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Ingredient of the Week Whisky.

Byline: Philip Thompson Managing director of Dornoch Castle Hotel

The whiskybase.com No1 International Whisky Hotel and the 2014 Scottish Licence Trade News Whisky Bar of the Year

Philip has chosen some special malts for St.

Andrew's Day on Monday, Christmas and Hogmanay.

He sources and opens rare malts for the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar and tasting events. Along with his parents, he set up and ran a pop-up whisky bar at the prestigious British Fair in Osaka, Japan.

They were one of only 50 UK companies chosen to attend this annual event, which showcases British products and culture to the Asian market.

The family are awaiting permission to open a micro distillery, distilling whisky and other spirits, and will become one of the first hotels in the UK to have a micro distillery attached.

For more information, visit www. dornochcastlehotel.com.

Christmas dram

GlenDronach 1995 19-year old Single Olorosso Sherry Puncheon 4887, 55.4 per cent abv

Rich, vivacious and luxuriou, this heavily sherried single cask GlenDronach encapsulates Christmas beautifully. It is full-bodied and layers of caramelised fig, cinnamon infused poached pears and damson cordial are wonderfully infused with notes of toasted walnuts, syrupy Morello cherries and great aged demerara rum. A truly enthralling and engaging sensory experience, it's Christmas in a bottle.

Exclusive malt

Scapa 2001, bottled 2015, Gordon & MacPhail 43 per cent abv

This particular Scapa was one of my surprise drams of 2015. It is an absolute pleasure, with typical Gordon & MacPhail accessible pricing. If it were not for them, my whisky obsession would not have reached its current level of passion and allowed me to taste so many amazing old bottles. They are the kings of great reasonably priced, unusual and rare whisky. This particular expression of Scapa is deliciously fruity. We are on a tropical Island; pineapple, mango, kumquats and banana are layered together with elegant buttery American white oak. This represents everything I love about whisky - well-made spirit, good casks, fairly priced and humbly packaged.

Beginner's dram Glen Elgin 32 Year old, 42.3 per cent abv Glen Elgin is often overlooked as a single malt - usually destined for export markets and blending houses.

It is too easy to miss little gems like Glen Elgin distillery given the sheer concentration of distilleries producing in Speyside.

I am a great fan of this distillery and this particular expression represents everything delicious about it.

The nose gives a medley of fresh pears and white peaches.

Waxy oranges and apricot jam develop with water.

This is a superb Speyside whisky, packed full of deep complex, well rounded flavour.

And it still represents good value in the current whisky market.

Collector's malt Macallan-Glenlivet 1963, bottled 1983 by R.W. Duthie, Aberdeen for Narsai's Restaurant, California, 46 per cent abv This particular bottle of 1963 Macallan was bottled for a private restaurant in California in 1983. Bottles like this fuel my love for whisky - an incredibly rare bottle of outstanding single malt exported to the other side of the world. Somehow one has survived the past 33 years and we can now drink it. The nose is incredibly clean and fresh, lots of garden herbs, barley sugars, peach cobbler and tinned clementines. The palate is smooth and waxy with subtle spices and sweet fruit syrup, lychees and kumquats. The wood is very clean and light. It is great that the distillate style is not hidden in too much wood. This is a pleasure and a treat.

Hogmanay dram Balblair 1999 Bottled 2014, 46 per cent abv A Hogmanay dram needs to needs to be delicious, a little different and special but also a dram you don't mind throwing down the throats of neighbours, friends and even strangers. I feel the 1999 vintage of Balblair is ideally suited as it is a little different from the norm, packs a huge amount of flavour and is great value in the current market. Expect big flavour, lots of toffee, sultanas, apples, pears, elegant spice and a twist of orange. I am a massive fan of Balblair and especially their vintage system. I think it's refreshing and gives the consumer clarity when purchasing.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 28, 2015
Words:691
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