“Everything about this whisky draws you in,” says Otsuji. Though it can be quite expensive, the 25-year-old is an excellent example of how good a whisky can taste when matured for nearly three decades. This smokiness, which is even inherent in the water’s aroma, gently lurks in every drop of the 12 Year Old. Single Malt Scotch Whisky is defined by law as whisky distilled from only malted barley, aged for a minimum of three years and produced by a single distillery. He adds, "The hook for me is it's time in both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, creating a complex, incredibly enjoyable whisky with a burst of flavor notes such as dark fruits, raisins, chocolate, butter, baking spice and orange peels.” It’s also non-chill filtered with no color added, as the whisky picks up its dark golden hue from the casks alone. A rum barrel brings new flavors to the mix, like banana, brown sugar and cocoa. It’s rich in flavor and high in alcohol, but drinks easily despite its hefty proof. Craigellachie has a whole “bad boy of Speyside” theme going on, but let’s put that aside for a minute. The best of everything is waiting for you! The whisky is generally moderately peaty and matured mostly in sherry-seasoned casks, with bourbon barrels used for a few expressions as well. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac and all things distilled. In this warehouse, 12-year-old whiskies are matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, resulting in a peated dram that is not overly aggressive. It’s aged in a combination of PX and Oloroso sherry casks, giving it a range of flavor from sweet to baking spices. Plus, get the exclusive Robb Report tote bag FREE. But like most cask finishes pioneered by Stewart, it worked. The peat is about half the ppm of Laphroaig, so while it’s still noticeable, the fruit, caramel, and spice flavors create a whisky potpourri that unravels as you drink. The core range here in the U.S. consists of 12- and 18-year-old whiskies, both of which do a nice job balancing smoke with rich dried fruit flavors, along with the newer, non-age statement Magnus (named after founder Magnus Eunson). In keeping with its historical significance, the distillery still does its own floor maltings, and draws its water from the nearby Laggan River, which flows with a brownish hue due to the ever-present influence of Islay peat. Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest licensed distillery on Islay, and it is also one of the most picturesque. Literally—the Octomore range ventures into the hundreds of ppm, which is extremely, seriously, not-fucking-around smoky (the 08.3 release clocked in at 309.1 ppm!). This year, it introduced Drum, a whisky finished in rum casks. Jonah Flicker is a freelance writer who covers booze, food, travel, and lifestyle for a variety of publications. There are several different ranges to try, from Sherry Oak to Double Cask to Triple Cask Matured. Other expressions play with bespoke oak barrels, wild yeast strains, or chocolate barley in the mash bill. Glenfiddich’s focus as a brand is on creating “the best dram in the valley,” so it’s easy to … But you can save yourself thousands of dollars by purchasing one of Macallan’s latest offerings, their 12 Years Old Double Cask, which provides a full measure of Macallan’s signature caramel and raisin nuances, thanks to the whiskies being aged in both sherry-seasoned American oak barrels as well as in European oak barrels. Bowmore is also known for releasing half-century-old whiskies, like Black Bowmore 50 and 1966 Vintage, that cost tens of thousands of dollars. He also adds, "the magic of the Bowmore 12 is that its flavor never settles into one place, but instead keeps dancing around the palate.". Price: $75. “I love coffee and chocolate notes in both spirits and cocktails so this one sings to me,” says Meaghan Dorman, bar director at Dear Irving on Hudson. This provides a range of flavors—a rich, oaky structure with some sweet vanilla notes from the lengthy time in bourbon barrels, as well as ripe fruits and spices from the sherry casks. The Macallan does not add coloring to its whisky. Distilled in Glenmorangie’s signature copper pot stills—the tallest in Scotland—and aged in first fill American white oak bourbon casks, the result is a uniquely creamy spirit, with toasted oak, hints of marigolds and sweet cherries all uniting in a lingering finish. If you have the money to spend, the extra-aged expressions are where the whisky really starts to take on new dimensions. One of his crowning achievements was DoubleWood 12, which launched in 1993. Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for the past six years. Balvenie malt master David Stewart has worked in the industry for more than half a century and is still coming up with new creations. Though it can be quite expensive, the 25-year-old is an excellent example of how good a whisky can taste when matured for nearly three decades. Get our best cocktail recipes, tips, and more when you sign up for our newsletter. There are many other Norse-themed bottles to explore, with age statements ranging up to 50 years, and releases like Full Volume, which is aged entirely in ex-bourbon barrels instead of sherry casks. Some people love the earthy, smoky rush that envelops them from nose to finish, while others think it tastes like an acrid tire fire. Save up to 70% off  the cover price. Recently, the distillery released a 51-year-old, which it decided to offer for free at special tastings instead of selling for thousands. This approachable whisky is perfect for any novice to the category, as it also works well in cocktails. Scapa 16 Year Old the Orcadian. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. Yes, the whisky differs from others in the area—it’s a bit oilier, a little heavier, and it’s known for having more sulfur than its competitors. The liquid is mostly aged in ex-bourbon casks, with some sherry-butt-matured whisky as well. Highland Park is known for a few things that are unique within the scotch whisky industry—namely, its... Aberlour. Located on the rugged, storm-lashed Orkney Islands, Highland Park has the distinction of being the northernmost distillery in Scotland. For those of us who know a good thing when we sip it, single malt scotch has long reigned as the ne plus ultra of the brown spirits, primarily because it possesses the widest spectrums of style intermingled with both subtle and not-so-subtle nuances of flavors, ranging from relatively light and floral like The Glenlivet to thick and smoky such as Lagavulin. The sherry influence gets more intense with age, reaching its peak in the 18-year-old. A gently peated single malt Irish whiskey from the Kilbeggan distilling company. Try using the Glenfiddich 12-year in your Moscow Mule or Jungle Bird, and see for yourself.”. Talisker Storm, a non-age statement whisky that is also part of the core range, uses liquid from various cask types (rejuvenated and refill) to create a blend that the distillery says employs a fuller range of available stock. The whisky in the 14-year-old Caribbean Cask is finished in rum barrels, where it picks up molasses and fruit notes. RR1 is the private membership club that brings the pages of Robb Report to life. There are barrel-finished bottles like Quinta Ruban (port) and Nectar d’Or (Sauternes). The 12 Best Single Malt Scotch Brands to Drink Now Highland Park. But there’s a lot of nuance underneath all of that salty, ripe, bold, burnt vanilla flavor. “As a neat pour or on the rocks, there's plenty of barrel to appreciate, but the pomaceous fruit notes sit well with gentle, earthy spices, and there's plenty of room in its long, creamy finish to add in tart, astringent or bitter elements,” says Otsuji. Like The Macallan, its focus is on sherry cask maturation, but the whisky produced here is entirely different. This distillery, one of just two making whisky on the Isle of Skye, makes a balanced whisky with wisps of campfire smoke, a bit of butterscotch, and a dash of ripe berries. The whisky is predominantly aged in first- and second-fill bourbon barrels, with some liquid going into sherry butts and French oak as well. As such, it is constantly subjected to fierce winds, which precludes trees from taking root and thus, the Hobbister Moor peat used for drying this distillery’s malted barley possesses an underlying and unmistakable floral quality, accented by the fact that its makeup includes heather. There are five or six different whisky regions in Scotland, depending on who you ask, each with its own character—Lowlands, Speyside, Highlands, Campbeltown, Islay, and Islands. Glenmorangie offers a wide selection of whiskies, from the 10-year-old core expression to some incredibly expensive vintages. As distillery manager John Campbell says, “This whisky is a big, peaty slap in the face. This is a classic Highlands whisky at a great value. Twelve years is the benchmark for many distilleries, most of which have an entry-level whisky aged for this amount of time. Glenmorangie Original, the distillery’s core 10-year-old expression, is an approachable and tasty whisky that will appeal to even the most hesitant scotch drinker. Recent expressions have focused on the concept of terroir in whisky, an idea that Bruichladdich is trying to convince the doubters really exists. Lore is another tasty bottle, a blend of whisky aged from seven to 21 years in five different cask types, including sherry and quarter casks. Another robust Islay whisky comes from Ardbeg, which at about 50 ppm is slightly peatier than Laphroaig. The flavor of this Scotch comes from burning peat to dry out the barley and stop the malting process, which infuses the grain with smoke.