Sipping on Single Malts With Donald Colville

When you have Global Malts Ambassador for Diageo, Donald Colville, in the house to take you through a single malt tasting session, you know you are in for one heady evening. And we were not wrong at all. Weekend kicked in on a high note for us as we stepped in to ShangriLa’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi, on a sultry Friday late afternoon.

Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the British multinational alcoholic beverages company Diageo took us by surprise with its wide range of single malts on offer. All products of United Spirits Limited (USL), the samplers comprised more than decades’ old spirits, which left lilting aftertastes.


As Donald took us from one flavour to the next, we were soaking in flavours that ranged from nutty to citrusy to smoky. Our spirited conversation veered from the kind of food to pair with a particular drink to the region of origin of each spirit and how it influences the character of a spirit. We came to understand how a particular alcohol absorbs the saltiness form the air and how it imbibes the smokiness from the cask in which it is aged.

Donald also sounded optimistic about the potential of such a premium luxury liquor brand in India. He said, ‘Going by the stats based on analytics reports the fact that young people are looking up these brands and are generally curious about them is indicator enough that people are interested. Whether that translates into business would be an exciting thing to look forward to.’

Well, we hope that people who believe in the good life live it up “celebrating Life, Every Day, Everywhere”. After all that’s the motto that Diageo lives by!

Here’s your guide to five amazing single malt flavours:

Lagavulin 16 YO Aged in oak casks for at least sixteen years, this much sought-after single malt has the massive peat-smoke that’s typical of southern Islay, but also has a beautiful complexity that offers hints of sweet and malty notes.

Oban 14 YO A combination of rich sweet orange notes with a gentle smoky dryness and appetising spice distinguishes this lovingly-matured Highland malt.

Caol Ila Malt 12 YO A smoky, sea-fresh aperitif, this one comes with beautiful notes of citrus and malt from remote Island of Islay.

Talisker 10 YO Made by the sea, this is the classic stalwart of the Talisker family. A rich dried-fruit sweetness, clouds of smoke, strong barley-malt flavours, warming and intense, this one.

Singleton of Glen Ord 12 YO A fruity, well-composed liquid that manages to be both light and smooth without compromising any depth of flavour or fullness of palate. Savour the good taste.


By Srini D

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