By Rob Allanson

Weather watching

Rob Allanson ponders that eternal question:what's your favourite?
Well I am not sure what the weather is like where you are reading this, but here in Norfolk the seasons are turning again.Gone is that gloomy, damp, slightly chilly winter that never really amounted to much, apart from a few days snow.I know some of you in the States had some pretty drastic ice storms, but nothing like that happened here.It’s funny really the British obsession with the weather. There we were getting ready for what had been billed ‘the worst winter on record,’ yet here in God’s county – Norfolk for the uninitiated – we braced, braced a bit more, checked the bracing and the clouds…nothing.A mere icing.Anyhow all this nattering about the weather, see it is an obsession, is honestly about whisky. I was asked the other day that question which is fairly hard to explain – what’s your favourite whisky.Have you ever tried to answer it? I think part of the job is to try as wide a range of malts, blends, blended malts (or vatted to most of us) and bourbons to keep the palate expanding.But it leaves that void of not being able to say what my favourite is.For me I have certain whiskies I return to dependent on my surroundings, weather and company.Now the year is starting to turn again and the days are getting longer and warmer I will move some of my whisky cabinet round for a few months. Am I sad? Surely I cannot be the only person out there who does this?Middle of winter on the coast, for me you cannot beat a decent Islay. Something really peaty and makes your mouth sing. But then for a warming dram I often head for the Highlands. You know the scene. Come home, get the fire going and fall back into the big armchair, for me there is nothing better than a big oily Highland malt.Now if we are talking about kicking back and relaxing, one of those rare malts moments, recently I have been reading a fair amount of George Orwell…and there is only one whisky to drink with 1984 in my opinion.If we move to the summer, the early half, which used to be Spring but it keeps moving, has to be Speyside. That fruity uplifting hit of golden goodness with some floral and honey notes is perfect, but the height of summer opens up so many possibilities.I have heard so many times before that whisky is not a summer drink, it’s too heavy or too hot. But this is clearly the opinion of one who has not understood the wide range of whisky. Bourbon with an ice cube, Lowlanders with a little water and even joining the cocktail crowd can soothe the long hot summer days.Lets face it the diversity out there gives us so much to chose from can we really have favourites?I am sure for some people that the malt and blend they drink is a link back to the ancestral home. In the Allanson household it was mainly Speyside with the occasional peaty heavy weight, and my Grandfather has always been a long time Highland Park devotee.As I have got older my tastes have changed and now am happy to try just about anything whisky wise. To be honest it has only been in the last few years I have discovered the joys of bourbon, rye and Japanese whisky. So much to choose from and so little time to drink it.To be frank my answer about which is my favourite has to be the next one I am going to have. Or the glass I will have later this evening when I get home and unwind.