Whether served solo or in a classic cocktail, whiskey is a sophisticated and seasoned drink.
For a thousand years, this â€œwater of lifeâ€ elixir has brought warmth to winter.
Here are some luxury choices for the tongue to explore.
1. Crown Royal Fine de Luxe and Crown Royal XR Extra Rare
Crown Royalâ€™s base whiskey, Crown Royal Fine De Luxe, is a blend of 50 full-bodied whiskeys, and Crown Royal XR Extra Rare is a limited-edition whiskey crafted from one of the final batches of the famed LaSalle Distillery, which closed more than a quarter century ago.
â€œThe Crown Royal Fine De Luxe is matured to perfection,â€ says Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of whiskeys for Diageo North America, the parent company of Crown Royal. â€œThe nose is rich and robust with slight hints of vanilla and fruits. â€œThe finish is expansive and long lasting.â€ She notes that its â€œsignature smoothnessâ€ makes it perfect with a simple mixer like ginger ale or cola, or with honey syrup and lemon juice for a cocktail.
Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, she says, is full-bodied and incredibly smooth.
â€œThe aroma conjures hints of pear with complementary floral bouquet notes, while the honeyed pear maintains upon first taste and is joined by tones of dried apricot and raisins midpalate,â€ she says. â€œThe finish is exquisite with an elegant touch of cocoa and brown sugar.â€
She adds that itâ€™s â€œexceptional on its own, neat, or with ice.â€
2. The Balvenie Week of Peat and A Day of Dark Barley
The handcrafted collection from Scottish distillery Balvenie, which was established in 1892, features The Balvenie Week of Peat and A Day of Dark Barley.
The Week of Peat, aged for 14 years and launched globally in 2017, gets its â€œvery rare, delicately smoky, and nontraditional style from the infusion of peat into the barley-drying process,â€ according to Jamie Johnson, Canadian brand ambassador.
â€œThe flavor is a classic Balvenie expression with honey, vanilla, and citrus notes with an extra layer of delicate smokiness,â€ she says.
A Day of Dark Barley, aged for 26 years, was originally released in 2006. It is the product of experimentation with heavily roasted dark barley, resulting in what Ms. Johnson says is â€œa flavor profile that is ultradecadent with notes of chocolate and is exceptionally exquisite.â€
Both whiskeys, she says, are best imbibed neat.
3. Glenfiddich 14-Year-Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve
Founded in 1886 in Scotland, the family-owned Glenfiddich distillery matures its single-malt scotch in former bourbon casks of American oak for 14 years.
Glenfiddichâ€™s layers of creamy toffee, woody spices, candied orange peel, and fresh-toasted oak are a â€œsilky mouth-feel of flavors of corn and caramel with oak and cinnamon,â€ says Brian Kinsman, the brandâ€™s malt master.
He adds that the â€œbaked apple and ripe summer fruits are balanced with rich, oaky aromasâ€ that create â€œa long-lasting and lingering sweetness.â€
Mr. Kinsman recommends serving Glenfiddich neat or on the rocks.
4. Gordon & MacPhail 1984 from Glenury Royal
This legendary Scottish Highlands distillery closed in 1985, and the Gordon & MacPhail 1984 is part of the companyâ€™s Last Cask collection of extremely rare whiskeys released to commemorate its 125th-year anniversary.
There are only 397 bottles of this â€œelegant and oily 35-year-old whiskey,â€ according to Stephen Rankin, a fourth-generation member of the distillery ownerâ€™s family.
â€œThe liquid is a rich amber in color, with aromas of stewed fruit, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and toasted oak,â€ Mr. Rankin says. â€œThis follows in the taste of the whiskey, with sweet orange peel, cherry, burnt sugar, and dried fig giving way to a medium and fruit finish with notes of aniseed and sherry.â€
He notes that it pairs well with â€œred-meat dishes, especially if accompanied by a red-currant jus. For those with a sweeter tooth, pair it with a dark-chocolate souffle to really bring out the top notes.â€
The whiskey, he adds, â€œembodies the essence of winter, striking similar notes to mulled wine, winter berries, and warm fires. Best enjoyed by a fire, this smooth whiskey is a luxurious end to a day on the slopes.â€
5. The Macallan Double Cask Range
The Macallan distillery, which is on a plateau above the River Spey in Scotland, dates to 1824 and is surrounded by a 485-acre estate.
The single-malt Scotch whiskies, which feature 100% natural color and are produced in small stills of unique size and shape, have a wide range of flavor profiles.
The newest release, a trio dubbed the Double Cask Range, is â€œa truly special fusion of vanilla and subtle spice,â€ says Raquel Raies, The Macallan national ambassador.
She adds that the Double Cask 12 Years Old features flavors of honey, citrus and ginger; the Double Cask 15 Years Old offers notes of raisin and hints of vanilla, wood spice and citrus; and the Double Cask 18 Years Old has notes of caramel, vanilla, and ginger balanced by wood spice and zesty citrus.
â€œAll three are ideal expressions for the skiing season,â€ she says. â€œI like using The Macallan Double Cask 12 to make a decadent salted-caramel whiskey-sauce recipe, which I pour over popcorn and enjoy with a glass of Double Cask 15. The Double Cask 18 pairs best with great company and a rich dark-chocolate truffle.â€
This article first appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.