Your search returned 79 results.

94 points

Powers John’s Lane, 46%

Wow! Could this be the greatest comeback since Rocky climbed back in the ring and showed the young upstarts who was the boss? It’s taken Irish Distillers a long time to respond to the pounding it’s taken from Cooley but it’s back in the ring with two wonderful pot still whiskeys. This is the better of the two, a whopping oily, woody package of classic pot still Irishness. The green fruits tumble over tannin and spice like frisky puppies. €55 (Currently not available in the U.S.)Editor's Choice

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

93 points

Convalmore 1977 28 year old, 57.9%

OK, confession time. This remains one of my favorite whiskies ever, a classic example of what long, slow aging in a refill cask can do for a whisky — increase its unctuous nature, bring out butterscotch, ginseng, honey, deepen the orchard fruits, and release a dazzling spiciness on the tongue. It has balance, it has finesse, and there’s not much left. £155(Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

92 points

The Macallan Royal Wedding, 46.8%

Rising above the tat issued to celebrate the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton was this extremely limited (1,000 bottles) release from The Macallan. The nose is a mélange of rich fruits, marzipan, and beeswax/resin but it lifts with a drop of water to show apricot and heavy florals. The palate isn’t overly grippy, with more orange peel, almond, and characteristic oiliness. A malty/nutty smooth finish makes this a great one. £150 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

92 points

Ardbeg Alligator, 51.2%

Similar to the standard Ardbeg 10 year old, except that a portion of the whisky was aged in heavily charred barrels (referred to as an “alligator” char). An aggressive whisky — even for Ardbeg — with a leathery texture throughout. Dynamic too, with coal tar, soot, bourbon barrel char, espresso, cocoa, licorice root, smoked fish, and a hint of ginger. There’s a nice creamy vanilla underbelly to balance the aggressiveness and (at least partially) muzzle the Alligator.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

92 points

Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy, 46%

Like the man himself, this is altogether more considered and elegant, mixing whiskeys up to 25 years old for a complex and less bruising experience than the Powers. Instead, lemon and lime zest, kumquat, and blood orange entwine themselves around vanilla, nutmeg, and soft, drying tannins. No big knockout punches, but it goes the distance and wins unanimously and easily on points. €160 (Currently not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

92 points

Amrut Portonova, 61.2%

This release is a port version of Amrut’s Intermediate Sherry — a sort of port pipe sandwich. The spirit is matured in both unused casks and bourbon casks, then spends a few months in port pipes, and then returns to bourbon casks. The result is a Pink Floyd show of a whisky: vibrant, colorful, complex, and nearly too much. A blackcurrant and wispy, smoky nose gives way to an intense and bittersweet mix of chili, blackcurrant, oak, damson, dark chocolate, and peat. Astounding.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

91 points

Glen Grant 25 year old, 43%

Glen Grant’s new(ish) owner Campari is putting its money where its mouth is. Investment in plant, wood, and an impressive visitor center is slowly being backed up with a series of new releases. This venerable example comes from Gordon & MacPhail’s stocks, but is an official bottling due out in time for Christmas. This is GG in relaxed, avuncular mode: subtle woods, amber, Oolong tea, anise. The palate is old apple, fresh plum, cream, and ginger spiciness. £255(Available at the distillery, in France, and Travel Retail in Asia only.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

91 points

The Macallan 18 year old Sherry Oak, 43%

Macallan’s 18 year old expression is, for me, the highlight of its regular sherried range. Deep amber in color. The nose is rich and heavily fruited: fruit cake, mulberry, a little moist gingerbread, the bloody depths of molasses. On the palate, dried fruits — more figgy than raisined — while the natural oiliness in the spirit balances the boisterous tannins from the European oak. A singed note on the finish (an extension of the molasses?) completes the picture. Balanced and complex.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

91 points

Mortlach 16 year old, 43%

With worm tubs and a fiendishly complex partial-triple distillation, Mortlach has adhered to an old style of making whisky — and older, richer, darker flavors. Big and bold, it is at its best in ex-sherry casks. The nose is meaty (think gravy/beef stock) with fig, raisin, and molasses. In the mouth it’s concentrated, with good grip and a savory sweetness. A cult malt. £41 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

91 points

Balblair 1995, 46%

The latest Balblair release is a 1995 vintage expression, exclusive to global travel retail outlets. Matured in second-fill bourbon casks, Balblair 1995 is non-chill filtered and naturally colored. Initially very fruity on the nose, with peaches and carnations, icing sugar on bonbons, then a faint sprinkling of black pepper. Stewed fruits on the early palate, full and confident, with developing spices and brittle toffee. Relatively lengthy in the finish, with dark chocolate and soft oak. Price is per 1 liter.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

91 points

Compass Box Great King Street Artist's Blend, 43%

After a series of esoteric and expensive releases, Compass Box has decided to bring it all back to the people with a blend — and how! The journey sets out as we might expect; all sweet vanilla ice cream, stewed pear tart, and peach melba, but then a wave of spice and white pepper provides an unexpected but delightful twist. It’s like Spice Tree meets Hedonism…Spiconism if you like.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

90 points

Berry Bros. & Rudd, distilled at Balmenach, 1979, 56.3%

Although one of the old Speyside crew (along with Mortlach, Glenfarclas, and Macallan) Balmenach has, inexplicably in my mind, never even achieved cult status. It has simply kept on making rich, powerful, worm tub-condensed spirit for a multitude of blends. This rare bottling therefore is hugely welcome and shows a friskier than usual side — earthy for sure and a lick of leather as well, but also walnut and sultana. The palate is deep and languorous with a savory edge. £145 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

90 points

Benromach 30 year old, 43%

We had some new Benromachs from Gordon & MacPhail last issue that illustrated what the firm has been up to since it purchased the site in 1992. This release comes from its previous incarnation as part of DCL. The elegant, mature nose shows an ‘Old Speyside’ light smokiness alongside barley, cacao, cigar humidor, and potpourri. The palate is gentle and unctuous with some sherried touches, while the smoke reruns on the very end. £150 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

90 points

Strathisla 16 year old, 55.3%

This is one of a trio from Chivas Bros., who every year release limited editions of 500 ml cask strength bottlings from a selection of its estates. These are predominantly only for sale on site or by mail order through www.maltwhiskydistilleries.com. My pick of this batch. Strathisla’s a small, traditional distillery whose make is mostly pressed into service for the Chivas Regal blends. It’s a hard to pin down malt, and it’s this elusive character that shows here: firm then soft, fragrant then deep. The nose is intense and spicy with wax, nougat, chocolate, hazelnut, and fresh-opened banana. The palate is explosive with real presence and power, whose firm core is softened by honey and poached fruits. Complex is the word. £37

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

89 points

Longmorn 16 year old, 48%

Longmorn may be slightly better known, but it’s still pretty much a cult whisky — with a huge following in Japan, where every whisky bar seems to have multiple expressions. This bottling shows it in its lushest guise, with masses of caramelized soft fruits, banana, cream toffee, and chocolate. The palate shifts between raisin and plum. Elegant.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

89 points

Kilchoman Spring 2011 release, 46%

A marriage of 3 and 4 year old whisky aged in first-fill bourbon barrels, with the 4 year old portion being finished in oloroso sherry casks. Among the best of the Kilchoman releases to date. The first-fill bourbon packs a flavor punch, while the sherry softens, rounds, and adds complexity. Barrel char, burnt raisin, boat dock, and tarry rope, softened by caramel and enhanced with notes of tropical fruit. Surprisingly mature for its age and very distinctive.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

89 points

Springbank 11 year old, 58%

Finished in a rum cask. Gently sweet (caramel, vanilla cream, kiss of honey), with balancing fruit (lime, kiwi, green grape) and spice (white pepper, brine). Youthful (but not immature). Invigorating briny finish. I don’t know what kind of rum cask was used, but it comes across more like sugar cane juice-based rhum agricole than the molasses-based rums. Very nice! (A Park Avenue Liquor exclusive.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

89 points

Cutty Sark 18 year old, 43%

Cutty Sark lost its way in recent years; expect that to change soon. Its owners have plans to return it to glory (and to include a 30 year old among its expressions — you read it here first). For the time being — if you can find it — this 18 year old is a sublime mix of soft plum and peach, sweet, pure grain, easy-drinking vanilla, and a deft oakiness all delivered in gentle and harmonious fashion. Masterful blending.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

89 points

Lark Single Cask, 58%

Lark is on Australia’s frontline, but this is a hard sell. This is big bucks for untried whisky. No doubt though, this is history in the making. There’s a big cinnamon and nutmeg kick to this, and with water, a rootsy, sweet apple core and a menthol hit wrap themselves around flavors of crab apples and dates. It’s different, easy to like, and exciting. Australian whisky is on a roll. AUD220 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

88 points

Springbank 14 year old Fino Cask (#265), 55.3%

A round of single cask Springers matured completely (not finished) in various wine casks for the U.S. market. All four are solid efforts — it’s really a matter of personal preference. A general comment: most of the single cask releases are matured in some sort of wine or rum cask. While this is nice, I would love to see several single cask, cask strength, and fully-matured ex-bourbon barrel bottlings offered for a change. The freshest of the bunch, chock full of Springbank character. Light and lively. Floral, with plenty of fruit (green grapes, kiwi, apple tart) on a bed of honeyed malt. Nuttiness and brine emerge toward the finish, and linger.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

88 points

Glengoyne 17 year old, 43%

Probably the most highly-regarded malt in the regular Glengoyne lineup, the 17 year old represents a direct progression from its younger siblings. According to the distillers, “The balance has artfully changed. A more concentrated palate of flavors has emerged…” Citrus and cedar notes on the slightly grassy nose, with a hint of plain chocolate. Medium in body, with more plain chocolate notes, plus raisins, orange, vanilla, and malt. Lengthy in the finish, with milky coffee, sherry, leather, and citrus spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

88 points

Glann ar Mor 1 an Gwech 11, 46%

Brittany in Northern France has a Celtic heart, with its own language and culture. Part of that culture is whisky making. It’s a rugged, untamed, and robust part of the country, so you’d expect similar in the whisky. This is anything but. It is has a sweet, fairy dust, fruit sherbet nose; a sweet pear, cinnamon apple Danish palate; and only late on does a sharp hit of pepper appear. This only enhances the experience. €55 (Currently not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

88 points

Amrut Two Continents (Second Edition), 50%

Two Continents refers to the fact that this is matured in India and then Europe. But Amrut has tweaked the winning formula of the first edition, taking the alcoholic strength from 46% to 50% and using bourbon instead of grain casks for European maturation. The changes are immediately noticeable. The nose is honeyed, with key lime pie, and strawberries and cream. The taste is spikier, spicier, and feistier than before, with dark cherry, blood orange, and unripe banana.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Ardmore Traditional Cask 1998

A single cask of Ardmore aged in a first-fill bourbon cask and then finished in quarter casks. This one is more mature, with more depth than the standard Ardmore Traditional Cask (which I rated 80 a few years back). Notes of toffee, vanilla bean, chocolate fudge, licorice stick, bourbon, tar, charcoal, and a hint of burnt raisin. Very nice! (A Julio’s Liquors Exclusive.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Hazelburn 12 year old, 46%

Following on from the earlier 8 year old expression of this triple distilled Campbeltown malt, the 12 year old first appeared in August 2009 and nicely illustrates the developments brought about by its continuing maturation. Rich on the nose, with a clear sherry influence, along with toffee, marzipan, apricots, and milk chocolate. This is a substantial and well integrated dram, with malt, almonds, cocoa, and spice on the palate, while the long, spicy finish offers more chocolate, soft fruits, and coffee.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Springbank 14 year old Amontillado Cask (#305), 55.4%

A round of single cask Springers matured completely (not finished) in various wine casks for the U.S. market. All four are solid efforts — it’s really a matter of personal preference. A general comment: most of the single cask releases are matured in some sort of wine or rum cask. While this is nice, I would love to see several single cask, cask strength, and fully-matured ex-bourbon barrel bottlings offered for a change. Citrus, exotic wood, and botanicals on the nose and palate. Indeed, there’s a bit of intrigue here. Nice balance, with roasted nuts, pecan pie, and more exotic wood on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Old Pulteney 12 year old, 40%

Scotland’s northernmost mainland distillery, located in the historic port of Wick, is owned by Inver House. The ‘entry level’ 12 year old expression is widely available. The nose presents pleasingly fresh malt and floral notes, with a touch of pine. The palate offers a fuller bodied, sweeter whisky than the nose might lead one to expect, with more malt, spices, fresh fruit, and a suggestion of salt. The finish is medium in length, drying, and decidedly nutty.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Edradour 10 year old, 40%

Edradour, in Perthshire, is owned by independent bottler Signatory, who has released a wide variety of expressions during the past few years. However, the standard 12 year old remains a classic of its kind. Cider apples, malt, almonds, vanilla, and honey on the nose, along with a hint of smoke and sherry. The palate is creamy and malty, with a persistent nuttiness and quite pronounced sherry, plus a touch of leather. Spices and sherry dominate the medium to long finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Auchentoshan Bourbon Matured 1975, 46.9%

The latest triple distilled bottling from the Lowland distillery of Auchentoshan has been matured for 35 years in bourbon casks and is presented non-chill filtered and at cask strength. Just 500 bottles are available globally. Apple crumble and custard on the nose, with developing cereal notes. Smooth and enticing. Spice, fresh fruits, honey, and marzipan on the buttery palate, which ultimately becomes drier. The finish is long and discreetly drying, with spices, malted barley, and a citrus tang in the tail. Price is approximate.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

St. George’s Chapter 11 (cask strength), 59.7%

St. George’s hits pay dirt! The competition is fierce for young, big, oily, heavily peated whiskies: Kilchoman, Connemara Turf Mor, BenRiach Birnie Moss. This, though, is good enough to mix it in that sort of company. The peat growls like a Harley-Davidson, punches pepper and peat throughout, but best of all, it flicks licorice and hickory kisses just like a real life Laphroaig. Chapter 11 isn’t quite in that league yet…but it’s certainly moving in the right direction. £65 (Currently not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

87 points

Bakery Hill Cask Strength Single Malt, 60%

While much of the interest in Australian whisky has focused on Tasmania, there are mainland distilleries, such as The Great Southern Distilling Company and this one, which have been making a major contribution to the country’s growing whisky reputation. In fact, David Baker’s malt is as good as anything in Australasia. This is a Scotch-style single malt, all clean fresh green fruit, particularly apples, and some orange. The taste is zingy, with almonds and sweet chocolate-covered digestive biscuits. Delicious. AUD105 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

86 points

Springbank 14 year old Manzanilla Cask (#259), 54.8%

A round of single cask Springers matured completely (not finished) in various wine casks for the U.S. market. All four are solid efforts — it’s really a matter of personal preference. A general comment: most of the single cask releases are matured in some sort of wine or rum cask. While this is nice, I would love to see several single cask, cask strength, and fully-matured ex-bourbon barrel bottlings offered for a change. Complex citrus (orange, tangerine, lime, and a hint of lemon), honeyed malt kissed by maple syrup, caramelized pineapple, cinnamon, and a dusting of nutmeg. Nutty toffee on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

86 points

Springbank 14 year old Oloroso Cask (#268), 56.2%

A round of single cask Springers matured completely (not finished) in various wine casks for the U.S. market. All four are solid efforts — it’s really a matter of personal preference. A general comment: most of the single cask releases are matured in some sort of wine or rum cask. While this is nice, I would love to see several single cask, cask strength, and fully-matured ex-bourbon barrel bottlings offered for a change. What you might expect a traditional 100% oloroso sherry cask-aged Springbank to taste like, with probably the most familiar flavor profile of the four: rich, with nuts and dried fruit, chocolate-coated brittle toffee, plenty of spice (cinnamon, ginger), polished oak, hint of tobacco and smoke.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

86 points

Wemyss Malts Vanilla Summer Single Cask, 46%

The latest batch of single cask releases from Wemyss Malts includes Vanilla Summer. It is an unspecified Highland single malt, distilled in 1997, and the bourbon cask in which it was matured has yielded 263 bottles. Vanilla, buttercups, and violets on the nose, developing Bramley apples with peaches and cream. Background of mildly spicy malt. Sweet and floral on the palate, with tropical fruits, fudge, and ginger. Slowly drying with benevolent oak, but ultimately a lingering creaminess. £50 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Speyburn 10 year old, 40%

Okay, how many of you have walked past this one thinking the price is just too crazily low for the liquid to be any good? How many have started your whisky life with this and then set it aside? Time to rethink. Speyburn, one of the forgotten distilleries of Rothes, is a charmer. Sweet and fragrant with notes of blossom and a little red fruit on the nose, the palate shows ginger, cream, and rhubarb. (Value Pick)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Clynelish Distillers Edition 1992, 46%

This 1992 vintage from Clynelish distillery is part of Diageo’s Distillers Edition range of ‘finished’ single malts, and it underwent a secondary period of maturation in oloroso seco casks prior to bottling. Sweet sherry, honey, and oranges on the nose, with a gentle note of rum and cloves. The palate initially offers vibrant sherry, sultana, and hazelnuts, with developing cloves, angelica, and spices. The finish is medium in length, with a mild note of enduring ginger. £45 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Glen Garioch 1994 Vintage, 53.9%

The latest release from Glen Garioch is a limited edition 1994 vintage, produced when the distillery still boasted working floor maltings, and is therefore more peaty than spirit subsequently distilled. Pear drops, vanilla, and developing caramel on the nose. Freshly-opened cigarette packets, and, in time, brown paper and vinegar. Quite dry and austere on the palate, with stem ginger and subtle smoke. Persistently spicy in the medium-length finish, with an elusive late flurry of smoky, chocolate caramel.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Glenturret 10 year old, 40%

This 10 year old expression from the Perthshire distillery of Glenturret has replaced the 12 year old. Glenturret is at the heart of The Famous Grouse blend, and the distillery was re-branded as ‘The Famous Grouse Experience’ in 2002. Nutty and slightly oily on the nose, with barley and citrus fruits. Sweet and honeyed on the full, fruity palate, with a balancing note of oak. Medium length in the sweet finish. £31 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Glengoyne 10 year old, 40%

Glengoyne’s entry-level 10 year old is the most readily available of their malts, and is made using entirely unpeated malt. The producers claim this helps to preserve “the essence of its flavor.” Fresh and well-rounded on the nose, with medium sweet aromas suggesting malt, oak, and a hint of sherry. Smooth and delicate on the palate, it is slightly oaky, with a suggestion of cooking apples. The finish is pleasingly long, with buttery, vanilla notes, slowly drying.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Jefferson's Very Small Batch Bourbon, 41.15%

The whiskey’s formula has been improved, and now consists of a higher percentage of older whiskies (into the high teens) than the original release (which I rated 81). Nicely balanced, with candied fruit, blackberry jam, soft vanilla, kettle corn, and a kiss of mint. Pleasant, unpretentious, and uncomplicated.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Jefferson’s Straight Rye Whiskey 10 year old, 47%

A 100% straight rye from Canada. This is curiously similar to (and more affordable than) WhistlePig rye, which is also a 100% rye, 10 year old Canadian whisky, but at a slightly higher 50% ABV. (Neither whiskey identifies its origin.) It oozes spice (mint, cinnamon, hint of nutmeg) balanced by layers of sweetness (honeyed vanilla, caramel), with nutty toffee emerging on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Kornog Sant Ivy 2011, 57.8%

This is another young peated whisky, but the earthy and dusty smoke is wrapped around a honeycomb and milk chocolate center. It’s both rugged and comforting, the whisky equivalent of chili chocolate: a bittersweet love affair for those who enjoy the contrary nature of sweet and savory. €77 (Currently not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

85 points

Mackmyra Moments — Drivved, 55.5%

Early bottlings of Mackmyra were a challenge — salty peat, intense woodiness, and unusual juniper-influenced spices made the whisky an acquired taste. Over time though, sweet fruit brought more balance and the whiskies have bloomed. This special bottling — one of four in the Moments series — recalls those roots but delivers a meaty, spicy, and earthy flavor with melt in the mouth syrup. Imagine honey poured on a heavily peppered well-done steak. €141 (Currently not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

84 points

Tomintoul 14 year old, 46%

One of Speyside’s youngest distilleries, Tomintoul has been a relatively shy performer until recently, when a raft of new releases (some peated) have appeared. This non-chill filtered example is, for me, the best of the bunch. Pale in hue, it has a light, clean floral aroma — think daffodils — with plenty of white fruits and very subtle oak. The palate has pear juice, light vanilla, and a long sweet finish. £34 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

84 points

Laphroaig Cairdeas, 50.5%

Distinctively pale in color. (A hint of its age?) This annual limited edition release is finally available in the U.S. Youthful, vibrant, and thumping, with the sea flowing through its veins. Coal tar, peat smoke, brine, seaweed, bright fruit (pear, tangerine), and soft vanilla all compete for attention. The only thing holding me back from scoring it higher is that it comes across as a bit too youthful.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

84 points

Hazelburn 8 year old, 46%

Hazelburn was first produced at Springbank during 1997. It varies stylistically from ‘traditional’ Springbank, as it is triple distilled using unpeated malt. The 8 year old expression has been matured in 60 percent ex-bourbon and 40 percent sherry wood. The nose is fresh, light, fruity, and faintly resinous, with gentle spice. Sherbet, malt, and vanilla on the attractive and lively palate, with developing spicy oak and a hint of pepper in the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

84 points

Glengoyne 1996 Vintage, 43%

Exclusively for the U.S. as an addition between the 10 and the 17 year old. Central to its composition is a ‘parcel’ of refill hogsheads, to which a number of European oak butts have been added. Initially slightly herbal on the nose, with developing fresh fruits and vanilla. Finally, caramel and damp leaves underfoot. Full and confident on the palate, with tropical fruits, stem ginger, and hazelnuts. Drying in the finish, with spicy, rich oak and creamy allspice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

84 points

Millstone Peated, 40%

Van Zuidam distillery’s star has risen rapidly — it’s under ten years old —and its single malt and rye are confident forays into the world of whisky. So is this. This is 5 ½ years old and is a distinctly different take on peat, with little acerbity, oil smoke, or charcoal. A softer spiciness is present — it’s an almost ginger cake quality, with menthol and lemon-lime candy in the mix. €55 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

84 points

Tomatin 30 year old, 46%

Selected by distillery manager Douglas Campbell, currently in his 50th year at Tomatin. It has been matured in a combination of American and European oak casks, and just 200 cases have been released. Citrus fruits on the nose, notably oranges, and apricots, with a hint of damp soil. More fruit on the palate, orange wine gums, ginger, and gentle oak. Long and slowly drying in the finish, with encroaching aniseed and tannins.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

83 points

Singleton of Dufftown 15 year old, 43%

Diageo’s Singleton range is its answer to the problem of how to build a global single malt brand when each distillery will ultimately be limited by its capacity. Answer? A single brand: ‘Singleton,’ but from three distilleries, each focused on a different area of the world. Singleton of Dufftown is Europe’s expression, and this 15 year old combines cake mix, peanut butter, and fleshy fruits. There’s dried banana and vanilla on the palate, and a nutty sweet finish. £38 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

83 points

Singleton of Glendullan 12 year old, 40%

The U.S. Singleton comes from Glendullan, a distillery that makes a sweet, light spirit. Here, a percentage has been aged in ex-sherry casks, which has added a layer of fruity sweetness — think port-like sloe notes, Muscatel, and wisteria. The wood is lightly handled, allowing the aromas full rein on the palate.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

83 points

Miltonduff 19 year old, 51.3%

One in a trio from Chivas Bros., who every year release limited editions of 500 ml cask strength bottlings from a selection of its estates. These are predominantly only for sale on site or by mail order through www.maltwhiskydistilleries.com. Miltonduff was licensed in 1824, and these days is also an important blender’s malt with a little more oily depth than its neighbor, Glenburgie. This has a deep floral bouquet — think iris and lily — and aromatic fruits like quince. With water there’s moss, sage, and orange peel. The fruity character is dominant in the mouth and becomes more tropical; there’s even some coconut on the finish. £40

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

83 points

Lark Single Cask, 43%

Expecting Scotch single malt? Go to the door and kick that thought right down the garden. Open your mind. Consider Australia as you do bourbon or Irish whiskey. It’s whisky, but not as the Scots know it — a new branch to the whisky tree. This is different, but special. Fresh, clean, young green apple, and pear, and not much else. But there’s a distinctive herbal rootsiness here that’s all Australian. There’s a clean sweet purity to the malt, too. Impressive. AUD150 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

Inchgower 14 year old, 43%

You could argue that there’s an element of auto-suggestion at work when you pick up saltiness in Inchgower, after all, it comes from a fishing port (Buckie). But taste it blind and there it is — an unmistakable salinity on nose and palate which, when combined with lemon accents, cumin seed, thin fruit syrups, and green grapes, makes this an intense, perfect, aperitif. £37 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

Hazelburn CV, 46%

Hazelburn CV is the non-age-statement version of Springbank’s unpeated, triple distilled single malt, introduced in 2010 to accompany the existing 8 and 12 year old variants. Initially slightly mashy and herbal on the nose, with acetone and cigarette packets. Citric and more malty with time. Orange, ginger, vanilla, and sherbet zest on the spicy palate. The finish is medium in length and spicy, with a slight suggestion of salt. A fresh, breezy, aperitif dram. £33 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

Tomatin Decades, 46%

This bottling celebrates distillery manager Douglas Campbell’s 50 years of service at Tomatin, and includes casks from 1967, 1976, 1984, and 1990, along with a peated Tomatin from 2005. The nose is initially slightly musty, with faint peat smoke, sweetening to mild vanilla, with new leather and peaches in time. Full-bodied, relatively dry on the palate, with the European oak casks in the ascendancy here. Raisins, dark chocolate, and licorice. Medium to long in the finish, drying, with spicy oak.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

Wild Turkey 81, 40.5%

Comprised of bourbon aged 6 to 8 years old (and seems closer to 6 than 8). This new, fairly bold for 81 proof whiskey, while drinkable neat or with a splash of water, really works best as a mixer. Very traditional bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla, mint, cinnamon, sweet corn, and orchard fruit.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

St. George’s Chapter 11, 46%

It was perhaps inevitable that a distillery employing whisky legend Iain Henderson would sooner or later release a heavily peated version of English whisky. Ironically, this is the first release on which current distiller David Fitt has tweaked Henderson’s recipe. He has not let anyone down. The peat doesn’t hide the sappy youthfulness here, but complements the sweet, creamy, malty heart, building with pepper to good effect. Another step in the right direction for this intriguing distillery. £45 (Currently not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

Three Ships 10 Year Old Limited Edition, 43%

South Africa’s most established distillery now makes Scotch-style single malt whisky that the country can be proud of. The downside is that it plays it safe, and the flavors on offer are subdued and subtle. That said though, there’s plenty to like here — delicate floral notes including rose, with a rich and honeyed heart, traces of exotic fruits including kumquat and kiwi, wispy smoke, and some cinnamon and paprika. Solid. €47.50 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

82 points

Drayman’s Highveld Single Cask (Cask No. 10), 47%

The man behind this whisky is an acclaimed craft brewer, and on the strength of his early efforts this intriguing distillery is going to be winning plaudits from the world of whisky before too long. This single cask bottling steps over the hurdle of youthful sappy barley at its core, thanks to a big dose of wine-influenced spirit, which is liqueur-like; rich, full, and heavily berried. The killer, though, is the way the whisky goes up through the spice gears. €48 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

81 points

Glen Moray 12 year old, 40%

A malt that was overlooked by one owner (Glenmorangie) and is now, under the auspices of a new one (La Martiniquaise), beginning to ease itself back into the single malt world. Its problem has been the price: too low (see Speyburn). The standard 12 year old bottling gives a perfect idea of its potential. This is as soft and sweet a malt as you could ask for: peaches, toffee, and baked apple, with a tobacco/cedar/pine note from the oak.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

81 points

Mackmyra Moments — Jord, 55.1%

This is the Mackmyra equivalent of an arena rock band playing a small town club gig; a raw, rough and ready, in your face rock and roll version of the whisky — and it’s not for the faint-hearted. Matured in French red wine casks, it has a pleasant apricot and woodsmoke nose, while the taste is young, brittle, and gristy, with intense and persistent pepper, ginger, and bitter berries. Well-made, but not the best starting point to explore Mackmyra.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

80 points

Glenburgie 15 year old, 54.5%

One of a trio from Chivas Bros., who every year release limited editions of 500 ml cask strength bottlings from a selection of its estates. These are predominantly only for sale on site or by mail order through www.maltwhiskydistilleries.com. This distillery is located amongst the fertile barley-growing fields of the Laich O’Moray. Though modern in look, it actually dates back to 1810. This is a classic introduction to its fresh, zesty style, which plays an important role in the Ballantine’s blends. Think cut grass, green apple, pine, pear drops, and a whiff of freshly-starched linen. This energy carries on to the mouth where apple is the dominant flavor, along with green walnut and a zippy acidity. £34

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

80 points

Low Gap Whiskey (American Craft Whiskey Distillers), 42.7%

Distilled from “malted Bavarian hard wheat” on the still formerly used at Germain-Robin. Good pedigree; does it deliver? Bread/flour in the aroma, like a fresh bag of flour, with a fruity alcohol edge to it, the wheat tang I know from beer. In the mouth, it comes through as bread and crackers. It’s somewhat hot, but it’s a brandy/aromatic heat: vapor-producing. The finish pulls more grain in, finally. They’re aging some of this; should be a great whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

80 points

Marko K. Spirits Doubled & Twisted, 49.5%

Distilled from “bottle-ready IPA.” Sure is; the hops leap out of the glass, piney and pithy, a real west coast beer and whiskey experience in a glass. Quite a fat mouthfeel for 99 proof, a big oily thing that rolls around the tongue, making itself at home with flaring hop flavor — not really bitter — and an underlying sweetness. Bittering kicks in on the finish. An astonishing experience that really grows on you…but ultimately there’s a lack of depth. Price is per 1 liter.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

79 points

Heaven Hill Trybox Series Corn, 62.5%

New make from the same mashbill as Evan Williams, bottled “straight from the still.” Much higher proof than the others, but not noticeably hotter in the nose; that’s light corn and grass, with a bit of minty spice. Hotter in the mouth, but quite pleasant and evolving: fresh mint gives way to light corn, then a slightly oily slip to brisk sweetness…and you realize you didn’t notice the serious overproof. A well-behaved white dog.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

79 points

Old Hobart Overeem Sherry Cask, 55%

The latest addition to Tasmania’s burgeoning and diverse whisky industry bottles for the first time in October 2011. This is just 4 years old, and while this isn’t Kavalan, the flavor is amazing: full and rich sherry, honeyed, intense, and fruity. The score reflects the fact that it’s well-made, yet way short of its optimum age. But wow — what a prospect this distillery is! AUD150 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

78 points

Redemption High Rye Bourbon (Batch 1), 46%

Aged “over 2 years” and with over 38% rye in the mashbill (high for bourbon). It’s fresh, youthful, and brisk, with sweet corn, bright fruit, brittle mint, cinnamon, and a dusting of cocoa, leading to a slightly aggressive finish. A bit too youthful, actually, for sipping—it would benefit from a few more years’ aging. Save this one for your next Manhattan. Its sibling, Redemption Rye (of similar age), fares better (84).

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

77 points

Finger Lakes Glen Thunder Corn Whiskey, 45%

Crisps the nose hairs a bit, but it’s pure corn, even a bit of cornbread. Tip a sip in, and it’s nothing but more green corn, sweet, fresh — hot, for sure, but not overwhelming — and pretty tasty for what it is. With white whiskey, we’re walking the fine line between flavor and raw wound at all times, and this one finds the line.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

77 points

Koval Rye Chicago, 40%

Smelling the rye from a foot away after pouring. Exceptionally clean aroma of grain; the oily/spicy rye notes come through clearly. Quite smooth. Not a lot of flavors: very focused on the rye itself, with grain and just a touch of mint. A long finish with sweet grain that slowly turns to mint in the end.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

77 points

Old Hobart Overeem Port Cask, 55%

This is matured in 100 liter casks, and the port is all over the youthful spirit. But while the combination leaves a lot to be desired, and there are all sorts of youthful errors on show, the fruity, rich, and creamy core of this malt suggests that we’re looking at the stirring of a giant. Bottled this fall at 4 years, this is a holding tank. What follows will be immense. AUD180 (Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

75 points

Heaven Hill Trybox Series Rye, 62.5%

This is new make from the Rittenhouse Rye mashbill, unaged, right off the still. Yeasty mash notes come through strongly, with a big nose of rye and corn underneath. It smells fresh, and alive. Wow, that’s powerful stuff. Much hotter than the Trybox Corn, this one is on fire with rye spice; it’s got me breaking a sweat! A bit of water brings out more grain notes, and some tempering sweetness, but it’s still no pussycat. Cleanly powerful.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

75 points

Koval Levant Spelt, 40%

Provocative: spelt’s an interesting aroma. Grainy and a bit earthy, with hints of golden delicious apple all combining in the nose. There’s a fast, high flow of creaminess that spreads quickly and disappears, leaving a slightly fruity, grainy aftertaste. Interesting sensations, and again, quite clean.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

75 points

Stillhouse The Original Moonshine, 40%

Aromas are soft and creamy, with a waft of sweet corn — underlain with a fairly blunt alcohol burn that comes through more as you smell it. Quite sweet on the palate, a wash of green corn, but the flavor isn’t enough to tangle successfully with the fuel, which leads to a tongue-curlingly hot finish. Some definite potential, but it really needs time in a big oak barrel (or some ice and a bottle of Dr. Pepper).

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

74 points

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, 46%

Nose is sweet corn, with some mintiness to it, and some herbal notes; hot, but not off-putting. Tastes are not as sweet as expected. A bit flat, though the sweet corn does come through toward the end. Again, though, this one is quite hot, which is not surprising; the Hudson Baby Bourbons — which this is the foundation for — have struck me as hot also. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

74 points

Koval Raksi Millet, 40%

A lively light fruitiness (white grapes, green plum) in the nose. Quite grainy, but with an interesting hint of vanilla and a slight saltiness. Finish is a bit astringent, unlike the other Koval spirits. I’m finding these an interesting exercise in distillation, and educational.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

74 points

Koval Midwest Wheat, 40%

So that’s what wheat smells like: not much. The aromas here seem to be mostly yeast-derived, with a faint ripe fruitiness (undefined: peach, apple?) and alcohol heat, and a touch of wheat-origin sweet grass. Wheat’s in the mouth, like chewing fresh grain with some water and alcohol. It’s all there, and the finish is sweet, and it’s clean, but…that’s about all. White bread whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

73 points

Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit, 40%

Made from 100% rye, and USDA certified organic. Very hot for 40%; herbal nose, very green with rye. Much smoother on the palate, and very quick. There’s a fast shot of rye mint up front, some grassiness, and a sharp flick of heat…and then it vanishes, leaving only a fading flinty-sweet afternote. Clean, but not a lot of substance.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)

73 points

Koval American Oat, 40%

Very similar to the Midwest Wheat in aroma, with a slight additional tanginess…but that could be from sensory deprivation. Drier in the mouth, with a slight medicinal character to it that increases as the finish goes on; like a high school chemistry lab storeroom, or a bottle of fresh aspirin.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2011)


Load More