One glance at this month's staff picks and you'll see what's happening at WhiskyMarketplace HQ. The nights are drawing in, the weather is getting colder and thoughts are turning to festive whiskies. Quality, richness and luxury are what we're looking for... unsurprising then to see two superb scotch single malts, a sensational Japanese blend and premium scotch blend.
Ben Nevis flies under a lot of people’s radars, which is a shame, as the distillery is more than capable of putting out some excellent whisky – as would be expected for a distillery owned by Japanese giants Nikka, who have owned it since 1989.
Bottlers Signatory, meanwhile, eschew almost all publicity and promotion, and sadly this little sherry-matured gem has been languishing in obscurity since being bottled towards the end of last year.
Distilled by one of the USA’s largest producers, Heaven Hill, Elijah Craig is one of the company’s flagship long-aged bourbons, alongside Evan Williams. The eponymous Reverend Elijah Craig was something of a firebrand minister and part-time distiller, who was once briefly imprisoned after his sermons were found to have caused a breach of the peace.
The Revd. Craig’s lasting contribution to world culture was not religious subversion, however, but ironically something rather more mellowing – he is claimed, probably apocryphally, to have been the first bourbon producer to discover the softening effect of burnt barrels in the maturation of his whiskey. This miraculous discovery supposedly came about as a consequence of the minister being too tight-fisted to replace his barrel stock after a fire at the distillery had damaged them.