It’s time for another round-up of some Whisky Marketplace favourites, and it seems that after February’s leaning towards world whisky, we are now firmly back in the wilds of Scotland. Our staff picks this month are still a diverse selection of single malts, each being of a different region and a strikingly different character.
Our four selected whiskies trace a path the length of the country, taking us from an old-school smoky Campbeltown malt, upwards through the Highlands for a splash of something relaxed and honeyed, then crossing Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye for a peppery classic and finally on up to distant Orkney to finish our little journey with a whisky of many charms.
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
Longrow 14 year old
Longrow is the name given to the double distilled, peated whisky produced at Springbank. It is often a challenging, somewhat difficult distillate and this 14 year old is really no exception. However those that give this whisky due time and consideration will be rewarded by its complex, old fashioned profile of sooty smoke, sour apples and mixed citrus.
£41 at www.masterofmalt.com
Tomatin 15 year old
Unusual in colour - a faint peach blush, like a ripe Sauterne, tinging the white-oak pale gold. Next the nose - all vanilla-pastry and pear, emboldened by a hint of white pepper spice. The palate continues the theme with a soft and supple delivery that has enough zest and spice to balance the buttery notes. Sweet and delicate, soft and delicious.
£34.61 at www.masterofmalt.com
Talisker 18 year old
For many, Talisker is an old friend and this 18 year old may well be the best value for money bottling in the current range. All of the distillery’s key characters are here, from its dense peppery peat to its thread of syrupy fruit, while the additional age lends this expression a greater sense of elegance and femininity than is commonly found in its younger siblings.
£57.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Highland Park 21 year old
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Waxing lyrical? Too right! If Elizabeth Barrett Browning hadn't already coined those immortal words I'd be doing so now concerning this little masterpiece. Every now and then you taste a whisky that makes you think 'this is how whisky should be made' and, quite frankly, the new batch of Highland Park 21 is one of them. Why is it so good? The nose shows stewed fruits, raisins and a hint of resin topped off by some herbal notes and something a little funky - like baked curds with an aromatic lift. In common with many Highland Park expressions, it defies regional classification; it's fruity, gently peaty, enigmatic and elegant. On the palate, the sherry wood is contained and restrained, present but not overpowering - perfection. Bottled at 47.5% it's mouth coating, satisfying and worth every penny.
£92.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Prices correct on date of publishing