounded off by a long, medium-dry ﬁnish. THE BLACK GROUSE BLEND 40% ABV Cream teas, peaches, apples, and jammy aromas. Soft peat and smoke notes on the palate (more so with water), plus vanilla, pepper, and spices, then a gentle ﬁnish. 120 FECKIN IRISH WHISKEY Ireland www.feckinwhiskey.com WHISKEYS As Irish whiskey sales continue to buck the trend and sail upward, it’s not surprising that bright entrepreneurs continue to pour new products onto the market. From its name to the label, this offering is aimed at the younger end of the spectrum, and there’s not a tweed jacket in sight. “Feck,” by the way, is a very mild and very Irish swear word that was popularized on the British TV show Father Ted. GREAT F FECKIN IRISH WHISKEY ▶ BLEND 40% ABV Made using whiskey from the Cooley Distillery, this is light, approachable, and totally inoffensive. It’s clearly a young whiskey and lacks much in the way of depth. 121 FETTERCAIRN Scotland WHISKEYS Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire GREAT F While the northeastern ﬂank of the Grampians is full of distilleries spilling down to the Spey,