So here it is, the first instalment of our Staff Picks. Each month we hope to bring you several interesting, high quality bottles that we feel deserve your consideration. They will vary in price and type from generally affordable to moderately expensive and from our old favourites through to newly issued bottlings and, from time to time, the quite rare and unusual.
This time around we are singing the praises of a cracking young Japanese Whisky, a star of the Irish Whiskey Pot Still revival and two wine influenced beauties from Scotland and Wales. It’s quite an eclectic group with each being both interesting and of considerable quality.
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
Chichibu The First Ichiro's Malt
There is much to recommend this debut three year old from Ichiro Akuto’s Chichibu Distillery. It is clearly young and vibrant but shows a level of elegance and drinkability that few spirits so youthful could hope to match. The range of notes are truly delicious, mixing fresh green apples and gooseberries with soft vanilla, toffee sweetness and a creamy, rounded mouthfeel.
£89 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Glenmorangie Artein 15 year old
Wine finish? That often means "approach with caution." But not this time as Dr Bill does it again! From the moment you see the colour of this in your glass to the final wisps of the finish, this is complex, unusual and intriguing. Not the cheapest dram but, if you want something a little off the beaten track, look no further.
£69.95 at www.whiskyshopdufftown.co.uk
Penderyn Madeira Finish Welsh Whisky
The core range from this distillery are all wood finished whiskies but for us this is the most successful. The Madeira cask's influence integrates beautifully with the sweet, young and light Penderyn spirit. Some finishes can fight with a spirit's character, this one adds a delicious coating and tempers its natural youthful vigour without squashing its enthusiasm.
£29.94 at www.drinksupermarket.com
Powers John Lane 12 Year Old
Irish Pot Still whiskey is undergoing a long overdue revival at the moment, and this 12 year old from Midleton is a prime example of why. It’s all here, from the soft cereal suggestions, oily richness and creamy delivery to the fresh fruit and herbal notes. Happily it is also very well priced and bottled at an ideal 46%, only adding to the experience.
£45.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Prices correct on date of publishing