At Ape, we have a whole lot of time for those who do matters effectively – those who really don’t slash corners and who invest that little bit extended to get a thing just right. That applies to the watches we put on and the clothes we buy so why should not that implement to the spirits we drink? Even with the inevitable resulting chaos from the pandemic which shall not be named, 2020 has been very a calendar year for whisky releases in individual distillers have performed their component to continue to keep us all sane but not so sober.
Really do not get us completely wrong – we have pretty higher specifications when it comes to the whisky in our glass. Typically scouring the 4 corners of Scotland for the greatest bottlings on the industry, the Ape staff is aware a very good malt when we see (or drink) it. In that spirit (the puns conclusion here, promise), we have picked out the whiskies – and the sites you can locate them – that we’ll be restocking up on this 12 months.
Greatest New Make Spirit
Winner: Lindores Abbey New Make Spirit, 63.5%
Now, this is not a whisky award for each se (superior commence, correct?). “New make” is the extremely-large-evidence, very clear spirit that fills oak casks to finally experienced into whisky. This is the raw spirit which will decide the fashion of a distillery’s upcoming whisky get this erroneous and no cask can resolve it.
A excellent new make is consequently a indication of possibly outstanding whisky to arrive and boy, does the fruity and nutty new make from Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife fill us with confidence that they have a cracking malt on the way.
Finest Whisky Less than £50
Winner: Bunnahabhain 12 yr old Solitary Malt, 46.3%
It would be wrong to take into account this a “budget” category. Let’s be genuine, the whole adage that whisky has to be obscenely outdated and pricy to be excellent is nonsense. It’s what is in the bottle that matters and we usually locate that you rarely go improper with Bunnahabhain from the north-jap shores of Islay.
Their 12 12 months previous is liquid evidence that Islay whisky does not have to be laden with smoke and ash (we’re wanting at you, Ardbeg) this unpeated dram is loaded and nutty but nevertheless has a very slight sea salty note which nods to Bunna’s maritime heritage. We could (and normally do) consume this a single all night.
Most effective Whisky Beneath £100
Winner: Highland Park 18 12 months Previous Single Malt, 43%
Now, this was an particularly difficult classification to judge. We uncover that pushing the boat out to £100 provides an overpowering range of respectable malts to select from, together with a wholesome handful of perfectly-aged bottlings. We narrowed this down to 3 drams and since we acquire this portion of our job below at Ape quite seriously, we tried every single one particular a couple periods just to make confident that we created the proper final decision.
In the stop, we unanimously arrived at Highland Park’s 18 yr aged from the Orkney Islands. Distilled from barley carefully smoked with area island peat turned by hand, this whisky was then matured in rich and dry European oak sherry casks remaining to slumber away on the islands till adulthood. The final result? Heather honey sweetness fulfills peat smoke and ends with a person hell of a prolonged, warming complete.
Ideal Whisky Above £100
Winner: Tomatin Decades II Single Malt 46%
As a lot as we appreciate superior whisky, it would possibly have to be a spectacularly fantastic or horrifically lousy working day for us to drop anything at all north of £100 on a bottle of malt. Nevertheless, these kinds of occasions do arise and pointless to say, our anticipations are that bit greater when it comes to the liquid in the glass.
We did, having said that, find a worthy winner in A long time II by Highland Distillery Tomatin. This is a “marriage” of 21 casks distilled in selected classic decades over just about every of the very last five many years, from refill bourbon casks from the early seventies and oloroso sherry butts from the eighties via to French oak barrels laid down as just lately as 2013.
We have so a great deal respect for what Tomatin have done listed here they could have simply bottled the oldest casks on their own and marked them up with eye watering charges. As a substitute, they have paid tribute to staff customers who have worked at the distillery over the past five decades by mixing stand-out casks from the last 50 decades alongside one another, every a respectful nod to a way of distilling that can not be replicated ever again.
On the palate, bourbon, sherry and verdejo wine casks have arrive together harmoniously to produce a instead floral and fruity dram rounded off by this kind of a prolonged, waxy finish – a genuinely beautiful whisky.
Greatest New Distillery
Winner: Glasgow Distillery
Setting up a new distillery is infamously pricey, hard and not a job for the impatient. Immediately after all, spending a couple of million on shiny copper stills and casks and then getting to hold out quite a few several years before your item is completely ready, unsurprisingly puts even the most entrepreneurial minds off the thought.
However, some persist and definitely toss the kitchen sink at it. In 2014, The Glasgow Distillery Co opened Glasgow’s to start with distillery in effectively around 100 many years and took its title from the authentic Glasgow Distillery Business which was established at Dundashill in 1770. This yr has been a notably huge 12 months for the upstart – a triple distilled single malt which has been thoroughly matured in virgin oak casks joined the core vary which features an award-successful peated launch.
We have been amazed with everything launched to date and have to commend the team at Glasgow for bottling their malts at natural color and no cost of chill filtration. In other phrases, they have determined to do this whisky thing appropriately. Component in their heroic endeavours in turning their distilling prowess to manufacturing hand sanitiser for area hospitals amidst the existing crisis and we believe they are far more than deserving of our Most effective New Distillery award.
Finest Whisky – Overall Winner
Winner: Tamdhu Dalbeallie Dram No. 3 Solitary Malt, 60.7%
Staying lucky more than enough to try so quite a few stunning drams is both equally a blessing and a curse the latter manifesting alone in an obligation to pick our in general favorite malt for 2020.
That tough job, however, was produced infinitely less difficult at the time we have been presented a blind dram of this year’s successful whisky. Blood crimson in colour, buttery on the nose and spicy on the palate, our major prize experienced to go to the third batch launch of Tamdhu’s Dalbeallie Dram.
It is no great solution that the Ape team have a wee little bit of a soft location for this fashion of whisky (mid-wintertime fireplace drams, so to speak) but we all agreed that the Dalbeallie is potentially the finest illustration of heavily sherried Scotch we experienced found in a long time. Bottled at a natural strength of no considerably less than a whopping 60.7% abv, this syrupy and weighty Speysider is not just one we’ll neglect in a hurry.