The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old
The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old marries the classic Macallan style Speyside whisky with the sweetness of American oak.
This single malt edition provides perfect balance for a young scotch, with flavors of honey, citrus and ginger contrasting effortlessly with the traditional Macallan aromas of fruit, sherry and wood spice.
The lightness of honey lingers on the palate, long after youve put the bottle away.
Ardbegs founder established their distillery on the rugged, wild coastal rocks of South Islay. The Uigeadail is named for the loch Uigeadail that Ardbeg source their pure water from.
This Ardberg single malt produces a strong whisky with notes of smoke, leather, dried fruits and walnut oil, all characteristic of a properly concocted Islay.
Perfect for the Islay whisky lover or conscientious single malt drinker looking for rich flavor, I recommend releasing the smokey peat, sherry and hint of cinnamon with a few drops of still water.
Best Irish: West Cork 8
courtesy of LiquorBarn.com
Region: Ireland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Dried apples, Honey, Baking spices
While some American consumers regrettably limit their consumption of Irish whiskey to the occasional shot purchased by a casual acquaintance at a sports bar, there’s also a vibrant and growing list of Irish craft whiskies that deserve our attention. West Cork produces a gorgeous single-malt that sees Irish barley and local spring water going into a hand-built copper pot still, with the resulting distillate matured for eight years in first-fill, flame-charred bourbon barrelsleading to far more depth and character than fans of other whiskies may typically associate with the category. The well-balanced palate features pretty notes of dried apple and honey segueing to a baking-spice finish, and all at an approachable 80 proof. You won’t want to shoot this one.
Region: Ontario, Canada | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Raisin, Coffee
Best To Drink Straight: Connemara 12 Year Old Peated Single Malt Whiskey
ABV: 40% | Age: 12 years | Volume: 750 ml
As a style, Irish whiskey is characteristically smooth, though there are some brands that break the stereotype. A brilliant, bright, and spicy whiskey, Connemara is a great choice for anyone who enjoys a peaty scotch. Malted barley dried over peat is the heart of this premium bottle produced at the Cooley Distillery in County Louth, Ireland.
Connemara 12 Year Old is the best of the portfolio. Where the original is a little harsh, and the cask strength a bit too bold, this whiskey is simultaneously smooth and bold. The well-balanced whiskey has a ton of character and a full force of peaty spice to tantalize the tongue. The long finish ensures that its a memorable experience. For what this 40 percent ABV drink has to offer, the high-end price is not unreasonable.
ABV: 47% | Age: NAS | Volume: 750 ml
The hard times of war, U.S. Prohibition, and the Great Depression rocked Irelands whiskey industry, leaving just two distilleries operating for most of the 1900s. Around the turn of the 21st century, that number began to increase, and Tipperary is one of the few “boutique” distilleries in the country. Started in 2016, it keeps everything small and local, including the barley and water, both of which are sourced from the family-owned Ballindoney farm.
ABV: 46% | Age: Up to 6 years, then another 6-9 months | Volume: 750 ml
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What Is An American Single Malt
The straightforward definition of a single malt whiskey is one that is produced at a single distillery, using malted barley as the only grain in the mash bill. And while single malts are produced throughout the world, they’re most commonly found in Scotland.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau , which regulates all legal categories and labeling requirements for alcohol in the country, doesn’t currently offer a definition for an American single malt. Instead, it provides a more generic “malt whisky” classification. In the past, American single malt production has been so minuscule that there was never a need to slap a strict regulatory definition on it.
A single malt whiskey is produced at a single distillery, using malted barley as the only grain in the mash bill.
The vague category of malt whisky which the TTB does have could include single malts, but it also incorporates what is known in Scotland as grain whiskywhisky made from malted barley, as well as other grains, such as corn. Therefore, it’s basically muddying the waters by clumping multiple styles together.
A defined American single malt category, though, could be as simple as: whiskey distilled from 100 percent malted barley by a single distillery within the United States. It’s the American equivalent to single malt Scotch.
Westward American Single Malt Whiskey
Westward American Single Malt Whiskey is made in the Pacific Northwest from barley grown in the region. The distillery uses traditional copper pot stills to produce a whiskey that is light, fruity, and subtly smoky.
Westward whiskey is made using traditional techniques. Its mashed, fermented, and distilled entirely in the Pacific Northwest. The barley used to make Westward whiskey is grown in Washington State, Idaho, and Oregon.
The spirit is then aged in new American white oak barrels for at least 18 months before its ready for bottling. Proprietors Matt Hofmann and Brett Carlile oversee every step of the process. They hand-select all of the ingredients that are used to produce Westward, ensuring that each batch has a distinct flavor profile guaranteed to please even the most finicky palate.
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Best Rum Cask Finish: The Balvenie Caribbean Cask
Region: Speyside | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Spice
Finishing whisky in a rum cask might not be as popular as sherry or wine casks within the single malt scotch category, but there are some benefits. A rum barrel brings new flavors to the mix, like banana, brown sugar and cocoa. The Balvenies Caribbean Cask 14-Year-Old Scotch is a stellar example. Everything about this whisky draws you in, says Otsuji. The ex-rum barrel finish creates a sense of richness in the flavors, like toffee or caramel, toasted oak, or perhaps a bit of honey on fresh papaya but rather than expressing itself as a sugary taste, it comes through as a luxurious textural element.
Best Overall: Four Roses Single Barrel
Region: Kentucky | ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Plum, Cherry, Vanilla
Four Roses is a Kentucky bourbon that ticks all the right boxesits affordable, has a variety of different expressions to choose from, and it tastes great on its own or mixed in a cocktail. Mike Vacheresse, the owner of Travel Bar in Brooklyn, N.Y. , is a fan of the Single Barrel expression. Four Roses Single Barrel is the benchmark for me for all other bourbons in terms of proof, flavor, and cost, he says. Its high rye mash bill gives a pleasant spicy note, and it has a big mouthfeel and an incredibly smooth finish.
Master Distiller Brent Elliott uses two mash bills and five yeast strains to create a total of 10 different recipes to make this flagship bourbon, while each Single Barrel release uses just one recipe to highlight a unique building block of the whiskey.
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Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ardbeg Uigeadail is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Ardbeg Distillery on Islay. It is bottled at cask strength and non-chill filtered.
Ardbeg Uigeadail was named Worlds Best Single Malt Whisky in 2009 by Jim Murrays Whisky Bible. In addition, it has been awarded a score of 95 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Ardbeg Uigeadail is made from malted barley, which is peated to a phenol level of 40 parts per million . The whisky is distilled in copper pot stills and then matured in ex-bourbon casks. After maturation, it is then transferred into ex-oloroso sherry casks to provide additional complexity through the introduction of darker, heavier flavors.
The Best Scottish Single Malt Whiskeys For 2021 Are:
- Best overall GlenAllachie 12: £43.95, Thewhiskyexchange.com
- Best aged whiskey Balvenie 25 year old rare marriages: £595, Thewhiskyexchange.com
- Best new distillery Lindores Abbey MCDXCIV: £44.95, Masterofmalt.com
- Best limited edition bargain AnCnoc 2009 vintage: £49.95, Houseofmalt.co.uk
- Best peated whiskey Laphroaig 10: £35.90, Masterofmalt.com
- Best for whiskey collectors The Macallan Harmony Collection: Rich cacao whisky: £114.95, Masterofmalt.com
- Best cask strength whiskey Aberlour abunadh: £79.95, Thewhiskyexchange.com
- Best classic bargain Old Pulteney 12: £24, Morrisons.com
- Best full flavoured classic Talisker 18: £90, Harveynichols.com
- Best organic whiskey Ncnean organic single malt whisky: £46.95, Masterofmalt.com
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Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Origin: Islay, U.K.Price: $425 for 750 ml.ABV: 46.34%: BunnahabhainThe 25 Year Old is another delicious offering from Bunnahabhain.
Aromas of dried fig, fruitcake, toffee and date make for an intoxicating nose. Along with its naturally darker amber hue, this non-chill-filtered offering is remarkably balanced, showing little of its heat from the 46.3 percent alcohol by volume. It boasts flavors of almond paste and flan, along with some chocolate-covered orange peel and ginger spice. A spectacular combination of lighter Islay peat and subtle smoke is rounded out by a gentle sherry finish.
Best Organic Single Malt Whiskey
For those looking for an organic alternative the Benromach is for you.
This tasty treat has been distilled using organic barley, before it matured in American oak casks, which means it has the delightful woody flavour to warm you up on a winter’s night.
- Benromach Organic Whiskey for £37.84 from Master of Malt – buy here
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Best Under $1: Glendronach 15 Revival Single Malt Whisky
Best in Show Whiskey at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, GlenDronach Revival 15 Year Old is a stunning single malt. Discontinued in 2015, This Highland whiskys return has been much heralded.
Aged in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, Revival spends at least a decade and a half asleep in the Spanish wood. When its finally time to wake the whisky, the lengthy nap has created a beautiful, dark dram, full of splendid fruity flavors as well as dark chocolate, honey, and a touch of mint. For single malt lovers, this bottle is an absolute must-buy, especially at the price point.
ABV: 92 Proof | Age: 15 Years | Volume: 750 milliliters
Sure, serious whiskey drinkers might scoff at the idea of a honey-flavored whiskey, but if youre making a hot toddy or a whiskey-based cocktail for someone who likes drinks on the sweeter side, Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey could be the ticket.
Technically, its a whiskey liqueur, as its honey liqueur blended with the iconic brands famed Old No. 7 Tennessee whiskey and bottled at 70 proof. The addition of honey gives it a natural sweetness thats both tasty and versatile. Mix it over ice it with some ginger beer and some citrus for a refreshing Tennessee Buck.
ABV: 70 Proof | Age: No Age Statement | Volume: 750 milliliters
The Glenlivet 15 Year
The Glenlivet 15 Year Old gets its distinctive flavor from a process of selective maturation in French Limousin oak casks used to age cognac.
This single malt scotch whisky is tremendously balanced with the oak adding a subtle sweetness and spice to the malt.
This whisky is recommended this for the experienced single malt drinker looking to move their experience away from the power and smokiness of a heavily peated malt Islay.
Talisker Storm Single Malt Scotch Whisky is distilled on the shores of the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Fresh water is drawn directly from underground springs next to the distillery, two very distinctive wash stills and wooden worm tub condensers are used during distillation to create a smoother drop than the heavy peated malt single malts of Islay.
Talisker Storm offers a complex yet gentle peat flavor enhanced by rich vanilla, subtle notes of spice, and just a hint of the sea where the distillery calls home.
Drink this expression neat to really experience the taste of Skye.
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Highland Park 15 Year Old
Highland Park 15 Year Old is an exceptional pale gold single malt, with a luxuriously rich taste and smoky finish. Experts rate it only a touch below the benchmark 18 year old single malt scotch whisky for flavor and finish
The nose holds notes of camphor, peat, citrus fruits and flowers.
There are limited quantities available, so when you get your chance to get this bottle make sure you add it to the top shelf!
Best World Blend: Mars Maltage Cosmo
Courtesy of Whiskey Exchange
Region: Japan | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Orange, chocolate, dried fruit
The bottle from the Mars Shinshu distillery is a blend of whisky distilled in Japan and sourced from Scotland. Catherine Simmerman of Pepe Le Moko in Portland, Oregon is a fan, saying Mars Maltage Cosmo tastes like a sherry casked scotch with hints of vanilla and plum. Thats likely due to the inclusion of whisky that was aged in sherry butts in the blend, along with liquid aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Try this one over a few ice cubes or in a cocktail like an Old Fashioned.
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Laphroaig Triple Wood Islay Single Malt Whisky
Laphroaig Triple Wood Islay Single Malt Whisky comes from the remote island of Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland.
The no aged expression is notable for triple maturation in 3 types of cask: American oak ex-Bourbon casks, 19th century style Quarter casks, and the finishing Oloroso sherry cask. An Oloroso sherry cask uses oxidative aging to create excellent flavors when contributing to the finish of a single malt.
The Triple Wood carries a sophisticated and complex taste compared to the Laphroiag 10yr or the Select Cask. The sweet sherry shines through in combination with heavy peat and hints of the unmistakable salt of Islay to make the taste more complex.
The result is a single malt scotch with great power, most suited to those with a taste for peaty Islay Malt. Priced for considered drinking, it will taste even better over time as it breathes.
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish is the whisky to buy for special occasions or for gifting the whisky aficionado in your life. Its definitely not one for throwing back while the footballs on or generously dolling out into cocktails – partially due to its high price but most importantly due to its impressive taste.
Glenfiddich is also one of the most versatile whiskies around, pairing brilliantly with food, cigars or sipping neat . Expect a hint of spicy ginger, thanks to its finishing process: this whisky was finished in casks used previously to age Caribbean rum for four months.
Buy now £139.00, Master of Malt
Do You Put Ice In Single Malt Whisky
Yes, you can put a little ice or a few drops of water in a Single Malt Whisky to open up the aromas and flavors. Adding a few drops of water to a Scotch is known as “releasing the serpent” in Scotland.
If you do choose to drink your Single Malt Whisky with ice, experts suggest using a large solid ice cube or sphere, which dilutes your spirit more slowly.
The Best Single Malt Scotch Youve Probably Never Heard Of
When we think of whisky, we think of Scotch. More specifically, we often think of Speyside, that heartbreakingly picturesque valley in Northeastern Scotland. This sparsely populated landscape of hill, glen and barley fields is Scotlands undisputed whisky capital. It is home to the most legendary of distilleries: Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich amongst countless others. It likewise plays host to a small number of relatively unknown distilleries who are only too happy to keep a low profile.
One such distillery is Tamdhu. Nestled away in a sweeping meander of the River Spey, its unassuming locale is reinforced with cover from the dense forest which runs along the banks of Scotlands finest Salmon river.
Whilst many of Speysides greatest distilleries were founded immediately after the mass legislative liberation of the whisky trade in the 1820s, Tamdhu came along a little later. It is one of the railway distilleries which were built as train tracks began to reach the most rural parts of Strathspey. Indeed, a railway siding serving just the distillery and a local goods yard was built in 1899, shortly after the distillery was constructed and right in time for Tamdhus first matured stocks to be sent to market.
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The Best Single Malt Whiskies To Add To Your Collection
There is something about a Single Malt whisky that just makes it special. From the first sip, you can taste the care and attention that has gone into making it. Each distiller has its own unique process, and as a result, each bottle of Single Malt whisky tastes different.
Whether you enjoy it on the rocks, with a little water, or mixed in a cocktail, theres no doubt that Single Malt whisky is a drink for discerning palates. But for those who are new to the scene, Single Malt Whisky can be a bit intimidating. With so many options available, where do you start?
Sure, you could go out and buy any old whisky to add to your collection. But if youre looking for the best single malt whiskies, then look no further. Weve gathered some of the best options available, so you can find the perfect one for your taste. Whether you prefer smoky and peaty whiskies or sweet and fruity ones, weve got something for everyone.