From Japan, Scotland and the USA, Grand Old House selects 10 spectacular whiskies and bourbons from its famed cellar to enthrall any lover of fine spirits.
Whisky, or whiskey, is a grown-up drink. It takes time to learn and appreciate the subtleties of the grain, the barrel and the ageing process and how they can all come together to create something that is unique and very complex. Here is our selection of fine whiskies from the Grand Old House cellars that you really need to get to know if you are keen to become a true connoisseur.
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Bourbons made with wheat have become all the rage in recent years. While bourbons are all at least 51% corn (most of rest of the mash is usually rye), sometimes it’s wheat, giving a softer, sweeter, fruitier flavour profile. This release skews strongly towards dry and spicy. Vital statistics: 52% alcohol, 15 years old.
Tullibardine 25 This is a deliciously rich and creamy scotch, the top of the Tullibardine range. At 43% alcohol, this is like a spicy Speyside and quite delicious, smooth but intense. It is matured in Oloroso Sherry casks and has a very smooth profile. With beautiful balance, this is a nicely aged whisky, with a subtle sherry influence and balanced oak and is the perfect sunset accompaniment to an evening of waterfront fine dining in the Cayman Islands.
Hibiki 21 This is just about everything you could want from one of Japan’s top whisky brands. Hibiki 21 uses single malts aged in a combination of American (ex-bourbon), European (ex-sherry) and Japanese (mizunara) oak casks. Each single malt was aged for 21 years before selection and blending to create this lovely whisky. The base of Yamasaki sherry casks makes for a satisfying, complex and rare whisky.
Macallan 25 This distinguished 43% single malt has an intensely rich profile and is matured for 25 years in Oloroso sherry seasoned oak casks from Spain. Macallan 25 is characterised by rich flavours of vanilla, dried fruits and ginger spice imparting a long finish in a rich mahogany colour. Oak makes the greatest contribution to the quality, natural colour and distinctive aromas and flavours at the heart of this whisky from one of Scotland’s top whisky brands.
Glenfarclas 40 This 40-year-old is a wonderfully complex and intriguing bottle, with its profile relying on sherry butts, mainly Oloroso, in the maturation process. This is a big and assertive whisky, rich in different flavours and superbly balanced, but not as much oak as one might expect of a 40-year-old single malt.
WhistlePig: The Boss Hog WhistlePig’s “The Boss Hog: The Samurai Scientist”, to give it its full title, is a collaboration with Japan’s Kitaya brewery, giving WhistlePig the distinction of becoming one of the first American distilleries to use umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur) barrels. Umeshu is intensely aromatic, so does not take long to impart some deeply complex flavors. Only 90 barrels exist and each bottle notes the barrel number and proof, ranging between 60% and 62% alcohol. This is a complex whiskey, offering a bouquet of flavours throughout.
Elijah Craig 23 This 23 Year Old Single Barrel from Elijah Craig’s maker Heaven Hill will not disappoint lovers of ultra-mature whiskies. If you’re a fan of Elijah Craig extra-aged then you will really enjoy this expression, topped off with extra wood spice and dryness. It is woody and bold, yet remains smooth and full of flavour. The nose immediately reveals strong vanilla and caramel notes when a few drops of water are added.
Willet 13 Single Barrel Bourbon Aged in white oak barrels for 13 years, this is a robust 60.1% alcohol, making it a perfect pre- or post-prandial to sip reflectively under the stars here at Grand Old House, one of the top rated restaurants in the Cayman Islands. This bourbon will surpass your expectations of what a great full-bodied bourbon can be, with some very impressive flavour. Each bottling comes from a new and different cask.
Johnnie Walker & Sons Odyssey John Walker & Sons Odyssey is blended from three single malts, carefully married in oak casks to enhance the intricate layering of flavours and impart an exquisite smoothness. This elegant whisky from another of the world’s top whisky brands has a deep and distinctive russet-red hue that hints at the rich flavours and tannins to come.
Chichibu IPA Cask Finished This Japanese offering features a Chichibu single malt whisky finished in former IPA beer casks. The brewery aged its beers in casks from the distillery and then returned the ‘beer-washed’ barrels to Chichibu, where they were filled with whisky for extra maturation. One barrel, two whiskies and an Imperial IPA results in 57.5% alcohol in a release of just 6,700 bottles.