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Liquid gold

There’s nothing like a wee dram of Scotland’s premier export to blow away the cobwebs. We sampled eight of the finest…

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Glenlivet 18-year-old
43% abv
A consistent award winner and perfect for an after-dinner dram with its notes of toffee and butterscotch. Also one of the best value single malts on the market.

Nose: Fragrant, elegant and complex with a sweet oakiness which leads the way to heady floral notes.
Palate: Smooth and velvety, with a firm foundation. Sweetness followed by a burst of spices and dry oak.
Finish: Lasting, oaky and gingery with distant smoke.
Colour: Old gold, ripe apricot hues

Laphroaig Quarter Cask
48% abv
Distilled in smaller casks for quicker maturation, the intense peaty and medicinal overtones might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is none-the-less a hearty and satisfying tipple.

Nose: Powerful smoke, sweet malt, wet turf and coal. Develops chocolate and cinnamon.
Palate: Full bodied, rich and mouth coating. Delicious sweet malt and rich peat, woodsmoke
Finish: Very strong, sweet and smoky with the coal lingering the longest
Colour: Wheat field.

Glenrothes 1985 Vintage
43% abv
Perhaps the epitome of the extravagant dram, the 1985 vintage is released in strict accordance with the distiller’s bottling policy and is every bit as special as you’d imagine.

Nose: Nutty and fruity with herbal and vanilla notes, grapefruit and hazelnuts.
Palate: Rich and spicy with more vanilla, grapefruit and hazelnuts. Some honey and marmalade emerge
Finish: Lengthy and medium sweet with brittle toffee.
Colour: Hazel.

Ardberg 25-year-old
46% abv
A generally peaty, rich, smooth and very complex distiller, Ardbeg produces a consistent range of premium and celebrated single malts. This is truly the cream of the crop.

Nose: Gentle and complex, sea air and smokiness with evocations of marmalade and leather.
Palate: Silky smooth with a touch of fruit, notably lemons with a nutty finish. Later peppery.
Finish: Long with a touch of smoke, beautifully balanced.
Colour: Light gold.

Lagavulin 16 Years Old
43% abv
A peat-smoke hit typical of southern Islay but also the most pungent. Deep, dry and representative of the ‘classic malts’, Lagavulin is not for the feint hearted.

Nose: Ripe berries, peaty with maritime undertones. Bergamot scented woodsmoke.
Palate: Slightly sweet some peat with notes of licorice, walnuts and hints of toffee.
Finish: Long and quite dry, darker and peatier than the main palate
Colour: Amber.

Aberlour A’bunadh
58-63% abv
Non chill-filtered and robustly intoxicating, each bottle of A’bundah is labelled with its batch number which accounts for the slight variation in strength and colour.

Nose: Oloroso sherry, mint, pralines. Luxurious with some raisins, orange peel and spice.
Palate: Very rich and creamy, with just a hint of mint and cherries behind.Bold and powerful.
Finish: Nougat, cherry brandy, ginger, faint smoke. An after-dinner dram.
Colour: Deep amber.

Talisker 18 Year Old
45.8% abv
Voted ‘Best Single Malt Whisky in the World 2007’, the Talisker 18 Year Old is a masterpiece from one of Scotland’s greatest distilleries – a stunning balance of peat and spice

Nose: Rich and fruity, dried orange peel with butterscotch, rum or toffee with a thread of smoke
Palate: Sweet in front, later more assertive with a whiff of smoke. Warms toward coal-tar and toffee.
Finish: Medium length with a characteristic touch of chilli.
Colour: Amber.

Balvenie Port Wood
40% abv
This Balvenie is aged 21 years and has an extra level of depth and concentration of flavour thanks to an additional period of maturation in 30-year-old Port pipes.

Nose: Big and bold, tropical fruit, honey, banana with hints of spice and some oak
Palate: Smooth and balanced, honey orange marmalade, toast and vanilla with oaky notes
Finish: Long and smooth, peppery. Warm and delicate.
Colour: Full gold

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