Best whiskies for 2021
Which is the best whisky?
It’s the question on everyone’s lips. There’s so many to choose from – and unless you’re happy to buy lots of different bottles, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Which is why we’ve done the hard work for you.
Here, our in-house connoisseurs have rounded up some of their favourite tipples for 2021. It’s by no means a definitive list. Of course, everyone’s taste preferences are different. But these are just a few suggestions, including some stone-cold classics and tasty newcomers that feature in our whisky tasting sets.
The Arran Malt Aged 10 Years
Officially launched in 2006, this is a well-balanced single malt, which now lies at the heart of the distillery’s core range. It’s a completely natural product, created using unpeated malted barley and bottled at 46%. Soft and sweet, with a spicy edge created by cinnamon, it drifts over the tongue like golden syrup and slowly fades away.
Not surprisingly, this delicious whisky won the Silver Medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2006 and scored 93/100 points in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. If you haven’t tasted it already, it’s definitely a dram to add to your to-do list.
The Ileach “The Man from Islay” Peaty
The Ileach is crafted by an unnamed distillery in Islay. But whilst the location of the distillery remains a secret, the flavour of its whisky is straight-to-the-point and tastes exactly as it’s described – peaty.
This highly-revered single malt boasts a stunning bittersweet tone, with hints of wood smoke and caramel that linger on the tongue. It’s bottled at 40%, but if you like your liquor strong, cask strength is also available. It was also ranked amongst the top whiskies in the world in the 2008 Whisky Bible.
In our opinion, it should be a mainstay in the drinks cabinet of all whisky fans.
Big Peat – The Black Edition
The third and final release in Douglas Laing’s ‘Big Peat Vintage Trilogy’ has arrived – and trust us, it was worth the wait.
Big Peat The Black Edition is a marriage of single malts from Islay distilleries, each one at least 27 years old. With a strength of 48.3%, this isn’t one for the faint-hearted. Smoky, salty aromas – reminiscent of bonfires on the beach – fill the nose. And it boasts a unique palate of candied citrus, honey, savoury oak and hints of barbequed meat.
Only 3000 bottles were produced in 2019, so it’s a real treat to get your hands on. If you’re looking to extend your repertoire into the world of ‘old and rare’ whisky, it’s highly recommended.
Tomintoul Aged 10 Years
First introduced in 2002, this is a multi-award winning expression created in Speyside. The distillery uses only the purest ingredients and the natural environment – drawing water from the Ballantrun Spring – to create smooth, mellow whiskies. And this one certainly hits the spot.
Affectionately known as ‘the gentle dram’, Tomintoul is lovingly crafted from a selection of the finest bourbon casks and has a well-rounded flavour. It’s sweet and honeyed, with layers of crème caramel, yet also gently spiced – with hints of lemon zest and grassy freshness.
Bottled at 40% ABV, it may be a classic, but it’s still one of the best whiskies on the market – and one that you should definitely try.
Glencadam Aged 10 Years
Last, but by no means least, is this exquisite single malt by Glencadam. Another award-winner, it was voted as the ‘Best Highland Malt Under 12 Years Old’ at the World Whisky Awards – and is the type of tipple that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Neither chill-filtered nor coloured, it retains its true colour and offers a delicate harmony of natural sweetness and soft spicy oak. It tantalises the tongue with hints of citrus fruit and vanilla, then treats you to a long and soothing finish, that gradually fades away and leaves you wanting more.
A fine example of craftsmanship and tradition that’s sure to go down a treat.
Which do you think is the best?
We’ve sipped our way through many a dram, and narrowed down a selection that we believe are the best whiskies currently available. Now it’s over to you.
Our Single Malt Whisky Tasting Set features most of the spirits outlined above and is the perfect way to sample all of their unique, delectable flavours. Rather than spending £30-£40 or more for each bottle, the set costs just £29.99 and you’ll get a 30ml miniature of each – along with a series of tasting cards, featuring facts and information about each spirit, and a luxury whisky tasting mat.
So, why not treat yourself to some of this year’s top whiskies?
Once you’ve tasted them all, let us know which you think is best by tagging us on Instagram or Twitter (@WhiskyTastingCo). And remember, you’re always welcome to get in touch. If you have any questions about the whiskies listed here, or the tasting sets available in our store, call us on 01743 247220 or fill out our online contact form. We’re a friendly bunch of like-minded whisky lovers, and we’ll do whatever we can to help.