Just beautiful. Long, rounded notes of caramel, cinnamon roll, taffy, butterscotch, brisket burnt ends, nutmeg, Jamaican jerk, plum pudding, ginger, light sassafras, root beer, roasted marshmallow, cotton candy, orange peel, raw honey, and pie crust. If it sounds complex, it’s because it is, and the finish just doesn’t quit, giving you a lingering taste of every note.
The third and most exclusive release in Bowmore’s Vault Legends Collection was matured for 50 years in bourbon hogshead #5675. The nose is fragrant and musky, slightly oily, with orange peel, developing vanilla, and green citrus notes. Intense orange and peach on the palate, with black pepper, aniseed, and sweet oak. Very persistent tangy citrus fruits through the extremely long finish. No negative tannic notes. (74 bottles)
Simply beautiful. It’s so complex, with notes of molasses, apple butter, toffee, salt water taffy, hazelnut, burnt brown sugar, crème brûlée, caramel flan, butterscotch, crystallized ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, fenugreek, roasted almonds, and marshmallow. With a drop of water, another complex layer forms with cotton candy and burnt pie crust. In both cases, it finishes extremely long.
A triumphant expression including whisky distilled in 1990, 1992, and 1993 and matured in Spanish oak sherry butts. The nose offers creamy sweet sherry, figs, a hint of black treacle, cinnamon, and ripe cherries. The full palate yields sultanas, tangy citrus fruit, sweet oak, roasted chestnuts, and ginger. Lingering bright fruit notes in the finish, with raisins, plain chocolate, and cigar boxes. (1,487 bottles)
Teeling 34 year old Vintage Reserve Single Malt, 40.9%
Irish Single Malt | $5,000
Sheer nectar, dripping with honeyed delights: baklava, maple syrup, syropiasta, vanilla spun sugar, malt wrapped in gentle oak, and a notion of Szechuan pepper. The mouthfeel is flowing and silken, radiating flavors of golden syrup, tangerine, peppercorn, vanilla, light oak, and nougat. As the flavor crests, the sweetness is evocative of Château D’Yquem. This decadent piece of Irish history originated as a Teeling family cask distilled in 1983. (U.S. exclusive, 43 bottles)
Buttery vanilla, marzipan, honey, ripening melon, orange water, lavender, and muted spices lead to a gorgeous, rounded, sugar-sweet palate of vanilla, beeswax, citrus, ground almond, and shortbread. Precision-engineered to ensure the exquisite flavor never stops. (3,060 bottles)
Peat has grown up to become the best version of himself that he can be. The mellow, sweet smoke makes all your cares drift away. It’s like walking on an Islay beach through seaweed stranded at the high-tide mark. Lemon lozenges, Sweethearts, flashes of citrus, stewed apple, and growing smoke. The gentle, glossy, mouth-coating finish generates an urge to expertly puff smoke rings out through pursed lips. (300 bottles) £175
Old Fitzgerald 11 year old Bottled in Bond (Spring 2018 Release), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $110
Fruit bliss. Filled with apple, pear, dried apricot, and peaches, it then offers floral and rich caramel notes. Chocolate fried pie, pumpkin pie, and vanilla custard follow over a creamy mouthfeel. Then nuts set in, including roasted almonds, salted walnuts, and pecans. Honey and malt appear toward the end for a long and wonderful finish with a light hint of cinnamon. Editor’s Choice
A beguiling nose of raisins, dried figs, hazelnuts, white chocolate, brown sugar, and candied ginger, with a rich meatiness that calls to mind braised pork with stewed plums. The palate sings with classic sherry flavors: figs, almonds, hazelnuts, dark chocolate, white pepper, orange peel, and a lithe minerality. As might be expected given the ABV, water may be added with impunity. From an undisclosed Highland distillery, matured in a modified solera system and finished in a PX cask. (464 bottles; U.S. only)
Bright and pronounced caramel in many forms, from rich caramel chews to caramel pudding. Then a spice backbone jumps out, followed by butterscotch, brown sugar, vanilla wafers, jalapeño cornbread, mustard seeds, and peach cobbler. A drop of water makes it even more complex with savory spices—sage, dried parsley, and a hint of rosemary, meeting sweet: more vanilla and butterscotch. With or without water, it finishes long and strong with a hint of pepper.
Absolutely stellar opening, with blueberries, black currants, and mashed cherries complementing vanilla icing, cornbread, and chocolate-hazelnut wafers. Then it’s salt water taffy, bread pudding, honey, jalapeño poppers, and snickerdoodles. But it does not stop there: baking spices develop toward the end, with bright cinnamon notes coating the long finish. (Barrel No. 5083254 reviewed; 12,000 bottles)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Invergordon) 25 year old, 49.6%
Single Grain Scotch | $60
Strong-scented floral perfumes, cotton candy, gumballs, nail polish remover, fruit Jell-O, and sherbet. Imagine Dylan’s Candy Bar did a pop-up at Sephora and you’ll get the idea. The fruity flavor gives intense orange oils, sweet candy notes, warm caramel, and a fiery edge of peppery spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. This has everything I want in a grain whisky. (Batch 14; 108 bottles)
Sooty charcoal aromas with a sweet edge of mango and other tropical fruits mingle with coriander seed and cardamom. It tastes of ripe melon, pear, and mango, with pepper, aniseed, and a strong seam of smoky oak char. An extra burst of fruit in the finish, with sweet peat smoke. If you enjoyed the rum-finished expressions of Kilchoman or Bunnahabhain Moine, this one’s for you. (3,500 bottles; sold as a set with Miyagikyo Rum Wood Finish 2017) €395/set
Matured exclusively in sherry-seasoned first-fill European oak casks and bottled at cask strength. The nose yields figs, soft smoke, cinnamon, sugarcane, and rich fruitcake. The palate is succulent and confident, with creamy sweet sherry, dried fruits, coffee, and woodsmoke. Long and drying in the finish, with flecks of char. Highland Park doing what it does best. (28,000 bottles)
The Macallan 18 year old Sherry Oak (2017 Edition), 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $294
The latest annual limited release is classic and sure to please true aficionados of Macallan. Stewed fruit and old leather on the nose, along with ripe cherries, gingersnaps, and black pepper, before orange marmalade notes develop. Full-bodied, with fragrant sweet orange, milk chocolate-coated Turkish delight, and faint smoke. The finish yields dark chocolate, cherry liqueur, and more pepper. Long and spicy.
This expression is reputed to contain some whisky up to 40 years old and was matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. The nose offers overt sherry influences, with fruit malt loaf, maple syrup, honey, and old leather. Full and slightly oily on the rich palate, with toffee, raisins, Brazil nuts, and fresh cake mix. Dusty spices and oak in the relatively dry finish.
This has a seductive nose of mango, kiwi, dried tropical fruits, rich oak, silky caramels, and milk chocolate-covered cranberries. The dynamics of this cask-strength whisky play out handsomely, with an opening gambit of warm berry fruits, peaking with emphatic spices, and ending with a reflective phase of butter toffee, mocha, and Ovaltine. A dash of water encourages clove-studded orange flavors and preserves the long spicy finish.
Glen Garioch The Renaissance 3rd Chapter 17 year old, 50.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $135
The Renaissance began with a 15 year old expression and charts the same spirit as it continues to mature. Aged in bourbon and sherry casks, the 3rd Chapter exhibits a sweet and sophisticated nose of honey, milk chocolate, Brazil nuts, toffee, and ripe peaches. Supple on the palate, with luscious orange and peach notes, vanilla, oak, and subtle spice. Plain chocolate-coated orange confectionery in the finish, with caramel and ginger. Balanced and delicious! £100