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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 22: Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt

by Whisky Santa     22. December 2014 00:00

Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt The Journey

Antarctica? Pah. They have land beneath their ice and snow, that's cheating. And all those penguins that a certain retailer seems to think have something to do with Christmas!? No, no, no. The Arctic, that's the place for me. Polar bears, reindeer, narwhals and Father Pugmas. North side massive.

In fact, it wasn't until Ranulph Fiennes popped by for tea a few years back that I gave much thought to the likes of Ernest Shackleton, who always seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with the wrong pole for my liking. Chose a great whisky for his men back in 1907 though did ol' Ernest, so I was delighted when Richard Paterson recreated it (twice) over one hundred years later! The Journey blended malt contains rare Glen Mhor (1980) and heavily-peated Dalmore(!) as well as whiskies from Glenfarclas, Mannochmore, Tamnavulin, Ben Nevis, Aultmore, Fettercairn, Pulteney and Jura.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 21: Mortlach Rare Old

by Whisky Santa     21. December 2014 00:00

Mortlach Rare Old

Time for us all to open the 21st window of our Whisky Advent Calendars! And inside it's... a new look single malt Scotch whisky from Dufftown in Speyside. A whole new expression from Mortlach to be precise, a distillery that was founded back in the 1820s and you may know best from their 16yo 'Flora & Fauna' release featuring a Goldeneye duck. (James Pond, anyone?)

With past distillery releases few and far between, Mortlach (or 'duck massacre') now has its own shiny new core range! Time to jump in with Rare Old, which has a greater bourbon cask influence than you may expect alongside the more familiar Sherried spirit.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 20: Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps

by Whisky Santa     20. December 2014 00:00

The Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps

Day 20! There's really not long left before Christmas, is there? Hopefully you've been enjoying your Whisky Advent Calendars day by day and are ready for another lovely single grain Scotch whisky!

Today it's the turn of The Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps from William Grant & Sons. I've got quite a sweet tooth, and as such quite enjoy this dram. It's not quite as sweet as a Penguin (biscuit) or a Snowball (cake???), which I do quite enjoy finding left out for me on Christmas Eve, but I think I'd rather a glass of this. And there's never been a better time to buy (or win) one than today...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 19: Timorous Beastie

by Whisky Santa     19. December 2014 00:00

Timorous Beastie

'Twas six nights before Christmas, when all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring, except for a mouse!

Not just the situation in Jake from Master of Malt's home, but also in the homes of all those with Whisky Advent Calendars. In the latter case though, the mouse in question is fortunately none other than Douglas Laing's Timorous Beastie! A tongue in cheek name for a corker of a Highland blended malt that's created by the jolly folk behind one of my other favourites, Big Peat at Christmas. (Plus, I like his beard.)

Timorous Beastie is made exclusively with malts from Highland distilleries including Dalmore, Glen Garioch and Glengoyne!

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 18: Arran - Batch 4 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

by Whisky Santa     18. December 2014 00:00

Arran Batch 4 That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Followers of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's batches of Arran single malt Scotch whisky will know that the label features Boutique-y illustrator Emily Chappell stranded on a desert island. Not the most festive of scenes, perhaps, except if you look carefully at Batch 4 you'll see that she's actually put up her Christmas tree!

An appropriate choice for day 18 of the Whisky Advent Calendar then! There's even some festive spice and warming rye-style notes in this batch, although it's very much still a charming Arran, and I'm rather partial to a charming Arran...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 17: Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

by Whisky Santa     17. December 2014 00:00

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Plenty of Japanese whisky in the news lately, of course, but we all know that Japan has been making fantastic whiskies for years, don't we? Behind window 17 of your Whisky Advent Calendars you'll find a belter of a Japanese whisky from Masataka Taketsuru's Nikka, which founded its first distillery back in 1934.

Masataka's fascinating life and his relationship with his Scottish wife Rita Cowan recently became the topic of a popular Japanese television drama. I'd recommend it but it is in Japanese and I know you're not all fluent like me. (Omniscience, isn't it.)

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel, meanwhile, is delicious, powerful and also entirely affordable. In fact, after trying a dram you may not be able to resist buying a whole (very stylish) bottle, and if that's the case you should definitely keep reading...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 16: Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old

by Whisky Santa     16. December 2014 00:00

Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve

Day 16 brings with it a second Irish whiskey in your Whisky Advent Calendars. You'd think the fact Tullamore D.E.W. didn't have its own distillery between 1954 and 2014 might be a slight problem, but the brand became the second best selling Irish whiskey in the world during that time! Owned by William Grant since 2010, spirit has now been running at the Tullamore distillery since September and will in time provide all the spirit they need.

This 12 Year Old Special Reserve of theirs though, it was a travel retail release originally, which tends to get on my Oreamnos americanus. I mean, how many people clock up more air miles than me?! And yet I still can't get my hands on a number of new releases just because I don't happen to use inefficient muggle non-supernatural transportation methods. Fortunately, many of these whiskies (including this Tullamore D.E.W.) graduate to their brand's main ranges. Ho, yes!

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 15: Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon

by Whisky Santa     15. December 2014 00:00

Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon

I listen to a lot of music when I'm out in my sleigh on Christmas Eve. 'Blue Christmas' by Elvis, 'Lonely This Christmas' by Mud, 'Christmas in Hollis' by Run-D.M.C.. You know, the hits. I do have one tradition, though. Whenever I head through Little Rock, Arkansas, to leave presents for the chaps at the Rock Town Distillery, I always listen to 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' by Brenda Lee, 'Rockin' Robin' by the Jackson 5 and of course 'Let There Be Rock' by AC/DC.

Speaking of the Rock Town Distillery, you'll find a dram of their ace Arkansas Bourbon Whiskey behind window 15 of your Whisky Advent Calendars! Delicious stuff, packed with raisin, corn and vanilla notes.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 14: Balvenie 12 YO Single Barrel

by Whisky Santa     14. December 2014 00:00

Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill

Day 14 is upon us, which means two things...

1) We're 10 days away from Christmas. This could either instil joy or fear into your heart, dependent on whether you've figured out what gifts you're going to get everyone. (By the way, do you think the reindeer will mind getting a hamper full of carrots for the 18th year running?)

2) Behind the window of your Whisky Advent Calendars today, you'll be finding a delicious dram of IWSC Trophy-winning Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel - First Fill! A superb single malt from the spectacular Speyside distillery, matured in first fill bourbon casks, with each bottle being one of no more than 300 drawn from a single cask. Top quality mince pie accompaniment, this is.

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 13: Paul John Edited

by Whisky Santa     13. December 2014 00:00

Paul John Edited

Indian single malt, eh? Something you may or may not have tried before, but as a man of the world I can assure you that top quality whisky is now being produced across the globe! The Paul John you'll find in the Whisky Advent Calendar today is produced in Goa, India by John Distilleries and their master distiller, Michael John (amusingly, no relation).

Their Edited expression is made using whiskies produced from both Indian 6-row barley from the Himalayan foothills and peated barley from Scotland, with the final single malt containing 15% of the peated spirit. It's matured in bourbon casks for probably around 3-5 years but, as with fellow Indian whisky Amrut, the tropical climate causes greater evaporation (around 12-13% a year compared to 'only' 2% or so in Scotland). This in turn means they effectively mature faster and even if there's no real substitute for time, the results are darned impressive!

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