Winter Means Whisky: Hedonism

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The clocks went back last Sunday. Unlike British Summer Time which extends the evenings and thus increases the consumption of Aperol Spritz and Prosecco proportionally, the fact that it now gets dark at 5pm makes me want to spend my evenings sitting by the fire, under a warm blanket and with the dog at my feet. (I’m 30-something going on 80-something, in case you hadn’t already realised.)

There are certain drinks which make the cut in these situations and delicate white wines (like the Sauvignon Blanc that I had at lunch today) or vodka-based cocktails, which just don’t.

Wonderful racy minerality… but doesn’t pair well with a violent thunderstorm.

Fortunately, I happen to have a decent stash of whisky at home and in my opinion, it’s the perfect fireside, after-dark tipple. It’s widely acknowledged that a huge part of the tasting experience is influenced by your surroundings at the time. Hearing the wind whistle around the house and the rain lash against the windowpane makes me yearn for pu er tea until it’s an appropriate time to pour a snifter.

Hedonism is a blended grain Scotch whisky, from expert blenders, Compass Box. It’s 43% ABV, non-chill filtered and no added colourings, aged in American oak barrels.

Grain whisky has a completely different profile from malt. There’s far more gourmandise, to borrow a word from the French. This drop in particular has a very pronounced vanilla flavour. Pure vanilla essence, on the nose as in the mouth. Whilst my drinking partner is picking up fainter notes of Victoria sponge cake, for me it’s more like a Black Forest Gateau because there’s the vanilla cream and the smell of boozy dark cherries. It’s smooth, creamy and warming, without burning, and it suits its name “Hedonism” down to a tee.

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The Twelve Drinks of Christmas

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Today, December 11th, is the third Sunday of Advent. It’s also known as Gaudete Sunday, which hailing from the Latin meaning “rejoice” means that today is the day when we are officially supposed to make merry!

That’s my interpretation of it, in any case, and I rarely need to look far to find inspiration!

Strictly speaking, however, the period of Advent (the 4 weeks before December 25th) is supposed to be a time of anticipation, preparation and frugality before the twelve days of feasting.

At this time of year, I like to verify that I have something more than a dusty bottle of sherry to tide me over until the New Year.

In approximative chronological order, here are 12 tipples that you should have in your drinks cabinet over the festive period.
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