Whiskey is known worldwide as a drink that matures with the palate. The longer it’s been around, the better it seems to taste, but that doesn’t mean you should stop searching the aisles of your favorite liquor store just because you’ve found your match. On the contrary, the industry continues to evolve, and even big name heavy weights have to continually reinvent their products to compete with newer brands out to steal a spot on the top shelf. It is with this in mind that we invite you to get acquainted with 10 of the best whiskeys to be brewed in recent years.
WHISTLEPIG THE BOSS HOG IIIRD EDITION
Price: $300.00 USD
Whistlepig is a fairly new distillery, but what they’ve managed to produce in The Boss Hog is nothing short of ambrosia in a glass. This limited edition whiskey is aged 14 years in New American Oak barrels before finishing off its maturity in spent Bourbon casks. It has a whopping 120 proof rating, but that doesn’t stop it from being a smooth sailing 100% rye that doesn’t need a drop of water to open up. On the nose, you’ll get strong vanilla and oak that meanders effortlessly into hints of honeydew and cinnamon, which balances well with the faint taste of peat and smoke that washes over the palate. The Boss Hog finishes in a warm glow that doesn’t burn but lingers long enough to make sure you get your money’s worth with every sip.
Image via Drink Hackers
Price: $50.00 USD
Angel’s Envy was released in 2010 and though reviews are mixed, it has risen to bourbon fame in the past few years. What pours as a nice golden brown color reminiscent of honey quickly entices the nose with a juxtaposition of dark cherry and licorice. The taste is astringent but has a rich mouth feel that lacks bitterness and bites hard. That’s because Angel’s Envy is aged for up to 6 years and is done so in 53-gallon. charred, new American oak barrels. It is finished in port wine barrels for about six additional months. All of this combines to produce an easy drinking whiskey with enough bite to make you feel tough while sipping it, and at $50 bucks a pop, it won’t break the bank in the process.
Image via Angels Envy
STAGG JR. BATCH 8
Price: $60.00 USD
Stagg Jr.’s Batch 8 has a strong ethanol taste upon opening, but don’t rush the bottle, let it sit for a month or so to really appreciate its 9-year blend. When you do finally give this one a pour, you’ll get strong vanilla and caramel leading the aromatic charge while dark chocolate on the palate is immediately followed by notes of peppercorn spice, leather, oak and just a hint of smoky char. The finish is a robust culmination of slow, lingering, and intense rawness that will surely put some hair on your chest, so add a bit of water if you’re not sure this type of whiskey is for you.
Image via Reddit
LAGAVULIN 12 (LIMITED EDITION)
Price: $100.00 USD
One might not expect bacon bits, sea weed and pine trees backed by strong spice and damp smoke to be an enticing aroma, but what Lagavulin did with its 2014 limited-edition release would prove you wrong. On the palate, you get ash and tar up front with a rolling sweetness of salted caramel and toffee that bursts through the center quite brightly before settling on a long finish of honey and spicy smoke. This 12-year-old also takes well to water, so don’t be afraid to give it a little drink before enjoying your own.
Image via Great Drams
LAPHROAIG CAIRDEAS 2015
Cairdeas pours inky yellow and plays on the nose with hints of oily nuts, damp wood, and fruity sweetness. The taste is a slow moving stroll that carries a nice peat, dark fruit, citrus and butterscotch with it to an earthy, smoky end. The finish lingers on a velvety smooth mouth feel as a byproduct of its 12 year, ex-bourbon cask, maturity. Unfortunately, Laphroaig discontinued this special 2015 release, but if you can find one, we’re certain it’ll make a worthwhile addition to your liquor cabinet.
Image via Whiskey Jug
HIGHLAND PARK 18
Price: $110.00 USD
Highland Park 18 is considered one of the best whiskeys in the industry. Its ripe floral notes with a bit of burnt toffee give way to a full on creamy palate. After a few seconds, you’ll notice a spicy tingle that dries your mouth before your taste buds beg for more. Highland Park 18 is a complex, smoky whiskey aged in a Sherry seasoned European oak cask that opens up to a soft and well-rounded finish with a drop of water and a few minutes to set.
Image via Gear Patrol
Price: $60.00 USD
Longrow Peated pours dark amber in color and produces creamy custard and toasted marshmallow aromas up front while pulling fruit, herb, and ash from deep within. The taste is medicinal and vegetal with a gentle smoky finish, but its mild peatiness is a great introduction for newcomers of the style. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels, which has no age statement to back it up, so your guess on Longrow’s maturing process is as good as ours.
Image via Youtube
Price: $40.00 USD
Benromach 10 has been a big hit since its introduction in 2009. On the nose, you’ll get dry fruit, nut chocolate, and rich spices while the flavor takes a less sweet approach. It is matured for 9 years in an ex-bourbon cask before migrating to spend a year in a sherry one, and its herbal, malty ground ginger back end closes out on a warming spiciness that dissipates to a smoky finish as elegant as the packaging itself.
Image via Today Online
BALVENIE 17 DOUBLEWOOD
Price: $110.00 USD
The Balvenie 17 is the older sibling to the classic after dinner Balvenie 12, but what it lacks in popularity it more than makes up for in style. It’s a double cask finished, single malt with an elegantly complex nose consisting of oak, vanilla, and green apple. The taste is a masterful blend of sherbet spice, sweet dried fruit, and cinnamon layered with rich and creamy notes of toffee and toasted almonds, making Balvenie 17’s finish a vanilla oak lingering that trails off to find a spicy sweetness take its place.
Image via Balvenie
Price: $120.00 USD
Yamazaki is the number 1 single malt whiskey sold in Japan, and with over 35 countries now carrying the 12-year-old aged whiskey, we don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. Grapefruit, clove and Mizunara, a Japanese oak, are subtle cues to the multilayered flavors it holds, but the spicy start fades to caramel, sweet apple, and coconut on the palate. A long finish of cinnamon and sweet ginger brings this succulently soft whiskey to a close, and with it, the need to stock-up on something unique is complete (for now).
Image via Yalo