With the arrival of dark winter nights, it’s time to fill your cupboard with scotchto keep you warm? And as we all know, with the bad weather come dreaded head and chest colds that never seem to leave for the entirety of the three winter months. And what is the perfect cure? A delicious Hot Toddy
1. ABERLOUR A’BUNADH ($120)
Matured in oloroso sherry casks, this is a spicy and sweet dram that will definitely light a fire in your belly. It begins with a healthy dose of sweet nuts and cloves that create a lovely warming scent. These are joined by orange and tangerines, which lend a wonderful tang as well as sweetness to the spices.
The flavors continue to become fruitier, with lots of cherries and raisins. The cherries are dark and smooth and also bring in a sweet marzipan flavor. Of course, the fruits are bolstered with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. This will definitely have you heated up on a cold winter’s night. The warmth continues into the finish, where it’s joined by a slight hint of toasted oak wood and dark chocolate.
2. ARDBEG UIGEADAIL ($100)
What could be better in the winter months than a wonderful blast of peat smoke? That’s exactly what Ardbeg offers you with Uigeadail. Nothing warms you better than a good smoky expression, and Uigeadail has plenty of that. It’s smooth and easygoing and begins with a nose of licorice sweets and thick toffees. These are sugary, with a slight hint of caramel in the background.
They are given a great blast of spice on the palate that combines well with the peated tang that comes from the smoke. The smoke is filled with memories of sitting by the fire on a windy December evening and will make you pine to sit down with a dram in hand just listening to the storms outside. The finish has a great cigar smoke hint to it, with a background of sweet black treacle coming through.
3. LAGAVULIN 16 YEAR ($110)
Continuing in the smoky vein of Ardbeg, there’s the Lagavulin 16-year-old. This is a dense, smoky and well-peated malt perfect for chilly temperatures. The peat smoke on the nose of this dram is exquisite and swirled together with sweet, spicy sherry notes and a hint of wooded vanilla. There’s a slightly briney tone to this expression, with the slightest, salty hint of ocean air.
On the palate, the spices really come to life and bring some dried fruits with them. There are raisins and apricots with some crisp apples in the background, all dusted with a warming note of cinnamon and nutmeg. The oak also comes through more on the palate, with the wood turning sweet against the spices. This expression finishes with more fruity sweetness, all wrapped in a curling whiff of peated smoke.
4. GLEN GRANT THE MAJOR’S RESERVE ($39)
Taking a step away from the smoky palates, Glen Grant The Major’s Reserve is sweet and nutty on the nose, with lots of fruit and caramel coming through. There are crisp, ripe apples that give a nice bite as well as bananas and peaches, all combining with a sweet, sugary overtone. These flavors come together well on the palate, where they have a wonderfully smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
The fruits have a slightly spicy note to them, with a little hint of cinnamon coming through. There’s also a distinctly nutty flavor, with hazelnuts and almonds making an appearance. These flavors perfectly compliment the sweet fruits and make for an ideal late-night dram in front of the fire. The finish has a delicate and long linger, with a last nod toward spices and fruits.
5. KILCHOMAN 100% ISLAY 5TH EDITION ($100)
Kilchoman Distillery itself is a relatively new member of the Islay clan, being the first distillery to be built here in 125 years. But it definitely turns out some incredible Islay malt. The fifth edition of its 100 percent Islay range is light and fresh on the nose, with a gentle whiff of peat coming through. This is continued onto the palate, where it’s given a sweet edge, with lots of caramel and toasted oak present. The flavors melt together over a peat fire, and the finish is long and soft, with a gentle mouthfeel and one final blast of peat smoke.