These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

From a sweet London-based whisky made using single malts from Speyside to a smoky blend born in Edinburgh, these are the best new bottles this year…

We know you’re itching to discover our ten favourite bottlings of the year so far — and time waits for no dram — so sit back, start scrolling, and make your first amber investment of the year…

Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1991

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? Tain, in Ross-shire, where Glenmorangie has been distilled by the ‘Men of Tain’ since 1843.

Smoky or sweet? This is and out-and-out sweet whisky, without a hint of overbearing peat in sight (or smell, or taste for that matter…)

Tasting notes? This 1991 edition of Glenmorangie’s Grand Vintage is created from an unusual combination of whiskies rested in red Burgundy and oloroso sherry casks. As a result, expect tastes ranging from the fruity cherry, apricot and plum, to woodier notes of nutmeg and oak.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1991

£595

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Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? This particular edition focuses on the distillery character and spirit from closed Port Ellen on Islay.

Smoky or sweet? A little of both, with a smoky lemon flavour cut across by soft spice and sweet fruit.

Tasting notes? As one of the world’s most sought-after single malts, Port Ellen has been introduced into this bottling in a savvy move by Johnnie Walker. The result is a fruity whisky, refined with fragrant smokiness — and notes of vanilla cream, pears and wax-polished oak.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen

£275

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Talisker Storm

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? Talisker is distilled in Carbost, on the Scottish Isle of Skye, where it has been since 1830.

Smoky or sweet? It’s straight down the middle on this one. Take your first sip and you’ll taste some bonfire notes, but the sweetness will return with the finish.

Tasting notes? Expect milk chocolate and apple flavours to accompany those smokey notes, before a world of other tastes open up. From oak and vanilla to some peppery spices — and even a note of strawberry liquorice — Storm has it all.

Dewar’s Double Double 32-Year-Old

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? Dewar’s may be one of the most ubiquitous names in whisky, but you’ll only find this new bottling in Duty Free.

Smoky or sweet? It’s another sweet one, thanks to a four-step maturation process in ex-bourbon casks.

Tasting notes? If you can think of something sweet, it’ll be in the bottle. Honey? Check. Golden Syrup? Absolutely. Toffee? You betcha. Also, green fruits, malt and floral notes to finish.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Dewar’s Double Double 32-Year-Old

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Wemyss Malts Caol Ila 1983 ‘Smoky Nectar’

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? Wemyss Malts (pronounced ‘Weems’) are a family-owned blending company based in Edinburgh.

Smoky or sweet? As the name suggests, there’s a little of both in this bottling — but predominantly smoky.

Tasting notes? On the nose, almond milk and lemon juice. Once you take a sip, expect honeysuckle, sweetened jasmine and nettle tea — before the taste gives way to a lingering earthy note and touch of pine.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Wemyss Malts Caol Ila 1983 ‘Smoky Nectar’

£296.95

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Ardbeg Drum

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? The south coast of the isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides group of islands.

Smoky or sweet? We couldn’t say one. Instead, try ‘aromatic’ — thanks to the ex-rum casks in which the whisky has been rested.

Tasting notes? The roll of flavours in this particular Drum begin with woodsmoke and seaspray, before ripe banana and pineapple take centre stage. Then, before the long, smoky finish, comes lavender, liquorice, vanilla and rich dark chocolate.

Auchentoshan Three Wood

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? The west of Scotland. Distilled in Dalmuir, Auchentoshan is nicknamed ‘Glasgow’s Malt Whisky’, given its proximity to the city.

Smoky or sweet? Little of either, but sweetness swings it on this one.

Tasting notes? This is a sipping whisky, if ever we tasted one. Take your time with the flavours, and you’ll nose blackcurrants, brown sugar and oranges, before enjoying an intense, complex palate of fruit syrup and raisins. For the finish? A long-lasting oaky sweetness.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Auchentoshan Three Wood

£40.25

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Ailsa Bay Sweet Smoke

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? You’ll find Ailsa Bay is in the Lowlands, on the Clyde coast looking out towards Ailsa Craig, Kintyre, and Arran.

Smoky or sweet? Ailsa Bay is actually the first whisky to have an analysed measurement of sweetness identified, thanks to a revolutionary process defined by Master Blender Brian Kinsman.

Tasting notes? This Sweet Smoke whisky replaces the version released in 2016, and it is both peatier and sweeter than its predecessor. Expect vanilla, orange and toffee — paired with slight smoke and oak.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Ailsa Bay Sweet Smoke

£54.95

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Compass Box Affinity

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? Using whiskies from Craigellachie Distillery in Speyside and a selection of Highland distilleries, Compass Box blend their bottles in Gunnersbury, West London.

Smoky or sweet? It’s a sweet one, albeit with a little tartness thrown in for the sake of complexity.

Tasting notes? Layers of apple marry beautifully with malty, vanilla and spice-like notes. Blended with Calvados, Affinity showcases the mouth-coating texture and ripe fragrance of this under appreciated spirit.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Compass Box Affinity

£99.95

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Mortlach 12-Year-Old

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Where’s it from? This entry point of the Mortlach range is distilled in Dufftown, in Scotland’s Moray region.

Smoky or sweet? Thanks to ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks being used during the ageing process, this bottling is all about the sweetness.

Tasting notes? On the nose, expect nutty fruit cake and candied ginger. Take a sip, and this will turn into rich toffee and brown sugar, with just a hint of spiced cinnamon rolls in there. Finally, you’ll be left with a charred sultana finish, and lingering tarte tatin taste.

These are the 10 best new whiskies of 2019

Mortlach 12-Year-Old

£50.75

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Further Reading