Starting a whiskey collection is one thing. You add bottles here and there as you go. But buying an official whiskey collection is another endeavor entirely. Every year, big names in the spirits industry release full-on collections of whiskeys. These are not for the novice. Going all in on a whiskey collection often means spending thousands — sometimes tens of thousands — of dollars for extremely rare and unique collection whiskeys that you’ll likely never see again.
So where do you even start with a task like this? I’d argue that you start slowly and do a ton of research. And that research starts right now.
Below, I’m calling out four current whiskey collections that broadly represent whiskey as a category and are full of some pretty goddamn tasty bottles. We’ll be looking at one collection from the U.S. and three from Scotland (there are so many more, but we have to start somewhere). When looking at price, it’s important to remember that even with an inflated secondary market for rare and collectible whiskeys in the U.S., it’s nowhere near the level in price or rarity of Scotch whisky. You have to remember that the bourbons and ryes on this list are inflated prices (I list MSRPs too, for clarity). Whereas the Scotch whisky on this list is the actual suggested retail price without that secondary markup from retailers.
Pricing semantics aside, I curated this list to offer you some dream scenarios when buying a whisk(e)y collection. If you want to start with a significantly softer landing, I love recommending the Westward Whiskey: Columbia Collection, seen below.
This collection is a great place to dip your toes into the world of tasting a whiskey collection. It’s very unique American single malt from a great craft distiller. Plus, it’s only two bottles and you can get it right now for only $164. That’s not nothing, but I assure you — when you see the next prices it’s going to feel like a breeze.
Now let’s dive into the heavy hitters!
Check Out Our Best of Whiskey Lists for 2023:
COLLECTION #1: Glenfiddich Grand Series
This collection is a small grouping of 20-plus-year-old Glenfiddich releases all with their own unique finish. The unpeated malt in each of these whiskies is a stellar example of how good older whisky can be when massaged in just the right ways by a finished barrel.
Total Price: ≈ $2,430
Glenfiddich Gran Reserva Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 21 Years
Average Price: $188
Rum casks and sweet single malts are a great match. This whisky starts by mellowing for 21 years in ex-bourbon casks before that whisky is transferred to Caribbean rum barrels for a final rest. That whisky is then blended and proofed down for bottling.
Nose: This is very “perfume” driven on the nose with plenty of sticky toffee pudding — the dates, nutmeg, toffee, vanilla, everything — leading to a hint of cherry bark and old leather.
Palate: The palate has a thin line of cream soda with more of that floral perfume, woody cinnamon apple, and a bit of sultana and prunes.
Finish: The finish leans into the florals and honey as a waft of freshly baked banana bread floats past and the creaminess amps up towards a kind of a Key lime pie vibe.
This is a lovely and subtle pour of unpeated single malt. There’s a nice sense of bourbon that’s accented by rumminess that’s more like a concentrated rum perfume than a pull off a rum bottle. Overall, this is a slow sipper that sings over a large rock.
Glenfiddich Grand Cru Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 23 Years
Average Price: $260
It’s all in the name of this yearly special release from Glenfiddich. The whisky in the bottle matures for over 23 years in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks before it’s vatted and then filled into French Cuvée casks that held champagne. That whisky is then cut down to proof and bottled just in time for the holiday season, rounding out the Grand Reserve yearly collection.
Nose: This is straight-up classic malt on the nose with stewed apples and pears with a slight tartness and floral impression over a buttery brioche with a hint of maple woodiness.
Palate: The palate is lush and supple with a vanilla foundation and layers of pear candy, old toffees, creamed honey, and orchard wood with a sweet side.
Finish: The end has a pear and apple skin ambiance that leads to barks, cores, and stems with soft floral honey and a tiny bit of proofing water.
This is quintessential unpeated malt from top to bottom. This is the pour you hand to someone who wants the best but also the most comforting pour of whisky. There are no rough edges and every moment of this pour will feel like going home again.
Glenfiddich Grande Couronne Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 26 Years
Average Price: $529
Glenfiddich Grande Couronne spends over 25 years resting in ex-bourbon casks. Once those casks are selected and vatted, the new whisky goes into super rare French cognac casks for a final rest before vatting, proofing, and bottling.
Nose: That French oak presents on the nose with a rush of vanilla bean, soft brioche, and a deep and caramelized apple tarte tatin with plenty of woody winter spice and soft buttery pastry.
Palate: A hint of almond, a touch of pear, and a whisper of espresso cream dance on the palate as the caramel and apple from the tarte tatin play with soft and sweet oakiness that’s just kissed by pipe tobacco.
Finish: That soft oak delivers a touch of an old wine cellar as the gentle tobacco takes on notes of pear and apple with a soft cinnamon, nutmeg, and cedar vibe at the very end.
This is a subtle and delicious whisky. It’s like a walk through a Parisian boulangerie just as the pastries are coming out of the oven. It’s delicate and divine as a sipper.
Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura Aged 29 Years Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $1,453
This brand-new limited edition from Glenfiddich is their first foray into Japanese barrel finishing. After 29 years (!) in American oak and re-fill oak, the whisky is vatted and refilled into an ex-Awamori cask — an Okinawan rice spirit of sorts — for another nine months of mellowing. Those barrels were then batched and bottled with a hint of proofing water.
Nose: The nose is immediately amazing with deep notes of caramelized orange and grapefruit peels rolled in roasted almonds, allspice, and salt with a hint of confectioner’s sugar leading to this toffee maltiness and dark leathery fruitiness just kissed with creamy vanilla/chocolate before a hint of dried savory herbs sneaks in with a touch of old oak.
Palate: That ultra creamy vanilla and toffee lean into that soft oakiness and caramelized maltiness with a hint of green apple tartness and old wicker baskets full of tree barks next to date tobacco and salted caramel chocolate ganache.
Finish: That tobacco takes on a sticky toffee pudding and mincemeat pie vibe as the creaminess just keeps getting creamier on the long spice malt finish.
This might be the best Glenfiddich of the modern era. It’s so deep, nuanced, unique, surprising, and inviting. There’s so much going on with this one, so take your time and really dive deep when tasting/sipping. Add water as needed, go back in, and let it take you on a journey.
COLLECTION #2: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2023
This is pretty much the most sought-after collection of American whiskeys in the 21st century. The five whiskeys from the famed Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, are truly special small batches of the distillery’s best barrels from four of their iconic brands.
The ripple here is that these whiskeys are rarely found at their suggested retail price. That makes finding these whiskeys a journey in and of itself.
Total Price: $625 (MSRP)/$7,921 (secondary retail)
George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Proof
Average Price: $1,199
2023’s batch of George T. Stagg was distilled in the spring of 2008 and left to rest in warehouses C, I, K, L, and M around the Frankfort Buffalo Trace campus. After 15 long years of rest, the barrels were batched and bottled 100% as-is at cask strength.
Nose: The nose opens with a classic sense of Cherry Coke, old leather tobacco pouches, and rich buttercream made with real vanilla next to fall leaves in an orchard and then this sense of Neoplotian ice cream creeps in that leans toward the strawberry and chocolate ice cream part.
Palate: The palate opens with a deep sense of an apple orchard on a cold fall day with leaves underfoot next to deeply-seeded dark cherry, cinnamon bark, clove buds, and allspice berries with a sense of the Neopolitan ice cream popping up again late.
Finish: The creamy vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry drive the finish back toward the old orchards, fall leaves, rickhouse floors, and soft cherry-spiced tobacco leaves rolled with cedar and smudging sage with a nice warming Kentucky hug on the very end.
This is an excellent barrel-proof whiskey that goes far beyond the ABV bombs that the brand is known for. There’s real nuance here — if you take your time with it by adding water and taking your time while tasting. If you’re skittish, pour this over a big rock and enjoy the bold AF ride.
Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey 18 Years Old
Average Price: $1,799
2023’s Sazerac is a “collection of rye whiskey barrels” that were filled in both the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005, making this an 18-year-old rye with a touch of 19-year-old juice. Those barrels spent all of those years on the Buffalo Trace campus in warehouses K, L, and M before batching, proofing, and bottling otherwise as-is.
Nose: Leathery spice barks draw you in on the nose with a deep sense of rye bread crusted with aniseed, clove-studded oranges, and a hint of sweet pear.
Palate: Classic notes of dark winter spice mingle with black pepper, cumin, and chili pepper powder on the palate as candied BBQ pork and new leather lead to a vanilla-laden mid-palate with a soft oakiness.
Finish: That soft oakiness leads to a light and fresh honey sweetness with a light sense of pine and cinnamon bark dipped in hot apple cider with a hint of barrelhouse lurking behind it all.
This is an excellent American rye whiskey. The lower proof means that you can dive right in with a neat pour and really revel in the deep and pronounced flavor profile. Then make a killer Manhattan or Sazerac with this one. They’ll be fantastic cocktails.
William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Proof
Average Price: $1,975
This is Buffalo Trace’s classic wheated bourbon. 2023’s Weller BTAC was distilled back in the spring of 2011 and left to rest in warehouses C, L, M, and N for 12 long years. Those barrels were batched and this whiskey was bottled 100% as-is at cask strength.
Nose: Deep and dark candied black cherry mingles with dry cedar bark, molasses, real vanilla beans, nutty brown butter, and old leather rolled in pipe tobacco and just kissed with smoldering sage and dry chili pepper flakes.
Palate: The palate opens with a full blast of ABVs, making the front of your tongue tingle, as floral honey, cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream, and brown butter streusel cut with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove lead to a hint of dry orange tobacco.
Finish: Cinnamon sticks and clove buds floating in maple syrup arrive on the finish with a sense of old leather boots, the oak in an old rickhouse, orchard barks, and soft notes of vanilla and cherry cake.
This is the best of the best when talking about the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection from 2023. This is just astoundingly delicious whiskey — bourbon or not.
Thomas H. Handy Straight Rye Whiskey Barrel Proof
Average Price: $749
2023’s Handy is straight rye (oddly “Kentucky” is missing from the label) comprised of barrels aged for over six years. Once those barrels were batched, this whiskey went into the bottles 100% as-is at cask strength.
Nose: Leathery orange rinds and hints of lemon poppyseed cake pop on the nose along with sappy pine bark, salted caramel, and cumin- and chili-laced leathery tobacco.
Palate: Dark rye bread appears on the front of the palate with a hint of molasses sweetness before the ABVs create a buzzing on the tongue with deep and dark orange marmalade, piney honey, soft vanilla oils, and a hint of potpourri leatheriness on the mid-palate.
Finish: That potpourri vibe mellowing fades on the finish as vanilla and star fruit arrive with a sense of dried chili and star anise hint at black licorice and sarsaparilla bark on the dry end.
This is one of the best Handy releases since the late aughts. It’s very unique and floral-forward, so take your time and find your place in the profile, and then revel in that moment. You’ll be rewarded with a unique and delicious pour of whiskey.
Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 17 Years Old
Average Price: $2,199
This year’s Eagle Rare ended up being 19 years and three months old (the “17 Years” on the label denotes the youngest barrels used for the brand overall). This year’s release was distilled and barreled back in the spring of 2004 and then left to rest all those years around the Buffalo Trace campuses in warehouses C, I, K, M, and Q. Once the barrels were batched, the whiskey was proofed and bottled as-is otherwise.
Nose: The nose is like eating a moist and perfectly balanced Black Forest cake while walking through an old barrel house and out into a fallow fruit orchard with fall leaves crunchy underfoot and rain barely misty the air with hints of cinnamon cake, smudging sage, and sweetgrass rounding things out.
Palate: Orange cake and salted caramel lead on the palate with a sense of dark chocolate tobacco moving the mid-palate toward dry roasting herbs and a touch of nuttiness.
Finish: Cinnamon sticks and nutmeg pop up on the finish with a hint of vanilla buttercream and eggnog before the spices dry out with a sense of mince meat pie and old leather tobacco pouches.
This is the quintessential Kentucky bourbon. This is the stuff you pour for a pro when they want a perfect bourbon pour. It also makes an incredible old fashioned.
COLLECTION #3: The Dalmore Cask Curation Series
This new collection from The Dalmore is a masterclass on how Spanish sherry can influence single malt (and how to do it right). These whiskies are like a Ph.D. course in whisky while still holding onto being 100% delicious.
Total price: $37,500 (set of three)
The Dalmore Cask Curation Series The Sherry Edition Aged 26 Years Finished in Tare González Byass 2002 Vintage Cask no. 4
Average Price: $37,500 (set of three)
This new release is the youngest of three elite whiskies that The Dalmore is dropping. This very limited edition bottle is hewn from The Dalmore’s iconic malt that spent years aging in ex-bourbon casks. The whisky was batched and then re-barreled into a González Byass 2002 Vintage Sherry Cask (Cask #4) for years more of aging until just right. The final product was bottled 100% as-is to highlight the beauty of that finishing barrel on classic The Dalmore.
Nose: The nose draws you in with a bright sense of caramelized oranges, fresh floral honey, and ripe off-the-vine apricots with a deep sense of rich vanilla pods, dry cacao, and fresh almonds with a hint of cherry syrup.
Palate: Raisin-heavy spiced cakes are cut with bright orange zest on the palate as cherry syrup leads to almond cookies cut with vanilla oils and a sense of sultanas baking in the hot sun.
Finish: There’s a buttery sense of a fresh croissant on the finish next to creamy espresso for sipping, ginger rock candy, and lush vanilla cake cut with more orange oil, almond, and poppy seed.
This is one of the lightest and freshest The Dalmores in a while. The soft brightness of the Spanish sherry oak shifts this whisky to something unique and kind of new. It’s wildly bright with a soft sweetness that transports you to a sunny vineyard in Spain with grapes fermenting on the stem all around you as you sip a subtly delectable single malt.
The Dalmore Cask Curation Series The Sherry Edition Aged 28 Years Finished in Very Rare Gonzalez Byass 30-year-old Matusalem Sherry Cask
Average Price: $37,500 (set of three)
This whisky starts off with The Dalmore’s ex-bourbon-cask-aged single malt. That whisky was then transferred into a 30-year-old Matusalem Oloroso Sherry, which is a dark, sweet, and spicy sherry with plummy depths. After a long rest, the whisky was bottled at cask strength to let all those dark sherry notes shine in the whisky.
Nose: Black-tea-soaked dates, old leathery prunes, and rum-soaked raisins drive the nose toward black licorice ropes, dark and creamy honey with a hint of summer flowers, and a bright burst of star fruit with a deep sense of bourbon vanilla beneath it all.
Palate: Mincemeat pies and sticky toffee pudding (cut with orange zest and salted toffee) drive the lush palate toward bold marmalade, brandy-soaked pears cut with marzipan, and more of that black licorice with a hint of absinth candy.
Finish: Black cherries soaked in brandy and dipped in salted dark chocolate arrive late on the finish with a sense of sasparilla bark, dark molasses, and more of that mince meat pie vibe next to candied orange tobacco and whispers of cedar.
This feels like The Dalmore turned up to MAX volume. If you’re a fan of the distillery, this will be a delight for your senses. It’s deep and dark Christmas-y malt that’s layered with dark, sweet, and spicy sherry that feels black and syrupy. Pour this over a single rock and you’ll be set for sipping all year long.
The Dalmore Cask Curation Series The Sherry Edition Aged 43 Years Finished in Very Rare Gonzalez 30-year-old Apostoles Sherry Cask
Average Price: $37,500 (set of three)
This long-aged version takes whisky that spends decades resting in ex-bourbon and batches it. That whisky is then refilled into a 30-year-old Apostoles sherry cask, which is a very sweet, spicy, and plummy sherry with deep woody depths. Once just right, the whisky was bottled at cask strength 100% as-is.
Nose: Summer honeycombs piled with bright and fresh oranges greet you on the nose with a sense of fire-roasted chestnuts, fresh raisins, sultanas, meaty dates, and a deep sense of bourbon vanilla with a touch of almond oil.
Palate: The vanilla gets vibrant and rich on the front of the palate as sweet orange binds with dark chocolate just flaked with salt next to huckleberry, black currant, and grapefruit pith with a flutter of oaky tobacco.
Finish: Apricot jam over a sweet and soft scone with a buttery edge drives the finish toward a more juicy orange cut with sharp cinnamon, chocolate, and sea salt next to grilled pineapple studded with cloves and nutmeg.
This is a magical pour of whisky that somehow holds onto its bright and cheery youth while delivering some of the deepest flavor notes possible. It’s a completely unique The Dalmore experience with a deep sense of a warm day in Spain softly layered with delectable single malt.
COLLECTION #3: Diageo Prima & Ultima 2023
The Diageo Prima & Ultima 2023 Collection is a mix of Diageo single malts from iconic and extinct distilleries around Scotland. The whiskies are made from barrels that were lost to time, looked after by Scotch whisky legends, and some of the most unique casks that have ever existed from actual bygone eras.
This collection is not for the light of heart. There are whiskies in this grouping that we will never see again. That means that you really have to be committed to paying some serious scratch to be part of it.
Total Price: ≈ $48,000
Brora Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1977
Average Price: $14,999
This whisky from Brora — a Highland distillery that was dormant from 1983 to 2021 — is a true throwback to a different era. The whisky was made from the last hogsheads that were filled on December 15th, 1977, marking the last whiskies made at the distillery from the “Age of Peat”. That makes this very rare bottling a peek into whiskies that simply aren’t made anymore.
Nose: The nose opens with a soft sense of a beeswax candle next to baby oil, soft milky toffees, and a touch of salted sugar candy with a whisper of soft fireplace smoke lurking far in the background.
Palate: That baby oil softens the palate as the smoke kicks up from that fireplace with a sense of woody spice barks and cedar shreds next to a soft ginger-spiced apple cake with a touch of red pepper flakes adding warmth to the tongue.
Finish: The ginger kicks up on the end with a candied vibe before soft dry mushrooms and firewood bark lead to a soft chewing tobacco kissed with sharp spearmint, old oak, and more of those spice barks.
This is a pretty amazing pour of whisky. The smoky peat is so dialed back and reminiscent of a home hearth that you almost don’t even register that it’s peated. It’s homey and lush with a nice spice to remind you that you’re alive.
Clynelish Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1996
Average Price: $2,199
Clynelish is known for consistency. That makes this special release unique in that it’s the last of its kind. It’s a batching of two experimental casks from the brand’s warehouses — Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry oak — that were filled back in 1996.
Nose: The nose is so soft and supple with a touch of orange and grapefruit oils leading to a whisper of softly polished wood with this deeply hidden sense of smoke coming off a freshly snuffed vanilla candle wick.
Palate: The palate is lush and almost viscous with a deep sense of apples fresh off the tree next to burnt toffee rolled in almonds and dusted with French vanilla chocolate powder and kissed with a moment of dried ancho chili powder that’s almost smoldering.
Finish: The finish veers into the spiced chili curve with a sense of bright red chili before a punch of salt arrives to calm everything down toward that burnt toffee, soft vanilla candle wick, and moments of vanilla chocolate tobacco flakes just touched by flame.
This a mind-bending pour of Scotch whisky. It all somehow makes sense but you just have to go with it. Adding drops of water will really open up the candle, vanilla, and apple toffee with a creamy sense of all three. Take your time and this one will reward you.
Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1997
Average Price: $2,899
These are the last barrels from the “Golden Year” at Lagavulin. Filled in 1997, this is the last whisky made and barreled by whisky legend Mike Nicolson. The bottling is a throwback to a different time for Lagavulin as a distillery, kind of like an oak time machine to the past.
Nose: This nose is bold and peated AF with a sense of old Ace bandages that have just caught on fire next to a tire yard before mellowing toward birch water-soaked acacia in a smoldering campfire while a pot of green boils over the spitting and sputtering flames with a touch of sea breeze and rock candy rounding things out.
Palate: The silken palate leads you to soft notes of dirty carrots and parsnips with a sense of salted rock candy, seawater-soaked logs on a smoky campfire, and burning roasting herbs that have been soaked in beef tallow.
Finish: That campfire smoke goes from blue to white to clear as the flames kick up and wood turns to coal in the dirt below with a fleeting sense of salted sweet carrots, old burnt steak bones, and soft notes of the sea breeze through orchard trees.
This is the Lagavulin of yore, folks. It’s bold, brash, meaty, funky, salty, and smoky. You want to eat a steak off the flame when drinking this stuff. This is haggis with a side of neeps and tatties sipping whisky. I know it’s an old chestnut, but this is the sort of whisky that puts hair on your chest.
Pittyvaich Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1992
Average Price: $1,995
PIttyvaich closed for good in 1993. This whisky was made with the last butts of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso left. That means that this will be the last Pittyvaich 30-Year released.
Nose: Dark fruits — cherry, prune, currant, raspberry — are soaked in mulled wine and dark and spicy sherry on the nose with a sense of dark spiced Christmas cakes with minced meat, orange oils, and vanilla paste lurking the background next to a touch of creamy chocolate that’s almost stale.
Palate: Those dark sherry-soaked fruits drive the palate toward dry red wine that’s oaky and tobacco-filled next to soft chocolate that’s just kissed with cinnamon and red chili flakes before a moment of brioche and marmalade sneaks in.
Finish: The peppery tobacco kicks up on the finish as the mulled wine spices and dark fruits stew toward a soft winter cake with plenty of minced meat and almost rumminess before brandy-soaked cherries dipped in dark chocolate layered with tobacco on the very end.
This is dark, spicy, and fruity whisky that shines as an after-dinner sipper, especially in colder months. It’s also the last of its kind, so maybe pour it sparingly.
Oban Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1996
Average Price: $1,699
This whisky is also the last of its kind. It’s made with the very last barrels filled in 1996 in Oban. The barrels used were refill European oak, adding a subtly to the aging over the decades.
Nose: A soft sense of a seaside amusement park draws you in on the nose — salt water taffy, buttery salt, freshly chucked oysters, candied apples, candied nuts — before a light sense of a faraway beach campfire with a touch of cinnamon tobacco lurks behind everything.
Palate: Stewed pear and candied apple are both dipped in sea salt as a hint of smoldering nori drives the taste toward gentle hints of old dock boards, lobster traps, and a hint of chili pepper floating over smoked oyster shells.
Finish: The end leans back toward the taffy with a hint of orange oils and beeswax before soft tobacco with a slight chew arrives with brandied pear and apple cut with soft cinnamon and nutmeg next to smoldering driftwood.
This is a soft and subtle peated malt. It’s very reminiscent of old days by the sea with sweets, seafood, and campfires trying to escape from a very deep memory in your mind.
Port Ellen Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1978
Average Price: $16,147
This whisky hails from the iconic Port Ellen Distillery on Islay, which just reopened in 2023. This whisky was made from the last four American oak hogsheads that were filled in 1978. Over all of those years, whisky legend Iain MacArthur tended to these barrels until they were just right for bottling.
Nose: There’s a moment of looking up a cold chimney flue at the top of the nose that leads toward walking down a sea-sprayed rock jetty as the fishing boats come in before soft and creamy fudge takes over with a good pinch of salt and a smear of wet coal draws the nose out.
Palate: The palate is almost oily — like a classic Islay peated malt — with a deep sense of smoked seaweed next to a beach fire stacked with old oyster and clam shells with dried red chilis smoldering nearby with a hint of Scotch broom wafting nearby.
Finish: That chili spice kicks up on the ned as the salty water calms the end down toward a touch of chewing tobacco, old sea stones, and linseed oil on old gloves.
This is a very acquired taste whisky. It’s a prime example of how unforgiving Islay peated malt used to be, and that’s what kind of makes it brilliant.
The Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1985
Average Price: $2,899
This whisky was made from barrels that were lost to time in an old Dufftown warehouse. The batch was made from the last The Singleton of Dufftown casks from 1985, closing the book on that era’s whiskies.
Nose: Stewed pears with saffron and soft apple sauce cut with nutmeg and cinnamon glide the nose toward a mix of almond and coconut rolled in oats, buttery pastry, and raisins as poached apricots and a hint of yellow melon skin arrive late.
Palate: The palate is lush and full of those stewed and poached fruits layered with spice barks and buds next to soft notes of slate before a hint of banana bread with walnuts and plenty of salted butter arrives.
Finish: The end gets even softer as the spice from the fruits and banana bread fades toward dry old oak staves with a hint of birchbark and an old wine cellar evokes a dry yet soft finish.
This is the most approachable whisky in 2023’s Prima & Ultima Collection. This is so easy to sip on its own while delivering a beautifully supple unpeated malt experience. Drop in a little water to find a creamy vanilla-forward depth.
Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1976
Average Price: $5,999
This is a special whisky is two ways. First, this was made during a once-in-a-lifetime heatwave that hit the Isle of Skye in 1976. This weather event made the still run too hot, which created a longer and broader contact between the copper and distillate. The whisky was barreled and left untouched for 46 years. This leads us to … Second, this is the oldest ever Talisker release to date.
Nose: The sea breeze is bottled on this nose in a way that transports you there instantly before leaning into old leather pouches that held dried prunes, apricots, and pears next to soft whisps of beachside campfire smoke over lava rocks with a nice sense of oyster liqueur and shallow pools full of sea life and florae nearby.
Palate: The palate is luxurious with a deep sense of sweet and spiced pear and plum next to a soft note of woody oaky spice and red peppercorn before salted leather and bivalves arrive with a note of smoked tinned oysters and sardines over a soft brioche with a light smear of whipped butter.
Finish: The pears, plums, and apricots get dry and smoked with a sweet/spicy vibe as the finish mellows toward soft oak soaked in seawater, piles of old clam nailed on driftwood fence, and a whisper of minty chewing tobacco.
This is a masterpiece. It’s the sort of whisky that opens your senses up to things long forgotten while deeply offering comfort.