Castaway

Island Life

We send some of the whisky world’s great and good to a desert island. What will they decide to take with them?
By Rob Allanson
Kristiane Sherry is not a drink, she is the editor at Master of Malt, the multi-award-winning drinks eCommerce site. She adores whisky, gin, Tequila, cocktails, and loves geeking out at distilleries around the world. She has chaired and judged at competitions, including the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of Craft Spirits, The Global Spirits Masters and the World Gin Awards, is an accredited WSET Spirits Educator, and has written about drinks since 2011. When she’s not immersed in the world of spirits, she can be found trail running across the stunning South Downs, or curled up with her cats.

Whisky #1
Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel
I’ve fallen for American whiskey all over again of late and for me there’s little that beats the velvety toffee, zesty orange delight that is Blanton’s. Obviously, each bottling is a little different, but I’ve not been disappointed by one yet. It’s practical, too – the expressions are bottled around 65% ABV; you can add a good splash of water each time and make it go further! Handy, as I’m not sure how long I’m being marooned for...

Whisky #2
Caledonian 33 Years Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
One of my favourite sunny-day drams of all time! I have a huge thing for aged single grain whiskies and this is a stunner. I love the buttery, woody, classic Mr-Whippy-ice-cream-with-a-flake notes; it’s got all the characteristics of elegant old grains, with a hearty helping of individuality, too. I’m so pleased that grain whisky is getting the recognition it deserves – there’s no way I’d head off to a desert island without some.

Whisky #3
Nikka from the Barrel
Just in case it wasn’t clear by now, I love higher-ABV spirits. The flavour intensity is compelling; but that said, there’s no shame in adding a couple of drops of water to open up the aromas and flavours. Nikka from the Barrel is a remarkable example of not only an impeccable higher-ABV whisky, but incredible quality at an affordable price point. It’s all about the toffee and fruit notes with a kick of cinnamon spice, but I also get delicate florals in there too: honeysuckle and jasmine. It’s a firm favourite, and one of the few examples of sensibly-priced, delicious Japanese whiskies there. Can I take two bottles?

Whisky #4
Lagavulin 16 Years Old
Sticking with the classics, who could be without a bottle of Lagavulin 16? If I’m going to be stuck on a desert island for an extended period of time, this is an essential travel companion. Sweet smoke and sherry notes, along with the right amount of mouthwatering spice, it ticks every box. Plus, if I’m going to build a bonfire in an attempt to send smoke signals, this would be a highly ideal tasting companion. On another note, I’m pretty sure Parks & Recreation’s super-practical Ron Swanson would have a bottle stashed away in his emergency kit. And who could disagree with Ron?

Whisky #5
Highland Park 40 Years Old
Highland Park was one of the first whisky distilleries I ever visited, and if there’s a chance it’ll be one of the last things I drink (there’s no talk of rescue from this desert island) I think there would be a pleasing sort of symmetry if it was Highland Park 40 Years Old. I tasted it up on Orkney, and then later as a birthday treat, and it is an enchanting dram indeed. I can vividly recall its rich oiliness, its dark chocolate, honeyed nose and its leathery, orange oil palate, all wrapped up in a heathery, aromatic smoke. It’s got good memories tied up in it too, so it’s an essential desert island dram.

A brief final luxury
I wouldn’t class it as a luxury, it’s clearly an essential, but it would have to be a giant jar of Marmite. It’s the most delicious foodstuff under the sun (and I gather there’s a lot of that on a desert island). No need to have anything to spread it on; just give me a spoon. Plus, I reckon it’ll pair exceptionally well with that Lagavulin 16...