Just as I did last year, the last week of December is spent on reviewing everything that’s happened during this solar orbit. Yesterday I listed my favorite records of 2012, and today it’s time for the top whiskies.
Again, like last year, I will note the most memorable stuff instead of browsing for the highest scoring dram, since that is too subjective. So here goes nothing:
- Glenfarclas 1953, 58yo
I was incredibly surprised (and still am) that I was privileged to taste this. A dram that belies its age and tastes rather fresh, but hugely complex and one you can go back to every day and find new flavours. Stunning, and stunning to be sent a sample.
- Johnnie Walker Black Label, bottled in 1958
By far the best blended whisky I tried this year. It has so much more depth than current versions. It will probably give many a single malt a run for its money.
- Glenturret 1977, Master of Malt
I got this for my birthday after trying a sample. Absolutely lovely stuff with huge depth and complexity. And one of the fine examples of the very best value for money bottlings from Master of Malt.
Karuizawa 1982 First Fill Bourbon cask, bottled by No. 1 Drinks for TWE
Maybe the first bourbon cask I tasted from Karuizawa and a stunning one it is. It does show my shift towards bourbon casks, but this should score 5 stars in anyone’s book.
- Longmorn 1968, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve
I tasted the entire series of five releases early this year and this is the one I prefer the most. Probably because it’s very Clynelish-y, but old Longmorn is very very good if they bottled it before it got too woody. This one wasn’t, and had all great qualities of Longmorn with fruity and woody sherry, but with an extra touch of beeswax and leather rain coats.
- BenRiach 1976, Bottled for the Usquebaugh Society
One of the most recent additions to my collection and I was smart enough to also buy a sample so I could taste it before I popped the cork of the big bottle. Stunning whisky and one of the best BenRiachs I’ve every tried. Fruity, with lots of spices and not tasting too old. They don’t make them like this anymore.
- Balvenie Tun 1858
A special release for the Taiwanese market that we had the incredible privilege of tasting at Maltstock. I don’t exactly recall how it tastes, but I do remember it’s damn good. Unfortunately, you can only get it far away, and even then it’s friggin’ expensive.
I probably have forgotten many many drams that I’ve tried over the last 12 months, but so be it. Maybe if I took the time to review my entire notebook or Excel file I might find some others.
I know other memorable drams: Strathisla 48, a lot of Balvenies at a Sam Simmons masterclass, a to be released Springbank by Master of Malt, Benrinnes 14 by the same Master of Malt, other old Longmorns, a lot of drams in Limburg and so on and so forth.