Think you know single malt? In Scotland alone there’s a wide diversity in flavor, from smoky peat bombs to rich and fruity sherry finishes and everything in between (though it isn’t always wise to associate region with flavor, as we recently found out). Take your single malt journey to the U.S., and there’s a growing segment of distillers making the style stateside, crafting unique and flavorful interpretations, even as the category currently lacks a formal definition.
If that wasn’t enough, there are producers worldwide making 100% malted barley whisky, each capturing a different profile based on their climate, barrels, length of maturation, and other factors. Some diehard drinkers believe nothing can touch the prestige of single malt scotch, but the more Whisky Advocate’s tasting panel samples single malts from around the globe, the more examples we find that rival even Scotland’s most established names.
The Fall 2020 Buying Guide features more than 150 whisky reviews, among them several worldly single malts. One, hailing from Israel, was even selected as an Editors’ Choice pick. Expand your horizons and your palate with one of these whiskies.
4 Vastly Different Single Malts From Around the World
Eifel (2019 Edition)
93 points, 46%, $70
This latest unpeated vintage has aromas of maple syrup, peanut brittle, sesame snaps, aged balsamic, stretchy cherry taffy, toasted coconut, and snuff tobacco. It’s 6 years old, comprising a primary maturation in refill red wine barrels and a 2-year finish in cream sherry casks, producing a syrupy-textured dram with baked desserts of plum and orange, brown sugar, ginger pudding, vanilla, chocolate-covered nuts, and a burnt sugar finish. (2,400 bottles) —Jonny McCormick
Amrut 10 year old Greedy Angels Peated Rum Cask-Finished (2019 Release)
92 points, 57.1%, $950
The smoke on the nose is comfortingly thick and peaty, layered over cooked peaches in syrup, mango, and hints of ripening strawberry, becoming almost gum-like, with a back wall of oak and mild dry spices. On the palate, intense fruitiness assails the senses, with bitter plain chocolate, spices, and smoke. Be kind and add a generous dash of water, or prepare your taste buds for a pummeling from the cask-strength alcohol. (900 bottles, 150 for U.S.) —Jonny McCormick
Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt U.S. Edition (2019 Release)
92 points, 55.5%, $275
Trademark rich, ripe fruitiness abounds here with a mashbill of malts consisting of Braemar, peated Concerto, and floor-malted Tipple. Fruit hard candy, pear, melon skin, green apple, and grassy turf smoke on the nose. It’s a big, juicy whisky on the palate with tangy citrus, pear, vanilla, and caramel, sideswiped by pepper and clove. Ride it out to discover Skittles, honeydew, and a lengthy finish of Golden Delicious apple. (1,556 bottles) —Jonny McCormick
M&H Elements Sherry Cask Single Malt
90 points, 46%, $70
Using kosher-certified oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, this Tel Avivian whisky evokes dried strawberry, plum pudding, and black cherry aromas, with strong peppercorn notes and a dusting of cocoa powder. With early red fruits and black cherry, this glides through milky coffee and chocolate pudding, buffeted by growing spices and a rasp of oak char, before a pleasant finish of baking chocolate and bourbon biscuits. —Jonny McCormick