Seven Sippers for International Whisk(e)y Day

Food & Drink

It’s the day to be region-agnostic as this sipping holiday salutes whiskies from all over

Though whiskey has a long and distinguished history of distillation, dating back more than 500 years, it wasn’t until 2009 that it got an “official” day of celebration. Each March 27, International Whisk(e)y Day—the parenthesis is used to be inclusive of those using no e (Scottish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskies) as well as those that do (Irish and American).

Whether you celebrate with an “e” or not, “the water of life” or (uisce na beatha in Gaelic), today is the day to explore the spirit and its myriad styles, old and new. Here are a few to try.

Benriach “Malting Season, Third Edition,” Speyside Single Malt Scotch. Handcrafted using entirely malted barley from the distillery’s historic floor maltings—one of only eight distilleries in Scotland that continues to practice this century-old tradition and overseen by Master Blender Rachel Barrie. NOTES: The aromas express exotic notes of bergamot orange, white orchard fruit and flower honey. The orange—now more clementine—and honey carry over to the palate, joined by sweet malt, almond skin and stone-pitted fruit. 48.3% ABV, SRP: $165

The GlenDronach “Original 12 Year” Highland Single Malt Scotch. This classic proves that old school is cool! Maturation in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks from Andalucía resulted in a deep amber-hued whisky. NOTES: As smooth as silk with warm vanilla notes, a tinge of root spice, plush fruits, dried fruits like figs or creamy medjool dates, and a long, nutty finish that is recalls its sherry cask origins. 43% ABV; SRP: $65.99

Glenglassaugh “Sandend” Single Malt Scotch. Another expression from Master Blender Rachel Barrie, this one is said to have been inspired by the crescent beach of Sandend Bay on the Aberdeenshire coast, a fishing village dating from the 1600s and now a popular surfing spot. NOTES: Matured in bourbon, sherry and manzanilla casks, those sweet and warm notes crash through here like the waves that provide the backstory to the whisky. More tropical fruited with sweet pineapple and mango, finishing with a slightly salty citric splash. This is more of a “welcome spring” spirit than one for the fireside. 50.5% ABV; SRP: $70

Lost Lantern Far-Flung Rye (Vermont). A blend of rye whiskies, aged between 4-9 years, from indie distilleries from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, and blended in Vermont, this is “a love letter to the Midwest,” says the brand owners, and launches today. NOTES: Bottled at cask strength and no-chill filtered, this is a full-throttle spirit with baking spices, layers of chocolate, spiced orange black tea, some smoky pepper notes, and a touch of nut skin. Proof: 121.6%; SRP: $100

Lost Lantern Starlight Distillery, Indiana Straight Bourbon. Another Midwest-meets-Green Mountains bottling, this bourbon whiskey from the single-cask series, spent six years aging in a 53-gallon new American oak barrel (two years in Vermont). Single cask No. 1 is made with 60% corn, 20% malted barley, 10% rye and 10% wheat, it’s full on with oak and dark baking spices, muted dried fruits and chocolate. Originates from a local landmark, the Huber Family Orchard and Winery. Proof: 118.7; SRP: $90

Milam & Greene “Golden Eagle” Single Barrel Bourbon, Texas Hill Country. This limited edition, cask-strength bottling from Master Blender Heather Greene was distilled (84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley) and barreled in Tennessee for just over six and a half years, before transport to Texas where aged for one year, four months. It was bottled in February of this year. NOTES: Pulled from cask No. 515, this expresses deep notes of brown sugar, vanilla, almond, and rich, dried leaves. It’s dessert on the palate, with Bing cherry, crème brûlée and more almond, elevated on the finished with eucalyptus notes. Only 169 bottles of this limited edition was made, a portion of the sale proceeds benefit Texas Parks & Wildlife. Proof: 128.2; SRP: $149.99 (online store)

Waterford “Heritage Hunter” Irish Single Malt Whisky. This is a reclaiming of the nearly-lost Hunter barley, developed in the mid-century, but that had fallen out of f(l)avor. Waterford, an organic, terroir-driven distiller, resurrected the barley in Donoughmore parish. Arcadian whiskies are made with low intervention, alternative methods. NOTES: Aged in a variety of barrels: 45% used American oak; 19% virgin America oak; 21% French oak; and 15% Vin Doux Nature. Full bodied, this delivers baked apple, orange and concentrated citrus, baking spices, a bit of a warm earthy note; Honesty and earnestness over flashiness. 50% ABV; SRP: $129.99.

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