When the wind and rain are howling against your window there’s nothing better than a warming dram, but it’s almost summer…
Perhaps the phenolic blast of Ardbeg isn’t as appropriate in May as it was in December. The Christmas cake in your Aberlour is a bit rich for the balmy evenings. And with the onset of summer, it could be time to change the character in your glass.
There is one region of Scotland - tantalisingly close to their Sassenach neighbours – that offers a lighter bouquet more suited to the warmer months. The ‘Lowland Ladies’ - a nickname given to distilleries based in the Lowland region, are famed for their fruity, perfumed whiskies.
Lowland whisky, despite its light character, still packs a flavour punch. It is a common misconception that these southern malts are too delicate to make a serious impact on the palate. They are simply different. Below are three single malt whiskies from the Lowland region, which complement the warm summer months spent outside:
Bladnoch 10 year old – Distillery Label 70cl 46% £41.67
A moderately expensive introduction to Lowland whisky, but this distillery is one of the best. Scotland’s most southerly distillery is based in a remote area of Galloway and offers a light and fruity bouquet. Cereal is at the forefront with some nuts and linseed oil. Dry on the palate with tannins and subtle malt. Plenty of fruit in the close with a medium finish.
Glenkinchie 12 year old 70cl 43% £29.95
Glenkinchie 12 replaced the 10 year old expression as the distillery’s entry-level malt. At two years on, Glenkinchie demonstrates greater complexity and flavour. This has a classic Lowland nose with creamy, cereal notes. Nutty with honey and caramel. There are some tea notes on the palate, typically floral. A wonderful representative of the region.
Auchentoshan Valinch 2012 release 70cl 57.5% £38
The valinch is the instrument that allows one to siphon whisky from the cask. Bottled at a coma-inducing 57.5% (this will take plenty of water), Valinch is a no-age statement expression from the triple distilling Auchentoshan at Clydebank. This young malt offers clean spirit redolent of pineapple and coconut. The palate offers articulate fruit and wood spices. A classy performer, demonstrating the best of American white oak.
These three suggestions are just that; there are many excellent malts from all over Scotland, and indeed the world, which serve as a refreshing alternative to a glass of wine or beer in the sun.
image: © Alambic Magazine