World Whisky Day: Here’s five ideas if you want to join the celebrations

World Whisky Day Photo by Quiony Navarro on Unsplash

You can’t beat a reason to celebrate something, and here I’m bringing you a celebration of whisky. On Saturday May 18, it is World Whisky Day,  and so it would be wrong of me not to bring you a selection to try.

World Whisky Day: Scotland

J&B Rare Whisky (RRP £22.50, Waitrose) is a blend of 42 malt and grain whiskies and was a favourite of the Rat Pack (Sinatra, Dean Martin and chums).

At the heart of J&B Rare are malt whiskies from Speyside.

If you’re a bit nervous dipping your toe into whisky (not literally, please) then this is a great place to start. It is a pale, light, subtle whisky. There’s notes of spice, baked apple and pear, with a touch of vanilla.

World Whisky Day: Ireland 

The Silkie Irish Whiskey (RRP £29.95,, is so named after mythological seals, found along the Donegal coast. They came ashore to dance and turned into beautiful maidens which men found hard to resist.

That’s the effect of one glass too many I guess.

Silkie, from Sliabh Liag in County Donegal, is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys. It has aromas like the coastline, fresh and breezy, with hints of green fruit and a subtlety of honey. A tingling zap of ginger hurries along the flavours of citrus, orange zest and honey.

World Whisky Day:Wales

Penderyn Legend Single Malt Welsh Whisky (£24, from £32 at Asda until May 22). This whisky is created in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales. It spends time aging in Bourbon casks and is then finished in Madeira casks.

What does this mean? Bourbon distillers use their barrels once and so there’s plenty available. In turn, many whisky producers don’t want new barrels to overpower their precious liquids.

When a whisky finishes aging in a bourbon barrel, it is transferred to a barrel which once held Madeira wine. This adds further flavour nuances. Penderyn has aromas of fresh apples and citrus and an aftertaste of Madeira cake and sultanas.

World Whisky Day:England

Adnams Single Malt English Whisky (£34.99, is
made with 100% East Anglian malted barley. The whisky is small-batch and copper-pot stilled in Suffolk.  The whisky ages in new French oak barrels for four years and then it is bottled.

This whisky has aromas of milky toffee (the ones my dad used to like, a sort of Werthers Original) with stone fruit and teases of spice. The flavours aren’t shy! The spice readily stands up to be counted, but notes of fruit and honey tell it to behave itself.

World Whisky Day:USA

TINCUP Whiskey (RRP £32.95, is named after an old mining town in Colorado, which itself was named for the tin cups miners used to sip their whiskey. A tin cup nestles on top of the bottle and this can be used to sip the whiskey.

I tried it too, with no spillages. (There’s a first).

It’s a blend of two American whiskeys, aged in charred oak barrels.  A small amount of Colorado single malt whiskey is blended with Bourbon, from Indiana. The resulting blend has a rich nose of ginger, vanilla, orange and pepper and a warming lushness in the mouth of spice and toffee. Lovely.

Discover more at, or @worldwhiskyday on Twitter and Instagram.

First published in over 30 regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

READ: The night I hurried home from work for a telephone whisky tasting


Father’s Day: Four gifts for dad which need a glass before they’re useful

Father's day drink gifts 2018

I always like to give you lots of notice for special days of the year. The ones which would cause you no end of trouble should you forget. Father’s Day is almost upon us,  Sunday June 17, so make a mental note of that right now. Sorted? In that case here’s gift ideas for dad.

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes whisky:

Father’s Day drink ideasHere’s one with a twist. The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment (RRP £44.93 at major retailers, including Master of Malt) is a collaboration between malt master  Brian Kinsman and craft brewer Seb Jones.

Three craft beers were created which rested in whisky casks; then the casks were later filled up with whisky to develop combined flavour notes. The whisky has a delightful fruity nose of apples and citrus and to taste the citrus notes freshen a malty, spicy edge.

Find out more about the  experiment here.

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes rum:

Father’s Day drink ideasElements Eight Republica (£30.45, won a  Rum Master – the top award possible – at the  Rum & Cachaça Masters organised by The Spirits Business magazine.

Elements Eight make artisan rums and Republica is a 5-year-old  blend of two single rums from Cuba and Panama aged in Bourbon casks. It has a smoky, peppery nose of orange peel and wood, there’s a citrus and spice bite with vanilla peeking through.

There are sister rums including Elements Eight Exotic Spices

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes wine:

Father’s Day drink ideasTreat him to a bottle of carmenere. if dad has a tendency to lose things, don’t worry, the wine world once lost this grape variety. The carmenere grape was thought to be extinct until DNA checks discovered it was growing happily in Chile (where it was thought to be merlot).

Veramonte Carmenere 2015 (RRP £12, Ocado, 14.5% abv) is full-bodied with plum and bramble fruits, with a dash of white pepper and a lick of vanilla.

A note of five spice creeps in, giving the sense of a sweetly concentrated wine with an alcohol kick just like Port.

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes gin:

Father's Day drink ideasHow about a glass of Peaky Blinder Spiced Dry Gin (from £22.95, Sadler’s Ales, Amazon) If dad is a fan of the TV show, this gin and its Peaky-hatted character on the label, might be right up his street.

It is created from nine botanicals and won a bronze at both the International Spirits Challenge 2018 and  the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018. It has a fresh aromatic nose with punches of spice.

There’s also a Peaky Blinders whisky and a Peaky Blinders Spiced Rum.

First published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express