Hitting our stride now, as the big weekend looms large, both Joel and myself feel chipper that the lion's share of our Christmas shopping has amazingly been done (in one mad rush down Oxford Street the other night, no less.)
Sheltering from the intolerable cold, we immediately feel revivified by our next suggestion of an ideal festive dram, this time courtesy of one of London's finest bartenders and all-round guru of liquid experimentation, Ryan Chetiyawardana. Ryan is one of the brains behind The Whistling Shop; a subterranean watering hole of mind-boggling proportions - part Dickensian gin palace, part science laboratory. When Ryan isn't feverishly working the controls of his Rotovap still, in search of a new dimension in flavour, he's the purveyor of some of the finest hand selected malts in the capital.
'So this is actually a perfect Boxing Day dram. Christmas Day for me is a mixed but usually entirely food-led affair. So a festive dram comes late Boxing Day, by a fire in an old country house! What i'm looking for is a whisky, which is rich, but not something that will put me to sleep before I beat my sisters at Pictionary. So with that in mind, my call for this year's festive masterpiece is Glendronach Parliament. A welcome after-dinner livener!'
Glendronach - Parliament - 21 years old - 48%
Nose: A rich and inviting mixture of woody, but fruity sherry and oak. Big hitting, thick PX tanginess, with a slightly drier, spicier Oloroso note. Almost resinous, but with a little waft of Italian lemon and orange zest to break up the Spanish party.
Palate: The spices (think predominantly cinnamon and nutmeg dusted cocoa beans) take hold first, followed by orange marmalade, some plump raisins and more of the lemon zest. A real mouthful and then some...
Finish: The oak, spice and intense dried fruit give this a lingering complexity. You'll certainly be bored with all your presents, by the time this subsides.