Four ardent spirits for Sukkot


When the holiday of Sukkot rolls around, I find myself gravitating toward warming, ardent spirits — single-malt Scotch whisky chief among them. One of the newest product roll-outs for the U.S. market comes from the Loch Lomond Group. Imported to the United States by A. Hardy USA, the impressive portfolio of Scotch whiskies is gaining both critical and consumer attention — and for good reason.

Without further ado, here are just four of their many great offerings to consider:
Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky (46 percent abv; $35): Although made of malted barley, it is distilled in a continuous Coffey still rather than a batch-driven pot still, and so is considered a grain rather than a malt whisky under the rules established for Scotch whisky. It is light but wonderfully refreshing, with a nose of sweet fruit and cereal, and a nutty and tropical fruit palate, with oak spice balancing it all out, with a lightly tingly, fruity finish.

Loch Lomond Original Single Malt Scotch Whisky (40 percent abv; $40): This Non-Age Statement whisky offers pleasing aromas of Scottish heather (sort of a woodsy/mossy/herby smell), light peat smoke, salted, hard pretzels and something vaguely reminiscent of the seashore. The palate offers more pretzel with a slightly sea salt dusting, sweet almost candied fruits, a dollop of vanilla cream, a slight touch of oak spice, a little citrus fruit bite, and whispers of peat. The finish offers a little candied ginger, citrus fruit, cereal grains, a little mint with chocolate (reminds me a bit of Girl Scout Cookie Thin-Mints), and a kiss of oak. A seemingly fairly young whisky, but really rather elegant, it is quite lovely — especially for the price.

Glen Scotia 15 year old Single Malt Scotch (46 percent abv; $90): Part of the much welcomed 2015 relaunch of the brand, this rich and chewy 15-year-old expression was fully matured in used bourbon casks and offers some light hints of vanilla, sugared citrus zest, sea spray, ginger and a little smoke, with a lovely, rich almost heavy-mouth feel, offering flavors of tropical fruits, a little clove and ginger spice, some interesting milk chocolate notes, vanilla and a little sea salt. The finish is warming with spice and a bit more of that now-darkening chocolate. A touch brooding, but it’s really yummy and rewarding.

Glen Scotia Victoriana Single Malt Scotch Whisky (51.5 percent abv; $125): Finished in charred oak and bottled without filtration at cask strength, this one definitely has some heavy wood elements that might not be for all tastes. With aromas of toasty sugar, fudge, peaches, vanilla, a little smoke and a light sea spray, evolving on the full-bodied palate to deeper smoke, toffee, chocolate, wood spices, ginger, fig, orange peel, vanilla and a little distinct brine, and a great if short finish that includes mint, raisins, a hint of marmalade, oak and a little endearing smoke. With lovely layers of flavor dancing up and down, and then to and fro, this is an interesting and deeply satisfying whisky. L’chaim!

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