9 Top Shelf Global Drams For World Whisky Day
From familiar Scottish highland tipples to Japanese superstars and remarkable local pourings, these are the best whiskies from around the world.
While we never need an excuse to indulge in a dram or two, World Whisky Day serves as the perfect excuse to indulge a new bottle — or, to revisit an old (and preferably vintage) favourite.
Taking place Saturday May 20, World Whisky Day is an anticipated annual celebration of ‘the water of life’.
To that end, we’ve rounded up our favourite top shelf whiskies to try — from some familiar Scottish highlands tipples, to Japanese superstars and some exceptional local pourings.
The Balvenie, The Second Red Rose 21-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
A follow-up to the inaugural 2008 release aged in Port Pipes, The Second Red Rose was finished in Australian Shiraz casks. Shipped to Australia in 2021, it marks the first time The Balvenie has used red wines barrels to mature its whisky. A delicate yet nuanced nose reveals intense ripe fruits, mango, and subtle oak, while the palette opens with a fresh burst of blackberry and ripe peach complemented by woody spicy and soft oak.
$999 (700ml); nicks.com.au
Redbreast Whiskey, 27-Year-Old Single Pot Still Irish Whisky
Favoured by those in the know, this is the oldest permanent release in Redbreast’s collection — considered the archetypal expression of the Irish distillery’s take on the spirit. An indulgent release, the 27-year-old is defined by notes of mango, pineapple, blood orange, and ripe red berries with a touch of woods, spices, and fresh herbs. On the palette, the richness of stone fruits like red plums and black cherries is balanced by a hint of chilli oil.
$1149.99 (700ml); kentsteetcellars.com.au
Glenfiddich, Grand Cru 23-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
While Glenfiddich is best known for its Speyside expressions, the Grand Cru 23-Year-Old fuses the flavours of Scotland with those of France to create a celebratory and lush drinking experience. Apple blossom, freshly baked bread, and candied citrus is present on the nose, the palette defined by layers that include vanilla oak and brioche (true!), sandalwood and pear sorbet for what is, ultimately, a long, sweet finish.
$475.99 (700ml); danmurphys.com.au
Hibiki, 21-Year-Old Blended Japanese Whisky
Alongside its single malt offerings, distilling group Suntory also produces premium blended whiskies under Hibiki (meaning ‘harmony’ in Japanese). Elegant, sweet, and complex, the Hibiki 21-Year-Old Blended Japanese Whisky has a nose of caramelised nuts, blackcurrants, pears, vanilla, and rich sherry spice, tempered with a touch of acidity from lemon. On the palate, oak, dark cherry, and caramel reign supreme, balanced out by smoke and woody spice.
$1799.99 (700ml); kentstreetcellars.com.au
BenRiach, 35-Year-Old Deluxe Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Known for its singular take on Speyside whisky, BenRiach is one of the new distilleries with its own on-site malting floor. The BenRiach 35-Year-Old sees master blender Rachel Barrie make use of the distillery’s cask inventory amassed over the past century or so. The quintessential Speyside palette of apricots and papayas is paired with hints of golden syrup and milk chocolate, with a long finish that lingers on the tongue.
$1399.99 (700ml); kentstreetcellars.com.au
Glendronach, 28-Year-Old 1993 Cask 7101 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Matured in a single Oloroso Sherry Puncheon cask, this 28-Year-Old single malt was distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2022. The maturation process imbues the drop with a nuanced nose of walnut oil, dark honey, nuts, beeswax, while on the palette are flavours of oloroso, plum, and sultanas, with a touch of cinnamon and walnuts.
$1100, 700ml; danmurphys.com.au
The Macallan, 25-Year-Old Sherry Oak Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Matured in Oloroso sherry seasoned oak casks for 25 years, this favoured and wonderful single malt is characterised by richness and complexity — with flavours of vanilla, dried fruits, ginger spice, and smoky woods for an elongated finish.
$5000 (700ml); danmurphys.com.au
The Singleton of Glen Ord, 40-Year-Old
Limited to 1716 bottles globally, The Singleton 40-Year-Old is equal parts bold and indulgent. The liquid sees the Scottish distillery’s finest 12-Year-Old whiskies undergo a 28-year-long secondary maturation, ending in a finish in precious solera casks of Zacapa XO and Zacapa Royal. Characterised by rich layers of pears, dark chocolate, caramelised tropical fruits, and a touch of black pepper, it’s an undeniably decadent expression.
$5149.79 (700ml); masterofmalt.com
Lark Distillery Tokay 100 Rare Cask Release
Proving you needn’t leave Australian shores to experience rare and remarkable whisky, the Lark Distillery Tokay 100 Rare Cask is inspired by the hedonistic spirit of the 1920s. A celebration of Tasmanian whisky and just what we can do in this country, it features single malt aged in barrels that once held Seppeltsfield Tokay. The result is a smooth whisky that comes to life with notes of manuka honey and flavours of mocha and honeycomb with, unsurprisingly, a Tokay finish.
$1000 (700ml); larkdistillery.com
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