Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: From the Olde Sod

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  • James Y. Bartlett

Bowmore 25 Year Old
The smoky, peaty pungency of Scotland’s Islay malts is an acquired taste. This new bottling of Bowmore’s whiskies, some as old as 31 years, has been aged in oloroso sherry casks in the island’s salty air. The result is extraordinarily dark and smooth, with the peat offset by notes of dark chocolate, orange peel, and hazelnuts.

Springbank 175th Anniversary
Springbank remains the only Scottish distillery that conducts all of its own malting, grilling, and bottling on site. To celebrate its 175th anniversary, it has released this special 12-year-old bottling. The smoky taste gives way to flavors of figs and vanilla on the finish

The Macallan Gran Reserva
Casked in Spanish sherry hogsheads in 1979, this exquisite, fiery-red single malt has emerged as one of Macallan’s premier offerings. The sherry notes mingle with citrus and cloves on the finish with an overall spicy effect that is rare for a Speyside whisky.

Bushmills 21 Year Old Madeira
This smooth Irish single malt is aged in bourbon and sherry butts and finished in Madeira drums. The result is a complex amalgamation of honey, almonds, and raisins, with a spicy finish.

Duncan Taylor Cask Strength/Strathisla 1967
In the 1960s, Abe Rosenberg, importer of J&B Scotch, began investing in individual casks of single malt from all of the major distilleries in Scotland. His collection, nearly 4,000 casks strong, is now bottled and sold in limited, cask-strength editions. The 35-year-old Strathisla is an amazing find, with fruit, vanilla, and ginger notes, and a breathtaking finish.

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