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12 Dec 2019 By

‘Tis the Season and All That. For the Discerning Drinker in Your Life (or Just You), We’ve Robbed Santa to Offer You Some of Our Favourites for Celebratory Moments.



Glenfiddich Grand Cru (RRP $350)

Look at the box. Just look at it! Can it be anymore festive? An exclusive 23 year old expression, the Glenfiddich Grand Cru is the only Glenfiddich Single Malt to undergo an exceptional finishing in French cuvée casks. The resulting liquid is beautifully rich and nuanced, with notes of vanilla, soft pear and sweet brioche. Launched earlier this year at a stunning pop-up at Singapore’s Changi Airport, the DFS-exclusive is a 75cl 43% abv bottling, compared to 70cl 43% abv at all other Global Travel Retail outlets. I know which version I’d like.


Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Port Ellen (RRP $518)

It’s always exciting when Johnnie Walker releases an edition of their ‘Ghost and Rare’ whiskies. Port Ellen is the second of the special editions crafted using irreplaceable ‘ghost’ whiskies and other incredibly rare whiskies from the Johnnie Walker Blue Label reserves.

“‘Ghost’ whiskies from Caledonian and Carsebridge add layers of creamy, vanilla sweetness whilst rare malts from Mortlach, Dailuaine, Cragganmore, Blair Athol and Oban deliver rolling waves of waxy citrus, rich malt and tropical fruit flavours – all perfectly balanced by the distinctive maritime smokiness of Port Ellen that lingers in the long and warming finish.” – Master Blender Jim Beveridge

The special edition, all individually numbered, is available
for purchase at all 1855 Bottle Shops and at selected specialist whisky stores.


Octomore 10 series

In its 10th year, the ‘smoke’ has settled, and the peat has finally mellowed. Head distiller Adam Hannett starts out powerfully with 10.1 (RRP $279.99) – the pale golden liquid is smoky and sweet, with hints of pepper and charred oak on the tongue, and a strong, lasting finish.

10.2, a global travel retail exclusive, is less smoky by comparison. 8 years in the cask, it’s richer, oilier on the palate, with a lot of fruity sweetness fading into a light spice.

10.3 (RRP $394.99), is soft and earthy on the nose, honey on the palate and a soft smoke that’s made to linger.

10.4 (RRP $334.99), a 3 year old expression that pleasantly surprised with its beyond-its-years elegance. A warming barbeque smokiness on the nose, earthy, leathery sweetness on the palate, and a vanilla smoky finish. Our favourite of the lot.


The Balvenie Stories

One of the more interesting drops of 2019 is the experimental single malt collection from The Balvenie. Preceded by “Pursuit”, a book of short stories by award-winning author and journalist Alex Preston, the release consisted of 14-year-old The Week of Peat, and 26-year-old A Day of Dark Barley.

The 14 was sweet and delicately smoky – distillery manager Ian Millar ordered a batch of Speyside peat for the kiln, and for a week a year, The Balvenie distilled a batch of peated malt, resulting in a whisky rich in honey, vanilla and citrus notes. The 26, however, came from dark roasted malted barley, which is more commonly used in stout production. The resulting whisky has a rich woodsiness, with a pleasing smoke, on top of its classic sweetness.

Carrying on the storytelling thread, owners of the bottles are also able to access the stories behind each whisky via an NFC-enabled tag on the bottle. Designed in partnership with connected product solutions company Thinfilm, all drinkers have to do is scan the tags on their smartphone, and immediately gain access conversations between the craftspeople and The Balvenie Global Ambassador Gemma, as well as experience a guided audio-tasting of each expression with The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart and Apprentice Malt Master, Kelsey McKechnie.


Glen Keith 28 (from Secret Speyside Collection) (RRP $500)

There’s a lot to love in the Speyside Secret Collection, the biggest Single Malt collection launched by the Chivas Brothers to date, with 15 aged Single Malt Scotch whiskies from 4 of Speyside’s most elusive distilleries.

Personally though (and almost everyone else at the tasting table), the most love was reserved for Glen Keith 28. Glen Keith was the first Speyside distillery built in the 20th century, making exceptionally smooth whiskies with its taller-than-most pot stills, which gives an extra ‘copper kiss’ to the single malt and resulting in a complex, intensely smooth example of the classic Speyside style. The elegant 28 year old expression is the perfect balance of cinnamon sweet and spice – stone fruit, vanilla, gingerbread. Are you getting the festive Christmassy vibes yet?

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