10 whiskies I'll remember from 2019
What a wonderful year of whisky it has been and it's such a tough choice to only choose ten of the whiskies I will remember from 2019. These are a good mix of different drams I was lucky enough to get to try during the year, in no particular order. I'd happily try all of these drams again and from looking back I just can't wait to see what 2020 will bring!
At the annual Meet the Blenders event at my previous work, we got the meet the interesting Randy Hudson who currently works at Triple Eight Distillery and is in charge of this stunning whisky. Notch (the 'not scotch'... - clever isn't it?) is a batch distilled whisky from the island of Nantucket where a copper still and malted barley is used to produce the golden liquid. This 10yo is peated and has such a rich flavour of honey, smoke and creamy fruits, but unfortunately quite difficult to get a hold of - at leats if you live in Europe it seems, so I was so happy when we managed to get one in a charity raffle!
Photo: Cisco Brewers
When Angela D'Orazio, master blender of Mackmyra Distillery in Sweden, visited Edinburgh to judge in the whisky awards she also hosted a tasting at Royal Mile Whiskies. She hosts such interesting tastings where you try some delicious drams and learn all you ever want to know about the distillery and its whisky. This is where I tried the Brukswhisky for the first time - the most ester-y and pear-y whisky I'd ever had and also my now favourite Mackmyra of all time - the Fjällmark. The whisky has been finished in Swedish cloudberry wine casks and has an unusual berry sweetness from the cloudberry influence and a fruity yeasty flavour which I believe comes from the use of baking yeast instead of brewers or distillers yeast during fermentation. This is truly an amazing dram if you ask me.
This is a 27yo Cambus that has been matured in a sauternes barrique. The problem with SMWs is that when you find a bottle you absolutely love, it is so limited that you either have to buy it straight away to make sure you have at least one bottle at home, or you miss out and only the memory lives on in your mind. Next time I have to make sure not to miss out on a bottle when I find such a treat. It has that perfect grain whisky flavour which is sweet and quirky and the sauternes sweetness balances it very well and makes for a very elegant dram. This and precious French chocolate pralines would've been amazing.
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Photo: Whisky Auctioneers
Black Bull 10yo
In a raffle last spring I managed to get this Black Bull 10y which has been finished in ex-rum casks. I had barely tried the brand before and wasn't expecting much but wow was I surprised by the massive flavour in this blended scotch whisky. Such a sweet treat and perfect for pairing with various desserts.
Photo: Moa Katarina Nilsson
High Coast small batch 1st fill PX sample
Thank to @gronstedtsnational I got to try a lovely sample from High Coast Distillery. This small batch 1st fill PX whisky was deep, earthy and juicy. I just can't wait to try more from this distillery!
Photo: High Coast Distillery
In 2019 we both attended a distillery night tasting at SMWS and we managed to also visit the distillery during our Speyside trip - and at both tastings the Aberlour 16 turned out to be the favourite. It has such delicate fruity flavours that remind me of honey melon, peaches and ripe cherries. We currently have a bottle sitting at home waiting for the perfect moment to be opened.
Photo: Whisky Exchange
The Glenallachie 10yo (Batch 2)
This juicy and fruity cask strength whisky was my trusted miniature bottle companion to our Speyside trip in July after discovering this fantastic taste a few weeks previously at a tasting at my former work. The new batch is unfortunately a bit more dry and less juicy in my opinion so this batch will definitely be missed - so many interesting whiskies coming from The Glenallachie though so I'm so curious to see what will come in the future. Tried the 15yo the other day and that's a lovely rich dram as well...
Photo: The Glenallachie
I was lucky enough to try this delicious whisky at The Scotch Whisky Experience Distillers Fair just a few days ago when the lovely guys from Dewars brought this bottle out from underneath the table. So rich and creamy with a sweet spice and an absolute delightful mouthfeel. Truly an exceptional dram!
Photo: Moa Katarina Nilsson
This years Ardbeg didn't woo me the first time I had it, and I'm not sure why. But the second time I tried it I absolutely loved the rum sweetness with the burned smoke and I have since had it several times and liked it every time. Just goes to show that you should always give whisky a few tried before you decide it you like it or not - circumstances can affect your palate more than you think.
Photo: Whisky Exchange
2019 has truly been the year where I've fell in love with bourbon matured whiskies and moved away from finishes and sherry maturation. All year I've been looking for sweet, interesting and pure tastes in whisky which I feel the bourbon casks usually bring out really well. This stunning Nadurra 1st fill from The Glenlivet has been one of my all time favourites ever since I got the recommendation to try it at the 2019 Whisky Lounge whilst talking to the lovely Chivas brand ambassador Kirsty.
Photo: The Glenlivet
Some honourable mentions (because I can't resist): Kilchoman Sauternes, Laphroaig Lore, Smögen 10yo, Kavalan Vinho, The Mash Tun Strathearn private sherry cask, Holyrood Whisky Merchant Sweet AHC cask, Tullibardine The Murray (bourbon cask strength), Glencadam 19yo, Highland Park Twisted Tattoo, SMWS 128.7, Douglas Laing XOP Caledonian 42yo, Bladnoch 10yo, Glenn Mor unpeated Ardbeg, Suntory World Whisky Ao
Sainte Mhath to 2020!
What are your favourite drams from 2019?