Despite the protestations of purists, there are plenty of tasty ways to mix whisky, including *gasp* some single malts.

Whisky and tonic may not be an obvious choice, but after trying it at a Black Bottle event last year I was converted.

Of course, not all whiskies will mix well with tonic water. The spirit needs enough of robustness to stand up to the tonic, but not too much that it overpowers everything.

Although Black Bottle works really well, with the slight smoke and dry finish being a great balance to tonic, I did find an alternative which I think I prefer.

VAT 69 is a Scotch blended whisky created by William Sanderson & Son Limited. The company is now owned by Diageo and has a great history with VAT 69 being carried with Ernest Shackleton on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition for “medicinal and celebratory purposes” in 1914.

After finally buying a bottle, my tasting notes are below.

Nose

Slightly spicy nose, with a little green barley sourness. There is some creamy wheat sweetness and just a hint of under-ripe pear.

Palate

Sugar sweet initially but biscuity cereal notes emerge quickly. That understated pear note is present and gets very peppery.

Finish

Pepper spice carries all the way through with the sweetness moving aside and resulting in a woody, dry finish.

I’d always seen the distinctive green bottle and wondered what VAT 69 was like.

After finally buying a bottle when running through airport duty-free, I’ve found that although it’s a perfectly drinkable blend, it works very well with Fever Tree tonic.

Definitely one to recommend for a longer summer drink.

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