With World Whisky Day just around the corner on Saturday 16th May and the majority of the world still in full or partial lockdown, we thought we would take a look at three whiskies to brighten up your weekend if you are stuck at home.
Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky
The award-winning Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky is the first whisky on our list, and was launched back in October 2017, and is in fact the first whisky ever to be distilled in the Cotswolds.
The distillery uses 100 per cent locally grown, floor-malted barley and matures the whisky in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels and reconditioned red wine casks. This whisky is rich, fruity, with notes of honey, Seville orange marmalade and dark red fruits. A nice touch is that each bottle lists on the label the barley variety, harvest year and local Cotswolds farm it was grown on.
And to celebrate World Whisky Day, The Cotswolds Distillery is also announcing the release of the first expression from the new range of Cotswolds Amaro Whisky Liqueurs.
The Italian herbal liqueur has been inspired by Amaro and is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner ‘digestif’. The Cotswolds Amaro Whisky Liqueurs is therefore a collection of whisky liqueurs which recreates this special drinking moment.
The first expression, Cotswolds Amaro No 1, has Cotswold’s Single Malt as the base to which a blend of select botanicals including vanilla, citrus and spice have been added. The resulting liqueur is altogether lighter with pronounced herbal and floral notes as well as notes of fresh peach with bitter black tea and subtle orange citrus fruit, whilst the palate is thick and creamy with vanilla and bitter marmalade, floral with a hint of spiced honey. It has a slightly bitter finish, with dried fruit and a touch of maple syrup. The second expression is expected to be launched this coming Autumn.
Daniel Szor, Cotswolds Distillery Founder, commented: “I have always loved Amaro and wanted to create Cotswolds Distillery’s own Amaro liqueur. Launching Cotswolds Amaro No 1 on World Whisky Day seemed the perfect way to celebrate this wonderful day. The vanilla, spice and citrus complement our Single Malt Whisky and we hope our delicious digestif will become a favourite after-dinner drink.”
Amaro, which is Italian for bitter, is traditionally produced by macerating herbs, roots, flowers, bark and citrus elements in either spirit or wine, or kin some cases both, before being sweetened with caramel or sugar and has a typical alcohol content of between 16% to 40%. It is usually bitter-sweet and is sometimes syrupy. It has been bottled at 40% which ensures the spices and sweetness complement the flavour coming through from the fruity whiskies and should be served well-chilled or on the rocks as an after-dinner drink, perfect for a summer’s evening.
Cotswolds Amaro No1’s RRP is £34.95 for a 500ml bottle with an ABV of 40% non-chill filtered, and is available to purchase exclusively from The Cotswolds Distillery from the 16th May 2020 via their website cotswoldsdistillery.com
Rampur Select Indian Single Malt Whisky
Second on our list is Rampur, a premium malt whisky from India, distilled in traditional copper pot stills and matured at the Rampur Distillery, India’s largest and oldest distillery which dates back to 1943 and can be found in the foothills of the Himalayas. The whisky is then non-chill-filtered and bottled at 43%.
The Himalayan foothills provides a unique location for the distilling process, exposing the whiskies to polar opposite climate conditions throughout the year, with the famous Indian Summer giving Rampur Whiskies an added dimension and depth. Indian whisky matures significantly quicker than other whiskies, such as Scotch and Irish Whiskey thanks to the climate.
Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky is smooth with a mellow taste and long-lasting finish. It is distinctively malty, with a creamy vanilla taste and hints of apricot, apple and a sweet and wine-like finish.
The RRP is £49.95 for a 70cl bottle ABV: 43% and is available from: thewhiskyexchange.com
Our final choice is J&B Rare, which was originally made for prohibition America back in the 1930s and is perhaps one of the most popular blended Scotch whiskies in the world. It became a symbol of sophistication made famous by The Rat Pack during the1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, becoming a society whisky and whisky of choice.
J&B Rare has been distilled, blended and bottled in Scotland since the 1930’s and is a blend of 42 malt and grain whiskies. The heart of J&B Rare is formed from the finest Speyside malts including Knockando, Glen Spey, Auchriosk and Strathmill. The blend is returned to the cask for a further three years to mature, giving it the bold flavours of the single malts with the lighter grain whiskies and adds fullness and depth to the blend.
It has stood the test of time well and is still an affordable and sophisticated Scotch. Its lightness in colour makes it the bartenders go to blended whisky of choice for cocktail creations. So, this World Whisky Day why not get inventive at home and create your own cocktail.
For example, the J&B Citrus Seltzer is both refreshing and easy to create. First, fill a highball glass with ice, then add 30ml J&B Rare and top with 125ml soda water. Top it with a few dashes of your favourite bitters and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Finally stir and garnish with lemon peel, a sprig of basil or mint or a dehydrated lemon wheel.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.