There’s nothing quite as dram-tastic as scotch season, the time of year when Scotland’s whisky producers roll out their most delicious, and sometimes most innovative, bottles. We’ve compiled a short list of six scotches you’ll want to pour in your glass right now. Many of these are limited-edition offerings, so stock up while you can.
The producer of blended scotch has been releasing a series of limited-edition experiments under the Blenders’ Batch label. This is the first one out of the gate and is inspired by the time master blender Jim Beveridge spent working on America’s bourbon and rye. Inside the bottle is a blend of five whiskies, including grain from the now closed Port Dundas distillery and malt from Mortlach on Speyside, aged for at least 10 years in American oak, including former bourbon casks. So if you think this scotch tastes more than a little like bourbon, you’re not imagining it. Coming up next: a Blenders’ Batch aged in former wine casks.
This limited-edition single malt is made with a blend of whiskies selected by 12 bartenders from around the world; U.S. participants include Valerie Alvardo, Tommy Klus, Kristina Magro and Jonathan Shock. Sherry casks are part of the mix, so look for apricot and honey notes along with the standard caramel profile. It’s “developed by bartenders, for bartenders”—in other words, mixing cocktails with this affordably priced scotch is highly encouraged.
For those who love smoky scotch, this Islay single malt offers plenty of peat from the very first sip, underpinned by mild honey, vanilla and sherry sweetness. This particular bottling, a bit richer than the standard Laphroaig, was created by distillery manager John Campbell to honor the passing of knowledge, skill and tradition—aka lore—from generation to generation at the distillery.
Mmmm, Madeira. Dr. Bill Lumsden, who has long been ahead of the curve in using cask finishes at Glenmorangie, arranged for casks to be seasoned with malmsey wine, the sweetest and most prized of the Madeira fortified wines. Those casks were then baked in the heat of Madeira’s sun (bacalta is Gaelic for “baked”) before shipping back to Scotland to be filled with scotch. The end result is gorgeous raisin and gingerbread notes.
This light but complex blended scotch debuted in May and is so named because it’s made by matching one single-grain whisky with one single malt—in this case, an old single malt from the Glen Elgin distillery. The whisky offers fresh pear, creamy vanilla and a light ribbon of smoke throughout every sip, finishing with a dry cocoa note. Get one quick as it’s a limited-edition release, with fewer than 6,000 bottles available worldwide.
You’ve probably tried scotches finished in barrels that previously held sherry or port, but how about sweet, raisin-y Canadian ice wine? This limited-edition experimental bottling came as the result of a trip by Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman to Canada in January 2016, during which he visited Peller Estates, a renowned winery in Niagara. Inspired, Kinsman created this bottling. If it seems pricey, that’s because the base is a 21-year-old single malt. “Only the rarer whiskies, those aged for 21 years, could cope with the extra ice wine intensity,” says Kinsman.
Mixing your cocktail