Top 20 Whiskies of 2017

#6 • Ardbeg An Oa

  • Rank: 6
  • Year: 2017
  • Score: 93
  • Price: $60
  • ABV: 46.6%
  • Style: Single Malt
  • Place of Origin: Scotland (Islay)

Ardbeg doles out occasional limited releases for their avid fans, but for nearly a decade the core range consisted of just three whiskies: 10 year old, Uigeadail, and Corryvreckan. The addition of An Oa, matured in a combination of virgin oak, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and bourbon barrels, and married in a French oak ‘gathering vat’ prior to bottling, marks a reason to celebrate.

An Oa is a more approachable Ardbeg. It lacks some of the typical oiliness, but flavor and complexity abound with hot peat, black tea, and peppery cloves. Die-hard Ardbeg fans should have no complaints, and new converts have a real treat in store. —Gavin Smith