Top 10 Whiskies from the Fall 2017 Buying Guide

The days may be growing shorter, but your whisky options are more numerous than ever. The Fall 2017 issue hits newsstands on September 5th, featuring scores and reviews for over 95 new whiskies—from scotch and bourbon to Irish, Canadian, and world whiskies. Here we reveal the 10 highest scoring bottles, including Knob Creek‘s anniversary single barrel, an “electric” Chivas Regal, 25 year old Glen Moray with a rich port cask finish, a silky sweet Canadian Club, and more.

Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Single Barrel
92 points, 61% ABV, $130

Wonderful opening of cigar humidor and tack room, it presents vibrant caramel and vanilla, but really shines with complex fruit, spice, and nuts. Baked apples, canned pears, blackberries, and strawberry jam meet white pepper, followed by roasted walnuts and honey. Then resounding nutmeg appears, with slight hints of smoke, chipotle, and earth. The long finish rekindles the caramel note from the beginning. Must-have sipper.—Fred Minnick

Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 year old (barrel 5043515)
92 points, 50% ABV, $60

With the quintessential traditional bourbon bouquet, it’s caramel and vanilla all day, with honey, oak, brown sugar, and freshly baked corn muffins following. Then pure bliss, striking powerful mouth-coating notes of crème brûlée, fried dough with powdered sugar, raspberry tarts, and maple syrup. The long finish offers a beautiful pecan pie note. Delightful to sip.—Fred Minnick

Compass Box The Double Single 2017 Release
93 points, 46% ABV, $175

Not seen since 2010, this yields vanilla frosting, menthol, spearmint, cream, dry spices, cedarwood, chopped herbs, and a discernable whiff of old grain. Silky taste of butterscotch; it becomes more honeyed, with creamy vanilla, dried banana, malt, and a pinch of cinnamon, pepper, herbs, clove, and eucalyptus. The yin and yang of Glen Elgin and Girvan makes an admirable exercise in precision, minimalist blending. Mad as a box of frogs.—Jonny McCormick

Exclusive Malts (distilled at Invergordon) 43 year old 1972
93 points, 48.2% ABV, $260

This grand old Highlander brings warm flapjacks baked with golden syrup, nutmeg, oak spices, toffee brittle, toasted muffin, cinnamon sticks, and beeswax polish. The oat breakfast cereals and caramel beckon in a fruit explosion of mango, burnt orange, raspberry, banana chips, and papaya. Rejoice in that dense, ever-changing satin mouthfeel, with Invergordon’s grain character only more apparent toward the end. Soft spice underplayed on a dry finish. An enchanting find.—Jonny McCormick

Glen Moray 25 year old Port Cask Finish
93 points, 43% ABV, $300

Distilled in 1988 and finished for an unspecified period in port casks after lengthy maturation in bourbon barrels. Floral, perfumed, and very enticing on the nose. Vanilla fudge, cocktail cherries, polished oak, and gentle spices. Soft and sweet on the palate, with vanilla, overripe orange, cinnamon, and milky coffee. Long and slightly peppery on the finish, with persistent drying fruitiness. Complex and extremely accomplished.—Gavin D Smith

Amrut Spectrum 004
94 points, 50% ABV, $165

Although it sounds more like the warped master plan of a sinister Bond villain, it’s actually named after the four different woods in Amrut’s second wave of spectrum casks. Prune stone, dried fig, black cherry flesh, raspberry, cinnamon, and a hint of macchiato aromas. Dense concentrated cherry and sultana, cooked apple and pear, heavy spices, and fruit and nut chocolate. Finish of hot, sticky dates and baked orchard fruit. Commendable.—Jonny McCormick

Chivas Regal 18 year old Ultimate Cask Collection First Fill French Oak Finish
94 points, 47% ABV, $120

An auld alliance renewed, this gorgeous whisky packs spicy aromas of peppercorn, star anise, and cardamom seeds, mingling with toffee squares, plum jam, dunnage earth, and dried sprigs of heather. Rich fruitcake, jellied fruit, and bramble, then spices course through the mouth: chili heat, black pepper, and raw ginger. Final phase has chocolate praline, growing milky, nutty, and soothing. Exceptional lengthy finish with reignited spices. Chivas 18 goes electric. (Travel Retail exclusive)—Jonny McCormick

Lot No. 40 12 year old Cask Strength
94 points, 53.1% ABV, $60

Cask strength Lot No. 40 has been in production at Hiram Walker Distillery for over 75 years for use as flavoring whisky. Finally in bottle, this is more than regular Lot No. 40 amped up. New notes of halva, pansies, blistering spices, tropical fruits, minty candy canes, and peanut skins are layered over the lilacs, rye bread, dark fruits, and slatey rye of its 43% standard release. Long, glowering finish.—Davin de Kergommeaux

J.P. Wiser’s 35 year old
95 points, 50% ABV, $165

Oh, the glory of used cooperage. Woody notes begone—let time slowly breathe life into what began as almost neutral, high-proof corn spirit. Creamy spice, barley sugars, peach syrup, dry grasses, and ancient barn boards. Incredible complexity, yet so tightly interwoven it achieves oneness. One hundred points until a campfire bursts onto the finish and consumes five of them.—Davin de Kergommeaux

Canadian Club 40 year old
96 points, 45% ABV, C$250

After 40 years in barrels, the trademark Canadian Club dark fruit is as rich as ever. Reminiscent of raisin tarts with sprinkles of sweet baking spices, then strawberries and black pepper. Warming but never hot. No tannins, no woodiness; silky barrel tones are the only hint of oak, while soaring floral esters speak loudly of time in the barrel. The glowing, never-ending finish is spectacular. Canada’s Sesquicentennial Celebratory Release —Davin de Kergommeaux

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