Ten Highest Scoring Whiskies From the Summer 2022 Buying Guide

The Summer 2022 issue of Whisky Advocate is all about transporting you to the whisky destination of your dreams. Our cover story provides 10 great escapes for whisky lovers from the mountains of Utah to the Scottish countryside, each pairing gorgeous scenery with vacation-worthy whisky and cocktails. Elsewhere in the issue, we take you to historic St Andrews for a round of golf; to Colorado, where distillers are harnessing the Rocky Mountain water and elevation to produce a new class of craft spirits; and to California’s wine country, where innovation and a commitment to terrior have created a whisky destination unto itself.

Of course, a great whisky can transport you as well, and we have over 100 new reviews in the Summer 2022 Buying Guide. Compass Box Vellichor, for example, is meant to evoke the feeling of nostalgia one gets from reading an old book, and, at 94 points, it was named one of the issue’s most collectible whiskies. That whisky isn’t included in this list of high scorers, but you’ll find great tasting blends from Ireland and Scotland; single malts from India, Wales, and the U.S., and whiskies ranging in age from 6 to 47 years old, with quite a few in between.


The Last Drop 20 year old Blended Malt
96 points, 60%, $5,700

The nose is perfumed and ethereal, with flower blooms, light honey, vanilla, unpeeled clemen- tine, nectarine, and the first pour of oolong tea. Golden, sweet, and juicy on the palate, with golden sultana, vanilla essence, apricot, firm peach, and robust spices, becoming slightly jammy. Blending malts from Hanyu Distillery distilled 1980–2000 with other Japanese malt whiskies, this is a contender for standout Japanese whisky of the decade. (177 bottles)—Jonny McCormick

Midleton Silent Distillery Chapter 3 47 year old
95 points, 55.7%, $46,000

The nose is beautifully honeyed, with crisp spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander seed, supplanted by grated chocolate, seasoned oak, and peppercorn. Thick and unctuous, with honey, citrus, and clove-led spices, the velvety palate glides toward flavors of fruity dark chocolate. Spices are a constant throughout, the final flavors darting between black currant, oak, ginger loaf, and milk chocolate. This proves to be much more than just history in a bottle.—Jonny McCormick

Amrut Greedy Angels 12 year old Chairman’s Reserve
94 points, 60%, $2,000

Aromas of concentrated bramble, plum, sweet baked tarts, and aromatic spices, this bourbon cask-finished version pulls off decadence and effortless balance with aplomb. Sipped neat, it tastes like what you would imagine it feels like to bite into the color indigo. Given all the intensity and power, water helps to unlock notes of milk chocolate, latte, purple fruit skins, plum flesh, Brazil nut, and bitter plain chocolate. Rather special. (36 bottles for the U.S.)—Jonny McCormick

Valentine Distilling Co. 15 year old Mayor Pingree “Black Label”
93 points, 57%, $160

Upon first smell, rich milk chocolate fills the nose, alongside peanuts, peanut brittle, and raspberry jam. The palate balances bright red fruit alongside darker, deeper flavors—think dark-chocolate raspberry squares, chocolate- covered Bing cherries, and dark-roast coffee. There are richer flavors here, too, with butterscotch and an oaky component emerg- ing at the back end. A long-lasting finish that highlights more wood influence, some cocoa, and espresso luxuriously ties up this satisfying sipper. (684 bottles)—Julia Higgins

World Whiskey Society Japanese Mizunara Shochu Finished
93 points, 60%, $80

Super fruity up front with notes of mixed berries and raspberry sorbet. Water brings out lemon wafers, vanilla frosting, and raspberry danish on the nose. The palate is likewise fruity, with added notes of caramel and Red Hots. Sticky buns and grape jelly emerge with water, of which this can take plenty. The finish has more spicy cinnamon. A well-rounded bourbon with intricate flavor and enough proof to withstand water or ice. (20,000 bottles)—Ted Simmons

Bushmills 29 year old The Rare Casks 002 Pedro Ximénez Cask Finished
92 points, 53%, $750

After 17 years in the PX cask, the influence on flavor is irrefutable. Dates, figs, dried vine fruit, mixed peel, and rich sherry notes on the nose followed by black cherry, prune juice, licorice, and baking spices. A surprisingly sweet palate begins with cherry chocolate and raspberry backed by peppercorn and clove, with a syrupy mid-palate of stewed rhubarb and plum and a greater oak presence as the sweetness fades. (500 bottles)—Jonny McCormick

McCarthy’s 6 year old (Batch MC6-21-01)
92 points, 50%, $100

With a smoky nose reminiscent of a campfire, this velvety whiskey opens up in the glass and presents like a sumptuous barbecue, complete with charcoal smoke and long-cooked meats. It’s extremely flavorful, a 6 year old Oregon single malt from a distiller whose main release is a 3 year old. It is lively and fun, chewy, spicy, and smoky with a touch of mint; water brings in some sweetness that only makes it better.—David Savona

Penderyn Icons of Wales No. 7 Rhiannon
92 points, 46%, $95

This smooth after-dinner dram has a nose that promises black currant mousse, red cherry, malt loaf, bread-and-butter pudding, and marzipan fruits, with just a frisson of baking spices. Executing a fine balance between fruitiness and spice, the palate negotiates a rollercoaster of red berries, fig, clove, cinna- mon, black coffee, dark toffee, and milk chocolate, sliding to a halt with pepper-dusted chocolate-dipped berries. (3,000 bottles)—Jonny McCormick

Royal Salute Kingdom Edition 26 year old Scottish Oak Cask Finish
92 points, 40%, $380

Master blender Sandy Hyslop expertly handles the coltish behavior of the heavy-char virgin Scottish oak casks to serve up the first in this new collection for Royal Salute. Aromas of toffee, baked fruits, cinnamon, chocolate, dried orange peel, Brazil nut, and a whiff of woodsmoke. It’s a rich, decadent drinking experience with flavors of dark chocolate, apricot jam, ginger-nut biscuits, oak, spices, and a wisp of smoke.—Jonny McCormick

Bimber Oloroso Finish USA Edition
92 points, 58.2%, $165

The nose is nutty, with marzipan, crystalized sugar, floral notes, dry spices, fallen leaves, malt, potpourri, and fresh oak. It’s thick, syrupy, and sweet on the palate, with straw- berry, golden syrup, baked apricot, almond, clove, pepper, and flambéed banana, with buttery toffee and Quaker oats developing later. This whisky is all about the mouthfeel, with the oloroso finish adding sherry-kissed finesse to an otherwise impressive distillery character. (342 bottles)—Jonny McCormick

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