Christmas is just around the corner. After tramping round the shops for pressies, it becomes time for the whisky selections to your favourite people. How many times have you read the headline “the top ten whiskies to buy”?  Forget that list, any list. Art lies in the eye of the beholder. The best whisky lies in the mouth of the drinker, each person (thankfully) has his/her own favourites, so if everyone is different, how can there be a top ten? By sales? Grandad’s present for years has been a good blend – his age and taste dictates maybe? Can you trust independent reviews?  They may earn commission from some of the retailers/distillers but never allow this to influence your selections! The best whiskies in my view, are the ones you like best. Regardless of price, brand, label or even the shape of the bottle. Why not try a blind tasting, use blue glasses so you cannee see the colour of the dram (even cups if you don’t have coloured glasses, egg cups are good), use a cheap superstore blend, a cheap single malt “on offer” bottle, a well known so called top ten dram and one you may never have tasted or heard of, an expensive one (affordable to your pocket), mix them once poured so you don’t know the order but don’t forget to number them to relate to what whisky it really is. Then get some pals/family to test! You may be surprised. We did just this on tour, the favourite dram came out to be a bottle of Tamnavulin Sherry finish @ £30 a litre! This is a good dram, it beat Macallan, Ben Riach, and ran a Glendronach to a close second.

The whisky bible, forget it, one mans’ view on the best whisky in the world, complete rubbish, he is one man, who is greatly influenced in his choices – does he have a better taste machine than every other person in the world? Aye right. Don’t waste your hard earned money on this slop, use what you would have spent buying it on a bottle, who knows, you may even like it! Do I have favourites? Aye to be sure, but not one, I like many, including Glendronach 18 year old, if you can get it. Dalmore King Alexander, Balvenie 40yo, many Ardbegs and Bowmores. I can go on. Whisky is made for drinking, not sitting on shelves, buy what you can afford, maybe rather than two/three cheapies, get one expensive for a change. Try out miniatures, drams in pubs, even shop tasting nights, a whisky festival. All of this helps you determine what YOU like, not what you are told to like (no mention of JW here if you live in Aisia). Liz has a few good ideas, “don’t tell me what it is” – if she likes it, she looks at the label, she also has the “woo hoo” test, if she drams it and says “ woo hoo”, it goes on here favourites list. Then again, you can save up and join one of our whisky tours, you get many samples drams daily with us.

So, whisky is like art, you like or don’t like an item, you think the price is right, or totally stupid (read Macallan here), it’s all about taste at the end of the day. Enjoy an expensive dram at home, savour it, dinnae swig it, take your time, the pub is there for swillin doon the pints with your pals. Don’t let cost influence you, or the colour of the dram or the bottle shape/design.

Whisky is for DRINKING SLOWLY and enjoying every sip. Have a good peaceful Christmas, drink aware. But the New Year resolution could be a revolution! PAUL MCLEAN