At this traditional intersection of time — some call it New Year’s — people love to put things into perspective. Part of Flaviar’s tradition is, well, putting Spirits into perspective, or rather, un-casking our expert opinion on what we believe to be The Best Drams of the Year. We know that opinion equates to power and that with power, comes responsibility.
It’s hard to keep our opinion unbiased and professional, but we sweat Whisky for it. Having to put forward 5 bottles out of... ermm, a friggin’ lot — with each award-worthy in its own right — was not exactly easy. We locked up our Tasting Crew™ and they had to sniff, lick, bicker and fight it out until they agreed on the picks.
1) There are two primary ways to flavour your Gin: You can either add flavours to a distilled spirit and bottle it, or you can infuse botanicals into the spirit by distilling them together. Depending on the method you choose, you can get a different kind of Gin with a different flavour profile.
2) There are more than 700 cocktails containing Gin known to man.
3) Rye Whiskey is made from mash that is at least 51 percent rye. The grain gives rye Whiskey the spicy, sometimes peppery and bitter flavour. Rye was a big seller before Prohibition. After decades in obscurity, it’s fashionable again. George Washington distilled rye Whiskey at Mount Vernon.
4) A decade ago there were only 6 brands of Rye Whiskey hailing from Kentucky, nowadays there are more than 50!
5) Taiwanese Whisky has quite a short history. It was just back in 2008 when King Car Group released the first Kavalan Whisky, due to the country's big love for Scottish single malts. Since then, they have combined their fruit centred spirit with multiple casks, racked up many awards and never looked back.
6) Did you know that Rum was a go-to beauty product In the 1800s? It was highly revered for its ability to clean hair and strengthen its roots. Wash, soak, rinse & repeat. Second best beautifier? Brandy.
7) The Rum production overseer is called Maestro Roneros, or Rum Master. It’s smelling or “nosing”—rather than tasting—the rum that guides their rum making decisions.
8) The wine used for Cognac (Ugni Blanc) is very dry, acidic and thin, but excellent for distillation and ageing.
9) There are six different wine-growing areas (called: cru) authorised to produce Cognac; in descending order of prestige, they are: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires.
10) The late Kim Jong Il was one of the biggest individual consumers of Cognac in the world.
11) Canadian Whisky earned 97.5 points out of 100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible and got made best Whisky of 2015. Interesting enough no Scotch Whisky made it top 5!?