by | Aug 23, 2020 | Leisure, Spirits

If ever there was a time to educate yourself on the art of enjoying fine scotch whisky, it’s now, during a global pandemic.

Despite all the “what ifs”, “the what nows” and “when can we’s”, there are some benefits to self quarantine and self isolation. That’s self indulgence.

Related: The latest in iconic single malt Macallan whisky just made its debut in the Canadian market

The summer of 2020 will be remembered as the season that introduced us all to a new way of thinking. It’s also a chapter in time that has provided whisky makers the world over with an opportunity to showcase their newest offerings to a captive audience. A global pandemic tends to do that. It keeps people in one place.

Whisky makers are not slowing down

This summer, and leading into the fall, new brands of fine whisky are making their mark. That’s not only with those who already appreciate the unique and distinct place fine whisky occupies in the spirits arena. But it’s also with newcomers who maybe are filling their drams for the first time.

From some established players to new faces, whisky makers have not let global affairs slow them down.

Here are some labels to watch for in the coming weeks and months at the LCBO, or via online sales.

The Arran Harmony Edition Volume 3

Beware, supply is limited as this bottling is limited to only 1,000 bottles and a small quantity is usually available to purchase online. If you know this brand, you also know supply will sell out quickly. So you can either be patient, or act fast.

Latest Scotch

Big Peat 27 Year: The Black Edition

For those of you familiar with this family of malts, you will know this is the final instalment in a three-part Vintage Series, Big Peat 27 Years Old Islay “Vatted” Malt, entitled The Black Edition.

Proceeded by its 25- and 26-year-old cousins, the trio brings to life the journey of the spirit with each year surpassing the last. At $360/per, this malt is for special occasions.

Latest Scotch Big Peat 27 Year

Timorous Beastie 25 Year

Think of this beauty as a marriage of Highland Single Malts, aged to perfection and proudly offered without colouring or chill-filtration. The seventh release under the brand to carry an age statement, following Timorous Beastie 18 Years Old, 40 Years Old, 21 Years Old, 24 Years Old, 10 Years Old and 12 Years Old bottlings.

Act fast with this premium scotch whisky. There are only 1,600 in existence.

Latest Scotch Timorous Beastie 25 Year

Old Particular Glentauchers 1996 21 Year

Finally, a short and “sweet” description from the producer of this malt: “buttered gingerbread developing to barley sugar sweets, lemon peel and allspice”. Sold !

It sells for $250

Latest Scotch Old Particular.1996V1

Okay, now that you know what to look for, as well as how much it will set you back, so how about refining your ability to really become the very best taster you can be. It takes skill, and just like any skill, tasting requires practice. You may want to start with the obvious technique of tasting whisky – blind tasting.

Not sure how?

Here are 5 easy tips.

Make a coordinated effort

If you have a friend who wants to participate without tasting, let them prepare the tasting in a separate room. They’ll be the only one in the know while discussion takes place.

Approach the bench

While it’s not critical, sometimes having at least one known whisky can provide a valuable bench mark in which to compare and work from.

Shut up and taste

When tasting blind, it’s best to reserve discussion until everyone is finished. Members of the group can be easily influenced by obvious positive or negative reactions of fellow tasters.

Fill in the details

Now for the fun part. When it’s time to reveal the whiskies and open the discussion, be prepared with a handout that includes the date of the tasting, as well as the name, proof, price, and style of each whisky so tasters have all the information at their fingertips.

Don’t believe your eyes

Colour can have a greater impact on taste than its actual sweetness. Since whiskies like scotch permit caramel colouring, consider using dark glasses to hide the colour.

There you have it. So make the best of this global pandemic. First and foremost, be responsible, stay safe, and when the situation warrants, experience some quality malts. There is much to choose from and each month seems to bring a new name into the market and onto store shelves.

Top image: Anastasia Zhenina, Pexels

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