Distiller’s Scotch Whisky Gift Guide 2019By Stephanie Moreno
As promised, we are continuing our whiskey gift guides for the year. Our Scotch whisky gift guide features whiskies released this year which were selected both for their quality as well as their value for money. Furthermore, most of these whiskies are available in wide release here in the States. Hence you won’t find any distillery exclusive single barrel whiskies here. Also, we’ve selected a good mix of peated and non peated whiskies so there’s something for everyone’s tastes. Whether you are buying something for a loved one or just adding something to your home bar for the holidays, we’ve got you covered. Any of these Scotch whiskies will look lovely wrapped and topped with a shiny bow.
Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year is a blended scotch crafted by master blender Stephanie Macleod which is aged in a “four stage aging process”. The first step involves single malts and single grains which have been aged separately for at least 27 years. Next, the single malts are blended together and rested in exhausted casks. This process is also done for the single grains. Then, the blended single malts and blended single grains are blended together and again rested in exhausted casks. Finally, the blended scotch finishes its maturation in sherry casks. This 27 year is finished in ex-Palo Cortado sherry casks.
Flavor Profile: Rich & Sweet
SRP $99.99 (375ml)
The Sweet Toast of American Oak is so named for the virgin oak barrels sourced from Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky used to finish maturing the whisky. The barrels are pre-toasted in Kentucky and then travel to Dufftown where they receive another deep toast at The Balvenie Cooperage. They are filled with single malt which matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 12 years. The single malt remains there for a few months before bottling. The whisky was the idea of Apprentice Malt Master Kelsey McKechnie. This is one of three Stories single malts released by The Balvenie in May 2019. However, if you’re looking for peat beyond this Scotch whisky gift guide, we highly recommend The Balvenie The Week of Peat 14 Year.
Flavor Profile: Sweet & Vanilla
Laphroaig Càirdeas 2019 Triple Wood Cask Strength matured in ex-bourbon barrels prior to a second maturation in quarter casks and ex-oloroso European oak sherry casks. This bottling is meant to celebrate the Friends of Laphroaig and the yearly Islay Festival. The 2019 release is bottled at a cask strength of 51.4% ABV without chill filtration.
Flavor Profile: Smoky & Rich
Nick Offerman has long been associated with the Lagavulin brand. His character from Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson, always kept a bottle of Lagavulin 16 Year on hand. Offerman has also produced content with the brand, including the now-famous Lagavulin Yule Log video in which he sits in front of a fire and quietly drinks a glass of said whisky for 45 minutes.
For this limited edition release, Offerman collaborated with Lagavulin distillery manager Colin Gordon to select the liquid. He also helped with the bottle design which bears his portrait and signature along with a quote. It is bottled at 92 proof.
Flavor Profile: Peaty & Smoky
Every year for the past decade, Glenmorangie has released a new limited-edition single malt as part of its Private Edition Series. Allta—Scots Gaelic for “wild”—is the first single malt whisky created from yeast that grows wild on the distillery’s own barley. Allta aged in ex-bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks. Introduced in early 2019, this limited edition release is bottled at 51.2% ABV.
Flavor Profile: Spicy
Speyburn 18 Year is a new permanent addition to the Speyburn portfolio. Its first bottling in late 2018 coincided with the 18th anniversary of the tenure of distillery manager Bobby Anderson. This single malt matured for 18 years in American and Spanish oak and is bottled at 92 proof. Available globally, just 9000 bottles will be released annually.
Flavor Profile: Oily & Spicy
Loch Gorm is the name of the Kilchoman series that features single malts that mature exclusively in ex-sherry butts. The 2019 edition is made from single malts distilled in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. This means that for the first time a Loch Gorm release will contain 12 and 13-year-old casks. Only 15,000 bottles came from the 20 sherry butts used to create this release. It is bottled at 46% ABV.
Flavor Profile: Rich & Peaty
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan is the first permanent age statement release for Ardbeg since its 10 Year debuted in 2000. Traigh Bhan (Tri-Van) is named after the local Islay beach that’s also known as the Singing Sands. The 2019 expression matured for 19 years in American oak and ex-oloroso sherry casks.
The brand plans to release limited batches on an annual basis with each batch bearing a unique code on the packaging. It’s bottled without chill-filtration at 46.2% with a global release which began in mid-September 2019.
Flavor Profile: Smoky & Peaty
Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year is the first in the Grand range released by the brand. The single malt aged for 23 years in a mix of American and European oak before it finished for up to six months in selected cuvée wine casks. These French oak wine casks formerly held fermenting wine which would ultimately become Champagne. Availability began in September 2019 to the UK, US, global travel retail and other markets.
Flavor Profile: Sweet & Rich
Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 07.1 Edition is the seventh Black Art release and the third by current master distiller, Adam Hannett. Distilled in 1994, this is an unpeated single malt aged 25 years in a variety of undisclosed casks. Only Hannett knows the exact “recipe”. Matured entirely on Islay, this is bottled at cask strength of 48.4% ABV without added color or chill-filtration. This is a limited release of 12,000 bottles worldwide.
Flavor Profile: Rich
GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 25 Year matured in a combination of oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. It was created by master blender Rachel Barrie and was bottled without chill-filtration at 48.2% ABV. It was available globally as of February 2019 with the US having received its allotment in October 2019.
Flavor Profile: Rich & Full-Bodied
The most expensive selection in our Scotch whisky gift guide, Forager’s Keep 26 Year marks the 14th Orphan Barrel release. Started by Diageo, the Orphan Barrel program is “an endeavor to rescue nearly forgotten barrels” of whiskey. This release of The Forager’s Keep hails from Pittyvaich Distillery, a Speyside distillery that closed in 1993. The distillery was only open for 18 years, making this whisky older than the place it came from. Pittyvaich single malt was never widely available, and the distillery has long since been demolished. It’s bottled at 48% ABV.