‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, except the parents who were bored of the tradition of leaving a sherry out for Father Christmas and instead wondered what new world whisky would be best for the big man. From a practical perspective, whisky not only ups the quality of his drinking experience and has potential health benefits, but a wee dram will also keep him warm on a chilly winters’ night. But what whisky would be best for this newcomer to the world of whisky? As we finish another year of whisky exploration, I thought we could recommend some ideal stops for him to make this evening during his wondrous travel around the globe, and we have picked 12 great drams that are a perfect way to sample the delights of the new world…
New Zealand is an early stop off and it's definitely worth trying a delightful Whisky from the Cardrona Distillery in the Southern Alps on the South Island; A female lead team that creates some wonderful cask strength whiskies. Our personal favourite is the Growing Wings Solera, which is a celebration of 5-years in oak, providing notes of pecan pie, treacle, vanilla and clotted cream… Kia Ora!
Next up, Santa will drop into Australia and a perfect way to experience four seasons in one day is a stop off in Melbourne to grab a dram from Starward; a very forward-thinking distillery that produces full-bodied and flavourful whiskies using craft beer knowledge and elemental maturation in some big Australian red wine barrels. Starward Fortis captures all of this, with notes of vanilla pods, chocolate, raisins, cinnamon, and banana bread… Cheers mate!
As his journey passes through Africa and up towards Europe, there is the chance to stop in the land of milk & honey and find a distillery of the same name in the vibrant city of Tel Aviv. 300 days of sun a year and extreme conditions produce some amazing whiskies in just 3-years, with M&H Classic capturing the heart of the distillery with flavours of vanilla, caramel, honey, oak and maltiness… L’chaim!
His journey then hits the Nordics, where he could be surprised at the variation and opportunities to try some truly unique single malts. First up is the wonderfully different Wood Smoke from Kyrö; a 100% Finnish Malt Rye Whisky distillery that uses Alder wood to dry out the Rye, adding a hint of smoke to the mix of vanilla, caramel, pepper, orange, and spice… Kippis!
A quick trip across the Gulf of Bothnia and we are in Sweden, where we find Mackmyra who definitely capture the essence of doing things a different way; with a gravity distillery and maturation in mines. Svesk Rok (Swedish Smoke) is a big favourite of ours, providing juniper-infused peat smoke to a sweet mix of vanilla, fudge, anise, and green fruits… Skål!
Carefully cross ‘the bridge’ in one piece and he will find himself in Denmark, where Stauning Distillery, driven by curiosity and the willingness to experiment, have become pioneers. Their Rye Belize Rum Cask Finish is a cracking dram with notes of tobacco, orchard fruits, caramel and liquorice… Jubel!
Santa will then be with us in the UK and will be amazed to see that England now has 30 distilleries producing some fantastic single malts. A big favourite is The Lakes, a sherry-led, wood-forward and flavour packed style whisky distillery. The ever-evolving Whiskymakers Reserve series provides a journey through the thought processes of whisky making, with the latest edition being the best so far (in our opinion), with notes of baklava, cream, spices, papaya, and a hint of coffee… Cheers!
Head into Wales and we find Penderyn, an experimental whisky distillery that has a very unique Faraday Still and creates some fantastic whiskies. Hireath is part of their Icons of Wales Series and is about a longing for something, a more full-bodied style with notes of melon, vanilla, and spices… Lechyd da!
As he climbs up north and reaches Scotland, I’m sure he would have tried the delights this country has offered for many years. However, there are some new players that are leading the way with diversity and sustainability. Nc’nean was founded by Anabel and is focused on changing the way the world thinks about Scotch Whisky. Their Organic Single Malt is bright and fruity with notes of lemon posset, peach, apricot, and spiced rye bread… Slainte Mhath!
His long journey across the Atlantic will start from the Emerald Isle, where we have discovered Sailors Home who blend, age and finish to produce some wonderful whiskies. The Journey is a whisky for the explorer and provides notes of tropical fruits, rum, sticky toffee, malty depth, and a sweet finish… Slainte!
When he lands in the US, Santa will be busy but should make time to stop off in California Wine country to find Sonoma Distillery that craft authentic and unpretentious products. Their Cherrywood Smoked Bourbon is an absolute favourite of ours, with flavours of cocktail cherries, oak, spice, and a hint of smoke. Awesome in an Old Fashioned… Cheers!
As his journey draws to a close, there is a delight waiting for him in Mexico; Abasolo. Using 100% Cacahuazintle corn, which has been passed down through over 200 generations, and makes innovative use of 4,000-year-old cooking techniques to produce a whisky filled with notes of roasted corn, honey, vanilla, black tea, and leather… Salud!
I am pretty jealous of the opportunities Santa will have this evening to (responsibly) explore the new world of whisky. Luckily, I am now a secret Santa myself so will definitely be grabbing one of these, and our Whisky Journey has enabled us to enjoy many of these already, with some others planned for the new year. So, whatever tipple you decide to leave out for Father Christmas this year, the new world of whisky has you covered.
Not got any in stock, then check out The Shop, or why not think about signing up for The Journey (our monthly whisky subscription) and get ready to explore the new world of whisky in 2023.
Have a Merry Christmas...
The Whisky Nest team