Something I often think about. Which whisky fits which season? Personally, often I have to be ‘in the mood’ for a whisky. Every day is different. For instance, today I might feel like having a nice, light, bourbon cask aged whisky, whereas last week that didn’t seem appealing at all. There are so many factors that influence my decision making when it comes to whisky. Weather, physical state, mental state, food I’ve eaten, food I’m going to eat, time of day, time of week, things I’m doing, things I watch on tv, mood. So many things that have a (sometimes) decisive say in which whisky I choose to pour. But alright, if we take away all the ‘human’ aspects of this and keep ourselves to seasons, is there a set way to link a whisky with a particular time of year? Probably not 100%. I think many would agree that winter is the best time for peated whisky’s. Cold, icy temperatures often ask for a smoky, intense whisky such as Talisker, Ardbeg, Lagavulin and so on. Whereas summer or spring would seem to be more of a light-bodied, mild whisky type of season.
But what if there’s a nice, blue-skyed, sunny day in winter? Would we still choose a heavily peated whisky? Maybe not. And what about days like today? It’s the middle of summer but outside is cold, windy and extremely wet. Would we choose a light, easy to drink, gentle dram? I dare say no. So how can we objectively link certain whisky’s with seasons? Maybe we should take a more general approach to this. When I think of summer, I think of high temperatures and sun. When I think of Autumn I think of brown leaves, wind, rain and moderate temperatures. Winter brings to mind below zero temperatures, snow, ice and more often than not miserable outside circumstances. Spring for me is the time of sun, flowers blooming, birds chirping and temperatures going up. So with these in mind, allow me to have a go at some good matches;
Summer: Glenmorangie traditional, Balvenie Single Barrel, Glen Grant 10 yo, Glenlivet 15 yo
Autumn: Glendronach 12 or 15 yo, Highland Park 12 yo, Dalmore 12 yo, Aberlour A’Bunadh
Winter: Talisker 10 yo, Ardbeg 10 yo, Lagavulin 16 yo, Bowmore 12 yo
Spring: Balvenie Doublewood, Macallan fine oak, Glenfarclas 12 yo, Glencadam 10 yo
So these are some examples of what I would consider good drams for different seasons, on the general perception of these seasons. On a nice, clear, sunny winter’s day I might easily go for an Aberlour or a Balvenie, whereas on a cold, rainy summer’s day I would likely grab a smoky Ardbeg or Bowmore. I find it very interesting to see how so many things can influence our choice of whisky. There will never be an airtight way of linking whisky’s with different seasons, because there are so many other things that can steer our minds than weather alone. For that same reason I don’t believe in scoring whisky’s as I taste them. More often than not have I really enjoyed a whisky in a tasting and would have easily given them a score of at least 90/100 in that moment, while on another day I would be tasting them and wonder why I gave them such a high score. Or the other way around, just as well.
Choosing your whisky of the day seems to be a case of being very aware of yourself and the circumstances you find yourself in on that moment in time. Therefor I would strongly suggest taking a moment before choosing a whisky to drink. Take a good look at your collection, think about the aromas and flavors you might expect in each bottle. Open a few, have a sniff. Your nose is the best tool you have to perceive and anticipate. Never randomly pick a whisky, because being disappointed when you are tasting it would be a real waste of this lovely product.