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Now, the best whisky is a difficult concept.

The water of life (uisge beatha in Scottish Gaelic) has so many different variations and flavours and at any time I could be craving any of the various expressions.

But, being Scottish born, I rarely step outside the amazing range of Scottish whisky. That’s meaning no disrespect to Irish whiskeys, bourbon and countless other versions distilled across the world.

Even here in Australia, Tasmanian whisky is making a name for itself.

But, as I said, Scottish whisky is my go-to, and my favourites are the heavy duty, peaty punching, seaweed crushing, pungent beasts from the west coast Scottish island of Islay (pronounced Eye-la).

I started my whisky life drinking “Scotch and dry” after beer sessions in my late teens (not recommended). Slowly I moved on to single malts, most notably Glenmorangie, my dad’s go-to tipple.

Eventually I was captured by the heavy peatyness (is that even a word) of Islay whiskies.

So, one June day 20 or more years ago, I was looking for a quality birthday present for myself (to be fair, my wife told me to buy a special bottle of single malt) and stumbled upon 16-year-old Lagavulin. And, I have never looked back.

It is definitely my favourite treat. A dram of this unbelievable whisky is like a nuclear explosion of smell, taste and heat in your mouth.

It has a very peaty flavour, refined by the 16 years it spent in a cask in Islay. Sweet, salty and smoky all in one mouthful. Beautiful.

Of course, here in Australia it is very expensive at around $130 a bottle. But, for those in the know, it always drops in price by $20 or so around Father’s Day and Christmas.

For what it’s worth, I get a bottle each year on those two days ... and maybe sometimes on my birthday. That leaves plenty of time to enjoy the myriad of other great whiskies. And, there are so many!

Tell us about your favourite whisky. If there's a story behind it, so much the better. Don't be shy. Use the comments below or join the forum at

* Please note: Great whisky is best enjoyed in moderation. I love a wee dram while relaxing an hour or so before bed. The bottle lasts longer that way, too.

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