The holiday season is always busy, between family visits, parties and overindulgences; however, as much as we miss the festivities, we would be lying if we said we weren’t (at least a little bit) looking forward to getting back to business as usual.
The seasonal celebrations may have involved us sipping more than a couple different scotches and Irish whiskeys, but one that left a particularly strong impact on us was Oban Little Bay.
Admittedly, we’ve had a small love affair with Oban for awhile—for one of us, it was the first scotch we tasted…and fell for instantly. This may or may not have been due to the fact that we were on a tour bus with one of our all-time favourite mandolin players…but that is a story for another post. Another reason we find Oban so delightful is the fact that the distillery is one of the smallest, operating with just two pot stills and producing 650,000 litres of liquid magic yearly.
This whiskey starts out as the famous, lightly seated and bright 14yr-old single malt Oban, then is transferred to, and finished in, new oak casks. This gives Little Bay a copper gold colour with a bold, forward start that opens up and surprised us with a deep, smooth finish. We also enjoyed the spicy clove and citrus notes that came in with the warmth of the whisky. You could add a little splash of cold water to Oban Little Bay—this increases the oiliness of the whisky—but we find it detracts from the spicy finish that we loved so much.
A great value for the price point (where we live, you can get a bottle for around $90), Oban Little Bay goes down easy and leaves us satisfied. It just might be one of the tipples we choose to indulge in come Robbie Burns Day…
1) Each high-quality dram in the Whisky Advent Calendar is hand-selected, individually labeled and wax sealed—we just could not resist putting this on our list! It may be a little late for December, but you could always just count down until Greek Orthodox Christmas (or simply play “catch up” and double up on missed days). ($234.59)
2) We have the pleasure of knowing the lovely woman behind East Van Jam—and know that she too enjoys indulging in a glass of scotch after a long day. Sir Pear of Islay is a “bold jelly” featuring Okanagan pears and single malt Islay scotch—sure to put a smile on any scotch lover’s face! ($11)
3) Really, who wouldn’t want to pour a glass of scotch from a stag head decanter? The Pottery Barn carries these hand-blown-glass beauties, which are also available with monogramming. ($119)
4) We love to entertain—especially during the holidays. These gorgeous serving boards from Union Wood & Supply Company are made from reclaimed wood rafters “of a local brick and mortar that was once used as a police horse stable/livery…and dressed up with distressed steel handles”. Rustic, yet refined, these boards unquestionably jazz up any cheese plate, and each board is unique! ($80)
5) What kind of whiskey blog would this be if we didn’t recommend a scotch? If you’re feeling a little fancy, we suggest picking up a bottle of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. We recently enjoyed a dram of this elegantly smoky-smooth amber liquid and can’t get it out of our heads. ($299)
1) Take a tour through the wonderful world of whiskey with this fabulous infographic from Pop Chart Labs. Celebrating over 200 kinds of whiskey from America and Canada to Scotland and Ireland, “from scotch to bourbon to single malt to moonshine”—this is a must-have for our walls! The Many Varieties of Whiskey is available as both a limited edition whiskey barrel-inspired wood engraving, or as an 18” x 24” poster chart. ($29; $185)
2) For the globetrotting whiskey lover in your life: turn their airplane experience up a few notches by letting them bartend at 30,000 feet with the Carry On Cocktail Kit! The carry-on friendly kit comes with everything you need to mix up two old fashioned cocktails, including detailed directions, bitters, cane sugar and a muddler. Even in coach, you’ll be riding ‘first class’. ($24)
3) What liquor-loving fashionista wouldn’t love this chic stainless steel flask bangle from Cynthia Rowley? The covert flask holds approx 3oz of booze—and since “arm parties” are all the rage, why not stack a few on each wrist? The bracelet that will not only have you looking great, but feeling great too! ($365)
4) Elegance exists in simplicity, and these Brass Lift Coasters embody both. Of course we prefer these sculptural gems with a tumbler of scotch atop, but they add a sophisticated touch to any tabletop all on their own. ($68)
5) While we always prefer our single malts neat, there are times that a chilled (but not diluted) whiskey is called for. Ice cubes knocking against your teeth and watering down your beverage are never enjoyable, but thankfully the Whiskey Wedge is bringing us joy this season. The set includes both a Double-Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass and a silicone mold—simply add water to the glass, insert the mold and freeze—resulting in glacier-shaped ice that clings to the side of the glass and melts much more slowly than traditional cubes. ($14.95)