We are only three months into 2019 but it has already been pretty stellar year for whiskey lovers. A batch of excellent bottles, from stunning single malt Scotches to otherworldly bourbons and ryes — have already hit shelves across the country. They’re (high) proof that there are always exciting new permutations of old favorites to sip. Without further ado, here are our favorite whiskies of the year to date. Look for them soon — chances are, they won’t last on shelves long.
Bruichladdich Octomore 09.3
For the love of peat, this smokey treat was made using barley from one field on one Islay farm. Aging in a combination of ex-bourbon and French wine barrels gives it a luscious, buttery and savory notes as well as a hints of tree fruits, tea, heather, and a whiff of sea salt. It’s a special occasion bottle for sure,
Booker’s “Teresa’s Batch”
We’ve never met a Booker’s we didn’t like, but Teresa’s Batch is one we just love. Named for a distillery worker who has had hand in cranking out Beam whiskey for more than 30 years, it’s a rich mouthful. Vanilla and wood lead your mouth to a a touch of brown sugar and a nice dose of spice. It is bottled a hair above 125 proof, so we’d recommend adding a touch of water.
For the 10th installment of their Private Edition series, Glenmorangie distilled their spirit from a local barley and a wild yeast that grows naturally on the grains. Allta is a delectably fruity whisky with a zing vividly imparted from the natural yeast. Through the lingering taste of baking bread, flavors of apples, citrus, chocolate, and heather give the whisky wonderful depth.
Every year, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music concludes with Ardbeg Day, when the distillery celebrates with a specially curated release. This year’s whiskey is called Drum, and pays tribute to carnival with a rum finish applied to Ardbeg’s typical bourbon cask aged whisky. Smoke grabs your palate’s attention and follows it up with a rum sweetness and notes of tropical fruits and vanilla. It’s a delicious whisky for any celebration.
Old Forester Rye
This new rye from Old Forester is, at $26, an remarkable value, whether you’re sipping or mixing drinks. It’s a wonderfully flavorful whiskey with peppery spice for days, notes of vanilla, buttered rye toast, and a hint of molasses.
High West Bourye
Another annual we eagerly anticipate, 2019’s limited release of the High West’s Borrye is phenomenal. A blend of bourbon and rye whiskies, all over 10 years old, mouthwatering notes of cherries, spice, nuts and pepper come together for a well-rounded and elegantly balanced sipper.