It’s the “love it or hate it” of the spirit world, a whisky that makes Marmite look like a unifying force. So if you love it already, what is there to say, and if you hate it, will anything change your mind? Of course you could try a dram from home this January, or if you’re still unsure read on with an open mind!
Laphroaig is a powerful, punchy, smoke bomb of a whisky, but if that was all there was to it, it would really be no more than a peaty moonshine – and there is so much more to it than that. Please pour yourself a measure of Laphroaig 10 year old, and promise yourself you are going to look beyond the peat, and that you are going to take your time and not jump to conclusions.
What else is there? You could surprise yourself as you discover a caramel sweetness, maybe hints of tropical fruit such as coconut and pineapple, and spice notes complimenting and balancing the sweet. Smoke is of course ever-present, but with a little time and attention, a gloriously complex whisky emerges over your senses.
If you are beginning to feel a little over familiar with the 10 year old treat yourself to one of the other expressions the distillery produce. The Quarter Cask has more body, being bottled at 48% abv and non-chill filtered (a fancy way to say it retains more flavour), and a fuller, richer palate with the caramel notes even more apparent. Your taste buds will thank you.
A little drop of luxury in a glass, the Macallan Gold is reminiscent of rich fruit cake that has had a teaspoon (or two) of honey added for the sake of indulgence. Dried fruit, ginger, and honeyed sweetness are all present, in a wonderful example of what maturation in a sherry cask contributes to the flavour of a whisky. It could replace dessert at the end of a meal, or for a little decadence, pair it with dark chocolate and remind yourself that some partnerships are truly heavenly.
You might also want to bear in mind that as a bottle of vintage Macallan recently sold in auction for over £1,000,000, the Macallan in your glass is remarkably good value, not to mention readily available.
If a single malt whisky is good, then surely a whisky that combines a number of them together could be even better? This is the basic premise behind The Naked Grouse, a blended malt whisky (not a single malt whisky, not a blended whisky, a blended malt whisky – we hope you’re keeping up at the back.)
Some of the finest malts from Scotland are combined for this whisky, and the finishing touch is that after they have been combined (or “blended”) the whisky is returned to a sherry cask for a further period of maturation which allows the whiskies to get to know each other and settle down while also providing an additional level of intensity and flavour. A whisky to try when you want something a little different.
And also a whisky to try when you would like some fun. There is nothing precious about the Naked Grouse, so if you would like to drink it long, with lots of ice and ginger ale or soda water, please do. Someone once told you that you shouldn’t use Scotch in a cocktail? Tell them we said you can, and we would love you to try it. And if you are happy just sipping it on its own, then that’s just fine too.
If all this talk of whisky has you clicking online to find your perfect match, don’t forget to tag us in your whisky pictures and raise a dram with us this January!