Five Whiskies to Try at Whisky Live

A friendly guide for the whisky beginner attending the country’s biggest whisky event

by Philbert Dy, art by Andrew Panopio

 

On October 20 and 21, Shangri-la BGC will play host to Whisky Live, where one may sample dozens of whiskies from all around the world. The selection might be overwhelming to those who aren’t yet too well versed in the varieties of whisky, and so we are offering a few suggestions for your first five drams, to ease you into the wider world of the drink.

 

FOR STARTERS: MONKEY SHOULDER

 

 

If you’re going into Whisky Live with no real experience in whisky beyond the big brands, you might want to start off easy, and there are few whiskies quite as friendly and welcoming as Monkey Shoulder. It is a blended malt, a mix of three single malt whiskies, which gives it a fine, rounded flavor. It’s a little sweet, with notes of orange and vanilla, with just a touch of oak. It’s a whisky that few will object to.

 

A TASTE OF JAPAN: MARS MALTAGE COSMO

 

 

There aren’t a lot of Japanese whiskies in the lineup of Whisky Live, but if you’re looking to find out what the East is bringing to the whisky game, try out Mars Maltage Cosmo, a blended whisky from Japan’s third largest distillery. It’s one of their newer expressions, and it has a lot of the mild, fruity flavors typically associated with Japanese whisky.

 

YOUR FIRST SINGLE MALT: HIGHLAND PARK 12

 

 

Moving on to the world of single malt whiskies can be daunting, but Highland Park 12 has always proven to be a lovely introduction. It starts off sweet, then reveals more complex flavors as it stays on the palate. It brings in smoke and just a hint of peat in the finish. There are certainly more accessible single malts, but Highland Park 12 does a good job of balancing familiar flavors with the more interesting stuff that a single malt can bring.

 

UPPING THE FLAVOR QUOTIENT: BALVENIE DOUBLEWOOD 12

 

 

The Balvenie Doublewood 12 is still on the sweeter side of single malt whisky, but it’s a flavor bomb. It explodes on a palate with fruit and spice, and has a long, lingering finish. It’s really a glass that you can spend a good long time with. If you’re looking to turn single malts into a habit, this is a pretty good way to start.

 

MORE PEAT: ARDBEG 10

 

 

If the taste of peat in Highland Park 12 piqued your interest, you might want to try out an Islay malt, which really capitalizes on peat and smoke. Ardbeg 10 is one of the best introductory Islay malts: it is sweet and mellow enough to start out with, but packs a smoky punch. It’s kind of like drinking a campfire, but those bitter, burnt notes give way to hints of fruit and chocolate and coffee. Ardbeg is basically the tip of the iceberg for Islay malts. It only gets stranger from here.

 

Whisky Live happens at Shangri-la BGC on October 20-21. For tickets and more information, visit http://whiskylive.ph