Best Overall: Aberlour 16 Year Old
Region: Speyside | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Oak, Spice
Aberlour is often overlooked by whisky drinkers here in the US, but undeservedly so. This Speyside distillery has an excellent lineup, with the 16-year-old landing right in the sweet spot of maturation between the 12 and 18, the other two age statement bottles in the range. The whisky is matured in both bourbon and sherry casks for 16 years before being married together and bottled. This provides it with the best of both worldsa rich, oaky structure with some sweet vanilla notes from the lengthy time in bourbon barrels, and ripe fruits and spices from the sherry casks.
This Is Fantastic News For The Scotch Whisky Industry And A Sure Sign Of The Growing Interest In One Of The Premium Segments Of Scotch
Best scotch whisky brands. Best Scotch Whisky Brands 1. The one the only. Popularised by actor Nick Offerman who was recently honoured with his own.
Founded just one year before Lagavulin was this similarly smoky and no less extraordinary neighbour. The Speyside distillery prides itself on the caliber of its sustainable oak casks crediting them as the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality natural color and distinctive flavor of its whisky. The brands commitment to sustainable practices was recognized in December 2020 when it became the second Scotch brand to be awarded a prestigious Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury.
Bruichladdich Scottish Barley Classic Laddie. The progressive Hebridean distillers of Bruichladdich make some fine whisky. The island of Islay on which the brand is based is traditionally known for the smoky flavor imparted by the peat fires used to dry the barley before fermentation.
Glenfarclas a sixth-generation family-owned distillery makes super-affordable super-balanced scotch says Shanahan. Their 25-year-old scotch whisky is a citrusy chocolatey libation made with spring water that runs down the Speyside heather-covered hillsgiving Glenfarclas its name which means the valley of green grass. The 11 Best Brands of Scotch to Sip On This Season Ardbeg 10 Year Old.
The Best Whisky Brands in The World. 15 Unmissable Drams 1. Easy to drink and with far more complexity than its price point would suggest Speyburns Scotch whisky is.
Johnnie Walker Year Of The Ox
Johnnie Walker Blue Label has a rich history of Chinese New Year releases. This year its The Year of the Ox, the second in the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. The ox is believed to symbolize endurance and feminine energyboth remarkably fitting qualities for 2021. The richness of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, crafted with some of the rarest casks in the vast Johnnie Walker warehouses, including irreplaceable casks from long-closed ghost distilleries, normally suggest this ultra-premium whisky be savored in a snifter. But with more people drinking at home this year, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky Ambassador Alistair Reynolds suggests they create an upscale version of an Asian Highball by mixing 50ml of Johnnie Walker Year Of The Ox whisky with a 100ml blend of green and oolong teas, all poured into a tall, ice-filled glass.
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Johnnie Walker Green Label Blended Malt
This much-beloved expression from Johnnie Walker is a pure malt blend. That means instead of being blended with single malt and grain whiskies a la blended scotch whisky its only a blend of malts from different distilleries in the Diageo stable.
In this case, thats primarily Talisker, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, and Linkwood all of which are at least 15 years old when theyre married.
The sip has a softness to it that lends itself to cedar boxes, wineberries, sharp black pepper, vanilla beans, and a note of freshly-cut green grass. The palate holds onto the softness of the cedar and adds in a tropical fruit edge with a wisp of dried roses. The end is very measured and just long enough to savor, with the cedar, fruit, and warming spice leading towards a final note of distant smoke filtered through an atmosphere of sea brine.
Okay, this isnt a new 2020 release, but its still one of our favorite drams of the year by a pretty big margin. This is also our favorite bottle from Johnnie Walker. Its very drinkable, works in a cocktail, and really shines in a highball with fizzy water and ice.
Best Lowlands Scotch Whiskies
Large in land but small in output, the Lowlands is home to only a handful of distilleries, with Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie being the most well-known. Traditionally, Lowland Scotch was triple distilled using unpeated malt for a light, simple sweetness. This simplicity lends the region to provide the base to many blends, though a few distilleries have been kicking out some peated options recently.
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A Superb Introductory Dram: Arran 10
If youre out to introduce friends and family to whisky, this is a go-to dram. Its got a light maritime influence that proves to be both flavorful and dynamicall while giving way to sugary honeyed fruit, says Victoria. The aroma of a perfect early autumn day in an orchard, with a whisper of Skittlesin the most genuine, natural way. This is a lovable dram for newcomers and whisky vets alike.
A Classic Islay: Ardbeg 10 Year
This ones a classic double diamond from Arbegan experts-only Islay dram, but beautiful and playful in its own right, says Victoria. Ripe stone fruit, warm raisins, lemon, clove, ashtray, and flower petals that whisper in a spring garden. Crisp with oysters or indulgent with sea salt dark chocolate.
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Springbank 12 Year Old
This cask-strength gemwhich means it can put you on your ass if youre not carefulpacks notes of milk chocolate and vanilla when you open it up with a few drops of water. Like other Springbreak offerings, youll find influences from the peat and the sherry casks used in the 12 Year Olds creation. For something that only matured for a dozen years, its really an exceptionaland surprisingscotch. Link
The Neat Glass: Best Neat Glass
The unique shape makes these glasses a talking point before you even get started on whats on the inside. The NEAT glass is a scientifically designed whisky glass that makes nosing, tasting and drinking whisky a brilliant experience from start to finish.
This is the glass for those in the know. Its a firm favourite for professional judges of major competitions and serious taste makers alike, which means it pretty much scores all the points. The NEAT Glass draws out all the intriguing, unique flavours of whisky with a glass that uses Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology to unlock the hidden dimensions of your drink.;
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Dewars 15 Year Old Blended Whisky
A blend of single malt and single grain whiskies, this 15 year old release shows signs of both age and youth. The aromas are a dead ringer for toffee apples, while the inclusion of grain whiskey adds vibrant citrus and orchard fruit. The palate brims with honeyed sweetness and culminates with a crack of black pepper. Average price: $41.
Bushmills Black Bush Whiskey
This spicy blend is a favorite of Jack McGarry, a co-owner of The Dead Rabbit in New York. Due to the heavy Sherry component, Jack says, the blend possesses wonderful Christmas cake notes of dried fruits and the prerequisite Christmas spices. Despite its festive wintertime flavors, its suitable for year-round consumption when poured in a timeless whiskey glass.
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Highland Park Scotch In The City
Talk about drinking for a good cause: The Instagram influencers behind Scotch in the City are New York-based first responders who wanted to give back to their community. So they teamed up with Highland Park to create this limited-edition, single-cask whisky, with $15,000 from the sales to be donated by Highland Park to;The First Responders Childrens Foundation Covid-19;Emergency Response Fund. To determine which one of Highland Parks many exceptional single casks would be worthy of this altruistic endeavor, Kevin, Nick and Highland Park master whisky maker Gordon Motion blind tasted some of the best barrels. Cask No. 150 came out on top, with its deep russet color, crème brûlée aroma, and flavors of vanilla, rose, cedar wood, lemon peel and a lingering finish of woody spices. Bottled at 130.8 proof, it yielded just 594;bottles.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year Of The Ox
This is the mountaintop of Johnnie Walkers whiskies. The blend is a marriage of ultra-rare stock from extinct Diageo distilleries around Scotland. Thats cooler than Brad Pitt wearing work boots and aviators on his motorcycle. This expression is all about barrel selection and the mastery of a great noser and blender working together to create something special.
Dried fruit with a plummy sweetness mingle with a very soft and almost dry waft of smoke. The palate then veers in a completely different direction folding in orange oils, marzipan, rose water, honeycombs, and even a dusting of bitter cacao once a drop of water is added. The end is slow, smoky, and full of dry fruits, nuts, and has a malty nature.
These are truly bespoke limited yearly releases that you have no reason to open just grab a regular Johnnie Blue to sip. The Ox expression will 100 percent go up in value. Its also a freaking beautiful piece to have.
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Glencairn Whisky Glass: Best Glencairn Glass
A Glencairn glass specifically improves the nosing experience as the whiskys aroma is allowed to gather properly in its wider bowl. This style of glass also means that, while drinking, its easier to maintain the spirits aroma something thats not always as prominent when drinking from a rock glass.
Winner of the 2006 Queens Award for Innovation, the short, elegant base of this glass has earned its place in the bar for its superior shape. Use a Glencairn glass for high quality whisky thats best enjoyed neat: the smaller size of this glass means its built for quality, not quantity.;
What Is Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Put simply, single malt scotch must have been distilled at a single distillery in, you guessed it, Scotland, in order to bear this label.
The whiskys grain, distillation and maturing process define not only its character from smoky Islay scotches, to the sweet and smooth sippers more typically associated with the Lowlands but also its clarity and the amount of health-boosting ingredients it might have. However, whisky has no fat, no carbs, and almost no sugar, so as booze goes, its relatively healthy in moderation.
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The Crowd Pleaser: Arran Barrel Reserve
In the same style as the Arran 10, Arran Barrel Reserve shares a similar apple orchard aroma in its brightness, says Victoria. But this one has a notable depth of full blossom, summery white flowers, and wood chips. Born to please and easy to love.
The Macallan Edition No. 6
Rich, velvet mouthfeel, dried fruit, orange jam, and caramel decadencelike biting into a vanilla-frosted cupcake. The finish is overall the most luxurious mouthfeel, as expected from The Macallan, Victoria says. Its perfect for a summery nightcap! Robert Mitchell, the distillerys ghillie and guardian of The Macallans stretch of the River Spey uses this decadent release to bring light to protecting local salmon and sea trout through a charitable partnership with The Atlantic Salmon Trust.
Best Overall: Johnnie Walker Black Label
This year, Balvenie Caribbean Cask celebrates its 10th birthday. A decade on, and it still wows our palate. This expression from the Speyside stalwart spends its first 14 years aging in traditional whisky casks, and when its done the spirit is transferred to barrels seasoned with rum from the Caribbean. The result is a well-balanced single malt with rich notes of vanilla, nuts, and tropical fruits. While this Balvenie is definitely a righteous sipper, thanks to the deeply luscious fruit notes, we also love it in a Scotch old-fashioned or a refreshing highball.;
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The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14
St. John Frizell, owner of Brooklyn cafe and bar Fort Defiance, cant get enough of this Scotch finished in rum barrels. Its surprising how much rum character comes through, he says. Its beautiful Balvenie whiskey, but with graceful notes of almond, lime rind, tropical fruit, allspice, and nutmeg. These are rum punch flavors, straight out of the West Indies.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Perhaps the ultimate whiskey for bargain hunters, its aged for 12 years, bottled uncut and unfiltered, and sells for about $50 . It has all of the characteristics of Heaven Hill bourbons , with flavors of caramel, apple, vanilla, and cinnamon, but with more depth and intensity.;This bourbon can be quite dangerous as it doesnt drink as hot as the proof may suggest. It also makes a phenomenal Old Fashioned with just a touch of sugar and a few dashes of bitters.;
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The Best Scotch Whisky That Isnt Technically Scotch Whisky
Kavalan Sherry Oak Single Malt
Cedar Ridge Single Malt
Distilleries have to meet a number of criteria in order to legally label their product as Scotch, and being produced in Scotland is probably the most notable barrier to entry. With that said, there are plenty of brands out there pumping out some fantastic whiskey that cant technically be called Scotch but still checks basically all of the requisite boxes.
Teeling is one of the rare whiskeys made in Ireland that uses peat. Its flagship offering has an unmistakable smokiness, but the Blackpitts label kicks it up a notch to produce a product that has more in common with whats produced across the Irish Sea as opposed to within the border of the country it calls home.
Japanese distillers have managed to carve out one hell of a niche for themselves in recent years. However, theres a reason its marketed as whisky, as most producers turned to Scotland when they first began to hone their approach. Hibiki did such a good job that it was forced to discontinue its 17-year and 12-year offerings due to the insane amount of demand, but Japanese Harmony is a more than adequate solution to a very good problem to have.
Longmorn The Distillers Choice
Pungent yet fruity, the Distillers Choice collection is a triple cask matured Scotch that adds a delightful twist to the brands well-known toffee flavours. The whisky, which hails from one of the best Scotch brands known to man, has a rich, soft and creamy flavour profile with an oak spice and sweet barley finish. The Speyside Scotch is first matured in hogsheads, followed by Olorosso Sherry casks, and finished in bourbon barrels, which provides the amber drink with its prominent ginger and toffee flavours, and making it a fan-favourite on every best Scotch whisky in the world poll.
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Benromach 10 Year Old
Mothballed for long stretches by one of Diageos precursors, before being revived by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail and reopened in 1998,;Benromach;has expanded in the last twenty years from just two distillers to a small team today. It currently pitches;itself as reviving the authentic taste of Speyside by bringing a light, and supposedly historically accurate, peat note to the refined spirits of the region.
A slightly buttery malt nose, with toffee, touches of green apple and liquorice and an light waft of smoke. The Benromach 10 drinks deceptively easily, with spicy pepper, light sweet malt and more toffee notes, the bonfire air restrained and entwined with cardamom.
The higher peat levels are a joyous union with Speyside refinement. If youre looking for extra oomph, the Benromach 100° Proof;has a more is more;approach, which, interestingly, brings the smoke notes down in the mix.
Cardhu Aged 11 Years Rare By Nature Collection
This whisky has a huge following in Spain.
Well, the Spanish whisky drinkers onto something. The juice is a blend of single malts from Cardhu that spend eleven years aging in new American oak, refill American oak, and ex-bourbon casks before its blended and bottled at cask proof with no fuss.
Theres a subtle butterscotch whiff on the nose with a clear spicy baked apple essence next to a hint of cedar. The Christmas spices kick up as worn leather, bright fruit, creamy vanilla, and a buttery toffee deliver on the palate. The end is shortish, with a creamy buttery nature balanced with fruit, spice, leather, and wood.
This release from Diageos 2020 Rare By Nature Collection was a revelation. This really is just a damn fine dram of whisky that really blooms in the glass with a little water or a rock. If youre going to try something new, try this.
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Glenglassaugh Revival Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Not just an evocative name, Revival pays homage to the Glenglassaugh distillery sitting idle for decades before its stills were fired up again and fine whisky started trickling out once more. Aged in red wine and bourbon barrels, this release is finished in sherry casks. It is intensely fruity, rich in sweet malt flavors, and coats the palate with a velvety texture. Average price: $60.