Five Must-Try Scotch Whiskies

Cap off a hearty steak din­ner with pre­mium spir­its of­fered by Sage Bar right be­low Sage Bespoke Grill

Philippine Tatler Traveller - - Sage Bar - WORDS: PAOLO F. VER­GARA

Aprop­erly grilled steak and fresh seafood are just the thing to prime the palate for fiery but nu­anced spir­its. Keep­ing this in mind, din­ers can make their way down from Sage Bespoke Grill to sam­ple five of the world’s finest whiskies at Sage Bar down­stairs.

1. Glen­dronach

Au­da­cious and most com­monly aged in oaken sherry casks, Glen­dronach is an old- style Scotch echo­ing its Vic­to­rian ori­gins. De­spite mech­a­niza­tion, it still utilises tra­di­tional, time­honoured dis­til­la­tion prac­tices to craft the par­tic­u­larly fine sin­gle malts that have been its stock in trade since 1968. While many of Glen­dronach’s Scotches are fully ma­tured in sherry casks, some of its best whiskies sit in Bour­bon casks to pick up a sweet hint of vanilla sweet­ness prior to mat­u­ra­tion.

2. Ard­beg

While it has faced com­pe­ti­tion as Is­lay’s smok­i­est malt, Ard­beg can con­fi­dently state that it is one of the is­land’s sweet­est. A rich sooty, tarry smok­i­ness bal­ances the Ard­berg’s sweet, cit­ric core: the min­gled re­sult of peat and malt from Port Ellen along with as a long fer­men­ta­tion process that soft­ens the harsh­ness of the cit­rus notes. Its use of a pu­ri­fier pipe in the still adds an oily, tex­tu­ral, and re­fined qual­ity to the fi­nal prod­uct while a new, mod­ern wood pol­icy has helped to give more round­ness.

3. Nikka

Masa­taka Taket­suru, the legendary fa­ther of Ja­panese whisky and founder of Nikka, orig­i­nally trained as a chemist. Ini­tially plan­ning to hone sake brewing, an in­tro­duc­tion to Scotch prompted a trip to Scot­land where he learned the craft of whisky-mak­ing and met his wife Rita who in­spired him as he rev­o­lu­tionised Ja­panese whisky. Orig­i­nally opened in Hokkaido, Nikka es­tab­lished a se­cond dis­tillery in Hon­shu. The Hokkaido clime, peat heat­ing, and oak mat­u­ra­tion makes for a strong, smoky, and coastal fin­ish. In con­trast, the Hon­shu dis­tillery pro­duces rich, fruity and el­e­gant whiskies. Nikka now en­joys a close fol­low­ing in its home coun­try as well as through­out Europe.

4. Glen­morangie

Also from the Isle of Is­lay, the high-pro­file con­tem­po­rary scotch tra­di­tion has been hon­ing its craft since 1918. Us­ing the tallest stills in Scot­land and only us­ing casks twice, the dis­tillery pi­o­neered the ex­tra­ma­tured method in the 1980s. With wa­ter sourced from the Tar­logie Springs, its eight tow­er­ing stills main­tain dis­tinctly citron and sul­tana vapours with a hint of honey en­hanc­ing the malt body. Its fea­tured oak cask fin­ishes are its 10- and 18- year old sin­gle- malt vari­ants.

5. BenRi­ach

Of the many Spey­side dis­til­leries, this one cap­tures the heart and charm of the Mo­rayshire re­gion. Draw­ing wa­ter from the Burn­side springs un­der the dis­tillery, BenRi­ach has built a rep­u­ta­tion for sin­gle-malt spir­its. It main­tains a wide range of dis­til­la­tion meth­ods that pro­duce a spec­trum of flavours for its whiskies: From peated to non­peated brewing to fin­ishes aged in wood casks other than oak.

All these tra­di­tions to­gether with ap­pli­ca­ble cock­tails can be sam­pled at the Makati Shangri-La Manila’s SAGE BAR, lo­cated at the first floor.

GATHER ROUND Cap the night off with pure whisky or pre­mium malt cock­tails

WORTHY OF THE NAME Only cer­tain whiskies can be called scotch, and Sage's of­fer­ings are rightly so

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