Firstly, let me start by wishing you all a very merry Christmas. 2022 has been yet another memorable year for many reasons, but how nice is it to finish on a bit of Christmas Spirit!
Not only do we get a well-earned rest, but we also get to enjoy a delicious tipple, whether that be in a cocktail, or straight up!
If you’re considering a little treat for yourself, or perhaps a special someone, then you won’t go far wrong with any of these!
Bushmills Irish Whiskey 10 Year Old single malt 40% abv
Whilst this may be Bushmills youngest offering, if you enjoy your Irish whiskies, then this is a very straight forward decision. Bushmills Irish Whiskey 10 Year Old single maltis
matured for a minimum of 10 years in bourbon-seasoned barrels and offers up fresh and zesty aromas of honey, vanilla and milk chocolate.
Triple distilled from 100% Irish malted barley, this was a winner of the 2007 World Whiskies Awards and earnt a place in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in 2013 (92.5 points). You can expect a delicious fruitiness (banana and vanilla thanks to both bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks) to the nose followed by a quick yet bold lasting floral finish. It’s very drinkable, the sort of bottle you’ll drink a little too easily then accuse your father in law of scrumping!
Thanks to it being so light, this doesn’t necessarily require a mixer, just add a few cubes of ice we say.
Nose: Cooked banana and tropical fruit.
Palate: Guava, cantaloupe melon, over-ripe white peach, vanilla and peels.
Finish: Floral, spicy finish.
However, this is also delicious when mixed with ginger ale and a slice of lime (one part Bushmills to three-four parts ginger ale).
A great budget whisky that will be very well received.
Master Of Malt £35
X MUSE Vodka 40% abv
X MUSE is such an incredibly versatile vodka. In fact its incredible purity makes it ideal to sip straight, have it on the rocks or become the ideal cocktail base. Personally, I’ve experimented with X MUSE in an Espresso Martini and it was special!
This particular version is the ‘Reveal Series’ which is available in Selfridges. The series spotlights contemporary artists via one-off commissions to design a collectible gift box. The inaugural edition sees X MUSE housed in a ‘folly’ conceived by Anglo-Argentinean artist Pablo Bronstein. The design echoes Bronstein’s Rose Walk at award-winning sculpture park and X MUSE’s spiritual home Jupiter Artland, just outside Edinburgh.
About: X MUSE is actually a blend of 2x vodkas distilled independently, from heritage barley strains. The spring water that makes up the liquid is from source at the Bonnington Estate, which is to the west of Edinburgh.
A crystal-clear liquid provides a pleasant earthy, slightly green fruity nose. On the palate the green fruit really jumps out, mixed with cider and a peppery spice, which leaves an oaty after taste.
For a vodka, this packs a lot of taste. There’s a silky purity to this liquid that is insane with a Dry Martini. Loving this too much! The price reflects a super-premium spirit, which I can safely say, it is!
Havana Club 15YO 40% abv
Quite possibly the rum drinker’s ultimate gift, Havana Club Añejo 15 Años is a blend of high-quality reserve rums aged in white oak barrels for at least 15 years. This is one to hang onto for special occasions, for those friends that you really like, or you are perfectly within your rights to keep this secret to yourself.
Havana Club Añejo 15 Años is a blend of high-quality reserve rums aged in white oak barrels for at least 15 years, and boasts a harmonious blend of dried fruits, prunes and raisin aromas.
It’s ‘another level’ rum, and something of a stand out in the drinks cabinet.
Nose: Honeyed and fruity. Peppery spice, floral.
Palate: Full, rich, dried, dark fruits. Dates and apples.
Finish: Something tropical with a little dark brown sugar and spice.
Master of Malt £143
Fettercairn 12YO 40% abv
Founded in 1824, Fettercairn distillery is located in the village of Fettercairn, near the Cairngorm mountains in the Scottish Highlands.
Their 12-year-old expression is matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks for its full maturation, before bottling at 40% abv. With its honey colouring Fettercairn 12, you get a hint as to its delicious caramel layers and pleasant highland malt flavour profile.
Nose: Refreshing tropical fruits and milk chocolate arrive first. This is followed by toffee, malty cereal oats and subtle roasted coffee.
Palate: Chocolate and caramel meets tropical fruit with a sweet and spicy depth.
Finish: Orchard fruits and soft spices linger.
I really like this as a sipper. No need for water, but pop in a couple of ice cubes to add to the refreshing flavours. A solid ‘yes’ from me!
The Whisky Shop £45
Elements of Islay Cask Edit 46% abv
Elements of Islay Cask Edit is part of the new core range trilogy alongside Sherry Cask and Bourbon Cask. Cask Edit is a composition, or edit, of refill, bourbon and sherry casks and is bottled at 46%. Bursting with flavour, there is something in here for every palate – a perfect blend of both smoke and sweet, but more smoke than sweet if you catch my drift.
For me, it’s a really smooth sipper, and something special to enjoy on ice over the festive period. For the price, it’s a no-brainer, buttery silk, layered with fruit and nuts, but with a core of smoke – heaps of personality.
Nose: Freshly brewed coffee, tempered with hot vanilla milk. Sugared almonds and white chocolate truffles are misted with light peat smoke. A fresh fruit basket brings balance.
Palate: Sweet, with mineral qualities. Vanilla smoke and wood caramel spice permeate through the smell of freshly baked butter croissants and hot, fruity coffee.
Finish: Lightly smoked and sweet spice – a bowl of fruit salad remains.
Master Of Malt £42
Bardinet Coffee Flavoured Brandy 28% ABV
Taking inspiration from French cafe culture, Bardinet have launched a new coffee flavoured brandy which combines arabica and robusta coffee flavours.
The flavour combination of sweet fruits and a strong bitter coffee offers an excellent array of recipes with their coffee spirit which bring together flavours of brandy, coffee, chocolate, vanilla – all smoothly combined into one absorbing beverage.
This delicious harmony of bittersweet flavours is recommended served neat over ice, in long drinks or mixed in cocktails; and there are so many incredible cocktails to choose from – we’ve dropped some in Black Russian, which was divine – but we’ll be experimenting with this incredible spirit in the future! Brandy Martini anyone?
A perfect warming drink, reminiscent of a strong Italian espresso – perfect for after Christmas dinner, or alongside coffee. Makes a cracking Espresso Martini also!
The stocking filler:
The Boatyard Distillery Tasting Collection
A triple pack of miniatures from the Boatyard Distillery in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. A great way to explore the distillery’s delicious range with a 50ml bottle of each of its expressions – Boatyard Double Gin, Boatyard Old Tom Gin and Boatyard Vodka.
We’d previously reviewed the Old Tom Gin, it’s gorgeous. The vodka and Double Gin are equally as delicious, and this would make an affordable, and most enjoyable stocking filler.
Master of Malt £12
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