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Winter 2019 Editors' Choice: Barrell, Laphroaig, anCnoc

Winter 2019 Editors' Choice: Barrell, Laphroaig, anCnoc

December 24, 2019 –––––– Whisky Advocate, , , ,

In each issue of Whisky Advocate, the editors select three whiskies that we consider the most impressive, considering score, price, and availability. For Winter 2019, our Editors' Choice whiskies include a bourbon and two single malt scotches.

For all whiskies reviewed in the Winter 2019 issue, check out the full Buying Guide.

Outstanding Whiskies from Scotland and Kentucky: Winter 2019


Barrell Bourbon (Batch 21)
94 points, 53.17% ABV, $90


Sweet and toasty aromas, like a coconut macaroon, are balanced with bright green apple in this showstopper of a bourbon. Secondary notes include alluring five-spice, cigar box, and dark cherry fruit. The flavors really fulfill expectations, as toasty notes of brown butter meet delicate spice, candied peanuts, and grilled peaches. But wait for the finish! A cascade of gingery and peppery spices, grilled peaches, and pecan descend in perfect harmony. A multifaceted bourbon that is as intriguing as it is delicious. —Jeffery Lindenmuth


Laphroaig 16 year old
93 points, 48% ABV, $90


This expression has been matured entirely in first-fill bourbon casks. The nose offers lemon juice squeezed onto hot baked salmon, cooked over a wood fire, then sprinkled with sea salt. Rich, sweet, tropical fruit flavors on the full palate, with honey, barley sugar, peppery oak, and mellow peat smoke. Dark chocolate, dry peat, and black pepper in the long, mildly medicinal finish. —Gavin Smith


anCnoc 18 year old
92 points, 46% ABV, $130


This whisky spends 15 to 16 years in bourbon barrels before a final maturation in oloroso sherry casks. The nose is sweet, with tropical fruits, nutty spices, almonds, orange marmalade, and worn leather. The orange theme continues on the luscious, lively palate, with spicy toffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey. Drying and lightly spiced in the finish. A dram that deserves to be better known. —Gavin Smith