No matter which part of the world you live in, if you are a whisky enthusiast, the International Scotch Day is a big deal for you. It is no less than Easter for lovers of scotch whisky, and why not! There aren’t many activities that cannot be complemented by a good scotch—think about reading, listening to your favourite music album or watching a new series on Netflix. Think about doing nothing but staring out of the window at midnight. Now put a bottle of scotch in each of those settings and see for yourself how everything gets better with scotch. (Except for driving-- do everyone a favour and never compound this with any sort of alcohol consumption.)
You might be a single malt person, but for the love of scotch, we recommend you make an exception for these absolutely exquisite blends this year.
Following tradition, Clan Campbell is distilled, blended, and aged in oak casks for a minimum period of three years. With Aberlour and Glenallachie in the blend, Clan Campbell is one of the finest Highland blends that you can find today. Heavy with vanilla and wood notes and a burning chili aftertaste, it is at once both sweet and smoky.
Ballantine’s Hard Fired
Ballantine’s Hard Fired is a unique expression, created using select double-charred American oak casks that give it a pronounced flavour profile of tangy liquorice, honey and butterscotch toffee. It also gives a long vanilla finish which makes it a good component for cocktails like Hot Toddy. However, you are sure to love Hard Fired on the rocks too.
A rare blend of three small batch single malts—Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie, Monkey Shoulder can actually be passed off as single malt, except you shouldn’t. This blended scotch has the versatility to create anything from classic cocktails to modern mixes because of its mellow vanilla notes and smooth long finish. The spiced oak, honey, and orange zest notes make Monkey Shoulder more vibrant and rich. This William Grant beauty is made with malts that are matured in ex-Bourbon casks before being vatted together only in small batches for six months and bottled at 40% ABV.
A limited edition blended scotch from the Compass Box, Phenomenology is a combination of unique single malts with dissonant flavour profiles. The best part about Compass Box whiskies are their names. Phenomenology is called what it is because it elicits different reactions in different people. And the house of Compass Box does not want to specify a right or a wrong but leave it on an individual’s senses and perceptions. After all experience is subjective in nature. So why should flavour profiles and notes of a phenomenal scotch be specified by a company?
Dalaruan comes from a distillery that has a name that will make you stop and think. They call themselves The Lost Distillery Company. If you are wondering why, it is simply because they recreate whiskies from distilleries that have closed down over the years, using extensive research to understand the flavour profiles. The Dalaruan is one of their considerably newer release, which is a recreation of a whisky that the Dalaruan distillery of Campbeltown, Scotland used to produce between 1825 and 1925. While you can try any of their vintage collection, we recommend you start with the Dalaruan, as its warm Manuka honey sweetness with hints of smoke and spice and long finish is sure to win your heart.
Usquaebach 15 Years Old
While the brand wasn’t trademarked until 1877, the blend Usquaebach was in existence since 1700 or before. Master Blenders look for the best of malts and grains to make the Usquaebach—history, heritage, and tradition in our dram, earning it the title of “King of Blended Whiskies.” The Usquaebach 15 Year Old is a robust and intense blend of some of the best Highland single malts, aged over 15 years in oak and sherry casks. It has been recognized across geographies for its quality and has won several accolades.
100 Pipers 12 Years Old
If you are a resident of India, it might be a small challenge getting access to all the above listed blended whiskies, unless you want to order through an online merchant. However, we recommend you try 100 Pipers 12 Years Old, a blend that shows wonderful craftsmanship and finesse, while being widely available. Full-bodied and mellow, with well-balanced notes of fruits and smokiness, 100 Pipers 12 years Old is a whisky you can have neat or in a mix.
You can also look at other blends, maybe one that a friend has recommended, particularly if you have had all of the above listed blended whiskies. Otherwise, go right ahead and sample the-- we promise you won’t regret it. In fact, you just might make room for these in your bar cabinet!