What else do you need for the glum darkness of a Scottish December as it merges into a new year?
I hardly ever make any sort of bread but seeing a recipe on Innis & Gunn's site for their IPA bread gave me renewed confidence in my baking skills. The recipe here, worked a treat. For good measure, I threw in a variety of other ingredients to add interest to the mix and to 'beef' it up a bit - black Greek olives, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and some battered brazil nuts. I'm not usually an IPA fan - tastes too much like a bunch of flowers for me - but Innis & Gunn's habit of maturing their liquid in casks makes this the most palatable.
Around the same time, a triple barrelled package with a combined age of 67 arrived from Whiskybroker. Though myself and others were disappointed that the promised Macallan didn't materialise, due to price apparently, the other releases were both of significant interest and high quality.
Having exhausted my previous bottle of grain, the Invergordon 25yo was a welcome addition to the shelf. It has all the hallmarks of an aged grain - smooth, creamy with lots of vanilla but this one has a little lemon zest in there.
In all my years of imbibing, I had never knowingly drank an Auchroisk. Whiskybroker's 21 year old is an excellent place to start. Smooth, sweet and so damn tasty with a wee hint of wood.
Lastly was the 21yo Ardbeg. Much sought after though more so for the reputation of it and the perceived kudos at having such a bottle on the shelf. The nose is fantastic - lots of peat and saline that takes me back to Airigh nam Beist. As is usual for the age, the peat on the palate is not as pronounced but is there nevertheless. Dignified and quiet and well worth it at the price.
And there's enough left over for an impending Burns' Nicht.