Whisky Marketplace Blog UK brings you news, reviews and tasting notes from the world of whisky.

Jul 01

Staff Picks: July 2024

Posted on 1st July 2024 by Pierre

Explore this month's Staff Picks, featuring four exceptional whiskies. The bold Dalmore Port Wood Reserve, the exciting re-release Laphroaig 18 Year Old, the elegant Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 1, and the rich Morris Signature Australian Single Malt.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Dalmore Port Wood Reserve

Dalmore Port Wood Reserve

The first of this months picks is the Dalmore Port Wood Reserve. Bold and richly flavoured at 46.5% ABV. Matured initially in American white oak bourbon casks, and later finished in port pipes, it is indused with a symphony of flavours. A nose of red berries, Seville oranges, and plums is followed by a palate of nectarines, creamy caramel and a hint of roasted chestnuts. The finish is rich, with notes of plums, raisins and cherrie

£74.95 at www.htfw.com

Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 1

Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 1

Originally unveiled exclusively for travel retail in 2022, the Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 1 is a smooth, elegant whisky. This unique expression aged in European oak, American oak, and red wine casks, and presents a fragrant mix of wildflowers, summer blossom and a twist of citrus. On the palace, expect a mellow palate marked with notes of candied peel, a hint of black pepper and a splash of malt sweetness.

£84.90 at www.masterofmalt.com

Laphroaig 18 Year Old

Laphroaig 18 Year Old

This month see the re-release of Laphroaig 18 Year Old. With an ABV of 48%, this iconic whisky retains its signature smoky character even after 18 years in ex-bourbon barrels. Expect a rich aroma of seaweed, leather, and tobacco, followed by a palate of stewed fruit, crystallised ginger, and a hint of chocolate.

£175 at www.masterofmalt.com

Morris Signature Australian Single Malt

Morris Signature Australian Single Malt

The Morris Signature is an Australian single malt whisky from Morris Distillery in Rutherglen, Victoria. Matured in fortified wine barrels, it teases the nose with the sweet aroma of orchard fruits, black cherries and shortbread biscuits. On the palate, it presents rich notes of marmalade, dark chocolate, and blackberries, creating a memorable example of Australian whisky craftsmanship.

£49.95 at www.htfw.com

May 30

Staff Picks: June 2024

Posted on 30th May 2024 by Pierre

A fabulous foursome of Scotch whiskies for your this month. Something a little arty from Glen Garioch bottled by Robert Graham. A superb 32 year old from the sadly silent Rosebank stills. An unusual expression from the folks at Ardbeg. And finally a Manzanilla finished dram from Wolfburn. These four whiskies each offer something special, whether it’s a connection to lost distilleries, innovative cask finishes, or artistic collaborations.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Glen Garioch 'The Court Of Redonda' Series One 2011 12 year old

Glen Garioch 'The Court Of Redonda' Series One 2011 12 year old

First up is a delightfully artistic creation from Glen Garioch, bottled by the renowned Robert Graham company. Since 1874, Robert Graham has been a staple in Scottish whisky retail, and they began acquiring casks in 2002. Their latest venture, the Court of Redonda series, showcases a collaboration with artist Stephen Chambers. This particular Glen Garioch, a 12-year-old single malt from the 2011 vintage, is bottled at a robust 50% ABV. It's a beautifully crafted whisky that combines traditional distilling with a touch of artistic flair.

£129.95 at www.htfw.com

Rosebank 32 Year Old 3rd Release 1990

Rosebank 32 Year Old 3rd Release 1990

Next, we have a superbly aged expression from Rosebank, a distillery whose stills sadly fell silent many years ago. Fortunately, some of their precious stock remains, though it’s becoming increasingly rare. This 32-year-old gem, distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2023 at 47.6% ABV, is a testament to Rosebank’s enduring legacy. It’s a little piece of Scotch whisky history that every serious collector and enthusiast should experience.

£1999.95 at www.htfw.com

Ardbeg Spectacular - Ardbeg Day 2024

Ardbeg Spectacular - Ardbeg Day 2024

In a bold move, Ardbeg has ventured into port cask maturation with their Ardbeg Spectacular, released in celebration of Ardbeg Day 2024. Known for their peated spirits, Ardbeg has combined the smoky richness of their whisky with the sweet nuances of port wine casks. A portion of the spirit has also been aged in ex-Bourbon American white oak casks, the rest in port wine casks, resulting in a complex and intriguing profile. Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling, describes this whisky as "totally weird and absolutely spectacular," and I couldn't agree more.

£99.95 at www.htfw.com

Wolfburn Manzanilla Cask Finish

Wolfburn Manzanilla Cask Finish

Finally, we have a fascinating expression from Wolfburn, finished in Manzanilla casks. Manzanilla, a type of Spanish sherry, imparts a unique character to the whisky. Wolfburn, known for using white American oak and ex-Oloroso casks for their core spirit, has given this dram an extra layer of complexity with its Manzanilla finish. This additional maturation period under the influence of Manzanilla wood creates a nuanced and refined whisky that's part of Wolfburn's esteemed cask finish series.

£69.95 at www.htfw.com

May 01

Staff Picks: eye catching new spirit releases

Posted on 1st May 2024 by Pierre

This month, our staff has handpicked exceptional whiskies for your enjoyment. From Glenmorangie's rich 14-year-aged expression, featuring a spectrum of flavors from fruitiness to dark chocolate, to Bruichladdich's farm-to-glass single malt with its juicy fruit and honey notes, each bottle promises a memorable tasting experience.

For a taste of American single malt excellence, try Westland's homage to Pilot barley, offering a blend of apple cider, chamomile tea, and almond flavors. And don't miss Nikka The Grain's creamy texture and complex aromas, blending Coffey grains and malts for a truly unique whisky journey. Enjoy our staff's curated selections and elevate your whisky experience this month!

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban - Giraffe Tin

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban - Giraffe Tin

Glenmorangie's tall stills produce a whisky that evolves from soft and fruity to deep and dark after 14 years in bourbon and port casks. It's a delicious journey of flavour combinations.

£69.95 at www.htfw.com

Nikka The Grain - Japanese Whisky

Nikka The Grain - Japanese Whisky

Nikka The Grain blends old Coffey grains and malts from Nishinomiya and Miyagikyo with Barley Grain and Corn & Rye spirits from Moji and Satsumatsukasa distilleries. Bottled at 48% ABV, it offers a creamy texture and complex aromas.

£199.95 at www.htfw.com

Westland Colere American Single Malt

Westland Colere American Single Malt

Westland showcases its Pilot barley's character, with a subtle tea note infused in the whisky. Partially aged in oloroso hogsheads, it balances apple cider, chamomile tea, almond, milk chocolate, and lemongrass flavors.

£129 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2014

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2014

Bruichladdich's Islay-grown barley yields a farm-to-glass single malt. Aged in bourbon, sherry, and wine casks, it offers juicy fruit, peach, popcorn, and honey notes with subtle coastal minerality.

£68.25 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jul 01

Staff Picks - July 2016: Bitters for Whisky Cocktails

Posted on 1st July 2016 by Pierre

It would be fair to say that over the years we’ve changed our position on the adulteration of whisky. Simply put, we used to be strict whisky purists who considered putting anything other than a drop of water in whisky to be a crime. And as for cooling whisky in any way, we wouldn’t even speak to you if you mentioned it. Well things change, people move on and, frankly, we’ve become quite partial to the occasional whisky cocktail.

Chocolate!

As any accomplished mixologist will tell you, one of the most important things to have in your cocktails store cupboard is a decent selection of bitters. And, for those of you who think the world of bitters begins and ends with Angostura Bitters, we have good news for you. There’s a vast array of bitters out there, in fact it’s a growth area.

Two producers who offer a high quality and varied selection are The Bitter Truth and Bitter Bastards, we’ve experimented with a number of their recipes and can recommend them. But these two are far from alone.

You can even have a go at making your own bitters. There are a number of excellent online articles that explain the method, for example this one on thekitchn.com A well chosen bitters can add that little touch of magic to your drinks. Think about the flavours in your base whisky and choose a bitters that will enhance or compliment them. For example, orange and chocolate go well with many whiskies so cocoa or orange bitters could be a good place to start.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Bitter Bastards Cocoa Bitters

Bitter Bastards Cocoa Bitters

You may have noticed that most of the companies producing bitters have used a play on the word "bitter" to come up with an amusing name. None more so than the Bitter Bastards! These cocoa bitters work very well in certain whisky cocktails, not least an Old Fashioned.

£9.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters

The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters

Based on the famous New York bar tender's original recipe, these versatile bitters will add the finishing touch to a wide variety of cocktails - not just whisky cocktails.

£15.25 at www.masterofmalt.com

Bob’s Orange & Mandarin Bitters

Bob’s Orange & Mandarin Bitters

Orange and whisky is a great flavour combination, so it's no surprise that Bob’s Orange & Mandarin Bitters are a useful addition to your whisky cocktail arsenal.

£12.16 at www.masterofmalt.com

Bitter Bastards Cask-Aged Whisky Bitters

Bitter Bastards Cask-Aged Whisky Bitters

Infused with cinnamon, two varieties of orange peel and clove, the mix is then put through a process of "rapid-maceration and centrifugal extraction" to illiminate unwanted flavours and enhance the good stuff. It's then finished in an american oak cask for four months. The result is a bitters perfectly suited to whisky cocktails.

£15.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

May 19

Does InchDairnie Distillery point the way for scotch whisky?

Posted on 19th May 2016 by Pierre

InchDairnie Distillery “Save the date for the opening of an innovative new distillery” cried the invite. “Aha!", I thought, "Another craft distillery with a gimmicky twist on production techniques.” What was it to be this time? Would the visitors centre be open before a drop of whisky had been matured? Was I to learn of an imaginative business plan that involved selling raspberry gin until the whisky is ready? And when the whisky goes on sale after three years, will it actually be ready?

If I sound jaded, it’s probably because I am. As exciting as crowd-funded micro-distilleries seemed two or three years ago, they are becoming so common place that I’m struggling to care about the latest grow-your-own-locally-sourced-organic-barley operation.

InchDairnie have shrouded themselves with secrecy and mystery to such an extent that the assembled crowd of journalists and bloggers I was accompanying had no more clue than me about what it was we were about to see. As we boarded the bus from the hotel to the distillery nothing could prepare us for what we were to encounter when we entered the drab industrial park on the edge of Glenrothes. Standing on a huge plot at one end of the park was a distillery so modern and imposing that you felt as though you were driving onto a James Bond set. Would a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. agent greet us on arrival? No.

Ian Palmer & David Sloan

We were, however, met by Ian Palmer and his charming business partner David Sloan. Ian has an intensity and directness that is striking and oddly inspiring. They didn’t show us round a visitors centre or ply us with whisky. Instead they took us on a tour of the most modern whisky production facility I have seen, currently running at 2,000,000 litre annual capacity but with the ability to quickly shift up to 4,000,000.

InchDairnie Distillery

Every detail has been thought through - from a site layout that will facilitate easy future expansion to a distillery that uses the latest technology to maximise efficiency in both production and environmental terms. Many of the traditional tools of a distillery have been replaced by modern engineered equivalents. The familiar processes are all present but often in new guises. Other innovations include varying the type of barley and yeast at different times of the year to use seasonal ingredients and to produce flavour variation. It’s whisky making Jim, but not as we know it.

Ian explains all the business thinking behind these decision with remarkable honesty and candour. He is unashamedly unromantic and rational about whisky production.

InchDairnie Distillery

Perhaps most importantly he outlines a business plan which will allow them to warehouse their whisky until it is ready. When asked if that would be in three, five or even eight years he smiles wryly and replies, “Not until it’s ready. Even if that’s fifteen years.” If they can deliver on that promise then this alone differentiates them from the rash of craft distilleries that has appeared recently.

InchDairnie Distillery

I suggest to him that he doesn’t appear to be intending to make small batch, cask strength single malt to please whisky geeks and bloggers, but rather a large volume premium product that will grace the shelves of the larger retailers across the land. He assures me that I am correct and that the true value of the distillery won’t be realised in his lifetime. He is planting a tree that will take decades to grow. And it will be a big tree.

I find this refreshing.

Feb 05

Staff Picks - February 2016: Valentines whisky and chocolate pairings

Posted on 5th February 2016 by Pierre

Chocolate!

Chocolate makes an obvious Valentine’s present. So does whisky. So how about whisky and chocolate?! We picked out some readily available whiskies and paired them with some interesting chocolates. And some Maltesers! We had one chocolate pick left over - Super Dark Truffles by Vosges - these go with just about any whisky you can think of so we didn’t bother narrowing it down to just one!!!!

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Lagavulin 16 and Maltesers

Lagavulin 16 and Maltesers

First up is a box of Maltesers. OK. I know what you’re thinking. “Who gives the love of their life a box of Maltesers on Valentine’s Day????” But just hold on there, what’s that with them in the gift bag? It’s only a bottle Lagavulin! Let’s try these together… boom!!!

£47.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Springbank 10 and Charbonnel & Walker "Sea Salt Caramel Hearts"

Springbank 10 and Charbonnel & Walker "Sea Salt Caramel Hearts"

How about Charbonnel & Walker Sea Salt Caramel Hearts? Salt caramel has been a fashionable flavour for some time now. Those little salt crystals doing their sour thing next to the sweet caramel. Sounds a bit like that sweet and salty thing you get with Springbank 10. Hold on! What if we put the two together?

£34.99 at www.thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Tomatin 14 year old port finish and Mademoiselle de Margaux "Perles du Médoc"

Tomatin 14 year old port finish and Mademoiselle de Margaux "Perles du Médoc"

Mademoiselle de Margaux, a French chocolatier would you believe, make these Perles du Médoc chocolate covered grapes. Soft grapes with peach and apricot notes. Tomatin 14 year old port wood finish has notes of peach, apricot, mango and plum. A match made in heaven.

£44.94 at www.abbeywhisky.com

Ardbeg 10 and Prestat "Cocoa Dusted Almonds"

Ardbeg 10 and Prestat "Cocoa Dusted Almonds"

Prestat Cocoa Dusted Almonds, a truly grown up flavoured treat. Pair that cocoa goodness with coastal smoky notes of Ardbeg 10. Not forgetting this classic 10 year old’s almond overtones which pair beautifully with the… err… almonds and guess what? Another match made in heaven.

£36.99 at www.thewinechambers.co.uk

Dec 14

Recipe: 'Merry' Christmas Puddings with Whisky

Posted on 14th December 2015 by Sammy-Jo

Whisky Christmas Puddings

Make Christmas extra special this year with homemade whisky infused desserts.

Whisky and Orange Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Whisky and Orange Cream
  • ½ orange
  • 3 tablespoons Famous Grouse Blended Scotch whisky
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar

Directions:

  • Juice half an orange for festive flavouring
  • Combine cream, icing sugar and fresh orange juice in bowl and whip until cream thickens
  • Quickly fold in the whisky

Flaming Surprise Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 250g mixed dried fruit dried (such as cranberries, currants, dates, cherries, apricots and diced figs)
  • 50g candied peel
  • 75ml Famous Grouse Blended Scotch whisky
  • 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1/2 orange (zest and juice)
  • 1 whole, peeled mandarin
  • 1 grated cooking apples (with peel)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • 100g grated butter
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 400g white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 125g self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

Directions:

Put the peeled mandarin (whole) in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Leave in simmering water for 30 mins until tender and remove mandarin. Pour away some water from the pan leaving roughly 300ml. Add the white sugar and 25ml whisky to the remaining water in the pan. Pierce holes in the mandarin and place back in the pan

Combine dried fruit, 50ml whisky, apple and candied peel in a pan. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes then remove from heat, cover and leave to cool.

Mix lemon, orange, chopped nuts and syrup in a bowl.

Mix the brown sugar, eggs, butter, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Then add the almond fruit mixture and the cooled whisky infused fruit from the pan.

Line the pudding bowl with syrup and spoon in the mixture. Half way down, rest the mandarin in the centre and continue spooning in the mixture. The mandarin should be nestled in the centre of the pudding.

Cut a piece of baking parchment (butter on one side) and foil big enough to cover the top of the bowl - fold a pleat into the centre to allow the pudding to rise. Place the parchment on first (butter side down) and then seal in place with the foil on top. Hold the parchment and foil in place by tying string around the lip of the bowl and make a handle. Make certain the foil covers the bowl well to avoid any water getting to the pudding.

Fill a pan with boiling water (so the water comes half way up the pudding bowl) and heat on a low-medium heat. Place an upturned saucer at the base of the pan to prevent your bowl from cracking. Ensure water is simmering, then gently lower the pudding bowl in and rest on top of the saucer - cover the pan with a lid.

If the water is producing steam then the pudding will cook. Make sure not to remove the lid within the first 30 minutes, otherwise your pudding could collapse. After this, check on the pan and top up with water when necessary.

Leave to simmer for 3 hours in total and check with a skewer: insert into the centre of the pudding through the foil. If the skewer comes out clean it is ready. If it’s not ready simply patch up the hole with more foil and replace in pan.

When ready, remove from the pan and cool. Remove the foil and parchment and replace with new. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 5 weeks.

To reheat, steam the pudding for 1 hour in the same way as before and turn out onto serving plate when ready.

Pour hot whisky over the pudding and ignite, ready to serve to your guests.

Swerve with whisky cream for the ultimate ‘Merry’ Christmas pudding!

Mince Pies

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6/fan 180°C
  • Butter the base of a 6 hole tart/muffin tray
  • Roll out puff pastry. Using a fluted cutter, cut 6 circles from pastry and place in tray.
  • Spoon 2tsp in each pastry case.
  • Using a smaller cutter or festive shaped cookie cutter i.e. star, cut 6 lids for the mince pies.
  • Dab a small amount of water on the underside of the lids and seal on top of the pies.
  • Beat a small egg and brush a small amount over the top of the pies for a luxurious glaze.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden
  • Remove from oven and move to a wire rack – allow to cool
  • Lightly dust with icing sugar and edible glitter for serving. Can be served hot or cold
  • Serve with whisky cream to compliment the mince pies.
  • The mince pies will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container, so you can enjoy them again and again!
  • The mince pies can be frozen for up to a month – they need to be defrosted and warmed up in the oven.

From the team here at Whisky Marketplace we wish you a very ‘Merry’ Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dec 08

Marketplace Christmas Picks: The Whisky Vault

Posted on 8th December 2015 by Pierre

In the run up to Christmas this year, we've asked our Whisky Marketplace retailers to have a look through their shelves to select some whisky recommendations that would make great presents or enhance your festive whisky cabinet.

First up is Richard Hawley from The Whisky Vault. To begin with, we asked him tell us a little about his business and how he became interested in whisky.

"The Whisky Vault was born from ideas created with my Father, Philip, after he had begun to collect whiskies many moons ago. I had finished university and was in specialising in web development and business and had found his passion for whisky infectious. So I suggested we create a marketplace for them online. The family-oriented business was founded in 2008 and has been going from strength to strength, we currently hold some of the rarest and highly desired whiskies in the world of Scotch and have a stock catalogue of over 2,000 single malts. And we're continuing to actively seek more day upon day."

We asked Richard to pick three whiskies to suit various budgets. The price bands we specified are up to £50, £50-100 and £100+

Whisky Vault's Christmas picks:

Nov 16

Recipe: 'Merry' Malt Marmalade

Posted on 16th November 2015 by Sammy-Jo

Merry Malt Marmalade

This whisky inspired marmalade will make the perfect gift this Christmas (if you can bear to part with it). It’s easy to make and you could even get your kids involved. Just make one large batch and share it out between jars. The jars could be decorated with a homemade label, festive ribbon, cinnamon stick, dried orange and berries etc. If your kids aren’t interested in cooking maybe you could get them involved an art project, decorating the labels and lids. This would make a great, cost efficient homemade gift for family, friends, neighbours and teachers this Christmas!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small grapefruit
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 sweet or Seville orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1.75/3 pints water
  • 1.4kg/3lb 1oz granulated sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp. whisky *
  • Edible gold glitter
  • Additional Items:
  • Muslin bag or piece of muslin
  • Short piece of string
  • Jam jars
  • Labels
  • Decorations: glue, scissors, dried fruit, ribbon etc.

* We would recommend a rounded, sweet Speyside Scotch like Glenrothes whisky and we loved the sound of Ginger Spice 1988 by Wemyss Malts although it could be a little pricey for cooking!

Directions:

Wash and juice the fruit, then pour into a large lidded pan and add the water.

Using a small sharp knife, scrape out the fruits pips and inner membranes. Put the membranes in a food processor and chop finely. Then, move the pips and chopped membranes into a piece of muslin and tie with string – add this to the pan.

Tear the citrus fruit peel (thick or thin) and add to the pan.

Place the fresh cranberries in a microwaveable bowl and warm in the microwave until soft. Add both the cranberries and the cinnamon stick to the pan and set aside to soak for a few hours, or overnight if possible.

When you return, put the pan on a med-high heat and ensure the lid is covering the pan. Once the pan has begun to boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for two hours until the peel is very tender.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 140°C/120 fan oven. Pour the sugar into a baking dish and place in the oven until warm. Carefully remove the muslin bag from the pan, squeeze all liquid from the bag through a sieve to add flavor to the pan. Discard the muslin bag.

Spoon out the cinnamon stick and cranberries, then squeeze the softened cranberries into the pan and add small shredded pieces of cranberry skin.

Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then add the warmed sugar to the pan and mix in until dissolved. Bring the pan to boil. After five minutes, scoop out a large spoonful of marmalade, allow the mixture to cool a little and slowly pour back into the pan. This will test the setting point of the mixture. If the drops run together to form a hanging flake, it is at setting point. This process can take up to 30 minutes so keep testing.

Once at setting point, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes. A skin should form on the surface so remove any scum present after 10minutes.

Add the whisky and a sprinkle of edible glitter to the pan and gently stir the marmalade to ensure even distribution of the alcohol and fruit peel.

Then pour the mixture into the clean decorated jars and seal, leaving upright and undisturbed to set.

Not only will this taste great on toast or crumpets, but you could also use this marmalade in lots of recipes such as marmalade bread and butter pudding, goat’s cheese and marmalade stuffed chicken breast, grilled marmalade marinated steak etc.

You could even put together a small booklet or leaflet with these recipe ideas to accompany your Merry Malt Marmalade Christmas gift!

Nov 13

Staff Picks - November 2015: First loves and Old Flames.

Posted on 13th November 2015 by Pierre

This month’s staff picks collection is inspired by a conversation we were having here at Whisky Marketplace HQ about how we fell in love with whisky and, more importantly, which whiskies made that happen. Our 'first loves' if you will. Not the rarest or most expensive whiskies we’ve ever tasted but the whiskies which really started our journey. Expressions that keep us coming back for more.

The drams that made us fall in love with whisky

I’m sure most of you can relate to the experience, you may have tried whisky on a number of occasions before you really caught the bug. And then you tried a whisky, or went to a tasting, and suddenly you were hooked.

So we thought we’d revisit some old flames for our November picks with classics from Lagavulin distillery on the island of Islay; Oban on the west coast of Scotland; Islay's rugged Ardbeg distillery; and a Glenfarclas whisky from the family run Speyside distillery.

We hope you enjoy the selection. What were your first whisky loves?

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

This may well have been the second ‘proper’ single malt I bought. Layers of warm peat and marmalade, sweet and earthy. Readily available but always wonderful this remains a staple of my whisky cabinet. And few would disagree with my assertion that this should be considered one of the finest 'standard' O.B.s on the market.

£52.99 at www.masterofmalt.com

Oban 14 Year Old

Oban 14 Year Old

A maritime whisky, with peat smoke and salty goodness. Not as rugged or outright peaty as some of the more aggressive Islay whiskies. This was not only one of the first single malts I tried, it also sowed the seed of my fascination with all things peaty. And it still has a place in my cabinet.

£42.90 at www.thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Ardbeg Uigeadail

Ardbeg Uigeadail

Ardbeg’s classic output is bourbon barrel matured - pale in colour, strong in flavour - but this expression has a strong sherry influence and is bottled at cask strength. As such it adds layers of christmas cake and spicy fruit to the more typical Ardbeg notes of peaty, smoked almonds and vanilla. It doesn’t matter where my whisky journey takes me I still come back for more.

£54.13 at www.masterofmalt.com

Glenfarclas 15 Year Old

Glenfarclas 15 Year Old

For me, before peat there was sherry. What I mean by that is the moment I realised that whisky could be more than an old man’s back bar spirit was when I tasted the fruitcake notes of a sherry matured single malt for the first time. And Glenfarclas 15 was the dram that did. I’ve since had the good fortune to taste some of the distillery’s more exclusive expressions but there will always be a place in my heart for the 15 years old.

£43.90 at www.thewhiskybarrel.co.uk