A Gentleman's Guide

Top five whiskies for your home bar

Insider tips on an approval-worthy homebar for the whisky newbie

Issue: 25

hether for yourself, or for entertaining guests, everyone should have a solid selection of whisky at home. But what to do if you’re a whisky rookie with limited amount of space in the cabinet (or the wallet)?

Well, first things first: whisky is from Scotland (or Scotch inspired) and whiskey comes from Ireland or America. And that leads us to our first question: what style or origin are you looking for?

Scotch only? Or also whiskies from the US, Canada or Ireland? There’s no right or wrong, taste is obviously subjective and by no means static; it can change depending on occasion or state of mind.

I chose three different Scotch whiskies for my collection. Yes, unfortunately I’m skipping Canadian whiskey, but you need to draw the line somewhere.

As it is subjective and can change, I've opted for five bottles that can fit occasion and mood, and give you the added benefit of a whisky education along the way

I absolutely want a classic Bourbon. Bulleit is the right choice here. You can drink it neat, on ice or in some easy-to-make fabulous cocktails like a Whiskey Sour or Mint Julep.

Of course you must have a whiskey from the original birthplace, Ireland. The 16 Year Old Bushmills has been matured in three different casks which gives it a balanced and smooth finish.

Top five whiskies for your home bar

A blended Scotch is a must for each house bar and Johnnie Walker Black Label is an absolute icon. It’s for sure the best 12 Year Old blend Scotland has to offer. A tad smoky with overall bold aromas, this is a classic, pure and simple.

Two more spots open for Single Malts. I like smoky whiskies and one of my favourites is Lagavulin 16 Year Old from the island of Islay (pronounced Eye-La). You can count on its delicious and distinctive taste for years now, intensely smoky and complex.

Yes, unfortunately I’m skipping Canadian whiskey, but you need to draw the line somewhere

The final single malt slot is tough to fill, because there are so many fantastic ones. But one of them – and it is indeed the first single malt which I have consciously drunk – grew on me.

It doesn’t belong to the whisky mainstream but it’s from a beautiful small distillery in the Highlands not far from Balmoral, the summer holiday residence of the Royal Family. It is the 12 Year Old Royal Lochnagar, a typical Highland Whisky which is spicy and reveals subtle aromas of dried fruits.

As a whisky beginner you’ll go far with this group of five, not only in terms of developing your own taste but also having a great range to choose and offer to your guests.

Bernhard Schäfer

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