It’s that time of the year again where we all look back at the year gone, where we think about the people we’ve met, places we’ve visited and drams we’ve tried.
So this year I’ve been involved in quite a few tastings and been to my first whisky festival, visited my favourite distillery again and met some amazing people. All of which has given me the opportunity to try so many different whiskies, bourbon & ryes, it’s opened my eyes and taste buds to the vast world of choice out there.
My choice for my drams of the year has had me battling back and forth with myself. Do I just choose from the ones I purchased or do I also include ones from the tastings that I haven’t? In the end I just decided to go with the top five drams I tried this year. Some are easily accessible to sample and purchase, some may be a bit harder to try because of availability being limited. All I believe are available to purchase at this very moment.
So here are my top five choices for 2016..
In fifth place is Mackmyra Blomstertid. Having tried this at the York whisky lounge festival I was blow away with the richness of the fruit, the oily mouth feel and oak balanced with the sweetness from the cherry wine casks.
Fourth place goes to Glen Moray 1994 sherry cask finish. Ok, so this one hasn’t been released yet. I was lucky enough to be involved in the Glen Moray Tweet Tasting hosted by Steve at The Whisky Wire, this is were I got to try this and was instantly won over by it. The balance between the bourbon cask and sherry finish was sublime, with a palate and finish I didn’t want to end.
Third place goes to Paul John single cask #1906. Now this was nearly my number one. It was a very hard choice to put these next three in order, the quality of this bottle is outstanding. The flavors are just so vibrant and complex, with a beautiful spice kick that just completes the dram leaving you wanting to try more. It opened my eyes to the quality of drink that is being produced around the world, if you can get hold of this to try then don’t hesitate. You won’t be sorry that’s for sure.
Second place goes to my favourite distillery with the Tomatin 21yo 1995 Oloroso Sherry cask, this limited release from Tomatin is just superb. The complexity of the nose carries through to the palate, all of which just make this the perfect bottle of Tomatin for me. So good I’ve bought two bottles and I’m considering purchasing another one just so I don’t run out anytime soon.
First place goes to Gordon Macphail’s rare vintage 1965 Strathisla. I’m so lucky and humbled to have been given the opportunity to sample this a few months ago. Like the previous two expressions it is a superb dram, with a complexity that you could get lost in for days. This comes from a different age when whisky was different, it’s hard to explain but if you ever get chance to try it you’ll understand. It’s one I wish I had in my collection and maybe one day will but I’ll definitely remember it for a long time.
Well that’s my top five for this year and I’m sure that some will disagree with my choices and others will agree, that’s the great thing about whisky no one person is right or wrong. To be honest I found it hard to just stay with five, when I made my first list of possible contenders it had about 20 expressions on it. That can only be a good thing in my book if I have that many to choose from..