James McIntosh – co-founder of ‘wild water’ whisky mixer Larkfire – has compiled the list after visiting more than 50 distilleries in Scotland in the past four months.
James, who likes to add a splash of Larkfire to the whiskies recommended below, has put together tasting notes for those looking to try something different this Burns Night:
1) The GlenAllachie (Cask Strength, 10-year-old):
We love The GlenAllachie distillery and the people there. It’s a definite must-visit on the whisky trail. This particular whisky has a nose of heather, honey, toffee apples, and a taste of vanilla with Caribbean spices. Billy Walker, co-founder of The GlenAllachie, is a legend in the industry, and won the Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year at the Icons of Whisky Awards in December.
2) Glengoyne (18-year-old):
This is a picture-perfect distillery. We recommend the 18-year-old expression, which uses 50% first-fill sherry casks. It has a tremendous depth and mouth feel, with a taste not unlike a lightly spiced apple strudel.
3) Bunnahabhain, Caorag:
Caorag – or ‘small-peat’ in Scottish Gaelic – is a hand-filled exclusive distillery release. A perfect balance with a sweet sherry influence and warming peaty flavour. It’s perfect for a dark January night.
4) Scapa, The Orcadian:
This whisky offers a very sophisticated, honeyed flavour. It’s mellow and easy-drinking with a very delicate taste. Worth trying in a Mizuwari-style, served using Larkfire.
5) Aberfeldy (12-year-old):
A fantastic whisky with a longer fermentation period, encouraging a honeyed sweetness which works nicely with its little hint of spice. A beautiful Highland single malt, an absolute triumph.
6) Blair Athol (12-year-old):
A fantastic, rich, sweet Highland single malt, from the Flora & Fauna range. Notes include dried apricots and treacle toffee. We enjoyed drinking this at the unique Mash Tun tasting bar, which certainly adds to the experience.
Find out more about Larkfire here