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World Whisky Day – 20th May

World Whisky Day – 20th May

Raise a glass on World Whisky Day

May 18th, 2023

Are you a whisky drinker or would you like to be one? Then as it’s World Whisky Day on 20th May this is the perfect time to try a ‘wee dram’ as they say in Scotland.

World Whisky Day is celebrated across every corner of the globe, with Scotch, Irish, American Bourbon and many other whisky variations proving to be in demand.

We have compiled a list of whiskies of the moment, some are robust and smoky, others smooth and creamy, whatever you choose you’re sure to enjoy a glass this World Whisky Day.

Howler Head Whisky, £25.95 Master of Malt

Carefully crafted at Green River Distilling Co. in Kentucky, USA with a proprietary yeast, the finest grains and mineral-rich water filtered through limestone. Distilled in a 100-year-old Vendome all-copper still. The resulting spirit is then aged for two years in American white oak barrels with a #4 “alligator” char in traditional wood rick houses. Following this process, the spirit is then blended with banana flavour, leaving a subtle sweet kick of banana on the finish.

Ardgowan Distillery, Clydebuilt Sailmaker, £52.50 Ardgowan Distillery

A unique blended malt combining six distinctive whiskies from Highland, Lowland and Speyside Distilleries. Each of these whiskies has matured in first fill Oloroso Sherry casks. On the nose it’s peppery with a balance of dried spices, stone fruits, fresh nectarines, chocolate truffles, and Seville orange marmalade. The palate relaxes slowly to reveal butterscotch, marzipan, mangoes, and a hint of vanilla essence. The finish is raisins and spice.

Berry Bros & Rudd, Glen Elgin 2013, £70 BBR Spirits

The nose opens with Glen Elgin’s trademark burnt marmalade notes, alongside apples and pears. Time in the glass brings forward notes of crème brûlée with spiced cream. The palate is muscular, where a perfect balance of fruit and oak waltz over the tongue.

Uhuru Spirits Whisky, £54.99 Uhuru Spirits

A whisky to be enjoyed anywhere, anytime. Uhuru is a passion project with a purpose, with 10% of its net profits donated to charity Tusk, which supports African wildlife conservation. A warming 12-year old blended malt.

GlenDronach Cask Strength, Batch 12, £75 GlenDronach Distillery

The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 12 boasts depths of sherry as it was matured slowly in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks from Andalucía, Spain. On the nose a rich mocha and creamy cappuccino meld with orange and raisin-filled fruit cake, cherry liqueur and sandalwood. A swathe of velvety spice reveals dark chocolate tiramisu topped with flamed Seville orange peel, toasted almond, and crystallised ginger on the palate. The finish is a lingering of amaretto-laced mocha, morello cherry, and sultana on caramelised crème brûlée.

Ardbeg, Limited Edition Heavy Vapours, £120 Ardbeg

Defined by its distinctive profile of pungent earthiness, aromatic clouds of dark chocolate, a billow of aniseed and cinnamon, and a lingering tang of sharp peppermint, Heavy Vapours is the ultimate experimental Islay single malt scotch whisky matured in classic Ardbeg casks.

Glasgow Distillery, Malt Riot Vat No.6, £28 The Glasgow Distillery Co.

Malt Riot Vat No.6 is a blend of hand-picked single malt whiskies from across Scotland with Glasgow 1770 Single Malt at its heart. Notes of pears and apricots combine with sweet vanilla and toffee apples leading to a lightly spicy finish.

Jura, Pale Ale Cask Whisky, £36, Tesco

Jura Pale Ale Cask edition opens with aromas of honeyed cereal, vanilla spice and hints of pineapple. Bright and fruity on the palate, there are notes of sweet citrus and a subtle, tropical hop character. This is rounded off with vanilla and a smooth and creamy finish.

Benriach, The Twelve, £42.95 Master of Malt

Benriach spirit is three cask matured for at least twelve years in sherry casks, bourbon barrels, and port casks. The whisky from each cask is then expertly married together to create a smooth, sherry-rich single malt, layered with baked fruit, maple honey and cocoa, perfectly balanced with a lingering sultana and spiced mocha finish.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, DARK ’N’ STORMY CRÈME BRÛLÉE (from the 2023 FESTIVAL RARE RELEASES), £55 SMWS

A rich aroma of rum-soaked raisins, Turkish delight, cinnamon bagels and glacé cherries welcomed the Panel, bolstered by charred peaches, caramel popcorn and honey-roasted nuts. After the inviting nose, the taste neat came as quite a surprise – a spicy hit of chilli flakes followed by dry/bitter cask char. There was sweetness behind that attack, but it was difficult to get to the vanilla concentrate, fudge and toffee bonbons. Following reduction, we felt that someone had burned an exotic antique tea chest before rum-infused desserts took centre stage on the palate, including warm banana split in a rum sauce, a classic French rum baba ... and how about a dark ’n’ stormy crème brûlée?

SMWS Membership (become a member to buy the bottles!):

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was established in Edinburgh in 1983 by a few friends in Edinburgh sharing single cask whisky and experiencing a flavour epiphany. Forty years on, SMWS is a worldwide whisky club with almost 40,000 members who treasure flavour and the joy of shared experiences with whisky in its purest form. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded by ‘Maverick-in-Chief’ Pip Hills, out of a sense of adventure, an endless discovery of whisky, friendship and fun.

The Society offers a variety of membership options that can be tailored, starting at a price of £85. Members get exclusive access to SMWS whiskies and have access to four exclusive SMWS Members’ Rooms in Leith, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London along with a global network of 100 partner bars, partner bar discounts, colourful tasting events, whisky education and a monthly members magazine Unfiltered.

Rachel McAlley

Rachel McAlley

A veteran in global travel, Rachel also loves to explore hidden gems on home turf. She’s a writing connoisseur of Britain’s best hotels, luxury beauty products, and UK food and drink launches.