Scotch whisky: entrancing, romantic, steeped with history… full of complexities. Exploring regional styles and different production techniques can really help drinkers get to grips with Scotch. Although, of course, there’s sometimes a surprise along the way. To really explore some of Scotland’s hidden whisky gems, we decided to pull together a diverse range of the best Scotch whiskies. From single malt to single grain, from Islay to the Highlands, discover some hidden gems from a country with over four times as many whisky casks as people: Spectacular Scotland!
Check out our August 2021 box: Scotch Spectacular.
Malt Riot recalls the Scottish people’s response to the 1725 British government’s new taxation on malted barley. Although the malt riots started in Glasgow, they eventually spread across Scotland. This handpicked blend from the modern Glasgow Distillery is a riotous celebration of Scotland’s malted spirit, with their 1770 single malt at its heart. Veteran Dram Teamers might remember that flagship single malt – it featured all the way back in August 2020’s box, our Lowland Showdown special edition!
On the nose, notes of freshly planed oak lead to sweet vanilla slices and hints of floral hyacinth. Toffee apples on the palate, balanced alongside dry spices and caramelised pineapple. A light and smooth finish with ripples of milk chocolate, dry fruits and a sweet nuttiness.
Teaninich is probably one of the best Highland distilleries you’ve never heard of. As one of Diageo’s so-called workhorse distilleries, most of their whisky gets snapped up into blends, but don’t let that fool you. Their malts are known for an ultra-clean, fragrant character and delightful texture, to rival the nearby Dalmore. They’re also one of the only distilleries to use a high-tech mash filter, making them unique. What’s a mash filter, you might ask? We discussed this cool piece of kit in a blog post all about unconventional distilleries.
Immediately the nose unlocks pear drops with apple peel and sweet honeyed oat biscuits. Green fruits moving to an assortment of fruit gums with a backdrop of fresh new oak. Medium-long finish with runny caramel, sweet malt and a buttery home baking quality.
Highlands single malts are often known for their sweet, fragrant and delicate characters. Glengoyne is a perfect example of this. They claim to be the slowest distillery in Scotland: for each minute other whiskies spend in their stills, Glengoyne spends three. Their sweet, fruity and gentle whisky is then aged in carefully selected casks made from American and Spanish wood. Often these are filled with sherry for a few years before, creating a wonderfully refined drop.
Sweet, with toffee and popcorn aromas. Slightly nutty, with fresh green apples coming through. Clean palate. Green apples and grass, soft oak and a hint of sweet liquorice. Water brings linseed oil and almonds. Sweet and malty finish.
Remarkable whisky bottlers Douglas Laing take the classic whisky and chocolate pairing to the next level with this limited release. Speyside whiskies are known for their rich, decadent style, often aged in Sherry casks. This particular blended malt is a marriage of 100% sherry casks chosen for their cocoa-rich tasting notes. With only 3000 bottles available this year, we’re sure it’s not going to last long either. Pair with a bite of luxury chocolate for the ultimate indulgence.
Ripe red cherries, chocolate and orange peel. Delectable notes of creamy chocolate icing, juicy dates and rich red fruits. The finish is long, warming and fruity, with sweet spicy cinnamon and even more chocolate notes.
Islay, the tiny island off the western coast of Scotland, is best known for one thing: peated whisky. Here is a whisky that aims to showcase that element in all its glory. Each batch is created using around 60 casks from some of Islay’s best distilleries. This is Islay smoke at its finest.
Orange peel and thick cut bacon with sea shells and smouldering coals. Hickory smoke and hints of Lapsang Souchong tea with salted caramel and dark chocolate. Sea spray and baked apple fade, leaving heavy smoke, truffle salt and sweet spice.
Both the largest and the oldest grain distillery in Scotland, Cameronbridge is best known for making the grain whisky behind some of the biggest whisky brands. Independent bottlings of their single grains are the best way to explore Scotch grain whisky, especially those with a bit of age. Like this cracking 27 year old example. Enjoy!
Vanilla ice cream, tropical fruit and little sharp green apple, then orange blossom, banana foam sweets, and milk chocolate. A touch of anise is there too, as well as a little baking spice. Caramelised fresh pineapple, coconut snowballs and earthy vanilla, which is followed by toffee and a little drying nutmeg. White chocolate and orange wine gums linger.
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