Think single malt is only for winter drinking? Think again. Here are three great bottles for a summer cabinet. Pour yourself a dram (measure) of whiskey while reading one of your new booze books!
Hakushu 12 Single Malt Whisky
This crisp, refreshing Japanese whisky delivers hints of melon and vanilla — it works well served over ice as well as poured neat. The Japanese have been making whisky for close to 100 years, and they do it well. You'll notice a slight bit of peat in this expression, too — a mere whisper of an Islay whisky. I enjoy making a highball (ice and club soda) with this variant and will place a wee sprig of mint as garnish. Slap the mint in your hand first — this will release a bigger aromatic pop of flavor into the glass.
Brenne Single Malt Whisky
Brenne tastes like no other single malt in the world — the tropical, fruity, and lush banana notes make you feel like you're drinking the same whisky Bridget Bardot would enjoy while sitting on a stone wall overlooking the Mediterranean. Don't approach Brenne with the same mind-frame as you would a Scotch whisky, though — it's aged in old cognac casks, and the barley used is grown side-by-side with cognac vines. If there's any whiskey that shows terroir, this is it. It's especially lovely on ice with two drops of bitters and an orange peel.
Highland Park 18
I do the unthinkable with this single malt Scotch whiskey in the summer: I add ice. Blasphemy? Maybe. Delicious? No doubt! Scotch fundamentalists beware: A taste of this on a hot day will change your anti-ice stance. Ice changes the dynamics of any whiskey – a couple of cubes added to a dram of Highland Park 18 allows a creamy vanilla lusciousness to pop while softening the earthy peatiness. This is a perfect early-evening sipping malt – I put a bottle of this out with a bucket of ice at a party I hosted recently and within hours the bottle was empty.
* Whiskey-producing regions around the world use two different spellings. For example, in America, it's whiskey. In Scotland,it's whisky.
Commentary by Heather Greene, an author, speaker and consultant who travels around the world teaching people about whiskey. She was the director of whiskey education and sommelier at The Flatiron Room in Manhattan from 2012 to 2014. She is also an accomplished musician. Her latest record, released in 2012, is Argon 40. Follow her on Twitter @HeatherMGreene and check out one of her music videos below: