The Best Whiskies of 2015

So, I had written a lengthy post about selecting the best whiskies of 2015, and how that process works for me. There was a table with my favorite two whiskies per month, and how I narrowed that list down to something completely different containing one recent and affordable bottle, one recent and ridiculously expensive bottle and one older bottle that could contain anything bottled some years ago (up to four decades ago, in this case).

Anyway, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t like it.

So, I decided to do things differently. I’m just going to narrow that previous list down a lot, until I have a handful of bottles that I liked most during the year. Whatever the category. And of course, something being available helps, since that is also part of my memory of the whisky. Buying it, deciding not to and regretting it, just missing out, that kind of stuff.

I did limit my list to things that have actually been reviewed over the past year. Whiskies that have been queued up at home, or reviews that have not bee published yet are not here.

Benromach 10, 100 Proof, 57%
Bowmore ‘The Rock Pool’, 1995, 19yo, Wemyss Malts, 57.2%
Glenlochy 1980-2007, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, 54.8%
Ledaig Dusgadh, 1972, 42yo, 46.7%
Ordha, 21yo, William Grant & Sons Rare Cask Reserves for NL, 47.4%
Glen Grant 1950-2015, 65yo, Gordon & MacPhail for Wealth Solutions, 59.3%


So we got stuff in each category here. All bottles except for the Glenlochy are recent and have been released this year. The price per bottle varies from some € 60 for the Benromach, to (an estimtated) € 10,000 for the Glen Grant.

I loved the Benromach for how bold, old fashioned and completely unlike any other current whisky it is. Also, they kept things affordable and I love G&M for it.

The Bowmore was a lot more expensive (at some € 150 at the time of release) and it sold out immediately. I should have bought that one and still regret not doing that.

The Glenlochy was a sample I got from MZ and it made clear how things have changed over the last couple of decades. It’s made in a style that is nowhere to be found nowadays, except in these old bottlings. I want to get my hands on some for the coming year before they’re all gone (‘some’ meaning Glenlochy, Convalmore, Coleburn, stuff like that).

Then there’s the weirdly expensive Ledaig. Unlike any other Ledaig I’ve had over the last decade or so, this one is much bolder and integrates the sometimes funky smoky whisky of the Mull based distillery wonderfully with bold oak notes. I did only have a small sample but I made every drop of it count. Once again, thanks to Ronald Zwartepoorte for sharing!

Ordha was released in December for the Dutch market. The premier of the whisky was at Maltstock on different occassions (once in a general William Grant & Sons masterclass, and once in a dedicated pajama party so people could focus on this blended whisky. It’s really, really good and another one I got a bottle of right away.

Then the Glen Grant. A sixty five year old whisky at almost 60% ABV. Ridiculous, but also ridiculously good. There is so much to discover there and I think I’ve barely scratched the surface when reviewing it. I got a sample from Wealth Solutions and since there’s no bottles on the open market, the price is not disclosed. But, if previous releases are anything to go buy, ten grand seems a fair guess. So, so good…

If I had to pick one favorite whisky of the year, I think it should be one that has been released this year. If going for those restrictions, I would have to go for the Bowmore from Wemyss Malts, called ‘The Rock Pool’.

That whisky does everything you want a Bowmore to do. It’s light, but there’s a lot of maritime flavors going on. It’s kind of dirty like old Bowmore from yonder year, while being modern and well made too. Again, I should have bought a bottle or two.

So, my whisky of the year:


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in - Blended Whisky, Benromach, Bowmore, Glen Grant, Glenlochy, Ledaig and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Best Whiskies of 2015

  1. Jeannette says:

    Wemyss (Brandy Casket) was also on our list of top 2 drams for this year. They release some interesting bottles every now and again. Will have to keep our eye on the auctions, perhaps this Rock Pool comes up. It sounds amazing!


  2. It is a very fine whisky indeed. Easily the best Bowmore I’ve had. Makes you wonder why on earth the distillery itself can’t release whiskies as good as the indies.

    • Hey Mark!

      I think Bowmore is getting some of it back. The Laimrig and Tempest releases are pretty awesome if you ask me.

      But yeah, if they produced the Rock Pool’s profile by default, they’d instantly become my favorite distillery!

  3. Gal Granov says:

    a very good dram indeed. I’d say My w of the year is the BR 100 proof. amazing stuff for that price, and to think it’s only 10 yo. that ordha sounds lovely and i am waiting for my bottle 😉

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