Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Not too long ago, on a dark day for Scotsmen everywhere, workers at the Chivas Brothers distillery in Dumbarton, Scotland, inadvertently flushed about 6,000 gallons of whisky into the plant’s wastewater system. For Scotch lovers with a pessimistic cast of mind, this event immediately brings to mind the possibility of a worldwide whisky shortage, with riots in the streets, hoodlums setting fire to trash cans and feeble cries of “Please, help me, just a wee dram…” from one-time high-living single malt fanatics now reduced to drinking Natty Light from cans.
For less apocalyptically minded folks, the loss of several thousand gallons of high-end whisky is merely a fine excuse for pouring oneself a drop of the good stuff. Raise a glass in honor of their loss, and whatnot. Conveniently, several good whiskies of various sorts have recently hit the market; here are a few highlights.
Highland Park Loki ($249)
Beyond those two, there’s also been a recent influx of Japanese single malt whiskies, which, contrary to one’s possible expectations, are really very good. The Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt ($69, imported by the folks at Anchor Brewing, oddly enough) is a round, generous whisky with a silky texture, very good indeed. Then there’s the Hakushu 12 Year Old ($60) from Suntory: powerful, peaty, smoky but balanced as well. Plus, it comes in a green bottle. Japanese whisky for St. Patrick’s Day? Oh, why the heck not.
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