A man reading whilst having a whisky on holiday

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Whisky Expert Ian Buxton On Great Holiday Drams


It’s probably fair to say that when you think about holidays abroad, lying by the pool and soaking up the sun, you don’t associate it with sipping on a nice drop of whisky. Cold winter nights sitting by a roaring fire probably seem more appropriate. But for Ian Buxton, a renowned whisky expert and author, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, a fine dram can be the perfect companion to relaxing in the sun.

But let’s go back to the start. How did Ian become a whisky expert? “By accident!” is his honest assessment. Having relocated with his wife from London to Scotland to bring up his young family, he began working for a whisky blender.

“I loved it! Within two years I had joined one of Scotland’s top single malts as their Marketing Director and some while after that I was asked to write an article for the launch of a new whisky magazine. They liked that and asked for more, and then more. Before I knew it I’d ended up writing a book!”

Ian Buxton surrrounded by a vast collection of whiskies (© Ric Bacon)

Ian Buxton surrrounded by a vast collection of whiskies (© Ric Bacon)

The first book in his 101 Whiskies series, 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die, was a real breakthrough moment for Ian, selling a huge number of copies and spawning two ‘sequels’. The latest, 101 Legendary Whiskies You’re Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will, has just been published.

With it now a career for Ian, does he ever get fed up of drinking and writing about whisky? “Never. The great thing about the industry is its history, depth, heritage, international appeal and inherent sociability. You can never get bored!”

“I’ve been lucky. I managed to get myself into the position where people paid me to do things that I enjoyed. I wish I could tell you that there was a cunning master plan, but it started by accident and carried on in much the same way!”

As the title suggests, 101 Legendary Whiskies You’re Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will looks at some of the rarest, must luxurious drams in the world. Here are some of the best from the book that are prefect for sipping in the sun, as picked out by Ian:

1. Glenfiddich (12 years old): “This was the first single malt marketed with any intent or seriousness. A moment in the sunshine deserves a decent single malt and this gives lots of bang for your buck. More than 12,000,000 bottles a year can’t be wrong.

2. Cutty Sark: “Sharp, urban and happening. You can buy a bottle of this for about £20. The lighter style of Cutty Original is perfect for cocktails. Hard to imagine anything finer than sipping a great whisky sour while taking in a few rays.

3. Yamakazi (12 years old): “The first Japanese single malt of any significance. It can be found in most specialists and even some supermarkets. As the sun is going down and the warmth of the day is fading this might just be the one to take any chill out of the air.”

  101 Legendary Whiskies You¹re Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will

101 Legendary Whiskies You¹re Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will

What better time to treat yourself to a nice bottle than when you’re relaxing in an exotic location? Give it a go – you might be surprised! And maybe one day you’ll be able to put Ian’s knowledge to the test…

“The level of consumer knowledge is impressive, or, if I’m being honest, sometimes quite frightening – it keeps me on my toes!”


Vicky is a Team Bookends, Headline Publishing at James Villa Holidays.

My job means I’m surrounded by one of my favourite things: books! At Bookends we love...

See all articles by Vicky

See all articles by Vicky

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