We’ve been speaking to whisky lovers from around the world to get their take on how and where to enjoy a dram
Gavin Linde (Rolexwhisky on Instagram) is a whisky collector, blogger and Rolex gatherer. He has a blast hunting, travelling and enjoying amazing whisky. Here he tells us about his most memorable dram, favourite place to drink and the person he’d most like to share a whisky with.
Do you remember your first taste of whisky?
I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and your choices were J&B and Bell’s. I was 15 years old and took a sip at a family function of the J&B, and it was very mellow and I liked it. So, whenever I got the chance to steal a sip here and there, I would.
What is it that you love about whisky?
I love the uniqueness of whisky. No two are the same, and some flavour profiles are just mind and palate blowing.
Your favourite place in the world to enjoy a whisky?
I have many fond memories sitting on my late grandparents’ beachfront balcony in Camps Bay, South Africa and finishing a bottle with my best friend and playing backgammon. Having a scotch in the oldest restaurant in Paris was pretty cool too in these private dining rooms the mob used to use. I live in San Diego, so sitting here in perfect weather and enjoying a whisky with friends is pretty awesome too. Las Vegas, and New York, both have amazing bars with insane whisky lists.
The most enjoyable dram you ever drank?
That’s a tough one. I would have a six-way tie between the Yamazaki Mizunara 18-year-old, Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash, The Dalmore 45, The Macallan Exceptional Single Cask, Glenfiddich 1992 Rare Collection, and a Balvenie 45 year old pulled straight from the cask (a special sample a friend pulled for me). Six mind-blowing experiences, I just sat in silence with a huge smile on my face.
If you could prop up the bar and enjoy a whisky with anyone, who would it be?
Probably my best friend from Cape Town. We shared so many bottles together growing up and during all my trips back there. I miss those special times. With my ridiculous collection I constantly try to bait him to come visit me in San Diego. Also, the guys from Balvenie were telling me that Anthony Bourdain was a huge whisky lover. He would have been a great person to share a whisky with too. I have loved watching his career and the places he visited in the last decade.
Tell us about the whisky scene in San Diego, what are the whisky-hidden gems?
My go-to is Seven Grand. I did a crazy international whisky trade there and one of the owners really humoured me and went along with facilitating it. Their whisky selection is amazing.
Tell us about your whisky collection? What are your favourite bottles?
So my primary collection is Japanese and mainly Suntory (Yamazaki, Hakusho and Hibiki) and Ichiros. Something about the level of attention to detail in these bottles drew me to them the first time I tried them. In my mind, all they care about is the highest quality and its reflected in their whisky. Ichiros is like a mad scientist and his limited edition casks are palate-blowing. Then I also collect Macallan, Glenfiddich, Kavalan, Michter’s, and the Highland Park Single Casks. I am drawn towards limited edition whisky that I can almost guarantee will appreciate in the future. Basic supply and demand.
My goal has always been to sell it all in 15 years to put my kids through college, but who knows, if I strike it rich I might just drink it all. I have about 60 to 80 bottles open at all times, and they are normally a solid mix of the brands above. I love brands that think outside the box and come up with new and exciting whisky.
What bottle would you recommend to new whisky drinkers?
I suggest the Macallan Edition No.2, Michter’s 10 Year Old Bourbon, the Michter’s US 1 Toasted Rye Barrel Finish, or, for something outside the box, Glenfiddich IPA Cask.