Best Whisky for Christmas and New Year
A handy cut out and keep article from David Williams in The Guardian
The best Whisky choices for Festive Season 2017
An interesting mix of English, Swedish, Japanese and Scotch drams!
Six great Christmas whiskies
Founded around the turn of the millennium, Sweden’s original malt whisky distillery has been consistently impressive. This entry-level dram is soft, pretty, light and easy drinking with toffee apple/tarte tatin sweetness.
Nikka All Malt Japanese Whisky (from £36, majestic.co.uk; nywines.co.uk; thewhiskyexchange.com)
Japan has been making some of the finest whiskies in the world for some years now. While the best are expensive, this is great value, a blend of malts with a rich, full-flavoured, subtly spicy Terry’s Chocolate Orange character.
Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (£17.49, Lidl)
At £17.49, this wispily smoky Islay is another fine value addition to Lidl’s burgeoning whisky range. At £39, the Ben Bracken 22 Year old is even more impressive: super-intense but balanced with smoke, salt, nuts and citrus, a steal for a whisky of this age.
Glengoyne 15 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (from £47.40, thewhiskyexchange.com; masterofmalt.com)
If you prefer whisky without the peat and smoke, then this luxuriously textured dram from Highland distiller Glengoyne is one of the best around in a less elemental style that is all about barley sugar and fudgey richness with balancing citrus notes.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (from £25, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose)
A failsafe classic and the essence of Islay’s smoke, peat and spirit (as a superb book on the west coast island had it), Laphroaig’s house expression balances the full-on iodine and fire with liquorice and Indian spice notes.
Compass Box The Spice Tree Premium Blended Scotch Whisky (from £47.50, Oddbins, thewhiskyexchange.com; masterofmalt.com)
The emphasis in top-flight whisky may be all on single malts, but the art of the blend is still important, not least in the hands of Compass Box, the bottlers behind this oh-so-Christmassy dram, with its baking spice and nutty-fruitcake intensity.