People often ask me what my favourite whisky is. The answer to this seemingly straightforward question is, to say the least, variable. In general I am drawn to the peated style of Islay whisky and particularly enjoy some expressions of Bruichladdich and Ardbeg. The others from this island are also excellent and I may circle back to some of them in a moment.
The trouble with identifying a favourite dram is due to my perception of the question as well as the answer being heavily influenced by the place, the time, the occasion and, most significantly, the people I am with at the time. I will provide a couple of examples.
Firstly, in 2011, a small party of 4 headed to New Zealand for the rugby world cup. We took with us a bottle of ‘First Cask’ Caol Ila 20-year-old. The sense of occasion associated with embarking upon this month-long adventure led to the bottle being opened at an airport hotel at Heathrow and finished before we left Singapore 2 days later. I’m sure it was no better than any other Caol Ila 20yo but it seemed fabulous at the time and is still very fondly remembered.
I’ll bring things much more up to date with my second example. I had the opportunity to share a bottle of Bunnahabhain 2004 Moine Port Pipe Finish 2017 Feis Ile in Islay last year with a number of friends. Sitting at a picnic table on the pier at Bowmore added a sufficiently surreal atmosphere to make a stunningly good whisky even more enjoyable and memorable.
Perhaps we can conclude that my favourite whisky is my next one!