It’s November, so let’s get something straight – No-Shave November is as much about growing a manly beard as it is about sparking a conversation about cancer and the millions around the world that it afflicts. The movement started sometime around 2004 and has since evolved into an annual event that encourages men to forego the blade for the fuzz.
And, since no great conversation can ever start over a salad, we’d encourage you to pick up a glass, sit down with friends and accomplices, and pick a great whisky from the list below to start talking.
Method and Madness Single Pot Still
The latest expression from the house of Jameson, this unique blend exudes notes of sweet spices and wood. Unlike its direct Irish cousins from the Middleton Distillery, Method and Madness is reassuringly smooth and soft on the palate. However, the master distillers had an ace up their sleeves and made sure that this blend stood out among the crowd – instead of maturing them in ex-bourbon barrel, they chose to age the blend in chestnut casks.
Basil Hayden’s Rye
Although the master craftsmen at Basil Hayden had always chosen to lean towards bourbon, their first foray into making rye whiskey is devastatingly good. Wonderfully spicy because of the high rye content of the mash bill, this whiskey leaves a lingering trace of menthol and wild fruits on the tongue long after it has slid down the throat. The whiskey has also been rebarreled in freshly charred oak casks, lending it a rather unique character.
Yamazaki Mizunara Cask 2017
Although the Yamazaki distillery has been making waves since the early 2000s, the latest blend from this house is particularly notable as an expression of tsukuriwake – the art of diversity in whisky making. Matured in rare mizunara Japanese oak for at least 18 years, it exhibits unlikely depth and character and reeks of soft honeyed sweetness, dry fruits, and heavy spices.
Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch
This particular blend makes the list simply owing to its lineage. Crafted from a blend of single malts from Kinivie, Glenfiddich, and Balvenie, this whiskey opens up after you add a splash of water and a drop of soda. You can also sip it neat on ice or even choose to make a mean Scotch and Lime if cocktails are how you like your whiskies.
Hudson Baby Bourbon
Unlike the birthplace of most bourbons, this one doesn’t come from Tennessee. Born in a distillery off the cost of the Hudson River in New York, it carries on American whiskey tradition by maturing itself in freshly charred American Oak casks. This lightly sweet whiskey is rich in notes of roasted corn and is a great find for those who are into collecting craft blends.
The house of Aberfeldy has been distilling and bottling whisky since the 1800s in the Scottish Highlands. Like a lot of other distillers, they rely on a single source of pure water – the Pitilie Burn – to give their blends a distinct degree of purity. If you’d like, sip it neat to soak in the light notes of honey and spice or if you prefer, just shake together a Hair of the Dog to cut down its strong smokiness.