Celebrate with Our Favorite Whiskeys of 2018

Whether experimenting with barrel finishes or keeping it classic, these whiskey releases were the cream of the crop of another stellar year. Cheers to the makers and the drinkers and to a great new year!
Dec 28, 2018
  • 12
    12 The Glenrothes 1974 Private Collection (Gordon & MacPhail)
    90
    Rich & Full Bodied
    This bottling of The Glenrothes was distilled in 1974 and aged in a refill sherry puncheon. Aged for 44 years before bottling in 2018. Barrel #18440 yielded just 276 bottles. The Private Collection from independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail is a series of greatly aged single malts from celebrated, little known, or closed distilleries selected by members of the Urquhart family. This is one of two bottles released at the end of 2018 with the updated look for the collection.
  • 11
    11 The Macallan Edition No. 4
    90
    Rich & Full Bodied
    The Macallan highlights "the celebration of The Macallan's whisky making heritage" in its Edition series. Released in summer 2018, Edition No. 4 focuses on the brand's commitment to wood management and its role in the creation of The Macallan. Seven different types of sherry casks are used in this no-age statement whisky. They are as follows (proper names refer to sherry cooperages): refill European & American oak butts; refill European & American oak hogsheads; first-fill American oak Vasyma hogsheads; first-fill European oak Diego Martin Rosado butts; first-fill European oak Jose y Miguel Martin butts; first-fill European oak Tevasa butts/puncheons; first-fill European Tevasa hogsheads.
  • 10
    10 Rossville Union Master Crafted Barrel Proof Straight Rye
    91
    Rich & Full Bodied
    As the name suggests, this is the cask strength version of Rossville Union, the first proprietary rye brand released by MGP Ingredients. It is made from a batch of 83 barrels, noted on the front of the bottle, aged in new, charred American oak. Barrel Proof is bottled at 112.6 proof and is available beginning June 2018 in select markets in the Midwest and Southwest US.
  • 9
    9 Booker's Bourbon Batch 2018-1 Kathleen's Batch
    91
    Vanilla & Rich
    This batch is named in honor of Kathleen DiBenedetto, former brand manager during the launch of the Beam Small Batch Bourbon Collection in the early 1990's. She worked closely with Booker Noe over the years and in 2015, she was recognized by the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame for her contributions to the bourbon category. As of March 2018, she holds the title of Senior Director of On-Premise and Luxury Marketing for Beam Suntory. Kathleen, along with Fred Noe and Booker's Roundtable Members, selected this batch in early 2018. Aged in new, charred American oak for 6 years, 3 months, and 14 days. As always, the bourbon is uncut and unfiltered at 127.4 proof.
  • 8
    8 Port Charlotte 10 Year
    91
    Peaty & Rich
    Port Charlotte 10 Year is a permanent addition to Bruichladdich's portfolio and replaces the multi-vintage Scottish Barley bottling. Made using 100% Scottish barley from the Inverness Shire region. This 10 year old bottling matures in a variety of casks: 65% in 1st fill American whiskey, 10% in 2nd fill American whiskey, and 25% in 2nd fill French wine casks. Port Charlotte bottlings are the heavily peated single malt line distilled at Bruichladdich with the barley peated to 40ppm. Bottled at 50% ABV, it is non-chillfiltered and has no color added. Available beginning May 2018.
  • 7
    7 Whistlepig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve
    92
    Full Bodied
    The fifth in the Boss Hog series from Vermont-based Whistlepig, this is named after a beloved pig named Mauve. Aged 13 years, this straight rye whiskey finished its maturation in calvados casks. The bottle is topped with a handcrafted Danforth pewter stopper "in the shape of Mauve ascending to heaven." Additionally, it is presented in a casket-inspired gift box. This is a single barrel expression and it is bottled at a barrel proof of 58.4% ABV. Available beginning September 2018.
  • 6
    6 Parker's Heritage Barrel Finished in Orange Curaçao Barrels
    92
    Fruity & Spicy
    Barrel Finished marks the 12th edition of Parker's Heritage, a limited edition edition whiskey named in honor of the late Heaven Hill master distiller Parker Beam. This is the second Parker's Heritage release made in collaboration with master blender Alain Royer who assisted Parker in the creation of Cognac Barrel Finish. Barrel Finished is made from bourbons aged for 7-8 years on the upper floors of Rickhouse Q. The bourbon was then transferred to barrels that previously held orange curaçao liqueur for four months before bottling. Parker was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2010. Like the previous five Parker's Heritage releases, this bottling too will donate portions of its proceeds to the ALS Association. Bottled at 110 proof without chill-filtration, this release will hit shelves beginning September 2018.
  • 5
    5 Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye
    93
    Rich
    Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye is a limited edition Irish whiskey available beginning mid-November 2018. It is made from a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley and around 30% rye. Since Single Pot Still whiskeys cannot have more than 5% of any grain other than barley, it doesn't qualify as such technically. It is double distilled in copper pot stills, one of which was made in the early 1800s and is the oldest working pot still in the world. Rye was used by Irish distillers in the late 1800s, but it disappeared around the time of Prohibition and the Irish War of Independence. It is the first Kilbeggan whiskey to be 100% distilled and matured at the Kilbeggan Distillery since it was restored in 2010.
  • 4
    4 Compass Box Hedonism The Muse
    94
    Vanilla & Rich
    Launched on March 8, 2018 in celebration of International Women's Day, this limited edition release features the woman which featured on their initial Hedonism release nearly two decades prior--the first time a woman was featured on a scotch whisky bottle. This whisky was created with the assistance of Jill Boyd, the first female whiskymaker in the company's history who joined the team in January 2017. It features grain whiskies from Invergordon, North British, Strathclyde, and Port Dundas distilleries along with a portion of blended grain whisky from an unknown source (the "recipe" for the whisky regarding percentages and types of barrels listed on the Compass Box website.) This blended grain whisky is bottled at 53.3% ABV, a number which reflects the percentage of women in the Compass Box business.
  • 3
    3 Lot No. 40 11 Year Cask Strength
    94
    Spicy & Rich
    Lot No. 40 11 Year Cask Strength is part of the 2018 Northern Borders Rare Collection. Dr Don Livermore selected an 11-year-old bond for this year’s release. This 100% rye whisky was aged in new oak barrels and bottled at 58.4%. Limited availability in Canada with a very limited allocation in Europe and the US.
  • 2
    2 Laphroaig 28 Year
    94
    Full Bodied & Briny
    Laphroaig 28 Year is a limited edition single malt which first matured in a host of selected casks with varying sizes from quarter casks to butts. The whisky is then married in sherry butts for its final 12 months. Bottled at 44.4% ABV, this release is available beginning October 2018.
  • 1
    1 Wild Turkey Master's Keep Revival
    95
    Full Bodied & Spicy
    This is the third U.S. expression under the Master's Keep series. It was inspired by Wild Turkey Signature which Jimmy Russell introduced in the early 2000's. For this bottling, Eddie Russell traveled to Jerez, Spain to source the 20 year-old oloroso sherry barrels used to finish this bourbon. The bourbon was aged from 12-15 years in new, charred American oak and finished its maturation in these sherry barrels. This is bottled at 101 proof. Limited availability begins June 2018 nationally with 1600 cases produced and it will also be sold at the Wild Turkey Visitor Center in Lawrenceburg, KY.