Whisky

Our selection of the new and the notable from the best British drinks producers.
Visit Drinks of the Month for this month's Variety Show

Port and a Storm

Talisker fan James Forbes heads to Opium, a Chinatown speakeasy to meet two new members of the family, Storm and Port Ruighe in the company of Diageo’s Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador, Donald Colville

Less a tasting, more a “sensory experience”  – burning peat, brine and dry ice sea fog effects, glasses filled with coffee, pepper, vanilla and strawberries – were all on hand and Donald used these to prompt the mood and flavours of the whisky we were tasting...

Tamdhu Ten Year Old

With its distinctive retro bottle shape the newly re-launched Tamdhu Ten Year Old certainly stands out. And the liquid contained within is a lovely drop, in the classic Speyside style.

40% / 70cl, £35, Waitrose and specialist retailers.

Talisker Storm

The latest release from Talisker distillery, Storm turns up the smoke and adds a touch more sherry to the mix.

45.8% / 70cl, £40, Royal Mile Whiskies and other specialist retailers.

Ardbeg Ten Year Old

A big bold sea-breeze of a whisky, Ardbeg 10 fills your head with sweet smoke and wakes you up with a powerful, warming finish.

A great dram for the hipflask on a long walk in wild weather.

46% / 70cl, about £40, widely available

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Heavy, even oily, and powerfully peated, Lagavulin 16 Year Old is a whisky which attracts devoted followers. The robust palate and long woodsmoke finish makes it a great cold weather dram.

In the past, before single malts became widely popular, Lagavulin was an important part of the White Horse blend, but these days it is prized more for its own unique flavours.

43%/70cl, around £47, widely available.

Isle of Arran Robert Burns Malt

Arran Robert Burns Malt bottle

Distillers often invoke the name of Robert Burns. It's hardly surprising. We toast his memory in whisky every January 25th. Burns wrote about whisky, he worked for a time as an excise man, he was fond of a dram. I wonder what he would have made of this one, from the Isle Arran Distillery?

40%/70cl around £30 from Master of Malt, the Good Spirits Co, and other specialist retailers.

Compass Box Flaming Heart

We have written previously about Compass Box, the independent whisky bottler with a flair for dramatic names.

Their latest release, the 2012 edition Flaming Heart, matches its name with a big, bold whisky.

A great dram to warm up with when the weather turns cold.

48.9%/70cl, £80-85, from The Whisky Exchange and other specialist retailers

Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve

glenfiddich 15 Year Old bottle and glassMellow and gentle, the 'Fiddich 15 could easily persuade you that it's a sofa dram, a whisky for when you want to switch off.

But sit up and take a deeper sniff and the whisky starts to reveal all sorts of sophisticated flavours – this is a complex malt which offers pleasure on several levels.

40%/70cl, around £40, widely available.

Glenfiddich 12 Year Old

The first aroma to greet you on opening a bottle of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old is always sweet green fruit. Pour a dram and let it rest a minute, and then a toffee note comes through, followed by a light woody spice. But add a splash of water – Glenfiddich takes very well to water – and the green pears return in spades.

The 'Fiddich 12 makes a great summer dram, so get some in your hip flask the next time you're out and about.

70cl/40%, available everywhere (it's the world's most popular malt whisky, after all!)

Glengoyne 17 Year Old

The Glengoyne 17 Year Old doesn't mess about – this is a big sherried whisky, packed with raisin, chocolate, smoky coffee and plenty more.

Of all the Glengoyne whiskies I've tasted, this has the best balance and the most interest. There is great complexity on the nose – it's a true meditiation dram.

70cl/43%, about £55 from The Good Spirits Co, Oddbins, or other specialist retailers.