Whereas bourbon has its own barrel regulations, the scotch industry places no mandate on the casks used. As a result, many scotches rely on ex-bourbon barrels, and some take it a step further, integrating virgin oak at various points along the maturation process. From full aging to finishing to blending, these 11 scotches showcase the influence of new wood.
Full Virgin Oak
Auchentoshan Virgin Oak—84 points, $130
A Lowland single malt aged in fresh American oak for flavors of nutmeg, chocolate, and spiced orange.
Benromach Organic 2017—87 points, $70
A rare certified organic Scotch whisky with vanilla, toffee, and banana flavors.
Glen Garioch Virgin Oak—85 points, $100
Heavily charred American oak meets Highland whisky. A rich array of soft peach, vanilla,
Octomore 7.4—83 points, $250
A heavily peated, high-strength whisky that delivers a skillful balance of sweetness and peat smoke.
Virgin Oak finished
Deanston Virgin Oak—82 points, $35
Candied fruit, heather honey, and apple frame this great value from the southern Highlands.
Dewar’s Scratched Cask—85 points, $25
Finishing in virgin and first-fill bourbon casks coaxes out sweet toffee, vanilla, and cocoa powder.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach—90 points, $270
The first Irish oak-finished single pot still whiskey. Chocolate-covered honeycomb, succulent fruits, and pot still spices.
Blended with Virgin Oak
Amrut Spectrum 004—94 points, $165
New French and American oak barrel staves influence this whisky with lush dark berries, dried fruits, and cinnamon.
Ardbeg Kelpie—88 points, $120
Black Sea virgin oak casks contribute to a peaty whisky with herbal notes, dark chocolate, and hickory wood.
Octomore 8.4—Feb. 2018 release
Heavily peated Scottish barley from the 2008 harvest endows this with delicate smoke, mellow oak, and toffee popcorn.
Tomatin Dualchas—84 points, $25
A fragrant, fruity whisky made using both bourbon and virgin oak casks.