10 Highest-Scoring Whiskies From the Fall 2018 Buying Guide

There’s something for everyone in the ten highest-scoring whiskies from our Fall 2018 Buying Guide, which covers new releases and old favorites from Scotland, the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Japan, and beyond. If you’ve got plenty of money to spend, then go for the very old stuff: Dalmore 45 year old, Canadian Club 41 year old, Royal Salute 28 year old, or Gelston’s 25 year old Irish single malt. Feeling less flush? Try the latest Booker’s bourbon, Knob Creek Cask Strength rye, a new whisky from Forty Creek, and the newest Noble Collection release from Crown Royal. If you’re looking to venture further afield, look to France for G. Rozelieures Rare Collection single malt, or India for Amrut Distillery’s Madeira Finish single malt.

Check out the full Buying Guide, with over 130 reviews, in the Fall 2018 issue of Whisky Advocate, hitting newsstands on October 9th.

Canadian Club Chronicles Issue No. 1 Water of Windsor 41 year old
96 points, 45% ABV, $300

Recently, a new “oldest Canadian whisky ever,” appears every year. In 2018, the honor goes to Canadian Club. Cedar lumber, fresh apricots, hints of bonfire, and sweet applewood on the nose. On the palate it’s butter tarts with vanilla, waves of pepper, pears, peaches, bonfire notes, and hints of pipe tobacco. Crisp, clean, and slightly bigger than Canadian Club 40 year old, the 41 is woodsy, silky, and mouth filling. (2,472 bottles for U.S.) —Davin de Kergommeaux

Royal Salute 28 year old Kew Palace Edition
95 points, 40% ABV, $790

Fresh spring floral bouquets, white peach, and nectarine tumble with sweet caramel, dried cherry, white chocolate, fresh linen notes, and vanilla cake batter. Silky smooth with fresh summer fruits, the strong peppery spices push to the fore, but this is nimble, graceful, and displays a real lightness. Compelling, captivating blending for the Flask Collection by Sandy Hyslop, this has a fragrance you could enjoy all night. —Jonny McCormick

Crown Royal Noble Collection 13 year old Blenders’ Mash
95 points, 45% ABV, $60

If Canada made bourbon (it doesn’t), it would taste like this massive dram. The mashbill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley is identical to that used for Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Coffey rye. Beer still distillation and virgin oak barrels yield huge vanillas, rye spices, barrel tones, cherries, dark fruits, soaring floral esters, and gingery, peppery spices. Strong woodiness, slightly pulling tannins, and something almost chocolaty. —Davin de Kergommeaux

Gelston’s 25 year old Irish Single Malt
94 points, 52.4% ABV, $450

Like a delicious bowl of breakfast cereal, this has pecan, cinnamon, and Quaker oats, all wonderfully balanced with oak, barley, vanilla, dry spices, and drizzled runny honey. Savoring this rare aged Irish whiskey laid down by the legendary Frank McHardy delivers sweet butterscotch, vanilla, honey, toasted cinnamon, fresh orange, and barley, all thickly spread at this strength so it really hits home. What a way to start the day! (1,200 bottles) —Jonny McCormick

Booker’s 2018-02 “Backyard BBQ”
93 points, 64.4% ABV, $75

Typical of Booker’s this bourbon shows lots of concentration and muscle, oozing with caramel and maple syrup, with hints of lavender and bouquet garni. Flavors explode on the palate, with more herbal complexity, root beer barrel candy, green almond, black cherry, and a big rush of dark, bitter-sweet burnt sugar and caramel. Lovely baking spices and lots of toasty oak linger on the long finish. The youngest barrel in the blend is just over 6 years, 2 months of age. —Jeffery Lindenmuth

The Dalmore 45 year old
93 points, 40% ABV, $12,500

Initially matured in bourbon barrels, then transferred to two Graham’s port colheita pipes from 1961 and 1963. Finally, it was married in first-fill bourbon casks. Wood resin, canola oil, sultanas, and red currants on the nose. Medium-bodied, with sweet resin, honey, and sherry on the palate, turning to treacle and raisins. The finish is very long, with dark chocolate and spicy oak tannins. (500 bottles) —Gavin Smith

Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye
93 points, 59.3% ABV, $70

Dripping with caramel and tingling with spice, this is a blockbuster whiskey that delivers across a spectrum of flavors. Maple syrup, sugar in the raw, and caramel-drizzled flan highlight the aroma, while the palate turns fruity and tropical with the sweet drive of peach nectar, grilled fruits, and pineapple upside-down cake. At the same time, it’s lemony bright, warmly spiced, tremendously rich, and oh-so-good! Pour on the water and enjoy the ride! —Jeffery Lindenmuth

Forty Creek Unity
93 points, 43% ABV, $75

Fifteen years ago, Forty Creek used starboard (port-style wine) barrels to finish their legendary Portwood Reserve. The wine was emptied into fresh Forty Creek whisky barrels. Now, master blender Bill Ashburn has added back some of that original starboard to Forty Creek Unity. This lush, mouth-filling, butterscotch-sweet whisky bursts with red fruits, raisin tarts, hints of burnt toffee, and a restrained peppery glow. —Davin de Kergommeaux

Rozelieures Rare Collection
92 points, 40% ABV, $45

Distilling has been in the Grallet-Dupic family for 150 years. With the influence of sauternes casks, this great value whisky develops a lovely richness with a nose of dates, strawberry, raspberry, passion fruit, dried apricot, hard candy, and mandarin segments in Jell-O. This barrels through flavors of dark orange, mandarin, coffee, after-dinner chocolates, cocoa, black cherry, and bramble, and leaves behind a slow burn with flashes of mint and chocolate.—Jonny McCormick

Amrut Madeira Finish
92 points, 50% ABV, $150

This limited edition is quite a color: deep orange with beautiful rose tints. Quite vinous on the nose, with orange peel, crème brûlée, honey, toasted coconut, grated chocolate, and preserved lemons all benefiting from the higher bottling strength. It’s darkly sweet with piquant plums, juicy raisins, sweet shortbread, fig, chocolate, honeyed lemons, and tangy candied peel. Truly excellent, the spice dominating the dark fruits and chocolate throughout the finish. (4,800 bottles) —Jonny McCormick

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