The Whisky Tasting Club The Whisky Tasting Club

Festive Tasting

Five great single malt Scotch whiskies, ideal gift for a whisky lover

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Switch the fairy lights on, put your feet up and relax while we take you on a journey around some of the finest distilleries in Scotland before finishing with one of the best bourbons in the world. We have specially selected these whiskies to demonstrate the remarkable diversity in flavours available to the whisky lover.
We’ve included a double measure of each whisky so you can choose whether to share it with a friend, drink it slowly or make a night of it and conduct your own personal whisky tasting from the comfort of your armchair.
Our tasting notes are included, to point you in the right direction, but whisky tasting is a very personal thing, so use your senses and trust your judgement – it’s about what you like not what other people tell you to like!
We hope you enjoy the whiskies as much as we did when we were selecting them for you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at the Whisky Tasting Club. Cheers!

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Evan Williams is distilled by the Heaven Hill distillery which is the second largest US distillery and the only one which makes all styles of whiskey – Bourbon, rye, wheat and corn. Responding to the ever evolving tastes of American whiskey consumers, they are cooking up some innovative expressions that work within the tight parameters of US law, including honey, cinnamon and cherry flavoured Bourbons. Williams, like Jack Daniels, was of Welsh descent. The temperance movement made it very difficult to distil whisky/whiskey in Wales so their families relocated to the US in the 19th century (Southern Comfort was also first produced by Welsh distillers). Evan Williams was considered by many connoisseurs to be the finest bourbon. This single barrel bourbon expression is now in its 19th year.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Dry and dusty. Hickory. Sweet cigarette. Slightly sour but incredibly juicy.
Palate: Vanilla. Spicy, sweet and aromatic. Assertive wood and a definite citrusy, grapefruity hit. Violet chocolates at the death.

Retails for around £35

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Auchentoshan Classic

there are only three operational Lowland distilleries whose single malts are readily available in 2014 – Glenkinchie, Auchentoshan and Bladnoch. Whereas most distilleries in the world double distill their spirit, the Lowland approach has traditionally been to triple distill it, as is done in many Irish distilleries. These days, however, only Auchentoshan still triple-distills in the region. The stills in the Lowland distilleries are taller, allowing only the very lightest elements of the spirit to rise to the top of the still and down into the receiving tank, ready to be matured in oak. Lowland whiskies are consequently light, creamy, floral and herbal - ideal whiskies for those who want an aperitif or/and
a gentle introduction to the drink. Because they are light and gentle, Lowlander whiskies are often unjustly dismissed in favour of their harder-hitting neighbours from the North but there is much to admire in Lowland malts. They may not have the oomph of an Islay malt, but they are often just as complex, albeit in a much more subtle way. The Whisky Tasting Club has selected the Auchentoshan Classic as the whisky to represent the Lowlands as it triple distils and carries on a fine Lowland tradition.

Auchentoshan still triple distils in the traditional lowland fashion. This expression avoids any sherry casks (hoorah!) and leaves bourbon casks to allow the traditional Auchentoshan flavours to shine through. If you have a few quid to spare, try an older bourbon–cask matured Auchentoshan expression for a lowland treat and see this distillery as God (not sherry) intended.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Very light. Pear and apple drops. Coconut. Peaches. Mint. Lemon.
Palate: Mint, green apples, chamomile and vanilla. A light oaky finish. A real Summer sipper!

Retails for around £25-35

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Talisker 10 year old

Skye is the most northerly island of the Inner Hebrides and has a population of 10,000. Linked to the mainland by the 570m long Skye bridge (which is now free to use), it is a beautiful island and a popular tourist destination.

Talisker, located beside Loch Harport on the west coast of the island, is one of drinks giant Diageo’s classic malts range. Talisker’s taste profile is peated (at around 18-22 ppm), peppery and reminiscent of the sea.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: An electric storm of a malt, crackling with pepper and spice
Palate: It bounces around the palate like savory sherbert and flickers with cocoa and sweet barley

Retails for around £30-40

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Glen Scotia Double Cask

The Glen Scotia distillery is back on the road to glory with several new releases which show this is no poor relation to its premier league neighbour, Springbank. Glen Scotia recently underwent a dramatic transformation in both whisky and design, and now it’s happened again.

This time, they have gone back to a more classic design (the last design was….well, an acquired taste), but the whisky is superb. This is matured in a combination of bourbon and Pedro Ximenez casks. We’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more (and a lot more consistency) from Glen Scotia.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Rich and biscuity. Salted caramels. Spicy. Apple pie.
Palate: Creamy, spicy and smooth. Toffee and bitter dark chocolate. Apricot jam. More cream at the finish.

Retails for around £35-40

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Speyburn Bradan Orach

Gaelic for Golden Salmon (in honour of the excellent fishing nearby in the river Spey), this entry-level malt from Speyburn has changed - in my opinion - from its early days when it was fearsomely spicy.

It’s calmed down considerably now and is a lovely dram, matured exclusively in American white oak ex-bourbon casks. Speyburn doesn’t have a massive range but is always good value and their whisky is a great example of the Speyside style.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Light. Creamy. Honey. Christmas cake. Slight earthiness underneath.
Palate: Soft and fruity. Honey. Nip of oak. Coconut and vanilla cream.

Retails for around £30

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