This is one of the largest and most diverse Outturns I have witnessed in many years at the Society. It includes bottlings from distilleries we haven’t seen from in at least five years to the widest assortment of cask types, colours, flavours and ages. I’ve picked out seven bottlings from the 45 on offer in this Outturn that should tick most boxes this festive season – and not one Tasting Note has a Christmas cake reference in it!
As soon as the autumn winds arrive I already have my feet pointing towards the sun. The nose reminds me of the perfume of an air hostess greeting me off the plane in a hot climate. This uplifting dram has tropical fruits, papaya, apple and mango, particularly reminding me of the leftover fruit at the bottom of a sangria bowl. A little water relaxes the spirit, letting all the lively tension escape and relaxes the body and soul while laying on a beach listening to Sitting on the dock of the bay by Otis Redding.
For those who want to celebrate Christmas in the sun.
* (only available in the bottle trio offer)
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Age: 15 years
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon
Bottle Price: £59.80
This has a soft and subtle spiced nose, similar to turmeric and powdered ginger. The palate is heavy and multi-layered, I feel it’s the quiet one at a party, shy at the start but as the night goes on more of its character comes out. A little hand heat released dark fruits and flamed orange peel. Be careful with water as the spirit thins quickly, too much will scare the flavours away. This is a timid wee beastie!
For those who like to have a time out in the party for reflection before returning re-energised.
Age: 16 years
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon
Bottle Price: £130
This has an uplifting, clean nose like fresh sea air on a windy day. The oily texture produced by this distillery focuses the senses and the finish sparkles through the nervous system. If the feelings of all my “first times” were to be encapsulated into a dram this would be it. The anticipation, the nerves, the tingles, the blissful realisation of satisfaction is exactly how I feel after doing something new. From the first kiss to my first skydive this stunning Campbeltown bottling helps me relive it again and again. The freshness is along the lines of spearmint, baby oil, yellow mice chocolates, frozen grapes and the salt rim from a margarita. Adding water aids the feeling of accomplishment and keeps the smile on your face with mint schnapps, oysters in red wine vinaigrette and samphire.
For after the office party with that someone you cause trouble with…
*Only available in the case
Age: 9 years
Cask: 1st fill ex-bourbon
Bottle Price: £58.50
On the nose this would be perfect as a pre-dessert palate cleanser, with subtle butterscotch and honeycomb. There is a light honeycomb texture, dare I say….an over-honeyed hot toddy with orange and clove – such an easy drinking dram, nectar in a glass. Water keeps the sweetness well and lightens the spirit with raw vanilla pods and whipped double cream emerging. This is my favourite out of the seven as 24 hours later I’m still thinking about it!
For the family chef in between serving courses.
Age: 17 years
Cask: 2nd fill ex-bourbon
Bottle Price: £78
This colour is striking, an outstanding deep amber with old tapestry, dried dates, figs and star anise warming the nose. It slides over the tongue just like any other bottling from distillery 26 I’ve had, coating the mouth with a waxy cinnamon spice. This would pair very well with a Cohiba Siglo IV cigar. Water draws forward your stewed autumn fruits, particularly prunes, figs, dates and rum-soaked cherries. This pairs excellently with all your meats, but I would save it for the cheese board.
For the first time you host the in-laws and want to impress.
Age: 21 years
Cask: 1st fill ex-PX sherry butt
Bottle Price: £125
This has a beautiful old mahogany colour to it and already looks “older” than it really is. The nose includes, but is not limited to, burnt sugar, a log-fired stove cooking rye bread, stewing fruits and muscatel sweetness. The mouthfeel is light, yet chewy. There is an interesting sweetness like candied apples and brandy butter. Dried raisins and cloves arrive with water, flambeed bananas in brandy and a charred ham hock are released with water.
For sharing with the sherry monsters in your life.
Age: 16 years
Cask: Refill ex-sherry butt
Bottle Price: £63
There is a beautiful smoked cured meat nose, crispy pancetta and Parma ham cooked in an open log oven. Considering the age, the palate is very well balanced between the peat reek and meatiness showing lots of roast beef, glazed ham and Chinese spiced pork chops on a BBQ with a sweetness coming from roasting marshmallows and a Beurre noisette sauce trickled over freshly boiled lobster. Water softens the smoke and releases the delights of the muscatel cask, sweet grapes, mango, crab meat and lobster flesh doused in the Beurre Noisette and capers sauce, pork belly and spicy bloody Mary back up this interesting wee dram.
For taking to a dinner party hoping that no one else enjoys a peaty whisky!
Age: 11 years
Cask: 1st fill moscatel hogshead
Bottle Price: £56.50
Looking for something else? There’s no shortage of options in our huge Outturn. To see all 45 bottlings, click here.
For more ideas from our Christmas Whisky Gift Guide, click here.
Check out Andrew’s three top picks from the November Outturn below