There are now more whiskies on the market than at any other time in recent history. 2022 has been a bumper year to date with new releases coming from all directions – Scotland, Ireland, America and further afield. The standard has been high, and it makes the mouth water in anticipation for what else the year has to offer.
Here we look at 10 of the best to be released so far.
Whisky fans are always on the lookout for a new Ardbeg. Ardcore is inspired by punk music and is this year’s bottling for Feis Ile, the annual music and whisky festival held on the distillery’s Hebridean home of Islay each May.
Ardcore is made using rare black malt and this gives an extra robustness to Ardbeg’s heavily peated style. Big, bold and smoky with expressive notes of bitter chocolate, coal tar soap, seaweed and syrup sponge pudding – it’s peppery, hot, feisty and wonderfully warming.
Not for the faint hearted.
The Bladnoch distillery, located in a remote spot of Dumfries & Galloway in southern Scotland, is something of an undiscovered gem. It has a chequered history beset with financial problems and closure, but that all changed seven years ago with new ownership.
Since then, a new range has been created and Alinta is the latest addition. It is the first known smoky whisky from the distillery and shows a lovely freshness and vibrancy. Notes of vanilla, white chocolate and green apple are knitted together with expressive ashy smoke. Delicious.
Cotswolds Rum Cask Matured
The English distillery, nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, has gained much acclaim for its whiskies since starting up in 2014. This limited edition sits in its Hearts & Crafts range, which is inspired by the works of famous designer and craftsman William Morris who lived in the Cotswolds.
This Rum Cask Matured is exquisite and shows the distillery’s spirit off at its best. Maturation in French oak ex-red wine casks seasoned with Caribbean rum has given the whisky a bright and juicy quality with notes of tropical fruit, honey and pear.
Dalmore 21 Years Old
The north Highland distillery of Dalmore has long played at the super-premium table. It was also one of the early advocates of sherry cask maturation for Scotch single malt. This stunning new release combines the two, sitting at the top of The Principal Collection.
Maturation includes time spent in barrels that previously held 30-year-old Matusalem sherry from the prestigious Gonzalez Byass bodega in Jerez, Spain. Rich and fruity with notes of dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and caramel alongside warm earthy spices and blood orange.
Glenallachie 8 Years Old
Glenallachie has really started to build a name for itself under new ownership. Previously everything was blended away into famous names such as Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal. But releases like this make you realise just how good the spirit is when it stands alone.
This new 8 Year Old joins the core range and is created using an intriguing mix of virgin oak casks, ex-red wine barriques, plus ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons. Expect notes of toffee apples, juicy plump raisins and sultanas, cinnamon, molasses and vanilla ice cream.
Gold Spot 9 Years Old
Named after the coloured spots painted on the side of barrels back in the day, the Spot range of single pot still whiskeys are an Irish triumph. Each coloured spot related to a different age of maturing whiskey.
This limited-edition Gold Spot joins the family that includes Green, Blue, Yellow and Red Spot expressions. It features ex-bourbon, sherry, red wine and Port casks. These combine to give Gold Spot a highly aromatic and flavoursome profile of tropical fruit, caramel, vanilla and orange zest.
Sumptuous and decadent.
The Swedish distillery of Mackmyra has been a pioneer of the European whisky scene for over 20 years and its innovative approach shows no sign of slowing down. The ‘controlled experimentation’ it specialises in has thrown up some quirky and intriguing expressions in the past; Mackmyra Limousin is the latest with part-maturation in ex-Cognac barrels made from the famed French Limousin oak.
This whisky is sweet, fruity and bright with candied orange peel, baked apples, dried fruits and vanilla shortbread coming to the fore. A real crowd pleaser.
Midleton Very Rare 2022 Edition
The Very Rare series has long been regarded as the pinnacle of Irish whiskey. When the first of this annual release was launched in 1984, Irish Distillers cannot have imagined how popular it would become. The 2022 Edition is the 39th iteration and features whiskeys aged between 12 and 33 years of age.
It is soft, gentle, creamy in texture and sublime. Notes of vanilla custard, green apple, coconut, milk chocolate and a hint of tropical fruit add depth and complexity. A fine addition to the legendary series.
Tamnavulin White Wine Cask Edition
Tamnavulin is one of the fastest-growing Scotch single malt brands out there. The Speyside distillery has a soft and gentle style, which appeals to new whisky drinkers. An unorthodox cask finishing programme is helping to fuel Tamnavulin’s growth and this latest addition to the core range is a prime example.
A period spent in ex-Sauvignon Blanc white wine barrels has given the whisky a lovely juicy freshness and vibrancy. Green apple, cantelope melon and elderflower notes mingle with white chocolate and vanilla.
Superb and at a great price.
Whistlepig ‘Piggyback’ 6 Years Old
The Vermont-based brand of Whistlepig is on a mission to bring excellent rye whisky back to the market. Each of its bottlings carry an age statement – 10, 12 and 15 years old – which is unusual in American whisky.
This new bottling is just 6 years old and designed to be a lower budget option without losing quality. It has been created in collaboration with bartenders and is for use in everyday whisky cocktails or mixing scenarios. Expect tonnes of vanilla with coconut, cocktail cherry and golden syrup backed with a peppery and oaky spice.
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