Bertie Cason was living in London, having launched the Spirits Business magazine, when he met a woman from Tasmania, fell in love and moved to the bottom of Australia.
As the brains behind the Spirits Masters series of blind tastings, Cason has tasted the best whiskies in the world and has a keen nose for what stands out from the pack. Shortly after landing in Tassie, became marketing manager for one of the state’s finest distilleries, Sullivan’s Cove. Last year, little Hobart distillery, which started out 21 years ago as a tourist attraction, had one bottle crowned the best single malt in the world at the World Whisky Awards.
Cason’s love of whisky remains strong, so last year he launched a mail order whisky business, The Whisky Club, giving people the chance to try new drams and tap into his knowledge of what makes a great drop.
With all that experience behind him, Business Insider asked Cason to name his five favourite whiskies and explain why. Here they are.
One of the best cask finishes on the market, absolutely bursting with sherry grapes and sweetness and perfectly balanced. Reasonably priced, accessible and extremely good value for money, in a league of its own. From the fiercely independent Benriach Distillery, this has Billy Walker's genius all over it.
The older, grown up brother of the ubiquitous 12yo Double Wood, this was created by the daddy of wood finishes, David Stewart. Stewart was the first malt master to experiment with wood finishes back in the 70s and since then it's become a mainstay for the industry, allowing distilleries to add huge complexity to their expressions. The 17yo Double Wood spends more time in sherry than the 12yo and if, like me, fortified cask whisky is your bag, then this is as good as it gets.
My go-to peated. Great mouth feel, excellent balance of peat with oak and again those sherry casks come into play. Great value for money and I hope they never stop making this!
When I first tasted this back in early 2013 I was totally blown away and all I could remember of that day was the peach and apricot jam taste that just stayed with me for hours. It's since become a staple of mine and I had a good little chuckle when it was named world's best whisky the year after I picked Sullivans Cove Cask 525 as the 2013 winner.
Maybe a bit biased here since I make this whisky, but I've yet to find one that quite kills a good French Oak. I taste around 100 French oak casks a year as part of the selection process for bottling and finding a cask that's at its absolute peak never gets old...the good ones just hit you like a lightning bolt!
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