Top 20 Whiskies of 2019

#19 • Matsui The Peated

  • Rank: 19
  • Year: 2019
  • Score: 92
  • Price: $90
  • ABV: 48%
  • Style: Single Malt
  • Place of Origin: Japan

Kurayoshi Distillery lies between Osaka and Hiroshima in the foothills of Mount Daisen, where it produces single malt whiskies brought to proof with soft, mountain spring water. The label, adorned by Hokusai’s The Great Wave, portends this whisky’s rush of flavor: satisfyingly smoky, with noticeable structure and complexity. Kippers on the nose, with burnt aromatic grasses, cocoa, and jellied fruits, and a smoky palate of red apple, ginger, pepper, orange, and mango. Smoke writhes like a serpent on the finish, sliding off the walls dripping with sweet tropical fruits. —Jonny McCormick