The ultimate guide to a great Scotch

Tjardo Hilberts brings his worldly knowledge of fine drinking and dining to the heart of Brisbane. In this ultimate guide, Tjardo passes on his expertise in what makes a great Scotch and how to enjoy it.

No other spirit has been associated with manhood like Scotch Whisky. Scotch has held a prominent place in the lives of men from kings to authors to titans of industry. Scotch is not just separated by name from other spirits, but by the characteristics men share when they drink this mysterious deliciousness.  A true Scotch drinker lives life to the fullest, savouring new challenges and discoveries. He does not drink Scotch because it is there. Scotch embodies the spirit of adventurers:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Becoming a Scotch drinker will take persistency. After the first sip, you might be inclined to leave the rest and return to your basic spirit of choice. Don’t be fooled; after returning several times you will slowly understand what makes Scotch so alluring and enjoyable.

The base level Scotch in 127 is one with a great reputation:


 Double Gold – San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014. Gold – San Francisco World Spirit Awards 2013

The original expression of the elegant, floral spirit, and the real backbone of the Glenmorangie range. A ten-year-old single malt, Glenmorangie Original is produced by marrying the delicate spirit that emerges from Scotland’s tallest stills, with first and second fill American white oak casks. This is an excellent Scotch to start with and is most popular amongst the Scottish themselves.

And for the seasoned Scotch drinker:


This is my personal all-time favourite. It is so good that one of our bartenders even uses it as perfume so he can smell it all day long.

Awards: 2013, 97.5/100 – The Whisky Bible; 2012 Double Gold – San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Gold – International Wine and Spirits Competition; 2011 Double Gold – San Francisco World Spirits Competition; 2010, Gold Best in Class – International Wine and Spirits Competition

Uigeadail derives from the Scotch Gaelic for ‘Dark and Mysterious Place’ and is named for the Loch from whence Ardbeg draws its waters. Jim Murra’s 2009 World Whisky of the Year, this cask-strength bottle exudes breathtaking balance. Ardbeg Uigeadail – pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’ – is a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. It’s non chill-filtered at high strength, which retains maximum flavour and gives more body and added depth.

Ardbeg Uigeadail was recently voted by the 100,000 strong Ardbeg Committee as their favourite Ardbeg. With whisky this good, who can blame them? I could put out the tasting notes but I can’t say it’s better than the guys from masters of malt:

 Multifaceted, notes of peat and little flourishes of dark sugar, freshly ground espresso beans, cereal notes and a most sophisticated tar.

 Led by sweet, ripe fruit and black forest honey. A good helping of malt. The throne then usurped by a powerful peat and smoked barley.

Finish: Very long, caramel and malt weave their way through peat smoke and dark sugar and just a hint of fresh espresso coffee before it finally peters out.

Overall: Such deft balance! How wonderful to sample Ardbeg so beautifully complimented by sherry.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here