2010 has seen many new whiskies released on to the market. We have sampled and reviewed a number of these over the last year at Whisky For Everyone, so we have decided to choose our top 10 favourites of these new releases. A similar Top 10 that we published this time last year has proved to be one of our most popular ever and we hope that this one is enjoyed as much.
Such Top 10s are always subjective and are therefore contentious as a result - everyone has differing opinions at the end of the day. We have tried to select our Top 10 on a ratio of quality, value for money and availability to the public. To this end, there are not really any single cask or independent bottlings included, despite some excellent ones being sampled throughout the year. However, some are limited edition bottlings that are still available to purchase.
We have split our Top 10 in to two parts – numbers 6-10 can be found below and another post with numbers 1-5 and our ‘Whisky of the Year’ will be published shortly. Please let us know what you think of our choices by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post. OK, so here goes ...
6 > Glenfiddich 14 years old Rich Oak
This whisky from the famous Speyside distillery was launched at Whisky Live, London last February and has undergone an innovative maturation – 14 years in ex-bourbon casks then 18 weeks in brand new oak casks (12 weeks in American oak and six in European oak). The introduction of the new wood adds a pleasant, spicy intensity to Glenfiddich’s usual gentle nature. You can sit and sniff the nose for ages as numerous aromas fight for your attention, including vanilla, apple, cinnamon, sultan, cedar wood and burnt orange. These aromas are also reflected on the palate, which has a more woody, spicy and zesty edge. Stewed fruits and sweet vanilla notes add softness and balance. The finish is long, complex and warming. A delicious and lovely dram.
Click here to read our original post about Glenfiddich Rich Oak.
7 > Arran 14 years old
The Arran distillery was only founded in 1995 and this new whisky represents the oldest single malt released to date from there. It came on to the market last August. The nose is highly perfumed with aromas of vanilla, coconut and honey coming first, followed by plenty of oak, cereals, dried grasses and a hint of peach. A silky, fresh and juicy palate follows on from this promising start with vanilla, honey and cereals again, backed up by cinnamon and nutmeg spice. The finish begins sweetly before becoming drier to add great balance. This is a superb whisky that offers a lovely combination of aromas and flavours. Arran whiskies seem to be getting better and better with increased maturation and we can’t wait to see how their releases in 2011 match up to this top effort.
Click here to read our original post about Arran 14 years old.
8 > Balblair 2000
This whisky was only released at the start of December but has already created significant waves and earned rave reviews around the whisky blogosphere! It replaced the popular 1997 expression in the core range and has been matured in second fill ex-bourbon casks. The colour is pale gold and the nose is very fresh and fruity. There are plenty of green pear and apple notes and these are backed up by vanilla, coconut and a whiff of mint. On the palate, it is again fresh with a lovely combination of flavours - pear drops, lemon zest, vanilla, honey, cereal grains and hints of icing sugar or sherbet. The finish is tangy but fairly short. This is an easy drinking dram that is light and fresh – it would be great taken in hot weather, as an aperitif or for a whisky beginner.
Click here to read our original post about the Balblair range.
9 > Connemara Turf Mór
Another release from late in the year, this whisky is hailed as the smokiest Connemara (and Irish whiskey) ever made. It is made at the Cooley distillery and is bottled at a hefty cask strength of 58.2% ABV. The nose is expressive and lively with fresh, tangy and vibrant notes fighting for attention – smokiness, honey, fresh green apples, vanilla, malty cereal grains, lemon and salt. The palate is wonderfully complex and the notes from the nose are reflected. The finish has lovely sweetness combining with the smokiness and just goes on and on … This is a delicious and very positive dram. So often, young peaty whiskies can give you a less pleasant or negative experience. The excellent balance, combination and contrast of aromas and flavours make this a dram to savour. What a cracker!
Click here to read our original post about Connemara Turf Mór.
10 > Bruichladdich Organic
Here is one of the few truly certified organic single malt whiskies available on the market. It was released by the innovative Bruichladdich distillery on the famous whisky island of Islay last Autumn. The whisky is made from organic barley and matured in a combination of fresh oak and ex-bourbon casks. The nose is youthful, fresh and vibrant with an appetising combination of aromas - cereals, pear, apple, vanilla, honey and almonds. The palate is light and zesty, before the notes from the nose mentioned above appear. The cereals are prominent, as are the honey and vanilla. A hint of welcome cinnamon/nutmeg spice rounds things off. The finish is on the short side but is expressive, cramming plenty in to a short space of time. A fine dram that should be the benchmark for all future producers of an organic whisky.
Click here to read our original post about Bruichladdich Organic.