9 Whiskys You Need To Try – According To A Pro

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Pritesh Mody is the resident cocktail expert on Channel 4's ‘Sunday Brunch’. We asked him to pick some of his favourite whiskys – from Irish bottles to try on St Patrick’s Day to classic scotch and bourbons. Here’s what he gave us…

BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Slane Irish Whiskey

Made using whiskies drawn from a trio of casks (virgin oak, Tennessee and oloroso sherry) this rich, fruity and incredibly easy-drinking whiskey is the perfect introduction for novices. It has a rich nose that continues into a fruity profile, filled with tropical and stone fruits, with undertones of coffee and spices. Both smooth and rich in character, it tastes just as good on the rocks as it does in cocktails – especially a Manhattan.

Available here

BEST FOR A DINNER PARTY: Toki Suntory Whisky

This Japanese blend is a favourite with mixologists, so expect to find it at most good bars. Bright and refreshing, Toki Suntory makes an incredible highball, with all the character to stimulate the appetite before a meal. With notes of crisp apples and pears, thyme, and a subtle white pepper heat, it goes fantastically with sushi. 

Available here

BEST UNDER-THE-RADAR BOTTLE: The Lakes Distillery Orange Wine Cask 

If you want something that really impresses, I recently discovered The Lakes Distillery and it’s already become one of my favourite brands. Chief maker Dhavall Gandhi is a real maverick who pushes the boundaries of flavour with unusual and exciting cask finishes. The flavours remind me of marmalade on warm wholegrain toast. This is a stunning sipper – I’d drink this with dark chocolate or perhaps a smoked salmon dish for something a bit different. 

Available here

BEST FOR SOMETHING AFFORDABLE: Aldi Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt Scotch 

The mind boggles how it does it, but Aldi continues to curate a spirit range that you’d happily pay two or three time the amount for. This Highland scotch is robust and perfectly balanced, with dried fruit and spices. It’s won a few awards in recent years, which is no surprise as it goes down a treat. I’d pair it with autumnal desserts, like apple crumble.  

Available here

BEST IRISH WHISKEY: Bushmills 16 Year Old

As one of the world’s oldest licensed distilleries, it’s no surprise Bushmills is renowned for its quality. Matured in oloroso, bourbon and port casks, the 16 Year Old delivers sweet and sherried notes with bakewell tart vibes and a gentle toasted oak on the finish. Endlessly drinkable – pair it with anything containing chocolate or vanilla, or a cheese board featuring a strong mature cheddar. 

Available here

BEST BOURBON: Uncle Nearest 1856

Inspired by the story of Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green, a slave in America’s Deep South who went on to become the first master distiller for Jack Daniel’s, this Black-owned brand has all the quality you would expect given that esteemed history. Produced in Tennessee using the same ‘Lincoln County’ production process used by Jack Daniel’s, this 50% ABV sipper is a huge flavour bomb of dried fruits, vanilla and spices. It’s perfect alongside a burger or sticky BBQ dishes, but also works well in an old fashioned.

Available here

BEST JAPANESE WHISKY: Hakushu Distillers Reserve

Japanese whisky prices continue to go through the roof, but Distillers Reserve is a great introduction to the craft at an accessible price point. Made using a variety of malts of different ages and peat levels, it takes the art of blended whiskies to another level. Expect a grassy, herbaceous nose with crisp apples and citrus on the pallet, all brought together with gentle and evolving layers of smoke. It’s brilliant alongside steak and yakitori dishes. 

Available here

BEST TO BLOW THE BUDGET: Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 

This is as beautiful to look at as it is to drink. Grand Cru 23 goes through bourbon and sherry cask maturation before the real magic happens and the scotch is finished in French sparkling cuvée wine casks. The result is a bright and fresh whisky with crisp apples and marzipan on the nose, while the almost creamy mouthfeel brings flavours of stewed apples and pastry, with a nutty buttery finish. Excellent alongside a crème brulée or tarte tatin.

Available here

BEST SCOTCH: Talisker 18 Year Old

Fruit, spice and smoke come together perfectly for the complete scotch experience. Talisker 18 has notes of soft berries and tangy orange, with a touch of warming toffee and ginger that evolves with subtle smokiness. The mouth-watering briny mouthfeel will keep you coming back for more – because of the slight saltiness, it goes nicely with smoked seafood and a quality cigar. 

Available here

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The SLMAN Edit: Your Guide To A More Stylish Life.