So here we are, it’s already June and I honestly don’t know where the days have gone but as I sit here all tanned and even more beautiful that usual and sipping on a bourbon with ice and reflecting on the journey I am on.
Last year I decided that due to the frankly ridiculous increase in Scotch prices I would attempt to explore whiskies from North America both the every day easy to find bourbons we all know and love as well as the more obscure stuff.
I pride myself on reviewing whiskies with no favour or prejudice and I’m still trying to review whiskies that people can actually afford and get hold of without too much hard work.
So far this year I’ve sampled fifty whiskies, some superb some not so much and I already have a healthy backlog of tasting notes which need written up but so far I have found five firm favourites and by that I mean whiskies I will buy again and again.
The first is a bit of a surprise both for me and probably for my beloved worshipers too. It’s Johnnie Walker Spice Road, yes, honestly. I bought this because the Duty Free at Glasgow Airport had not one single bottle of the half a dozen I had picked out from their website as potential purchases and I wanted something travel retail only and I loved it, it does, I’ll be honest, work better in a hot country, sitting out on the balcony sipping on this was cracking, I will be reviewing probably in July or August.
Next up is Rock Oyster Cask Strength which I reviewed a couple of months back. I love the Remarkable Malts range from Douglas Laing but this is just wonderful.
Highland Park Ice Edition. If this was just the bottle and contents and not all the big wooden frame nonsense this would already be my whisky of the year. I love all Highland Park and if this was better priced then it would rank alongside the 18 year old and the Edinburgh Whisky bottling, I just wish it was cheaper and without all the nonsense.
Elijah Craig 12 Year Old. This has been discontinued so if you see it kicking about buy it, because it is excellent, I may already have bought up every spare bottle though, it is the ideal bourbon for newbies too, reasonably priced, excellent flavour and a real depth and bottled at 47% which is always a bonus.
Stagg Jnr, can’t afford the regular Stagg? Can’t even find the regular Stagg? No, me neither, a bottle of this though is around seventy quid is bottled at around 68% and is superb.
And finally Label 5, it’s cheap, it’s available in Morrisons so easy enough to get hold of and makes for an excellent sipper as well as cocktail making dram. (Technically I drank this end of December but shhhhh).
Those have been highlights but everything I review I am recommending albeit a few have some warnings regarding price or accessibility, over the next six months I’ll be reviewing another half a dozen of Canada’s finest, one of which is simply stunning, another handful of American classics and the usual mix of Supermarket available drams topped up with a few of those exciting finds that one comes across.