Fall 2020 Best Values: Old Overholt, Mars, Glenlivet

In each issue of Whisky Advocate, the editors select three great value bottles: whiskies with solid scores, modest prices, and wide availability. For the Fall 2020 issue, bottled in bond rye, Japanese blended whisky, and single malt scotch all ranked as Best Values.

For all whiskies reviewed in the Fall 2020 issue, check out the full Buying Guide.


Old Overholt Bottled in Bond Rye (2020 Edition)
91 points, 50% ABV, $25

This relaunched version of Old Overholt’s bonded rye is not chill-filtered, and it makes a noticeable difference. Aromas of cinnamon-sprinkled apple slices, toasted grain, spearmint and peppermint candies, and Cinnamon Life cereal carry into the palate, which balances oak and grain superbly: fresh mint, licorice, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cacao nibs, and walnuts. The vivacious spices almost pop in the mouth, but settle down into a satisfying finish of black pepper, cacao, mint, and well-integrated oak. Well-balanced without water, but a few drops serve it well. —Susannah Skiver Barton

Mars Iwai 45 Japanese Blended Whisky
90 points, 45% ABV, $35

Boosting the ABV gives this more versatility for whisky-based cocktails, but neat, there are aromas of honey, barley, exotic woods, ripening pear, box-fresh sneakers, citrus, and fruity acids, with the spices turned down low. A convoluted profile winds through vanilla, sugar cubes, and honey fudge, followed by pear, apricot, and a gentle crescendo of spice, before hitting a plateau of honey, breakfast cereal, nougat, and white chocolate to finish. —Jonny McCormick

Glenlivet 12 year old Double Oak Single Malt Scotch
88 points, 40% ABV, $45

The nose yields orange and lime, canned pineapple, and light caramel notes. Elegant, with some substance on the palate, with vanilla and brittle toffee underpinned by vibrant orchard fruits, honey, and milk chocolate. The finish features more milk chocolate, gentle oak, and ginger. —Gavin Smith

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