This week's top 5 Scotch whiskies

This week's top 5 Scotch whiskies
Courtesy of The Macallan

Take a sip of a fine single malt or blended whiskey.

The Scotch whiskey industry, which has been a heavyweight champion for years in the spirits industry, has been experiencing some pretty heavy body blows recently, despite being one of the world's strongest spirits brands. As part of a still simmering trade kerfuffle, the previous administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on Scotch whiskey, and other European Union spirits exported to the United States, on October 19, 2019.

This financial hit has been absorbed by some of Scotland's distilleries, while others have increased their prices. There is no doubt that the tariffs have crushed sales of whiskey, and the Scotch Whiskey Association estimates that the loss of revenue to the whisky industry in 2020 alone is estimated at over $850 million as a result of the tariffs being suspended for five years while they are being renegotiated.

Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic did a one-two punch in 2020, shutting down many restaurants and bars, so that Scotch consumption was halted, in addition to grounding U.S. citizens who were planning to visit Scottish distilleries with their popular tours and lucrative gift shops.

Covid-19 precautions mandated by the Scottish government, which include distancing distillery workers from each other and wearing protective gear, have resulted in a further pandemic-induced blow, resulting in reduced whiskey production, as well as a reduction in whiskey distribution due to the tragic death of numerous distillery workers. Approximately 37 percent of Scotch whiskey imports were down last year, which is why some of your favorite brands may no longer be available.

Yet despite all this, distilleries have kept the whiskey flowing despite all this plummeting. As part of their counterpunch, they have tapped into a reserve of aged single malts in order to release new bottlings, such as Benriach's 21 Year Old, as well as combining American oak barrels with traditional sherry barrels to create Macallan's Double Cask vatting.

You will also learn about Talisker's Distiller's Edition finished in sherry barrels, as well as other noteworthy finishing techniques. I think we can agree that Scotch whiskey has held on to its title as the best whiskey in the world, but if you want further proof that this is the case, here are nine of its best new releases.


Benriach The Twenty One

Courtesy of Benriach

There has been a complete revamp of the Speyside distillery's core expressions and some ultra-premium whisky products were added to its portfolio by master blender Rachel Barrie after it's been in business for more than 120 years. Their 21 Year Old, a vatting of bourbon, sherry, virgin oak and red wine casks, is one of the most distinctive of their whiskies.

In the nose there is an immediate presence of peaty smoke, followed by dried fruit and leather, with hints of cedar appearing in the finish. This is a dram that is best enjoyed with an evening cigar such as the J.C. Newman Maximus Robusto 2021 Best of Best section.

The GlenDronach Cask Bottling Batch 18 1994 CASK 5287

Courtesy of The GlenDronach

In this Cask Bottling Batch 18 collection of single malt whiskeys, the distillery is releasing four different types of single malt whiskeys in exclusive distribution to the United States. One of the most distinctive aspects of this whisky is its unique Highland toffee and chocolate truffle richness that lingers in the mouth long after you finish drinking the last drop in the glass. Cask No. 5287, which was distilled in 1994, may be the best. There were only 638 bottles produced.

Johnnie Walker Year of the Ox

Courtesy of Johnnie Walker

With a rich history of Chinese New Year releases, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is set to deliver a special Chinese New Year edition in honor of the Year of the Ox, which is a symbol of endurance and feminine energy in the Chinese zodiac. These qualities are remarkable for the year 2021, the Year of the Ox.

As a result of the high level of rare casks inside the massive Johnnie Walker warehouses, which include some of the most irreplaceable casks from long-closing distilleries that are remembered as "ghost distilleries," Johnnie Walker Blue Label is typically sipped neat or served in a snifter. 

Nevertheless, since more and more people are drinking at home, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whiskey Ambassador Alistair Reynolds advises people to make an upscale version of an Asian Highball by adding 50 milliliters of Johnnie Walker Year Of The Ox whiskey to 100 milliliters of green or oolong tea, and pouring it into a glass full of ice.

The Glenrothes 18 Year Old

Courtesy of The Glenrothes

There are almost 90 percent of all casks maturing at The Glenrothes distillery that have been seasoned with sherry prior to maturing at this Speyside distillery. The Glenrothes Soleo Collection is a range of aged single malt whiskies created by Glenrothes, based on a tradition of sun-drying used to make the finest sherries in Andalusia, especially those made from grapes grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera.

This is the latest release from The Glenrothes Soleo Collection, a collection of aged single malts released at Glenrothes. It is a single malt whiskey that has been crafted from the finest malted barley, with a rich fruit flavor, predominantly apricots and pears, complemented by spicy citrus notes, maple syrup, and a long, velvety finish. Perfect for reading a book by an open fireplace as autumn approaches.

The Macallan 18 Year Old Double Cask 2020

Courtesy of The Macallan

The distillery has restarted its weekend tours, but advance reservations are still required if you wish to visit, as it is one of the distilleries that are currently operating at a reduced capacity. There is no denying that this Speyside award-winning whisky has released one of its most significant expansions of its highly successful Double Cask Range to date despite this fact. This 18 year old whisky from The Macallan combines the traditional flavor of dried fruits, ginger and toffee with the rich flavors of raisins, caramel, vanilla and wood spices in a harmonious combination, with the traditional characteristics of American oak and European oak sherry-seasoned casks.

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