Caskaway

Island life: Jennifer Nickerson

We send some of the whisky world’s great and good to a desert island. What will they decide to take with them?
By Mark Jennings
Eagle-eyed readers will spot Jennifer’s name from our Icons of Whisky awards, where she was awarded Global Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador. Her whiskey brand, Tipperary Boutique Distillery, based on her husband Liam’s family farm in Ballindoney, released their first whiskey in 2016.

“The Rising” was an 11-years-old independently bottled single-malt Irish whiskey, limited to only 1916 bottles, was made in celebration of the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

We wonder if sending this Irish whiskey-making Scottish lass to a desert island would mean she chooses Irish or Scotch to accompany her… let’s find out.


Whisky #1



Glenrothes

1988

I know I’ve splashed out on my first choice, but it’s a single malt distilled in one of the years I lived there. Rich and dark and fruity, it incongruously reminds me of summer days, hitting tennis balls against the whisky warehouse, eating raspberries from the canes (after brushing off the bugs), and being eaten alive by midges.


Whisky #2



Compass Box

Hedonism

This whisky reminds me of a conversation I had with the wonderful Robin Robinson on a trip to New York. I naively declared that single grain wasn’t really my thing and he said that I had to try Hedonism. Technically this is a blended grain, but it’s a real celebration of what grain whiskey can (and should) be: vanilla and shortbread sweetness, layered with citrus and spice to make something that is far more complex than I’d normally expect from grain whisky.


Whisky #3



Lagavulin

16 Year Old

My cupboard and my heart wouldn’t be full without this whiskey. It’s one of those drams that I can recognise across a room. I remember when my dad first tried to introduce me to peated malt when I was in my late teens, I couldn’t get past that smoke to appreciate the sea spray and deceptive sweetness, that big heavy peat smack hiding all the sweet elegant complexity below. I’m forever grateful that my dad laughed at me and started on a journey to get me to appreciate peated whiskies.


Whisky #4



Daftmill

2006 Winter Release

Frances (Cuthbert, co-founder of Daftmill) was one of our inspirations for Tipperary. He told us how he had grown malting barley for years before installing his own distillery. He took us through everything, generous with his time and happy to talk about anything from farming technicalities with Liam, to distilling details with Dad. He had 5-year-old whiskey at that point, but wasn’t in any hurry to bottle. He was relaxed and unrushed and determined to do everything right.
That dedication to quality and terroir spoke to something inside me, and it’s informed everything we’ve done since. You can still get a bottle of Daftmill’s most recent 2006 Winter Release online and I’d invite everyone who gets their hands on one to try it. It’s beautiful – soft fruits and honey and ginger spice.


Whisky #5



Tipperary

Watershed

I have to close out with one of my own! This is the first whiskey that we cut to bottling strength with water from Ballindoney farm, introducing the first aspect of our own land to our independent bottlings. I’d happily have a dram every evening while I watched the sun go down on my desert island. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a nice fish dish too.


A brief final luxury



Well it wouldn’t be my phone – being stranded without my emails on a desert island sounds like heaven. A hammock. With all that whisky, I’d need a hammock to kick back and watch the sun go down. If you can throw in a solar-powered Kindle for me too, that’d be ideal. I did consider being honest and saying my dog, but I think people think I’m weird enough about them as it is!