Top 10 Single Malt Scotch you must try in 2021
The Scottish Highlands have over 120 distilleries making some of the finest single malts in the world. So, attempting to isolate only ten single malt Scotch whiskies was quite daunting for us. Still, we took a trip down the rabbit hole and have come up with our top ten list for 2021. There are some evergreen names you would recognize and some novel inclusions that diversify this year’s selection.
The Glenlivet 15-Year-Old
From the first licensed distillery in Speyside comes The Glenlivet 15-Year-Old expression. There’s a reason why the brand holds the titular holder among other Glen brands you will see on this list. The Glenlivet 15 YO gets its rich and exotic character through a process of selective maturation in French Oak casks. If you are looking for an ultra-premium whisky experience this year, it doesn’t get smoother than The Glenlivet.
The only triple-distilled single malt in Scotland, Auchentoshan 12-Year-Old has a delicate taste, often associated with apples, and tempting aroma of toasted almonds and caramelized toffee. The new spirit is a traditional lowland single malt, triple-distilled for a light and elegant style. It’s available in official as well as independent bottlings.
GlenDronach 18-Year-Old Allardice
Named after the distillery’s founder, James Allardice, this Highland Scotch has been matured in Oloroso Sherry Casks. The dram was first offered in 2009 and was lauded for its exceptionally fruity sherried single malt taste. However, GlenDronach 18-year-old Allardice has been flying off the shelves pretty quickly, so you will need some luck finding one.
Glenfiddich has made a name for themselves in the high-quality liquor segment as the first distillery to mass-market single malt Scotch. The Glenfiddich 15-Year-Old comes as a higher-strength expression (ABV 51%), ranking among brilliantly well-made spirits in recent years. The spirit is aged in European oak sherry casks and new oak casks and offers warm and spicy flavors transformed in Solera Vats.
Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban 12-Year-Old
Matured in some of the best American White Oak casks at their Highland distillery, the Glenmorangie 15-Year-Old expression, dubbed Quinta Ruban, carries rich, fruity notes and a light, fragrant quality. The single malt liquid was matured for ten years in American White Oak casks before being transferred into ruby Port pipes from the Quintas (wine estates) of Portugal.
Coming from a small and traditional distillery in the Highlands, the Glenturret 2002 was bottled in 2015 by the legendary Gordon & MacPhail. They still hand mash their malted barley and only have a small batch output. Since the Glenturret 10-Year-Old remains hard to find, perhaps you should try this new expression offering a creamy milk chocolate palate that is slightly bitter and tastes of toasted woody oak, rosemary, dried fruits, juniper berries, and caramel.
Macallan 12-Year-Old Sherry Oak
Macallan 12-Year-Old Sherry Oak expression is deliciously smooth and balanced with woodsmoke and spice, with rich dried fruits and sherry. It’s not without reason the late pop icon and whisky lover Michael Jackson used to call Macallan the Rolls Royce of whisky makers. But unlike the luxury car brand, the 12-Year-Old Macallan is not hard to find.
One of the three powerhouses of Kildalton malts on the Isle of Islay, the Lagavulin is not for the faint-hearted. The Lagavulin 16-year-old is deep, dry, and exceptionally peaty. It is perhaps the most pungent Scottish malt but still inspires fanatical devotion among many whisky lovers. If you too love this peaty bruiser, then look out for their 12-Year-Old cask strength releases as well.
Springbank 10-Year-Old, matured in bourbon and sherry casks, is a fabulous expression. The maturation process adds a wonderful depth of flavor and the slightly peated dram marries a complex mixture of maritime notes while maintaining a fresh and fruity balance. Springbank produces small-batch, high-quality products through traditional operation, and any of their official expressions are worthy of sampling.
A reasonably smoky dram with coastal spicy, peaty character, the Talisker 10-Year-Old keeps gaining popularity among whisky lovers. Neat, the dram tastes sweet and has a heavy mouthfeel, full of smoke and iodine. Add a few drops of water, and the flavor becomes almost milky and sweeter, with the pepper and peat becoming more rounded.
So, that concludes our list of best Scotch whiskies to try in 2021. Some of these expressions may not be available in India, but then we have given you an excuse for a holiday in the Highlands.
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