For centuries Scottish distillers have defied the law and the elements to perfect the craft of whisky. Today hundreds of producers put forward some of the best spirits in the world to warm the insides of drinkers everywhere. With Scottish malt distillers using only the same three ingredients – barley, yeast and water – it is incredible to think of the diversity in character, smells and flavour they’ve managed to come up with. Used in so many classic cocktails, or enjoyed all by itself, there isn’t an occasion that whisky can’t brighten up.
Don’t be put off by the aficionados who insist it has to be drunk in a certain way – whisky is best drunk however you enjoy it most. If you’re looking to mix it, bourbon and coke or scotch and dry ginger ale goes down a treat. Alternatively, throw a healthy dose into any of the classic cocktails, such as old fashioneds, sours and juleps, which call for the golden liquid. Bourbon is the ideal backbone for many mixes and cocktails but any single malt or blended scotch will do the job as well.
For those looking to sip their whisky neat, on a little ice or with a dash of water, there are a huge range of flavour profiles out there, with different regions specialising in different styles. For intensely complex and smokey whiskies, the small Hebridean island of Islay reigns supreme with distilleries such as Caol Ila and Ardberg producing drams with maritime character of smoke, brine and fresh apple. Alternatively, if you’d prefer something a little more approachable, highland producers such as Oban and Glengoyne supply warm, fruit-forward whiskies oozing with flavours like apple, dried fig and currants. For something a little more subtle lowland malts like Auchentoshan put forward lighter whiskies with hints of grass, honey and toffee.
Whether you’re new to whisky, or an experienced drinker, the spirit has much to offer in terms of flavour, intrigue and experience.