Single malts with elevated age statements carry lofty reputations, but age isn’t always indicative of superb flavor, and non-age statement (NAS) single malts can be just as tasty as their mature counterparts (and oftentimes for a more appealing price). That’s not to say that NAS whiskies don’t include aged components, either; in the case of High West’s new single malt, for instance, there’s whiskey as old as ten years in the blend. Master blenders can also get more creative with their NAS single malts, as evidenced here by Waterford The Cuvée, an expression that marries 25 different Waterford single-farm whiskeys together to great effect.
Once most synonymous with Scotland, fantastic single malts are now proliferating across the globe, too, with the following five whiskies from the Spring 2022 Buying Guide representing, yes, Scotland, but also Wales, Ireland, the U.S., and Japan. There may be no age on the bottle, but the flavor inside is undeniable, a fact bolstered below by a majority of 90-plus scores.
New Non-Age Statement Single Malts
95 points, 48%, $275
Watch out, because Miyagikyo has moves you’ve never seen before. Smoke builds as you nose, from sweet smoke, caramel, and vanilla to bonfire smoke with savory and spicy elements, tarry ropes, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. A multi-faceted tasting experience with sweet vanilla, chocolate, malt, spice, and cocoa, then cherry, raisin, and baked citrus, with a huge chewy mouthfeel and unrelenting flavor delivery through to the finish. Send more peat to Sendai!—Jonny McCormick
91 points, 40%, $30
Honey, vanilla, lemon, and hints of lime and grapefruit on a sublime and pretty nose, with additional notes of cooked pears, marzipan, and freshly sliced apples. A smooth and very pleasant mouthfeel on a palate of vanilla cream, chocolate-covered caramel, fresh baked cookies, shortbread, and light spice. Excellent length on the finish, with more superb vanilla sweetness and light fruit. A light and delicate dram; fresh, gentle, and supremely sippable.—David Fleming
Waterford The Cuvée
91 points, 50%, $105
Crisp red apple, tangerine peel, lime zest, pink stems of rhubarb, green banana, and hints of gooseberry make for a fruity proposition; in fact, one of the freshest whiskeys I’ve ever nosed. Apple remains the core flavor, with pepper, clove, ginger, aniseed, fudge sweetness, and a final flourish of red berries. Water coaxes out watermelon juiciness and mollifies the spices, turning this into a delectably refreshing sipper.—Jonny McCormick
Penderyn Small Batch
89 points, 50%, $100
An easy-to-love combination of honey, ground almond, meringue, fudge, nutmeg, Horlicks, and vanilla ice cream on the nose. This really hits its stride the longer you savor it, beginning with apple juice, brown sugar, nutty fudge, and spices—cinnamon, pepper, clove, and chile—then serves up notes of apple pie with a sweet pastry crust, becoming appetizingly malty and ending with Penderyn’s characteristically dry finish. —Jonny McCormick
High West High Country
88 points, 44%, $80
Very malt-forward, with the grain aromas pleasant and sweet, accompanied by whiffs of pine nuts and pepper spice. The palate is malty and well-textured, though it seems young, and offers notes of candied watermelon, poached pears, and red apple slices. Lots of maltiness on the finish as well, with chocolate spice and vibrant fresh fruit notes of apple and peach. A pleasant whiskey that perhaps needs a bit more maturity.—David Fleming