WhiskyFest alights on the nation’s capital on April 17th, and it’s the perfect chance for whisky lovers to seek out new, rare, and classic drams from all around the world. Of course, scotch whisky will be flowing in great abundance, and this year’s event offers many fantastic whiskies for the scotch enthusiast to revisit or discover for the first time. Here are a few of our top picks.
We don’t blame you if you don’t know Glenglassaugh, located on the border of Speyside and the Highlands. After all, the distillery was closed from 1986 until 2008, and is only beginning to reestablish itself. If it takes the same path as acclaimed sister distilleries BenRiach and GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh’s future is bright indeed. Taste it for yourself with Glenglassaugh Revival, the first single malt since the distillery’s rebirth. And grab some GlenDronach 18 year old while you’re at it—like Glenglassaugh, it was put together by master blender Rachel Barrie.
Douglas Laing is one of Scotland’s premier independent bottlers, and if you aren’t familiar with the company’s Remarkable Regional Malts range—a series of blended malts, each from just one region in Scotland—now’s your chance to introduce yourself to them. At WhiskyFest D.C., you can try three versions of the Island blended malt Rock Oyster, including the new Rock Oyster 18 year old and Sherry Edition. Timorous Beastie and Timorous Beastie 18 year old represent the Highlands region. The company’s most famous drams—Big Peat, as well as the cask-strength Big Peat Christmas Edition—blend Islay whiskies, making them a perfect way to close out WhiskyFest for any peathead.
Glen Moray has flown somewhat under the radar, which works to your advantage: the Speyside distillery makes top-quality and highly affordable drams. In fact, Glen Moray 18 year old scored the number 10 spot on Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of 2017 list, and it’s widely available at a great price. Work your way up starting with the 12 year old, progressing to the 15, and finishing up with 18. Part of the pleasure of WhiskyFest is discovering great whiskies you may not have known before, and even adding them to your own whisky closet afterwards.
If you’ve been drinking scotch for a while, you have probably had Glenmorangie Original, and perhaps some of the cask-finished offerings. But there’s still new whisky to discover from this classic Highlands distillery, including the latest Private Edition, Spìos, which was aged for its entire life in rye whiskey casks. Or indulge in the luxurious Signet, which Glenmorangie itself describes as the richest whisky in the lineup—not a small statement from a distillery well-known for its unctuous, honeyed whiskies. And of course, Glenmorangie will have its full core range, including Glenmorangie 18 year old, for anyone interested in comparison tastes.
Macallan is one of the most famous single malt distilleries in the world, and for good reason: the luxury whisky is one of the benchmarks for the Speyside style. Both skeptics and lovers of non-age-statement whisky should try Macallan Rare Cask, and decide for themselves whether a whisky needs to have an age on the label to be decidedly impressive. Compare the classic Sherry Oak 12 year old with the relatively new Double Cask 12 year old and see which you like better. Both cost roughly the same amount and scored similarly in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide (91 points and 90 points, respectively), though the latter made the 2017 Top 20.
Fans of salty, malty whiskies already know Old Pulteney for its distinct maritime flavor, but chances are you don’t yet know the brand new Old Pulteney 25 year old, which marries the distillery’s classic flavor profile with the rich depth of age. The single malt was a top highlight of WhiskyFest Chicago, and it’s back for round two in D.C. VIPs can also try Old Pulteney 35 year old—one of the oldest whiskies available at WhiskyFest—but don’t forget about classic Old Pulteney 12 year old—a dram that never fails to satisfy.