I was cruising the whisky aisle in Park Avenue Liquors in New York City a few weeks ago. It was an in-country bucket list dream come through. Next to me where two suit-and-ties, with one asking the other about what to purchase for a gift. A few were pointed out with the response “He’s not worth that much.” I chuckled to myself because the whiskies what were pointed out were in the under $100 range. Not a close pal indeed. That being said, the whisky market has a whisky for every price range and palate. Under $50 whisky doesn’t necessarily translate to poor tasting whisky. I have four such decent whiskies that I tasted for the first time during 2017 that I am pleased to share.
If you are stocking your whisky cart for the first time and don’t want to break the bank, this are my 2017 recommendations:
- Highland Park Magnus at 40% offers a touch of smoke, full-bodied flavor with a touch of sea brine
- Glen Moray Chardonnay Cask NAS at 40% is perfectly nice and easy to drink
- Paul John Brilliance from India at $46% offers the “this is different” moment with a sweet fruity and hint of lemon
- Dickel Rye for the base of a cocktail. It is a soft rye that won’t overpower and blends well in a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
On the flip side of the whisky price list are the three whiskies that stood out for me of the 80 plus whiskies that were new to me during 2017. The price range is $175 to about $400 – depending on your location. The three are not in any special order – they all scored a 3+ out of a possible 4. There were no “4” scores this year, which I find curious. I’ll have to ponder that a while.
The Top Three of my 2017 tastings:
- Springbank 19 YO Fresh Port Cask at 52.4% has a beautiful nose of chocolate and warm Port, the palate is almost thick. Amazing!
- Glengoyne 25 YO at 48% is a true sherry bomb. Lovely!
- Chapter 7 (Independent bottler, Switzerland) 19 YO Small Batch of 2 undisclosed Highland casks. Where did the pineapple notes come from? And there’s so much more flavor bursting forth.
Where ever you are on your whisky journey, savor the pleasure; pause a moment and take in your good fortune of being able to raise a glass.
I raise a glass to health, happiness and prosperity for you during 2018!