A selection of eight really impressive spirits, perfect for the festive season, the new year, or just about any time. It was fun reviewing these.
Amarula African Gin, South Africa
£25 Master of Malt
One of the key botanicals here is Marula fruit, which is found in sub Saharan Africa. It’s really fruity and aromatic with some orange peel, a touch of exotic pineapple and some juniper. It’s rounded and creamy in the mouth with a hint of spice wrapping things up. A really exotic gin in a fruity style.
Maestro Dobel Diamante Reposado Tequila 2019 Mexico
£52 Waitrose, currently on offer at £42
Smoky and spicy aromas here lead to a really powerful but powerful smoky notes and some lovely fruity notes, as well as a touch of mint. So refined and characterful: a lovely tequila.
Bushmills 10 Years Single Malt Irish Whiskey
£25 Sainsbury’s, Waitrose
This Irish whiskey is beautifully rich and smooth, with notes of sweet pear and peach, as well as some creamy richness. Complex notes of iodine and wood spice enter the mix, as well as a hint of toffee richness. So delicious and rich.
Aberfeldy 12 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
£37.90 Master of Malt, Amazon
Showing lovely fruity aromatics of pear and apple, this leads to a palate of sweet pear and peach with some fine spiciness. It has a mellow character, but also nice complexity, showing some spicy warmth on the finish. Really good.
The Deveron 10 Years Old Highland Single Malt Whisky
£35.00 Waitrose, Amazon
Wonderfully rich in the mouth, this shows sweet mealy apple and peach fruit with a nice creamy depth and some wood spice characters adding an extra dimension. Long finish with some toast, meal and spice. Lovely.
Angels Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
£57.45 The Whisky Exchange
This is finished in Port wine barrels, and it’s quite deep in colour. There’s a sweet, spicy aroma here with lots of vanilla and toast. In the mouth it is concentrated and warm with wood spice, but also lovely fruity characters. Rich and delicious with lots of personality.
Santa Teresa 1796 Solera Rum Venezuela
£49.95 Master of Malt, Amazon
Beautifully rich in the mouth with flavours of toffee, raisin and spice, this is a distinctive rum that has been aged in a solera, with fresh rum added at regular intervals, and then rum taken out. Deliciously rich and seamless, with a sweet character.
X Muse Scottish Barley Vodka
£66 Harvey Nichols, Selfridges; £55 Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange
Such a distinctive vodka with a creamy, fruity aroma that reminds me of sake. It’s beautifully smooth and textural in the mouth with lovely creamy, rice-like characters and a lovely softness on the finish. Brilliant stuff.