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If you have no idea what the best whisky is, you may find yourself trying every type to determine the flavour that tickles your palate in just the right way. You don’t have to go down that route, however.
Simply peruse the Top Five Whiskies You Can Drink from our list below, in no particular order, and pick one the choice that sounds like a perfect fit.
GlenDronach 15-Year-Old Revival was briefly discontinued in 2015 because of a supply shortage. It came back in 2018 with an improved recipe and has catapulted back into popularity.
The previous GlenDronach was 100 per cent Oloroso sherry casks. The new version utilizes Pedro Ximenez sherry casks to enhance the sweetness and richness so evident in its satisfying flavour. The result is one of the finest 15-year-old single malts on the market.
The whisky is incredibly appealing, aromatic, and complex.
Here’s a closer look at GlenDronach 15-Year-Old Revival’s tasting notes:
· Eye: Rusty red
· Nose: Cola spice, brown sugar, dark fruit, hazelnut, cocoa, vanilla frosting, sherry sweetness, and a trace of malt and citrus.
· Palate: Sweet sherry essence–dark fruit, malt, holiday cake spice, cocoa, graham, nuts, dark fruit oil, and a bit of citrus and vanilla.
· Finish: Long–dark fruit, oil, spice, and char.
· Balance, body, and feel: Great balance, medium-full body, light syrupy feel.
Overall, the GlenDronach 15-Year-Old Revival is a delightful whiskey.
It is quite different from the discontinued version, with a solid aroma. After being open a while, it transforms into a darker sweet-accented whisky with the sherry and dark fruit dominating. It is an elegant choice for those who enjoy a meticulously sherried dram.
Glenmorangie is well-known for pioneering the art of extra-maturation. Its popular single malt, Quinta Ruban, was initially sold with a 12-year age statement.
It has since extended the single malt’s maturation time by two years, and the result is phenomenal. It is a 14-year-old, full-bodied, silky-smooth whisky with rich flavours of Seville orange and dark chocolate.
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14-Year-Old is first matured for ten years in American white oak casks, which imparts smooth, fruity notes. Afterwards, it is moved into carefully chosen ruby port pipes from the finest wine estates of Portugal. Consequently, Quinta Ruban develops new depth, velvety texture, and bold chocolate flavours on its final maturation period.
Here’s a look at Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14-Year-Old’s tasting notes:
· Eyes: Warm bronze
· Nose: Dark mint chocolate, Seville oranges, and tangerines mingle with walnut and sandalwood before giving way to a zesty finish of pepper and nutmeg.
· Palate: Walnuts and mint chocolate cover the palate like velvet, paving the way for rose, Seville oranges, and Turkish delight.
· Finish: An enduring silky aftertaste leaves traces of orange and dark chocolate mints.
Overall, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14-Year-Old is a delightful whisky, thanks to its orange zest, red apple, dark chocolate, and almond flavour notes. It is non-chill filtered to accentuate its complex aromas and rich flavours.
The Sweet Toast of American Oak derives its name from the double-toasted, virgin oak casks that were used to finish its maturation. The casks come from Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Sweet Toast of American Oak is the youngest of the three Balvenie Stories single malts that were introduced to the market in May 2019. The whisky spent 12 years maturing in reused American barrels. Afterwards, it was transferred into the double-toasted virgin American oak, where it remained for a couple of months before the careful bottling process.
You could be wondering about the significance of toasting the barrels twice. According to Apprentice Master Kelsey McKechnie and Malt Master David Steward, the second toasting which takes place at the Balvenie cooperage helps to enhance the most stimulating and true-to-Balvenie flavours possible.
The result is a delectably complex 12-year-old whisky with notes of candied fruits, delicate vanilla, and coconut. Here’s a more detailed look at the tasting notes for Balvenie 12-Year-Old The Sweet Toast Of American Oak:
· Nose: Soft and creamy, rich in coconut, walnuts, and vanilla. Understated Heather honey. Develops some greenish pineapple after a couple of minutes before adopting a more tropical fruit sweetness.
· Palate: Walnuts, Heather honey, oak spice, white pepper, nuttiness, and crisped wood with toffee caramel.
· Finish: Average length, nuttiness, honey sweetness, white pepper and tingling spice, and drying.
Overall, Balvenie 12-Year-Old The Sweet Toast Of American Oak is an easy sipper for any occasion. It may evoke the DoubleWood feel, but there’s a weight to every sip that is somewhat unique and unexpected of a 12-year old Balvenie.
Today’s scotch enthusiasts expect a somewhat richer flavour in their whisky without compromising complexity. The Sweet Toast of American Oak delivers just that quality, and that’s why it successfully captures a place on our Top Five Best Whiskies for 2020.
Speyburn Distillery is in the region of Scotland of the same title. It was established in 1897 by John Hopkins & Company. It is the only distillery that uses the pure, fresh water from the Granty Burn stream, one of River Spey’s major tributaries.
The stunning natural environment surrounding Speyburn Distillery has led to an authentic and award-winning Core Collection that boasts everything a whisky enthusiast could want in a product. The collection includes 10-year-old liquor, 15-year-old liquor, and Bradan Orach No Age Statement whiskies.
Our focus for 2019 is on the 15-Year-Old Speyburn Whisky. This specific whisky spent 15 years maturing in a combination of Spanish oak and American oak barrels. The unique combination means it incorporated all the natural rudiments of Speyside and received the full benefit of the distillery’s patient professionalism.
The non-chill filtered whiskey is rich and full-bodied. Here’s a look at its tasting notes:
· Appearance/Colour: Amber
· Nose/Aroma: Subtle hints of dark chocolate with notes of vanilla, spices, citrus, and raisins.
· Palate/Taste: Citrus-forward palate with notes of vanilla, toffee, and leather, rounded off with delightful spiciness.
· Finish: Lengthy, warm, zesty finish with a creamy exit.
Overall, 15-Year-Old Speyburn Whisky is a great choice for anyone looking for a creamy and vibrant whisky with satisfying flavours drawn out like its patient maturation.
Glengoyne dates to 1833. It was founded by the Edmonstone family, originally known as Burnfoot. It adopted the name Glengoyne in 1905.
The distillery sits in an exclusive location straddling the A81 road, which divides the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands. Glengoyne produces its whiskey in the distillery on the Highland side and matures it in the warehouses on the Lowland side.
The Legacy Series is Glengoyne’s latest whisky release. It is the only one of the brand’s limited-edition whiskies that are sold worldwide. The Legacy Series comprises three chapters and is designed to highlight the captivating stories of Glengoyne Distillery; including its location, history, and the people who continue to shape its fascinating legacy.
Here, we focus on Chapter One.
Glengoyne Legacy Series: Chapter One is to celebrate Cochrane Cartwright, who served as the distillery manager from 1869. Cartwright is credited with slowing down Glengoyne’s distillation process to a third of the industry standard. He is also recognized for introducing sherry cask maturation to the distillery.
Chapter One is a no-age-statement whisky. It has been matured in first-fill European oak oloroso sherry casks. These casks are combined with a portion of refill casks that enable the Glengoyne house style to stand out.
The result is a rich and delightful expression, with notes of dried fruit and the sherry itself resulting in a well-balanced finish. Glengoyne Legacy Series: Chapter One is bottled and un-chill filtered at 48 per cent ABV.
Here’s a look at the whisky’s tasting notes:
· Aroma: Thick and luxurious sticky chocolate pudding, packed to the brim with dried fruit and Christmas spices, and dipped in vanilla custard.
· Palate: A copious flavour, where bulging sherry notes take over mild oak with more of the dried fruits and delightful vanilla pod, with a trace of simmered pear and cinnamon spice.
· Finish: A drawn-out finish, dried fruits, and sherried notes abound.
Overall, The Chapter One Legacy Series is a charming whisky and one that takes Glengoyne in a somewhat different direction compared to the earlier releases from the distillery. It does away with the hefty ex-sherry cask notes and replaces them with more understated flavours and aromas. The result is a surprisingly fresher whisky that is not too complicated.
Choosing an appealing whisky can be an uphill task, especially if you are more of a casual whisky drinker than a passionate whisky enthusiast. There are always dozens of whisky brands on offer, whether you go shopping at a local liquor store or online. If you like trying different whiskies, consider taking out a monthly whisky subscription.
Each whisky normally uses a different set of raw materials, fermentation techniques, distillation process, and maturation method to achieve a distinctive flavour. If you have no idea where to start looking for the best whisky to drink in 2020, check out the Top Five whiskies reviewed above and choose the one that ignites your imagination.