Whisky Magazine Issue 129
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Let the grain take the strain
Originally used for blended whisky, grain whisky has been long ignored until recently when Compass Box, an English company founded in 2000, released their first blend. Their product, a blended grain whisky named Hedonism, was a game changer in the grain whisky world and was received with great enthusiasm. Ever since, distilleries realised the potential of well-crafted grain whiskies and we are now seeing a rise in quality on the market.
Contrary to the norm, grain whiskies are usually distilled in column stills, imparting softer notes, often floral and fruity with a touch more sweetness than their cousins. The different distillation process and the addition of grains offer a unique identity to the liquid, one with a quiet yet strong character.
It is a pleasure to work with, due to its malleability and the wide range of tastes each distillery can offer. The following three grain whiskies are by far my favourite products to pair in cocktails.
First up is Nikka Coffey Grain Malt, a single grain whisky released last year. The corn and barley mash is nothing like a ‘Japanese Bourbon'. Using their Coffey still, an ancient machine preceding continuous column stills, allows flavour unlike that which a pot still or even a column still could offer. To showcase this surprisingly smooth liquid, I made a twist on the Delicious Sour, taken from the book The Flowing Bowl by William Schmidt. The combination of cinnamon, honey and spice tree from the Nikka Coffey Grain is the perfe...