When formulating the annual Top 20 list, Whisky Advocate’s editors consider multiple factors, including quality—a score of 90 points or higher—availability, and affordability. Beyond that, however, we look for singular characteristics that make a whisky unique—what we call “x-factor.” With its inventive blend of Highland malt scotch and American single malt, finished in a hard cider cask, Virginia Distillery Co.’s Cider Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whiskey, number 13 in the 2018 Top 20, had x-factor that simply couldn’t be denied. Distillery director Ian Thomas explains how such a unique dram came to be created.
You’ll want to spend time with the No.-5 whisky of the 2019 Top 20, whose powerful flavors reward at every turn.
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