Douglas Laing, Premium Barrel Talisker 6 year old.

Douglas Laing, Premium Barrel Talisker 6 year old.

The bottle alone is something to gaze at. Be warned, it doesn’t pour that well and takes a practiced hand. You’ll get plenty of practice though, because for a young whisky it exudes character beyond its years. Not surprisingly, because this is a Talisker and I believe whisky is indelibly marked by the people who make it and the place comes into being from.

The Joy of Independent Bottlings: Glendullan 1993

The Joy of Independent Bottlings: Glendullan 1993

When I first started drinking whisky, it was simpler. I wanted to try everything I could lay my hands on but that wasn’t a vast range. Most of it was major brands that were instantly recognisable. As with most things though, over time your understanding deepens and you start to see with better eyes. I began to labels that were nearly written in code, with colours, maps and distillery names I’d barely heard of.

The GlenDronach, Cask Strength & Sherried

The GlenDronach, Cask Strength & Sherried

I remember, 5 o’clock sherry, the awful, cheap, puckering kind. In the lounge room of his house with half-completed wallpaper and an old boxset television, he would pour a glass of sherry from the sideboard . And then he’d look sideways at me, at all of twelve years old and say, ‘Want a little?’