6 Fabulous Whiskies To Make The Holidays Better

Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13-Year-Old Reserve – 57.3% 70cl


Toffee apples on the nose and toasted caramel notes emerge beautifully. The palate is complex and rich with notes of nougat and woody tobacco hints. Definitely one of our favourite’s!

Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky – 40% 50cl


The Taiwanese distillery, despite only being in business since 2005, has stunned the industry with their young but full-flavored whisky, focusing on their distinctively enjoyable tropical fruit notes.

Nikka Miyagikyo No Age Statement – 70cl 43%


Masataka Taketsuru, known as the; Father of Japanese Whiskey; created Nikka in 1934. The Miyagikyo distillery, located close to Sendai in northern Japan, produces this rich, fruity, and smooth Single Malt which presents flavours of honey, citrus peel, and freshly cut grass.

The Lakes Whiskymakers Reserve No.5 – 52% 70cl


The fifth edition in The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Reserve series is a great example of an outstanding English single malt! This bottling presents a distinctively sherried style, bottled at 52% ABV and made using a combination of Pedro Ximénez sherry, Oloroso sherry, and red wine casks.

Legent Bourbon – 47% 70cl

Legent bourbon is truly unique while remaining true to the core of bourbon’s principles, bringing together over 225 years of bourbon-making heritage and nearly 100 years of Japanese whisky artistry. Partially finished in red wine and sherry casks, it has a complex combination of spice and fruity undertones.

Lindores Cask of Lindores STR Wine Barique – 49.4% 70cl


This is the second release in the Casks of Lindores series from Lindores Abbey distillery, and has been matured exclusively in STR (shaved, toasted; re-charred) red wine barriques and bottled at 49.4% vol. A warming, sweet dram with complex spice.

 

10 Great Tipples for Cold Evenings

1- Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish – 48% 70cl


Peat and sherry go hand in hand, and this whisky proves it! The 10-year-old release was finished in ex-sherry casks for up to 12 months, adding an amazing layer of fruitiness to the Islay smoke bomb, followed by dark chocolate sweetness, and of course peat.

2- Oban Little Bay – 43% 70cl


With Oban literally meaning “Little Bay” we must say they used some pleonasm for this release, nevertheless, the liquid in the bottle is very robust and pleasant, with complex flavours invading the palate, like orange, chocolate, spices, and nuttiness. Yum!

3- Hennessy XO Cognac – 40% 70cl


Up for a fancy dram? The XO is Hennessy’s synonymous with excellence. The iconic Cognac is well-rounded and full of heat, sweet notes, woodiness, chocolate, and a spicy edge. Created in 1870 for Maurice Hennessy’s circle of friends, it was one of the first Cognacs to be classified as “extra old”.

4- Stalla Dhu Linkwood 13 Year Old Reserve Cask Strength – 57.3% 70cl

Nothing better than a cask-strength whisky to warm you up. This “handsome” release of 13-year-old Linkwood will surely surprise you, as even if bottled at the high abv of 57.3% it carries itself extremely well. Balanced notes of nougat richness, silky mouthfeel, and hints of salinity on the finish. Just delicious.

5- Lagavulin 16 Year Old – 43% 70cl


Brine, orange, exotic fruits, kippers, and smoke. The age statement on this release from Lagavulin adds in more complexity to the dram. As expected from an Islay malt, the peat is heavily present, but it also has a lovely sweetness to it, making it a great sipping whisky.

6- Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky – 40% 50cl


Due to Taiwan’s warm and humid climate, this whisky has an incredible complexity, even without an age statement. Kavalan, being a relatively new distillery, has achieved a great following in the whisky world, winning multiple international awards over the years. Tropical and elegant would describe this dram well.

7- Hakushu Distillers Reserve Single Malt Japanese Whisky – 70cl 43%


Herbal, slightly smoky, and citrusy Japanese Single malt, Hakushu distillery is located at the foothills of Mount Kaikomagatake. Heavily peated and lightly peated malt was used to create this no-age statement whisky.

8- Edradour 10 Year Old – 40% 70cl


Once the smallest distillery in Scotland, Edradour’s 10-year-old is a classic sherried Highland dram, matured in both ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. Dried fruit richness, spice and nuttiness notes on the palate are followed by a syrupy warmth.

9- High West Whisky Campfire – 46% 70cl


The distillery founder, David Perkins, sought to combine peated single malt with bourbon and rye to create a unique and interesting dram. These three types of spirit balance each other beautifully, bringing together toffee sweetness, honey, rye spiciness, and a slight peat influence on the finish.

10- Tobermory 17 Year Old 2004 Oloroso Cask Matured – 55.9% 70cl


This Scotch comes from the Islay of Mull, aged for 17 years in Oloroso Sherry casks, and bottled at the cask strength of 55.9%. Full-bodied, rich, and spicy, the palate brings forest fruit sweetness with lingering orange and warming spices. Perfect for Autumn.

American Whiskey Cocktails

With the weather getting better, the thought of sitting outside with a nice cocktail just sounds glorious. So I had chat with everyone around here and decided to put together a list of some of our favourite American whiskey cocktails!

Kentucky Buck – w/ Maker’s Mark

Credit Maker’s Mark

A harvest of sweetness and spice with fresh strawberry, citrus, bourbon and ginger beer. Just right for right now, this buck gets its perfect kick from deliciously bold Maker’s Mark.

Ingredients

  • 2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
  • 2–3 whole strawberries, hulled
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Ginger beer
  • Fresh strawberry for garnish

FORBIDDEN SOUR – w/ Elijah Craig

Credit Elijah Craig

Take your whiskey sour to new heights with this Bourbon & Pomegranate cocktail.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Pomegranate Flavored Liqueur
  • .5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

MINT JULEP – w/ Knob Creek

credit Knob Creek

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 PARTS Knob Creek
  • 2 BUNCHES mint
  • 1 PART simple syrup
  • 1 SPLASH soda

DIRECTIONS

  • In a julep cup, mix the mint sprigs with simple syrup and a splash of soda.
  • Add fine crushed ice and pour in the bourbon.
  • Lift out two mint leaves for garnish.
  • Add powdered sugar over mint to add an optional frosted appearance.

Handsome Devil – w/ Smooth Ambler

Credit Smooth Ambler

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Old Scout American Whiskey
  • .75 oz Lillet Blanc
  • .75 oz Simple syrup (1 to 1)
  • .50 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Dashes of Peach Bitters
  • 3 Mint Leaves

Preparation

Combine all of the ingredients in an ice filled Boston Shaker. Shake thoroughly then double strain into a chilled rocks glass that is filled with ice. Garnish with a twist of Orange.

Sugar Shack – w/ WhistlePig

Ingredients

  • 2 oz WhistlePig Rye Whiskey Aged 10 Years
  • ¼ oz Maple Syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Blackberry Simple Syrup
  • ¼ oz Pimento Dram or Allspice Dram
  • 2 dashes Maple Bitters
  • Star Anise for garnish

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a shaker.
  • Add ice to the shaker.
  • Shake.
  • Fill your favorite tiki mug with pearl ice.
  • Strain into mug.
  • Garnish with star anise and your favorite tropical adornments.
  • Enjoy!

Exciting Addition to Our FEW Range

We are soon receiving some of this fantastic rye from FEW Spirits!

The Immortal Rye takes rye whiskey to a new and enticing level. This release is taking their already fantastic grain-to-glass, award winning straight rye whiskey, then bringing it to proof with cold extracted 8 Immortals Oolong Tea. This brings out special layers of flavours and complexity that will elevate any cocktail!

8 Immortals tea is a favourite tea amongst a lot of Dancong oolong lovers. It is easily one of the finest teas in it’s category. It is soothingly smooth and very calming. The name coming from 8 legendary heroes in Chinese mythology. Shouldn’t be surprising that they chose a tea of this caliber to create this whiskey, considering their own high quality! Even the label brings a nice homage to Chinese artwork showcased in the 1893 World’s Fair.

THE SPICE OF THE LEGENDARY FEW STRAIGHT RYE FOLDS INTO THE FABLED 8 IMMORTALS TEA TO BRING AN OVERLAY OF PEACH, HONEY AND EXOTIC DRAGON FRUIT THAT IS OTHER-WORLDLY.

All of us here a big fans of FEW Spirits and their dedication to creating amazing spirits. So it’s needless to say that we are excited to crack one of these open and try a few different cocktails.

Now available HERE on Whisky Merchant!

Happy and responsible drinking,

Andrew

Random Spirits To Enjoy On That Random Holiday

We’re nearing that 14th of February Hallmark holiday again where it’s like Cupid threw up red and pink things everywhere! We are always up for making a list of spirits we are currently enjoying, so that’s what we did. Whether you enjoy celebrating this holiday or not, that doesn’t matter here. These fabulous drinks are sure to tickle your tastebuds and bring upon that warming feeling deep inside. So hopefully this completely random list can inspire you to try something new!

Weller Antique 107 Bourbon – 53.5% 75cl

I swear, it’s not because it is red! This is an absolutely incredible wheated bourbon that has been accompanying my evenings by the fire more often these days. A wonderfully crafted bourbon that is bold and complex, but offers delicious fruity and floral notes. This higher proof offering works well sipped or in cocktails.

Foragers Black Label Gin – 46% 70cl

This gin has been my go to for G&Ts and martinis since we got Foragers in stock. I don’t know how I’ve without this gin for so long! Praised by chef James Martin on his Great British Adventure. Intense and smooth juniper notes, with richness from the sea buckthorn. Wonderfully crisp and elegant.

Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Doblemente Anejado Rum – 70cl 40%

The rum for whisky lovers! This bottling from Brugal range is a beautifully distinct rum that crisp and dry, but not overly sweet. Double-wood aged for 6-8 years in White American Oak Casks, followed by 2-4 years in first-filled Spanish Sherry Oak Casks. The cask aging is where it makes it more reminiscent of a single malt.

Suntory Chita Japanese Single Grain Whisky – 70cl 43%

This is the first single grain whisky from the house of Suntory. Originally Chita grain whiskies have been used to enhance the flavours and harmony of Suntory blends. Now, it has gained a level of complexity and sophistication that allows it to walk on it’s own! Clean and mild, with wonderful rich honey & spiced oak flavours.

Stalla Dhu Single Cask Glen Elgin Port Wood – 48% 70cl

Can’t finish this list without our newest release from the Stalla Dhu range of independent bottlings. This Glen Elgin port wood finish is perfectly aged and bottled at the best ABV, hitting the sweet spot. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in first fill Port cask. Flavours of toasted almonds, fresh plums, and nougat. Intensely creamy!

Happy Sipping,

Andrew

Willett Family Bourbons

I’m always happy when bourbon shipments come in! Wether they are new releases, new to us, or just restocks! This past week we received our shipment of bourbons from Willett Distillery in, you guessed it, Kentucky. I have been a fan of Willett bottlings for a while, although I have not tried all of them yet, I have enjoyed the ones I have.

Willet Distillery remains independently family owned and operated, while it’s roots date back to shortly after the American civil war. It is currently in it’s fifth generation of family distillers and continuing to deliver exceptional spirits with that southern hospitality feel.

Two of my favourite bourbons that always have a place on my shelf are from the Willett Family brands. Those would be Rowan’s Creek and Noah’s Mill! In addition to those two, also returning to our shelves are Willett’s Family Resrve 4, Willett’s Pot Still, and Pure Kentucky XO.

Willett Family Estate 4 Year Old: Incredibly well balanced that you’ll almost forget it’s cask strength! A wonderfully robust rye that gives you flavours of baked cherry pie, caramelised vanilla, and baking spices.

Willett Pot Still Reserve: Eye catching decanter in the shape of a pot still holds an even more solid bourbon! An interwoven mix of zesty citrus and honey carries this bourbon over the taste buds. Ending with that tasty rye spiciness.

Noah’s Mill: A wonderfully lush small batch bourbon. Incredibly smooth for a full proof bourbon. Flavours of toasted cinnamon pecans, coconut dates, mesh well with the spices and charred oak notes.

Rowan’s Creek:One of the best selling bourbons from the distillery, it is named after the creek that runs through the property. Incredibly velvety on the tongue, with a fantastic caramel sweetness you’d expect from a great small batch bourbon. Lingering clove spiciness is just enough to compliment the sweetness.

Pure Kentucky: Named as a tribute to it’s home state, because when you think of Kentucky, you think of bourbon! For those that like those oak and spice flavours at the forefront, with just the right amount maple sweetness.

If you’re feeling like a bourbon purchase is in your future, give one of the Willett family bottlings a go!

Relax With the Yellow Spot

With everything going on, you have to just find your favourite ways to decompress! A Sunday afternoon with a wonderful whiskey is a perfect way for me. Today I went with a super tasty Irish single pot still whiskey, Yellow Spot 12. This second edition from the ‘Spot’ range. This and Green Spot are the last of the original Irish bonded whiskies.

When the whole bonded whiskey market disappeared in the late 60’s, Mitchell & Son’s of Dublin kept Green Spot going, but Yellow Spot disappeared for over 45 years! Thankfully brought back in 2012. Great decision!

Both the Green and Yellow Spot whiskies are very good, but Green takes the cake with it’s extra aging. In addition to that, Green spent time aging in Spanish Malaga casks after it’s time in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. The extra levels of complexity and character that the Malaga wine casks bring is fantastic. A very apparent level of sweetness the Green does not have!

This whiskey is wonderfully rich and velvety in texture which just adds to the moreish-ness of it. Just the right levels of sweetness, with flavours of caramelised bananas, Christmas spices, toasted cereals.

If Irish whiskey is your thing, and you haven’t had the Yellow Spot, then you definitely won’t be disappointed.

Stay healthy and sane!

Sunday Tipple with Redbreast

Been a while since I relaxed with a fantastic Irish whiskey. Seems like it’s been a lot of bourbons and gins lately, which i am definitely not complaining about! This Redbreast 15 was just calling my name today, and I just couldn’t say no. So many wonderful flavours and a ton of character wrapped up into one neat package. It is just one of those whiskies that just bring so much joy with every sip!

Redbreast as a brand has been around since the early 1900’s, but production dipped for a while. In the 90’s Redbreast was brought back onto the market, by Irish Distillers with the 12 year old and the brand continues to sit on top of the Irish whiskey market. I am also a big fan of the 12 year, but this 15 just pulls out so much more flavour for me.

This is a single pot still whiskey, which means it uses a mash of both malted and unmalted barley. Where single malt uses only 100% malted barley. Single pot still whiskey is exclusive to Ireland and gives the whiskey it’s distinct spicy character.

If you are a fan of Irish whiskies but have not yet ventured into the Redbreast offerings yet, make this or the 12 your next adventure! Exceptionally smooth and refined, not to mention very moreish! Quite a lot of stimulating layers of flavour. Lovely thick mouthfeel that is like fresh honey coating your tongue, and flavours of fresh baked apples. The woody-ness and slight spice comes through nicely. There is no doubt why this whiskey has taken so many awards!

This is going to make a very enjoyable Sunday evening! Pop on over to the site for your very own bottle!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday Tipple with Maker’s Mark

With our new shipment of Maker’s Mark coming in, I thought why not enjoy some this weekend. Well, I unsurprisingly decided to go with the Maker’s Cask Strength! So happy I did too! The best you’re gonna get without drinking straight from the barrel!

Maker’s Mark was one of the first to develop a premium image around their bourbon, and has held themselves to high standards to this day! Maker’s main focus is producing the highest quality bourbon they can, and they have a steadfast reputation for their craft. They do that by having such a small selection of whiskies in their repertoire. The other thing that sets them apart is the use of red wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. Rye is easily the most commonly used second grain in the mash, Maker’s is one of the few companies that wanted to go a different route. Instead of the spicy bite of the rye, wheat brings on a sweeter and more smooth sip.

It was never in the cards in the beginning to create a Cask Strength version of Maker’s. After years of inquiries and one evening trying it out of the barrel, they thought, why not! The winners of that decision, us bourbon drinkers! We get another tasty treat to have on our shelves.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is not for the drinker looking for a mild sipping bourbon, although I would encourage all to try it! This bottling is a bold, revved up offering of Maker’s. Everything you have already loved from the standard bottle, but just turned up a few notches! The vanilla and caramel flavours are much more pronounced. Robust orchard fruit notes with an undercurrent of cinnamon providing that wonderful spice bite. The finish is much longer than that of the standard release and you don’t get the roughness you’d expect from a cask strength.

This is well worth a try if you are looking for a bourbon with a bit more power! And when the world opens back up, a visit to their distillery in Kentucky should be on your list, go hand dip your own bottle!

New Westland Bottlings to Look Forward to.

If you have not yet explored any of Westland Distillery’s range of bottlings, you should really do so! If you are interested, I would start with the Sherry Wood release! Wonderful maple syrup flavours and oaky sweetness from the four different casks used in the creation of it!

Westland Distillery, based in Seattle, focuses all their effort on producing high quality American single malt whiskies. They highlight the use of local components in the crafting of their whiskey, like Pacific Northwest oak and peat from a local bog. They are proud of their local contributions to the whiskey world, but also want to honour the more traditional single malt world. I’d say they are doing a very good job at both!

We believe that the world of whiskey is not flat and that it is time to step beyond what we have inherited. We find ourselves at the edge of a new frontier, but the edge is not the end of what we know, it is just the beginning of what we have yet to explore.

The new Outpost Range is going to feature three different bottlings that will explore different trails to the possibilities that American Single malts can achieve. As they put it, the frontier of whiskey is vast! The new collection will be made up of Garryana (previously released on it’s own), Colere, and Solum. Garryana, named after the Pacific Northwest’s native oak, will represent a new oak species in the world of whiskey. Colere is crafted to highlight the barley impact on flavour, exploring new and forgotten varietals of Pacific Northwest barley. Solum is for all those peat heads out there, they will charting their own path through the use of local peat and exploring what new flavours can be unearthed.

The whole range looks exciting to me, and exploring the unknown in whiskey is something that could bring about some truly tasty treats! As they come closer to availability, we will definitely keep you up to date. The Garryana Edition 5 will be the first to be released, followed by Colere, then Solum. If you are interested in checking out the 2019 release of Garryana, before it was added into the outpost lineup, you can check that out here.