Islay whisky, simply enough, hails from one of the southernmost Hebridean islands off the Scottish coastline. True to its Islay roots, the smoke is thick and powerful, but through that veil emerges a cascade of pineapple, chocolate, and spice that will shock your taste buds and leave you wondering why you didn’t score a second bottle. Betsy Andrews has been writing about wine and spirits for two decades. Matured long enough to drink itself in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso casks from Andalucía, the decades slumbering in the Spanish wood give the whisky luscious flavors of dried fruits, rich chocolate, and delectable spices. ", "Each vatting is different, and the flavor profile varies from batch to batch. Ok, so it’s probably not the best idea to drown a 20-year-old dram in Coke or Irn-Bru – that’s cheaper blended whiskies are designed for – but if that’s the way you like to drink it then go for it (we’ll try not to wince). Maverick whisky maker John Glaser rehabilitated it, searching out old grain barrels and blending them together in making Compass Box Hedonism. Crisp and fruity, this whisky both starts and finishes strong. The year 2020 was not great. Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask, The 10 Best Irish Whiskeys to Drink in 2020. Welcome to Scotch-land – your bottle-by-bottle guide to the 120-plus distilleries who continue to put Scotland on the lips of the great, the good and the grand all around the world. By Charlotte Chilton. Its name bespeaks its chewy, sweet honeycomb foundation, but as is the case with blended scotches, there’s a broadness to its flavor that comes from the malts. “There’s been a blurring of the lines in terms of flavor profiles, and there’s more experimentation going on,” says Pedro Shanahan, spirits guide for Los Angeles bar group Pouring with Heart. It’s one of my favorites.”, Read Next: The Best Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. “If you like peated whisky, this is one of the best out there for sure,” says Kurpinsky. Below are the best Islay Scotches for 2019 (in my humble opinion of course!) iStockphoto. Vices BY Improb October 26, 2017. It’s a beautifully layered whisky and a stellar choice for smoke aficionados new and old. Sip The Hive and sense Islay smoke, the Highlands’ flowery heather, Speyside’s fruity sweetness and a finishing smack of island salt. “If you like peated whisky, this is one of the best out there for sure,” says Kurpinsky. Find the top 100 most popular items in Amazon Grocery & Gourmet Food Best Sellers. “I think that if you’re going to add mixers, you should put the Highland metal to the test,” says Shanahan. Instead of honey or peat, the way most go, this has the amber waves of grain associated with a Speyside whisky. Bourbon has its expensive bottles, but it’s generally easy to embrace. ", "It’s a beautifully layered whisky and a stellar choice for smoke aficionados new and old. A stellar daily drinker, the folks at Bruichladdich give you the opportunity to check out the ingredients, from barley origin to cask types used, of your bottle since each vatting is different and the flavor profile varies from batch to batch. Whisky snobs who turn up their noses at blended Scotch are missing out on some of the best-tasting spirits around. Get easy-to-follow, delicious recipes delivered right to your inbox. ", "Decades slumbering in Spanish wood gives this whisky luscious flavors. One half is then transferred to Matusalem Oloroso Sherry casks. Discover the best Whiskey & Scotch in Best Sellers. Easy to drink neat, on the rocks, with a splash of water, or mixed into warming cocktails, it’s light enough at 40 percent ABV for a midday tipple, yet flavorful for post-work happy hour. The spiced notes that fill the room. The island of Islay, on which the brand is based, is traditionally known for the smoky flavor imparted by the peat fires used to dry the barley before fermentation. The Best Whiskey of 2020: The Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch to Find While You Still Can These are our favorite bottles of 2020. The progressive Hebridean distillers of Bruichladdich make some fine whisky. We’ve been shut in and locked down with nowhere to go and little to do. Compass Box Hedonism Whisky, Best Under $100: “You can have a single malt in America, Japan, Taiwan or elsewhere, but to be scotch, it has to be made in Scotland,” says Tommy Tardie, owner of New York's The Flatiron Room and Fine and Rare. This one delivers for the most modern of palates, and it’s sublime with soda water in a highball. Related: The Best Tennessee Whiskeys Of 2020, Ranked. With the 17 best low-cost, high flavor scotches ever to come out of a bottle. 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