I have immense respect for Mr. Andrew Jefford as a wine writer, journalist (award winning at that). I like Mr Jefford's Blog where you discover he is an Islay whisky fan. I appreciate his contribution to Decanter where he shares his in-depth wine knowledge. This does not assure me that Mr. Jefford is qualified as the single authority to decide the best five single malt whiskies. These are his favourite five. It goes without saying that I do not agree with Mr. Jefford's favourite five. After conducting a quick guerrilla market research I discover that none of my firends-in-whisky agree with this list either.
Mr Jefford Personally Tastes Over 600 Single Malts?
From his personal selection of single malts, which Mr. Jefford lists, I must assume that Mr. Jefford has personally gone about tasting the thousand's of Scotch single malt whiskies available. If Mr. Jefford tasted only one single malt from each of Scotland's distilleries he tasted at least one hundred single malts and did the comparative analysis. If he tasted each distillers full range of expressions he has tasted at least six hundred whiskies and did the comparative analysis of each one.
The Glenlivet is the quintessential Speyside single malt
In his struggle to find the perfect Speyside Malt Mr. Jefford chooses to refer to the world's two leading single malts, Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet as bland. I have huge regard for many whisky writers who refer to The Glenlivet as the Sean Connery of single malt and as the late whisky writer, Mr Michael Jackson stated - The Glenlivet is the quintessential single malt against which all other single malts are measured. Mr Jefford picks Craggonmore 12 year old at 40% ABV from Diageo?
The above photograph is the property of Mark Backhouse. If you copy and use the photo please state your source as: Mark Backhouse - http://beankeeper.blogspot.com - The Whisky NotebookAberlour Single Malt has won the Pure Pot Still trophy more than any other single malt whisky ever. Aberlour is easily the best Speyside single Malts ahead of Craggonmore anyday.
Aberfeldy Is The Better Highland Single Malt
For his best Highland Single Malt, Mr Jefford's second choice is Dalwhinnie 15 year old at 43% also from Diageo? Seriously! This is one of my least favourite whiskies which I find incredibly bland and lacking character. Both The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich have ten times more character than Dalwhinnie. I am also not partial to a particular smell I get from Dalwhinnie. I suggest the readers rather try any Aberfeldy or Glenmorangie Single Malt.
Highland Park is Good
Mr Jefford's third choice is a great choice. Highland Park 18 year old at 43%, owned by the Edrington Group is his thrid choice. I suggest the full range of Highland Park is awesome and deserves a place far ahead of his first two choices.
Laphroaig 10 year old 43% is also great
Mr Jefford's fourth choice is Laphroaig 10 year old cask strength (55.3%) owned by Beam Inc. and as far as the smokey whiskies are concerned I agree it is the better of the lot.
Springbank is Different
And finally, Mr Jefford's fifth choice is Springbank 10 year old 46% ABV. Although I have great respect for Springbank Single Malt I am not sure if it fits in as the fifth best single malt in the world. Don't get me wrong, this single malt is much better than Mr Jefford's number one and number two choice but would I have it in my own top five list? No!
I suppose getting two out of five right is a good average if you want to be so arrogant about making a top list that you do not make clear and qualify as your own top five list. So much for taste. This kind of top five list is much like stating the five best colours in the world. At least we can source some stats to back up colour choice. Oh wait - which are the top selling whiskies in the world? Maybe we should look at some stats. I seriously do not understand how a reputable institution like the Financial Times end up publishing a list like this and then bother to copyright the article?
I cannot get Jeff Dunham's character "Peanut" out of my head. The scene is when Peanut swooshes his dummy hand over his own head and says "Jeff Fa Fa".