When it comes to collecting old and rare whiskies, Sukhinder Singh's expertise was so sought after by whisky enthusiasts that he and his brother launched The Whisky Exchange and Speciality Drinks Ltd to share their incredible vintage collection with a very select clientele. Now, Singh is sharing his very own masterclass for whisky-lovers with Tempus.
"If you’re looking to give a gift to someone this Christmas, I’ve picked five very special bottles from names that might not be familiar to you, but I love them all and I know that you won’t be disappointed with any of them," Singh said. "Good whiskies deserve to be shared, so I hope you enjoy them and that you have a fantastic Christmas and New Year."
Read on to discover how to level up your whisky game this festive season. >>
Singh said: "If you like Chivas Regal, this is the whisky for you. Strathisla whisky is the main component in the popular Chivas Regal blend, but this is something special. Strathisla is a pretty robust whisky but give it some time and it matures beautifully – it really is one of those hidden gems. This 40-year-old example has a lovely balance between the toasty notes from the cask and the soft spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. If you like your whiskies with plenty of spice, you will love this one."
Singh said: "Another distillery that’s off the radar of many people, but this is an astonishingly luxurious dram bottled in a beautiful Baccarat decanter with a wooden cabinet and glasses. Only 70 bottles of this 60-year-old sherry-cask whisky exist, and given that 2% of the barrel’s contents evaporate each year, by right there should be none of this whisky left. Only the finest drams last the test of time, and this is an exceptional example, packed with notes of dried fruit and Christmas-cake spiciness. Perfect for lovers of Macallan, and priced at £20,000."
Singh said: "Don’t panic – yes, this is an Islay whisky, but instead of intense peat and smoke you get a fruity, opulent dram that has elegance in abundance, with layers of citrus and tropical fruit and a touch of menthol. At £1,200 a bottle this is a whisky I could sit with and nose for hours, and it really reminds me of Speyside. If you thought that Islay whisky is all about peat, peat and more peat, this is the perfect introduction."
Singh said: "You may not have tried a whisky from Taiwan before, but believe me, they are winning awards left, right and centre. The hot, humid conditions means that whiskies age much faster than in, say, Scotland, and this bottling from Kavalan has all the deep, complex notes you’d expect in whisky that’s aged for two decades or more. It’s finished in an amontillado sherry cask, adding rich notes of hazelnut, almond, caramel and tropical fruits. And for those of you who want to dip your toes into ‘world whisky’, try Kavalan’s entry-level Classic bottling – it is superb."
Singh said: "People don’t always associate rum with high-end luxury, but believe me, this £650 bottle is something worth shouting about. Black Tot rum celebrates the age-old tradition of issuing sailors with their daily tot, but it’s like no rum you’ve ever tried before. Big, rich and powerful, Black Tot has enormous depth, with layers of dark chocolate and spice as well as savoury notes of leather and tobacco, almost like a cask-strength whisky. I love everything about this rum, and a bottle of Black Tot would make someone’s Christmas very special indeed."