Milroy’s and J.J. Cory
The Bridie (shop stock)
I spent a lot of time in Milroy’s when I was living in London, and now I am in Scotland, when I head back down the shop is my office. I wouldn’t say I come across a lot of Irish whiskeys up here in Speyside so I don’t have a huge amount of experience with them, but this is brilliant. I think the Irish guys are doing some really interesting things.
The name means ‘dew of the chrysanthemum', and I got interested in spirits made from rice when I was working at a sake brewery. When I was in Japan I was reading a book by a chap called Tom Robbins about a Japanese shape-shifting badger, or Tanuki, who has a penchant for sake. I was out with a Korean friend and we saw this chrysanthemum sake and I knew I just had to try it. That’s why it has to be on my list.
18 Years Old
This was not a whisky I knew a huge amount about initially, and it came about during one of my tasting sessions at Milroy's. I would usually get people to recommend whiskies to me there and one of the guys there said I should really try this, and I ended up buying a bottle for myself. I normally tend to go for Highland peat whiskies and sometimes I get stuck on a flavour profile, but this isn’t a peated whisky and is quite vibrant.
Gordon and MacPhail
It was probably at Milroy's again where I got to try this. But what happened from there was I decided to try all the independent bottlings I could. I just found that the independent bottlings were much better than the standard, so I was going to different bars up here and trying what I could find. I didn’t realise at the time that there are two different bottlings of the 1998. It wasn’t until I went to the shop in Elgin to buy myself some that I found this out. Every bar up here has it and it costs next to nothing and has become a firm favourite, and I was surprised I was able to get such quality at that price.
Eight Lands Vodka
Years ago I did a masterclass for Oddbins, and I thought that was going to be a bit boring, but I realised then how different vodkas can be. So we created this up here, and have served it with a pairing we developed: scones and clotted cream with the best blackcurrant jam you can find. People have really enjoyed it; I served it at my birthday and everyone was really impressed. I drink it as a digestif as you would in Germany. It is made from organic malted barley and malted wheat and then when fermentation begins with one yeast, we then add another type of yeast and crushed unfermented wheat.
A brief final luxury
I really like to listen to music so it would have to be a great speaker. No point in having a great album, you need a great speaker, and to be able to play it loud as I like to sing.