Top 10 best new whiskeys released in 2021

So 2021 had to be the year that was better than 2020. How did that go for us? As the global pandemic continues, whiskey companies have remained undeterred. As in 2020, the difficult climate has inspired many of them to bring us some of their best releases from the past few years.

Here we take a look at 10 of the new whiskeys that have been making waves this year for a variety of reasons.

But when 2021 bottling

When you think of whiskey, you may not think of North Wales. But something is moving there, and this bottling holds great promise. While this isn’t their first release, this is the first to be available to a wider audience and perfectly showcase what the distillery is all about.

Young and vibrant with an intriguing blend of casks used during maturation, this whiskey is designed to give people a taste of the liquid. Many new distilleries set a premium price on bottlings and pitch for the connoisseur. Aber Falls does the opposite. The budget price and healthy distribution reflect this. A nice whiskey and a bargain.

Buy now at Master Of Malt

Benriach malt season (first edition)

This much-underrated Speyside distillery has always been an innovator in the Scotch single malt category. With three different spirits coming out of the stills, combined with a multitude of barrel types from around the world used for maturation, the choices are endless.

This new whiskey is a true labor of love. Made only with barley malt in the distillery, this is a rarity. Only seven distilleries in Scotland produce their own malt and Benriach is the most recent to adopt this time-consuming traditional practice. The result: a whiskey with an incredible depth of aroma, taste and structure.

Buy now at The Whiskey Exchange

Cotswolds Bourbon Cask

The Cotswolds distillery has continued to expand its award-winning range of single malts this year (they also make an excellent gin). This whiskey is the latest to join their core range and is produced with barley grown in the Cotswolds. The aging has taken place in ex-bourbon barrels made from American white oak and these show the spirit in its purest form.

Delicious notes of honey, vanilla and white chocolate mingle with oat cookies and green apple. It’s cask strength (a whopping 59.1% ABV), non-chill filtered and natural color, so plenty of pockets for connoisseurs.

Buy now at Cotswolds Distillery

Glenmorangie A story about winter

The well-known single malt distillery in the northern Highlands has conjured a real cracker out of the hat with this whiskey. This is the second bottling in an annual series and follows last year’s stunning A Tale of Cake. That was inspired by the flavors in an inverted pineapple cake.

This year a whiskey is made to give the feeling of a warm and cozy woolly winter sweater and is partly aged in ex-Marsala wine casks from Sicily. A Tale of Winter is rich, sweet and luscious with lots of warming spices. Grab this limited edition while you still can – it’s like a comforting hug in a glass.

Buy now at Selfridges

Jameson Black Barrel Proof

This bottling is a high alcohol version of the popular Black Barrel from the best selling Irish whiskey brand, so named because it contains whiskeys aged in heavily charred ‘black’ casks. Black Barrel Proof (named after the ancient proof system for measuring alcohol volume) is a limited edition, bottled at 50% ABV and features the same heavily charred barrels in the recipe.

This is a whiskey bursting with flavor – imagine vanilla, golden syrup and exotic fruit with a generous pinch of woody spice. The increased alcohol content impresses, but exaggerates the characteristics to a new level.

Buy now at Jameson

Jura Rum Cask Finish

The Hebridean island of Jura is not the first place you would associate with the word ‘tropical’. That said, palm trees grow thanks to the Gulf Stream. This whiskey gives a distinct tropical atmosphere thanks to the finish in ex-rum casks from the Caribbean. The marriage between two seemingly very different island cultures works very well.

Sniffs of Jura’s signature soft peat smoke subtly wrap around notes of sweet, overripe and juicy tropical fruit from those exquisite rum casks. This is a sunny, cheerful whiskey that will instantly transport you back to warmer summer days.

Buy now at The Whiskey Exchange

Robin Pedro Ximenez Finish

Irish whiskey is booming and we have seen many new distilleries and brands pop up over the past five years. But the renaissance has also helped establish established names and Redbreast has been one of the main beneficiaries. The copper pot still brand has rapidly expanded its core range, with this Pedro Ximenez Finish being the latest. A new sub-series known as the Iberian Series has been formed to address this.

Pedro Ximenez is a sweet dessert style of sherry and the barrels have intense notes of raisins, treacle toffee and bitter marmalade added to the fruity and spicy character of Redbreast. A triumph.

Buy now at Master Of Malt

Smokehead Twisted Stout

Accompanying a beer with a glass of whiskey has long been an enjoyable and traditional pastime. In Scotland it is called a ‘hauf an a hauf’, or whiskey chaser in the United States. But rarely have the two collided within one product. In recent years, a handful of new whiskeys have been released after maturing in old beer barrels, and this is the latest.

Smokehead is a bold peaty single malt from an undisclosed Islay distillery and this new addition to the core range is aged in ex-stout casks. Twisted Stout is rich, smoky and savory with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Fantastic.

Buy now at Smokehead

Starward left field

For our penultimate whiskey we go to the southern hemisphere and Australia. Many people don’t realize that the Australian whiskey industry has been around and winning awards since the 1980s, mainly from Tasmania. But the last decade has seen a burst of new craft distilleries on the mainland and Melbourne’s Starward is leading the way.

This single malt combines two of Australia’s best exports: craft whiskey and red wine. Left-Field matures entirely in ex-Cabernet, ex-Pinot Noir and ex-Shiraz casks sourced from the Barossa and Yarra Valley wine regions. Delicious neat or mixed in a cocktail.

Buy now from Amazon

TOAD Red Red Rye

The Oxford Artisan Distillery (or TOAD as it is affectionately known) is one of the true pioneers of the burgeoning English whiskey scene. Red Red Rye was bottled for the distillery’s fourth anniversary and is made using historic rye varieties previously lost to agricultural history. They were harvested in the fall of 2017 from fields just seven miles away and blended with a small percentage of traditional wheat and barley varieties.

The resulting rye whiskey was matured in an intriguing combination of ex-bourbon casks, then ex-sherry and finally ex-port casks. A supercharged explosion of flavour.

Buy now at The Oxford Artisan Distillery

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