Warming Winter Whiskey…. That’s Not Scotch

By Adam Friday 31st Jan, 2014

On these dark and damp nights, you want a drink that’s going to comfort. A drink that is going to give you that nice warm feeling and soften the winter blues. A glass of red wine may do the trick in the short term but towards the end of the night, it can get a bit samey. Which is where a nice tumbler of whiskey comes in.

The whiskey marketing men have conditioned us well over the years – whiskey is the refined drink. The drink of high flying champions. If you aren’t drinking whiskey, then you’re backwards.

We’re all dapper chaps here right? Our word is our bond? Chatham House rules right…? So as men of the world, lets admit something to each other – Whisky isn’t the nicest of drinks. It can be a horrendous experience. Antiseptic, shudder inducing liquid that if people were honest, they don’t really enjoy. A tumbler of TCP anyone? No – didn’t think so.

The likes of Jack Daniels and other bourbons are sold with the intention of being mixed, which dilutes the taste. What kind of drink needs to have taste hidden to be palatable?! But they are bourbons, and they aren’t what we are looking at here.

If you follow the whiskey marketing spend, you end up with Johnnie Walker and Chivas. Both well renowned whiskeys but here’s the kicker, they only get good once you commit. You need to spend hundreds of pounds on a good bottle of JW (blue or black or whatever the top colour is these days) before you get a good glass of whiskey that is palatable unmixed.

A few years back I had the dubious pleasure of working on a whiskey brand. I say dubious pleasure because as the pitch drew closer the number of different bottles of whiskeys we were having to try increased which when you’re still trying to keep up the pretence that you like whiskey, gets a little trying.

Anyway, the pitch went well and we won the business which included a trip to the distillery in Ireland to ‘immerse in the brand’…It was during this time that I made some important learnings…

1.     A little drop of water in the glass helps release the flavours aka it tastes nicer

2.     Tiny sips are the key to enjoying such a strong drink- Literally, just let it flavour the tip of your tongue.

3.     Not all whiskey tastes bad. And further to that, you don’t have to pay exorbitantly for that privilege.


Enter Bushmills 10yr Old Single Malt – it balances the line of being affordable (£30 from Amazon) and tasting good.


Who are these guys?

Bushmills is a small distillery on the North coast of Ireland. Its not a big brand but it is old. The oldest whiskey brand in the world in fact, but who cares about the marketing messages, what does it taste like?

They Say:

Melted chocolate that rests on the tongue before releasing a hint of honey in your cheeks.

I say:

Very smooth and easy to drink. None of the acidic sharpness of Scottish whisky. Its almost creamy in its aftertaste.


Sure, Bushmills might not be as fashionable or recognisable at the bar as the big brands, but in choosing it and eschewing the marketing mans pleas, it will mark you out as a dapper chapter of distinction as well as giving you a nice addition to the hip flask.

Entry from Guest Dapper Chapper.