Whisky Advocate

Which distillery has impressed you the most this year?

December 9th, 2010

We are beginning our 17th annual Malt Advocate Whisky Awards research and review. (The awards will be announced here at WDJK in February, and then in Malt Advocate magazine in March.)

One of the categories is “Distillery of the Year.” Naturally, we already have a “short list.”  I thought it might make a good discussion topic here too!

So, let’s hear your thoughts. Which distillery has impressed you the most in 2010? And why?

It can be any distillery, from any country. (For the official Malt Advocate award, the distillery’s product must be sold in the U.S. in the 2010 calendar year.)

117 Responses to “Which distillery has impressed you the most this year?”

  1. Wim says:

    they brought us the best whisky releases under 50 pounds

  2. Michael Shoshani says:

    I actually have more than one.

    Maker’s Mark. This one-trick pony distillery bided its time and then brought out a new line extension that offers a different level of depth and complexity from its standard bottling, yet bears the clear stamp of its house style. When you’ve marketed a single expression for so many years and then come out with something that’s more than just another expression yet not quite another “brand”, it definitely stands out.

    Buffalo Trace. For no other reason than acquiring the historic Old Taylor brand and then setting about to replicate the white-corn mash as closely as they can. I can only hope that the finished product is bottled at the 100 proof standard for which Col. Taylor fought so hard.

    • Michael,
      Don’t forget they purchased some amazing Canadian stock and issused the Single Barrel Canadian Whisky Caribou Crossing which was stunning also (John deserves some credit on the selection of that stock also).

  3. bgulien says:

    I’d say Kilchoman. Steadily turning out very good, young whiskies

  4. lawschooldrunk says:

    Arran, because they know how to price their entry level bottle well, and old pulteney for not raising the price on their 12yo, unlike some brands who charge 100% more for a stupid re-branding while the inside liquid stays the same. (You know who you are.)

    • John Hansell says:

      Good point on the Old Pulteney 12. I just saw it listed on the Binny’s website for $29.99. Not bad these days.

      • lawschooldrunk says:

        John, I bought a case at $23.99 a bottle. This is the perfect summer NJ shore bottle!

        • Henry H. says:

          Not sure this makes a case for distillery of the year, but let me join in the praising of Arran and Old Pulteney – and not only for their pricing. While we’re at it, anyone know when we’ll see Arran’s new 14 yo in the States?

          • two-bit cowboy says:

            It must be in the warehouse; I received a price on it last month (I don’t get prices till it’s here).

          • Henry H. says:

            Thanks, two-bit. What will your retail price be? Needless to say, I’m salivating in anticipation of an Arran that will likely fill in the missing pieces of the really decent 10.

            While I’m at it, I never got to try the Peacock. Anyone have some they’re willing to part with? Full bottle or not, I’ll pay a price that approaches the obscene.

          • two-bit cowboy says:

            Looks like $70.

          • Henry H. says:

            Appreciate your reply, two-bit. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to your neck of the woods to spend some money.

      • ps says:

        OP 12 just jumped from $34.99 to $40.99 here :(

    • B.J. Reed says:

      Both excellent candidates – Pultney is often ignored and its a great distillery and Arran continues to innovate while not getting out of control

  5. Jason says:

    Ardbeg – Corryvreckan, Supernova parts 1 and 2 (2009 and 2010) and Rollercoaster. That’s all that needs to be said.

    I’m a fan of Kilchoman as well, but found the Summer 2010 release in the US to be lackluster. Having tried cask strength versions, the 46% ABV Summer release lacked the brim and fire of the higher strength bottlings.

  6. ps says:

    Glendronach? The current 12/15/18 range is a knockout, and it sounds like the Single Cask releases are great too (I haven’t had any of those).

  7. Thomas Chen says:

    Kavalan whisky in Taiwan with its single ex-sherry cask. A bit pricy but very unique and dark-coloured whisky for less than 3 years old.

  8. de Tantalos says:

    The Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix.

    A beautiful and unique whisky without any age from the new Malt Master Brian Kinsman. What a start!

  9. Gal Granov says:

    I must go with Thomas. Kavalan
    they make awesome drams, the sherry soloist is darn amazing.

  10. Joe M says:

    Amrut! They’ve been fighting their way uphill all the way and released some darn good products.

    I also like Michael’s nod to Makers 46 which is a stellar addtion to a classic line.

    • sam k says:

      I, too, was impressed with Amrut’s whiskies. Everything they brought to WhiskyFest New York was impressive, especially Fusion and Intermediate Sherry. They are on track to have a substantial impact on the industry from a very unusual (for whisky, anyway) place on the map

  11. dbk says:

    For sheer consistency in maintaining a line of superb quality whiskeys, Buffalo Trace really is a brilliant distillery. However, if we’re going to keep our watch specific to the past year, I’d like to nominate Forty Creek. They released only one new expression this year (on top of three other great whiskies already in their stable), the Confederation Oak Reserve, but as far as I’m concerned, this one is a game-changer for Canadian whisky. It is a beautiful demonstration of what careful attention, time, and innovation can bring to whisky.

  12. Joshie says:

    With all the “Potemkin Distilleries” (as Chuck would put it) getting attention this year and releasing good whiskeys, how about Lawrenceburg Distillers, Indiana (LDI) for distillery of the year? They’re the ones making all the stuff.

  13. Jason Pyle says:

    Tough question!

    It’s a toss up for me with Buffalo Trace and Four Roses. BT has put out another fantastic Antique Collection, the Experimental bottlings (which I’ve not been able to try), and not to mention some excellent products produced via partnership or under their “umbrella”.

    I’m always impressed with Old Rip Van Winkle’s products. Top to bottom I think it’s the best lineup of Bourbon Whiskey around (ORVW10 (90 proof and 107 Proof), Lot B, Rye, and Pappy 23, 20, and 15). Many of those products mentioned are in partnership with Buffalo Trace.

    I’m more of an American Whiskey drinker, but I have a soft spot for Compass Box. While you mentioned “Distillery” I’m not sure you are including them in that or not. But if so they always warrant a look. With their 10th taking place this year they’ve put out some high acclaimed whisky. I’ve not tried the 2 they released (can’t find them where I’m at), but hopefully they are in consideration. I love what they do.

    Another one that distills its own products but has seen more success with sourced and/or blended whiskeys: High West. The Bourye, Rendezvous Rye, 16 Yr Rye, 21 Yr. Rye, Limited 12 yr Rye, and an upcoming Double Rye! are all outstanding products.

    • Jason,
      When I read the entry the first thing that jumped into my mind was Compass Box, but like you, I wondered how it fits into the ‘distillery’ category. The 10th Anniversary Flaming Heart is amazing.

      • Jason Pyle says:

        I would sure like to try it! Hard to locate a bottle. Even the better stores in my area only stock Asyla and Peat Monster. That’s it. : (

        Will have to order it online soon.

    • sam k says:

      Double Rye???? Can you tell us anything else, Jason? I’ve tasted all of their sourced whiskeys, including the 12 year, and David’s dedication to finding excellent rye stashed away is unsurpassed. Their own Silver Oat is excellent, too!

      • Jason Pyle says:

        Sam, Double Rye! (that exclamation is apparently a part of the name) is a blend of 16 year 53% rye (37% Corn 10% Barley Malt) with a 2 year old (95% rye). The 2 yr is the same mashbill as the 6 year old in the Rendezvous Rye. The result is a totally different whiskey than Rendezvous. It’s gin-like, juniper, evergreen, pine sap, and honey. It’s a very fresh, green, vibrant rye and really unique. One of the most different tasting (in a great way) ryes I’ve ever had. I think it will be released in the next month.

  14. Don Mowat says:

    I’d say Buffalo Trace. They bought the Moore Distillery and they got Old Taylor. These guys always try to be on the cutting edge.

    • Ryan says:

      Technically, The Sazerac Company; Buffalo Trace’s parent company, made those acquisitions. But I agree with you that Buffalo Trace is very innovative and unique. I suspect this is largely due to their good fortune of existing within a strong privately-owned, family run, company… not some bloated, publicly traded, international conglomerate. That really impresses me!

  15. Alex says:

    Regardless of pricing, Ardbeg and Kilchoman for Islay and Glendronach in my opinion.

  16. I am not a big Canadian Whisky fan, but the mavericks at Forty Creek deserve to be mentioned. The Conferedation Oak was probably the Canadian Whisky of the Year. John Hall is doing a superb job.

  17. Vince says:

    Buffalo Trace is always on the cutting edge and their Antique Collection is always spectacular. In addition, I second Jason’s opinion of the Van Winkle line of whiskey, truly best in class. I also believe some consideration should be given to Four Roses. Their 100 year anniversary single barrel was superb and their Limited release small batch (which basically replaced the Mariage) is also excellent. Additionally, they consistently release barrel strength whiskeys which I find to be delicious. Obviously, I love their more mainstream products as well including the yellow label, small batch and Single Barrel.

    • sam k says:

      Definitely a tough call to choose between these two in my opinion. It’s all good and getting better from both!

  18. Rick Duff says:

    I’d go Buffalo Trace (Sazerac) for US – love their acquisitions this year.. plus top notch product still coming out.. Forty Creek for Canadian, and Glenglassaugh for Scottish. Glenglassaugh continues to put out awesome old releases while expanding the range of “new” make available. You’ve got the 50cl New Make and New Make Wine Finish, the New Make, Peated New Make, and Fledgling (6 month old) available in 20cl bottles. All nice stuff and great innovation.
    I’d tend not to give it to BT as they have won it too much. Forty Creek and Glenglassaugh are available in the US .. although maybe a little limited.

  19. EMalt says:

    Definately Amrut for me. Like said in an earlier post, darn good products, but i like their attitude towards innovation as well. Good examples are: The Intermediate, The Kadhambam and Amrut 100.

  20. Raz Ullon says:

    There should be more to Distillery of the year than what drams they put out, to that end; Macallen for their charitable work providing clean water around the world. There was that whole auction thing too…

  21. James says:

    Lagavulin put out a distillery only edition this year that i picked up. I regret not picking up about ten more.

  22. It’s not a single distillery, but I was very impressed by Burn Stewart’s move to rigorously turn towards 46% non coloured and non-chillfilered bottlings for their single malts (Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory and Ledaig)

  23. John Burlowski says:

    Four Roses… for releasing all ten of their bourbons in barrel-proof bottlings.

  24. bozzy says:

    Glendronach and Old Pulteney are sweet surprises of this year for me…

  25. Rich Howard says:

    another shout out for Ardbeg, and another shout out for Amrut. i just ran a flight of six Amrut single malts a few nights ago, and i thought all were good, and some were very good. definitely one to look out for…

  26. Catoctin Creek in Virginia and Koval in Chicago have made some very impressive white ryes this past year. Just wait… some of these craft spirits producers will blow people away over the next few years, once their wood programs get worked out. Some of the Portland distillers are being very creative as well. Ditto on the Old Pulteney…that’s what I’m drinking right now!

    Matt Colglazier

  27. DavindeK says:

    With all the great distilleries out there, it’s heartening to see so many people mention Kittling Ridge/Forty Creek, and I certainly would second their nomination as distillery of the year. Their Confederation Oak Reserve is available in the US, and so is their Barrel Select, which is hugely popular up here in Canada. The concept of using Canadian oak harkens back to the early days of Canadian whisky making, as do the crisp fresh woody notes in the whisky. But then, the concept of aging whisky made with three different grains separately and blending when mature is an innovation in itself.

  28. Lawrence says:

    Isle of Arran for the continuing high quality and Burn Stewart for the vastly improved Bunnahabhain & Tobermory/Ledaig.

  29. Keith Sexton says:

    I found it dificult figuring out what to base my selection on. I felt like picking any distillery I have a fondness for, due to me simply loving their scotch. Or, I could go with most innovative. Or who put out the best new product. But like most other decisions in the world, mine came down to money. I’m going with the distilleries that keeping making great whiskies at still affordable prices. Old Pulteney, Glenfarclas, and Isle of Jura. For peat’s sake (that’s a pun! :) ), the entire Old Pulteney range is affordable to the point where it’s almost too good to be true.

  30. patrick says:

    For me, this is Karuizwa, with constant above average products, followed by Glendronach. In terms of improvement, Glen Garioch is in the lead.

  31. mik_us says:

    Bladnoch Distillery for Forum Offers.

  32. Louis says:

    I’ll second Glendronach, especially the 15. And I picked up a bottle of the 12 which turned out to be the older release, and it showed the distillery’s quality, allowing for the lower proff and chill filtering.

  33. smellmyskunk says:

    My first choice is Buffalo Trace. They produce a lot of great whiskeys at very reasonable prices. I like that some of the whiskeys in the antique collection are uncut and unfiltered. I wish more distilleries would do this. Heaven Hill would be my second choice. The Parker’s Heritage Collection this year was amazing. Ardbeg would be my third choice. I’ve been impressed by all of their whiskeys that I have tried. The Corryvreckan is the best Scotch that I have ever had.

  34. Red_Arremer says:

    Inverhouse has done great things with Balblair and Knockdhu lately (Ancnoc 16 is a stunner!).

    Glenfarclas made a heroic move with the pricing on their 40 yo.

    Benromach 10 is one of the best new core ob whiskeys on the market– unlike anything else, affordable, indespensable.

  35. two-bit cowboy says:

    John: terrific topic.

    Lots of great marques identified so far. Not surprising to see missing are some of the mega producers, like the Scottish distillery that quadrupled production in 2010. Producing more of the same old stuff isn’t innovative.

    Although I have soft spots for several noted here (Pulteney, Bunnahabhain, GlenDronach, Jura, Benromach), I offer Edradour for your consideration. We’re starting to see the fruits of Andrew Symington’s visions from nearly a decade ago. Caledonia, Ballechin #s 4 & 5, the new Port Cask: higher ABVs, NOT chill filtered, natural color (nearly all the things — except a little more age — you “want” from samples you review ). And unlike some, these recent offerings from Edradour weren’t “finished” in sherry or marsala or port casks; they matured in those casks from day one.

  36. JohnM says:

    Visited the Midleton Distillery a few months ago. The operating one. It’s an amazing distillery and the whiskey they have in their warehouse is, in my opinion, very hard to beat. There approach to distilling is unlike anything I’ve seen either. No nonsense at all. The range of whiskies they produce is amazing also.

    John

  37. John Hansell says:

    I think we can agree on one thing for certain, by looking at the variety of responses here. There was no clear-cut leader here this year.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Right, huh?

      Feels like distilleries like, say, Bruichladdich, Ardbeg, BT, and Heaven Hill have been up to what they’ve been up to for a while now. NAS/ crazy-peat/ finished/ independent scotch made a splash and now their status quo. Premium/experimental bourbon are also things we’re coming to expect.

      Now that the game changers have really changed the game they don’t stand out as much from it. And neither do the others who are starting to play by their rules.

      • two-bit cowboy says:

        I don’t “get” your ‘others who are starting to play by their rules’ comment, Red. The “starting” began as long ago as a decade or more. Everything happens in its own time.

        I’m savoring a small, after-dinner glass of Edradour Caledonia right now, but my time is two hours earlier than the post’s log shows.

        • Red_Arremer says:

          You want me to list a bunch of people who participated in the trends I indicated two-bit? As you say, they’re are so many by now– We could both think of many. A more concrete way of saying what I’m feeling might be to say that, this year, I didn’t see any new distilleries becoming anyone’s darling for anything they did with respect to those key trends.

          • Jason Pyle says:

            Red I do sort of agree with you here. Yes there are some distilleries that are putting out some great products but much of it is their annual releases. It’s not necessarily something new, innovative, and “impressive”. Obviously it’s impressive that BT’s Antique collection for example is great again, but that’s also become expected. Not to mention that at approximately $75-80/bottle it better be impressive. For a highly highly regarded whisk(e)y that’s a fair price, but in the bourbon and American Whiskey category that’s not cheap either.

            In short, I struggle to think of distilleries that are doing great, innovative, impressive work right now. The craft/boutique guys are churning to get product out, and much of that I’ve not found to be very impressive. And then you have the big boys in their repetitive groove. Interestingly the two I feel that have done the best work this year in their respective categories either don’t distill or they didn’t distill the products that I’ve found impressive.

            So John, maybe Red’s on to something. This year *could* be so hard because it’s muddy as to who is doing impressive work vs. MANY doing impressive work.

          • two-bit cowboy says:

            Concur with your last line, Red. Did anyone other than the “insiders” know a decade ago what they’d be offering us today? We may not know right now what innovations will temp us in 2020, eh?

          • Red_Arremer says:

            A good point, two-bit, and one that we should always keep in mind.

  38. Mark Hirschman says:

    Maker’s Mark distillery – GREAT job with their new “46” – adds some depth and ‘intrigue’ to an already satisfying product

    Four Roses distillery – their Single Barrel release this year is excellent – a little ‘hot’ from the alcohol but smooths out with an easy…. finish

    Rip Van Winkle distillery – their 23 year old “Pappy” is what a ‘celebratory’ drink is all about. EXPENSIVE but worth it. Having just turned 60 myself, I could only wonder what a ‘Pappy” from my birth year would be like (or worth!)

  39. Mike F. says:

    Of the Scottish distilleries, I think we’ve got to consider Highland Park’s big 2010: the entire new line of duty free vintage releases, many of which were outstanding, some of which were very affordable, and all of which were easy to spot around the globe (let’s face it, lots of travel retail shops only carry 1 liter versions of the basics, but everywhere I went, including some out-of-the-way places, had the HP vintage range). And then of course there was the Earl Magnus Edition 2.

    • B.J. Reed says:

      Another good choice – Highland Park has really stepped out not only with older high quality expressions including their new 40 YO but also more affordable “collectibles” such as the Magnus line – I think they deserve some consideration here.

      • Skippy says:

        I agree with you BJ, Highland Park has always been one of my favorites. Though this year, I’m voting for BenRiach. The tour was amazing and their two 1984 single cask expressions rocked.

  40. Jason R says:

    Absolutely agree with Maker’s – the 46 variant was an excellent bourbon, and an exciting release this year

    I will also throw in:

    Ardbeg – for Corryvreckan
    Balvenie [dark horse] – Caribbean Cask and Peated Cask are both delightful and really nice additions to the range

  41. David says:

    Ardbeg? Really? For releasing a bunch of NAS whiskies at 2 & 3 times the price of normal whiskies?

    Buffalo Trace has my vote, and gets it almost every year. No-one comes close with quality vs price. From Scotland, it would have to be Arran and from RoW, Amrut.

  42. Charles says:

    Buffalo Trace gets my vote. I switched from single malts to bourbon a few years back because it is made in America by Americans with American ingredients and besides that it is generally less expensive than single malts. Buffalo Trace has consistently done a wonderful job of producing a consistently good American product (bourbon) under a variety of labels. Keep up the good work guys!

  43. David D says:

    If it doesn’t have to be an actual distillery, then Compass Box. The Flaming Heart and Double Single are the two best whiskies I’ve had this year and, while not inexpensive, we’re not talking Diageo special edition prices. If it has to be a distillery, then Four Roses.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Tell me what you like about the double single, David. I’ve really had my eye on it (beautiful looking bottle at the very least). I understand it’s an old premium cask strength blended, but beyond that I haven’t been able to dig up too many peoples’ impressions of it.

      • David D says:

        Red-

        It’s super interesting and not at all in your face, flavorwise. The entry is rather shocking however, kind of a burst of lemon citrus and wood tannins, before it mellows out and finishes with rich cereal grains. It’s the kind of thing you taste at first and think, “Oh crap, what did I just buy?” but then you realize that it’s fantastic. The nose is rather hard to obtain at first, but in an empty glass I can smell fresh peaches/apricots in a cocktail syrup. I like to be challenged and this is malt plays hard to get, but then let’s you go all the way! :)

        • Red_Arremer says:

          Thanks for the *excellent* notes, David. Sounds great and I definitely think that I’ll be hitting this one.

  44. Matthias says:

    It’ll probably be a Scottish distillery, a japanese would be a surprise, everything else is highly unlikely in my opinion.
    It’s too early for Amrut or Kilchoman, though they might be on the ‘short list’. Karuizawa is one of the candidates but in the end the winner will probably be either Glendronach or Highland Park.
    After all it’ll be about the releases, changes and performance in 2010, not about distilleries doing the same thing as every year I think.
    I’d vote for Glendronach, the single casks are mostly very good. And I certainly really love the packaging of HP’s Saint Magnus editions.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Matthias– Japanese whisky is not that available in the US– Though MA is going towards a more global focus and distribution I think these awards are still focussed mainly on whisky-stuff that US drinkers are familiar with.

  45. What about Daftmill

    After 5 years in production, they haven’t released a single drop yet!

    Steffen

    • Red_Arremer says:

      I think it’s kind of nice that they’re waiting and not releasing 2yo and three yo stuff, Steffen. They can afford it because they’re mainly a farming operation. Not that they deserve any awards yet…

  46. Joshua says:

    America – Tuthilltown/Hudson, Stranahan’s, Catoctin Creek, Angel’s Envy

    Scotland – Arran, Glenmorangie, Bunnahabhain (the new 12yr @ 46.3% ABV & NFC is fantastic!), Benromach, Laphroaig

    Japan – Yamazaki, Hakushu, Nikka

    Ireland – Cooley

  47. Amit Sawhney says:

    John,

    The last few years have been very exciting for the whisky enthusiast in me. New expressions, new distilleries, micro distilleries and new wood finishes. Even good whiskies from India!

    Nothing has come close to impressing me as much as Kilchoman has. It is a young distillery from my beloved Islay, that’s turning out exemplary expressions of whisky that are balanced, complex and easy drinking. More so they show the potential of what’s to come. I’ve been fortunate enough to try many expressions from this distillery, some that were not even available to the market, including new make.

    The whisky shows glimpses of Port Ellen with the fortitude of Ardbeg, the balance of Coal Ila with the uniqueness of Laphroaig; what else can you ask for? It is Islay in a bottle.

    In my mind there is no other distillery that deserves that honor any more than Kilchoman does.

    Best regards,
    Amit.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      You know Amit– I love Kilkoman too, but to me the peat is a little more mainland in style. In fact what it reminded me most of was the peat on Edradour’s Ballechin series and Benriach’s peated stuff. People keep saying Ardbeg, but I’m really not tasting that.

      • Amit Sawhney says:

        Red,

        Try it on a clean palate. Try a cask strength expression; hold it on your palate for a minute to a minute and half and notice the change in flavors every 20 seconds or so, and I hope you see what I see in the whisky. You should get a new dimension of flavor every 20 seconds or so. The whisky will unravel on your palate.

        Best,
        Amit.

        • Red_Arremer says:

          No insult to the promising new distillery– Just making an observation there, Amit. I like the peated Riach and Edradour very much. Looking forward to pick up a bottle of this past summer’s Kilk (not c/s unfortunately) within a few weeks and really get deep with it. Let you know how my impressions unfold.

  48. […] John Hansell wants to know – which distillery most impressed you this year? […]

  49. John Hansell says:

    One thing to keep in mind when making your decisions is that I’m asking about the distillery as a whole and not just one (or even two) good whiskies they make.

  50. Brian Bradley (Brian 47126) says:

    Hmmmm, on a personal level, I would say Ardbeg. They were nice enough to bring the chopper tour to Key West–in may ways, just for me. I am the only buyer of Ardbeg at my local store and that store was the number four seller of Ardbeg in the state. So, When the chopper tour came it was very much a private party on my behalf.

    It is hard to overlook the personal touch–Thank you Ardbeg!

  51. Andre Girard says:

    Here’s my best whiskies for 2010:

    Best Canadian
    Forty Creek Confederation Reserve 43%
    and Wiser’s Legacy. Still hesitate.

    Best american whisky
    Woodstone Creek Straigth Bourbon Whisky, Batch #1, Barrel #1 DSP-OH-34 – 47%

    Single malt of the year
    Bruichladdich Octomore Edition 01.1 Progressive Hebridean Distillers Aged 5 years, bottle #0401 131 PPM – 63.5%

    Best blended
    Famous Grouse 37 YO Robert Burns 250th anniversary Limited Edition – 47.6%
    and / or The Spice Tree (NEW BOTTLING) – 46%

    Best world whisky
    Amrut Peated Single Malt Cask Strength – 62.78%

  52. George Jetson says:

    Glan an Mor (Kornog) in Brittany….I didn’t expect to be impressed by their peated whiskies, but I am.

    • Rick H says:

      Wish Master of Malt had their 3cl samples of Glan an Mor (and Kornog for that matter). I really want to try these Breton malts before ordering bottles.

  53. double post, please ignore…

  54. jason lee says:

    Glenmorangi port cask and Ardburg Ugadal have my vote

  55. lucky says:

    So much good work being done just now it is hard to choose one. Some of the more notable for me (assuming we can include rectifiers) are impressive because they get the new mood of whiskey drinkers. Not finding one taste or style and sticking to it but rather exploring many different expressions.
    Compass Box – creative and delicious. Masterful vatitng is changing the way people think of “blended” Scotch.
    High West – creative, resourceful and always surprising, Thanks for finding the Whiskey you sell.
    Buffalo Trace – The Antique collection is again a stand out.
    Four Roses – Making all the recipies available at barrel strength is a gift.
    Van Winkle – The source and maker changes but the quality doesn’t.

  56. Hi John,

    I would have to go with Glendronach, the new range is excellent, some of the single cask bottlings have been terrific and so is the 31 year old Grandeur. We bottled our own cask of Glendronach this year and it was a very difficult decision, all six samples were superb!

    If I had to go with a second pick it would be Glenglassaugh. Their core range of 21, 30 and 40 year is excellent, though admittedly expensive.

    I highly recommend the 21 year old!

    Slainte!

    Andrew Ferguson
    Calgary, Canada

    • Andre Girard says:

      Also agree. The new Glendronach core range was terrific. I was lookin to buy a bottle of Glenglassaugh 21Yo for our club… Seems quite interesting, but never taste a Glenglassaugh before.

  57. Douglas Telfer says:

    Has to be Amrut for me also.Their whiskies are special,and have that x factor.It’s time for their work there to receive worldwide recognition.Brilliant Stuff!

  58. Derek De Souza says:

    The two distilleries that impressed me the most this year are Dalmore and Port Ellen.
    Dalmore because of all their new innovative malts like Mackenzie and their host of high end malts, especially the ones with “nicknames”. Then Port Ellen with their super-fantastic-fragilistic-ascend into heaven -30 yr release.
    On the international front I’m blown away by Amrut – what a tremendous showing of taste and quality!

  59. Murrell Kinkade says:

    I cannot believe I am saying this, but the most impressive distillery to me is Amrut in Bangalore, India. I had a couple of their expressions that were so-so. I was at a whisky tasting at the Party Source in Bellevue, Ky. last nite. One of the offerings was Amrut Fusion, absolutely stunning! This is a relatively young whiskey I believe but you cannot prove it by the aroma and taste. It is good! The best new whiskey I have had in a long time. You owe it to yourself to try it. Under fifty bucks, unbelieveable.

  60. Dave Weinstein says:

    For me, I’d have to go with Springbank, simply because the Springbank Sherry Aged 12 year old Single Barrel (Wood Impressions) was my favorite whiskey this year.

  61. JB says:

    Any distillery that can sell a 30 year malt for $3500 dollars, and we wonder why the general whisky user is becoming disenfranchised…………………………..

  62. JB says:

    On a more serious note, GlenRothes has really impressed me this year, the core expressions are fantastic and represent fantastic value in a whisky world that appears to go have gone mad in the last 2 years

  63. USA : The High West guys but they didn’t actually distill what I’ve tried under their name- would this nomination count? They deserve an award for bottling this stuff.

    Scotland : Isle of Arran- its all good this year, really good

    overall : Amrut- it seems every bottling this year beats the last- whats next?

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