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Our picks for great fruit-forward whiskies

Our picks for great fruit-forward whiskies

Whisky can be full of fruity flavors. Here are some that you really ought to try.

The tasting notes for last month’s sold-out Whiskybase release, a fantastic Linkwood, began with the seemingly opaque tasting note, “a summer walk through the orchard.” Lovely, sure, but let’s get serious. Why are we using such a description for a great whisky?

We use these kinds of tasting notes, the ones that evoke sense memories both real and imagined, to help transport us toward sensory experiences that might otherwise land hard on the ears. 

Here at the Whiskybase Shop, when someone tells us they’re looking for something “fruit-forward,” we understand it as a clue that our customer is looking for a more vibrant, fresh, and even unusual whisky. 

 

So which whisky path do we take?

Whiskies that fall into the fruit-forward category can cover a wide range of bottles. Some might be subtly sweet, packed with the crisp tannins of fresh apples and blueberries. At other times, we might be after bold and juicy tree-ripened tropical fruits. Both of these whiskies could be deemed “fruit-forward,” but they’re ultimately very different. Let’s take a look at three paths toward a fruit-forward selection. 

 

Path 1: Berry, Berry Good 

Imagine you've just had a rich dinner and, instead of the chocolate torte, the only thing that will possibly cap off the meal is a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit. You know, the one with a dollop of cream. Some whiskies are just like this. A bushel of just-harvested forest fruit—inky blackberries, acidic lingonberries, a generous handful of red, ripe strawberries. Berry-forward whiskies are perfect palate-stimulants that almost dance on the palate.

Some of our favorite berry-forward whiskies are:

 

Path 2: Tropical Escape

Want something richer, you say? Something fun and funky? A whisky that takes your mind on a vacation to sun-kissed beaches and tropical rainstorms? How about pineapple, gooey mango, and even passionfruit notes? For us, tropical whiskies are escapes. Sure they’re good by the fireside, but they’re equally perfect for warm summer evenings.

Try these for a tropical tour:

 

Path 3: Citrus Candy

Is “citrusy and fresh” more of what you’re after? Here, we’re hanging out in the peel and zest realm. Orange oil, tangy grapefruit, lime leaf. Citrussy whiskies are an excellent choice for those who enjoy a drink that leaves a memorable impression.

A perfect citrus flight:

 

The Craft Behind the Flavor

So what’s behind all these fruit flavors? It’s just malted barley, after all. Where does the fruit come in?

Yeast and Fermentation: Fruity flavors begin in the fermentation vats, with longer fermentation times (and even some strains of yeast) leading to more fruity esters

Stills: If you’re hunting for fruit-forward whisky, look for distilleries with larger, taller stills with upward sloping lyne arms. These stills favor the survival of lighter, fruitier esters

Wood: Some say ex-rum casks impart estery rum flavors. But, for us, it’s tough to beat ex-bourbon if you’re looking for fruit. Reliably fruity, especially first-fill and refill casks

Aging: Warmer aging conditions, where the spirit has an opportunity to more fully oxidize and interact with its wood, can impart wildly fruity results

 

Thirsty yet?

We’re always happy to help you find the perfect fruit-forward whisky. Check out the above selections or our staff picks to get started. Cheers! 

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