Find out why you should be drinking single-grain whiskies.
Whiskey lovers, get ready for a singular drinking experience: single-grain whiskies.
No, they’re not made from one lone type of grain. Like single malts, single-grain Scotches are from a single distillery, but feature lighter-bodied grain whisky, made with barley and at least one other grain (usually wheat or corn). In the land of Scotch, grain whisky typically is blended with more flavorful malt whisky, but is rarely sold alone. But that’s changing—these lighter, leaner whiskies deserve a closer look.
Some of the single-grain whiskies you should start drinking now:
1. The Girvan Patent Still Single Grain Scotch Whisky No. 4 Apps ($45)
Fresh and light, this pale straw Scotch offers pear, almond and honey, plus whispers of eucalyptus and smoke. Collectors may also want to snap up the 25-year-old ($399) and 30-year-old ($599) expressions.
2. Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey ($50)
Coming to the U.S. market in March, this rose-gold whiskey is finished in former California Cabernet Sauvignon casks. Though it has a fruity tinge to the aroma, overall it reads as slightly nutty and custard-y when sipped.
3. Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky ($70)
Backed by soccer icon David Beckham (and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller), this airy-bodied Scotch shows maple, oak and brown sugar, plus a surprising tropical touch of banana that will remind some of rhum agricole.
4. Nikka Coffey Grain ($70)
Japanese whisky is amazingly silky already. But this Japanese grain whiskey feels like it’s going to float right off your tongue. Fresh and bright, with flickers of fresh fruit and smoke, versatile for mixing or sipping.
5. Navazos Spanish Grain Whisky ($110)
This is a very special limited-edition grain whisky, matured in former Palo Cortado sherry casks. That sherry influence shows up for sure, offering bold toffee, honey, figs and baking spice. Compared to most grain whiskies bred to be lean and clean, this one is rich and complex—and freakishly delicious. Bottled at cask strength. (53.5% ABV).
Kara Newman is a New York-based spirits and cocktail writer, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books).