Whisky Advocate

Some new whiskies I’ve been enjoying

June 5th, 2012

Every so often I like to give you my informal opinion on new whiskies I like. Here are a half dozen I have enjoyed. (I switched to the past tense because, as you see by the picture, my little sample bottles are mostly empty.) All these whiskies are, or will be, available in the U.S. (Except for the Glenfarclas–I’m not sure about that one.)

Ardbeg Day

I needed to taste this a couple times before deciding how much I like this whisky. (I had the same experience with Ardbeg Alligator. Very peculiar.) And I do like this whisky a lot. It’s young and full of testosterone (but not too young), and there’s a nicely sweet, almost sedating side to the whisky that helps to tame this beast. ($90)

Highland Park Thor

It’s been on the market for a spell already across the pond, but just getting into circulation here. It’s well-rounded and polished, with deliciously ripe fruit notes. A soothing whisky I would save for after dinner or with a cigar. (Can we have the option of purchasing it without the fancy packaging for $50 less please?)  ($200)

Glenfarclas 1953 Vintage 

A whisky that’s 6 years older than I am, and I think it has held up much better than I have. There’s some juicy wood note–I can tell it’s a very old whisky–but the wood influence is better than I feared for a whisky this age. (It’s more prominent on the palate than the nose.) And there some nice fruit and spice to stand up to the oak tannins. There’s only 400 bottles of this stuff produced, and I don’t even know what it will set you back. (As they say, if you have to ask how much, then you probably can’t afford it.). That’s okay, I love Glenfarclas 17 a lot more and it’s much more affordable. Still, I enjoyed this sample.

Glenglassaugh 37 year old (56%)

One single cask from a first-fill sherry cask exclusive to North America. Some of the old Glenglassaugh whiskies can be very delicious, and this is one of them. It’s lush and fruity, with a kiss of honey, but never cloying. A very nice whisky from a quality cask that tastes more like 21 or 25 years old than 37. (I mean this in a good way.) ($600)

Crown Royal XR  Release #2 (LaSalle)

This is the second release of Crown Royal XR. This one contains whisky from the old LaSalle distillery. (The first release contained whisky from the Waterloo distillery.) I like this whisky a lot. It’s nicely matured, very smooth and balanced, and dangerously drinkable. And it’s superior to the first release, which I felt showed too much wood for balance–especially on the finish. ($130)

Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel

It’s clean, elegant, with nicely defined flavors. (I really enjoy the spice notes and how they combine well with the fruit and sweeter notes. One of my favorite limited releases from Four Roses. ($95)



No Responses to “Some new whiskies I’ve been enjoying”

  1. Vince says:

    I really love the 2012 Four Roses LE Single Barrel. I purchased 4 bottles that 102.8 proof. I believe that is at the low end of the proof range at which these were released. It is elegant, refined and complex. I great whiskey to sit on your back porch and reflect on!

  2. Louis says:

    Now that’s a group of drams that I’d like to line up on a Friday night 🙂

  3. Andrew Ferguson says:

    The new Glenglassaugh North American Cask will be under $500 in Canada! Getting some next week… can’t wait to try it!

  4. Ian Buxton says:

    The Glenfarclas 1953 was released at £2,500 ($3,750) exclusively in Poland and, at that price for the age and the quality, seems almost a bargain – at least relative to some of the other aged releases we are seeing. But, very quickly, it has appeared on the UK secondary market through resellers at $9,000.
    I thought it was superb – but then they did ask me to write a little book which went along with it so I suppose I am slightly biased. Glad you liked it John.
    I see Glenglassaugh have announced that they have broken through to profit, 4 years earlier than they expected.

  5. lawschooldrunk says:


    Amen on the Thor.

  6. I really love the Four Roses LE Single barrel. I have to agree with your comments on it.

  7. Todd says:

    John, I loved the Ardbeg Day from my first sip and appreciated it even more with the bottle I brought home from the launch party. The balance between the citrus and peat is deft, along with a note of grilled chili peppers. I think it is the best Committee release since the Corryvreckan, and certainly the most coherent in a long while. Hats off to the folks at Ardbeg for this composition.

  8. Gary Gillman says:

    I look forward to trying XR #2 John but I agree the first XR was rather woody-tasting. I really couldn’t see what was special in that release. All CRs taste similar to me, oakiness seems the main flavour with muted notes from the flavouring whiskeys. Given there are numerous line extensions which all, in my view, taste rather similar (the Black is perhaps a little different but not that much really), I’d release one or more of the batch ryes on their own. To the best of my knowledge, that still hasn’t been done in Canada (in the last 50-60 years anyway) with the possible exception of Corby’s Lot 40, which had an intriguing character indeed.


  9. Gary Gillman says:

    I should add I understand a craft distiller out in B.C. has released a 5 year old pot still rye, called Shelter Point Rye, a sourced whisky which might be a true batch rye (i.e., distilled under 160 proof). I haven’t tried it yet but will be in B.C. later this summer and will try to find it.

    Wiser’s Legacy, an excellent, flavourful rye, also has a strong pot still element but I believe it is a blend, i.e., some grain whisky is used too. Still, the minty rye notes shine through, it’s not (as the other Wiser’s labels in my opinion) largely an adroit blending of different whiskies whose character seems largely driven by the barrel.

    Proof, which comes in an attractive “laboratory-style” bottle and is between 40% and 50% ABV (I can’t recall exactly, maybe 42%), has a fresh sea breeze flavour, it reminds me a bit of rye whiskeys in the States deriving from LDI in Indiana. So too may perhaps be a batch whisky, if so it is a fairly light one.

    I mention this so as not to miss any potential batch ryes that have been released in Canada in addition to Lot 40 which first came in the late 90’s. Still, lots of room for a splashy release by a major Canadian distiller!


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