Today I present to you the amalgamated thoughts of ten different sources – Liquor, VinePair, Gear Patrol, Forbes, Esquire, Punch Drink, Elle, GQ, Men’s Health and Delish – as to what are the Top 5 Scotch Whisky recommendations for 2023. The results were compiled by the organization StudyFinds.
However, before presenting the list, there are some things to keep in mind. There are a large number of Scotch Whiskies produced, many of which are not available for purchase outside of Scotland. Therefore, this list just contains those whiskies that have benefited from international exposure and have, in return, received the most attention and the largest number of recommendations from writers and critics.
So, without further ado here is the list.
1. Talisker 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($139.95 CDN)
Talisker is created by the oldest distillery on the Isle of Skye. It is aged in ex-bourbon casks for a minimum of 10 years. It boasts a rich gold colour. With a powerful peat-smoke on the nose with just a hint of the sea-water salt of fresh oysters and citrus sweetness, this full, rich-bodied single malt has a rich dried-fruit sweetness on the palate, with smoke and strong barley malt flavours. It has a finish that is long and warm, with an appealing sweetness.
Bartenders favour Talisker 10-Year-Old Single Malt because of its salty, smoky and spicy flavour. They find it an excellent choice when making stirred drinks and highballs because of its oily texture and weight.
2. Glenfarclas 15-Year-Old ($109.50 CDN)
Glenfarclas is one of the few remaining family owned and operated distilleries in Scotland.
The Glenfarclas 15 is bold and very smooth with aromas of port and sherry followed by a little smoke and leather. There are flavours of a bit of jalapeno and a little anise and a little smoke, ending with a pepper spicy finish.
3. Ardbeg Corryvreckan ($201.40 CDN)
This one has been getting a lot of press lately. It was included in my holiday gift suggestion list for the Scotch drinker in December.
In 2010 it was awarded The World’s Best Single Malt by the World Whiskies Awards. It is an intense, non-chill-filtered whisky with flavours of peat and pepper. It is aged in virgin French Limousin oak. At 57.1 percent ABV, Ardbeg makes a great option for a slow sipping Scotch, full of flavour and punch. It tastes of rich, peaty tobacco with a medicinal herbaceous quality with hints of sweet spice and citrus peel.
4. The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old ($470.00 CDN)
Although rather pricy, the experts agree that The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old is one of the best luxury Scotch whiskies. It is aged in oloroso-seasoned American and European oak casks. There are aromas of golden raisins, ginger, caramel and orange and tastes of dried fruit, citrus and nuts. The finish is warm with hints of oak spice, ginger and sweet orange.
5. Lagavulin 16-Year-Old ($175.95 CDN)
If you’re looking for a Scotch that’s both high quality and available at most liquor stores, including mine in Gananoque, ON, Lagavulin 16-Year-Old is a good one. It is one of my personal favourites. I will always be grateful for having been introduced to it by my wife’s uncle during a trip to Islay several years ago.
Reviewers love this Scotch for its well-balanced, yet complex flavours. Earth and smoke define its profile, as well as an attractive array of fruit, light caramel and vanilla flavours. Spice lingers on its finish, leaving smoke behind as a pleasant and surprisingly subtle afterthought.
All the best for the New Year.