Top 20 Whiskies of 2020

#6 • Ardbeg 5 year old Wee Beastie

Ardbeg 5 year old wee beastie bottle shot
  • Rank: 6
  • Year: 2020
  • Score: 94
  • Price: $47
  • ABV: 47.4%
  • Style: Single Malt
  • Place of Origin: Scotland (Islay)

The youthful age statement may take many scotch drinkers by surprise, but don’t let double-digit bias prevent you from enjoying this exciting yet easy-drinking peat bomb. Salt water and seaweed, smoke and sweet peat tussle on the nose, while vanilla, fresh berries, and ample nuttiness spread out and take hold. The structured, balanced palate is creamy, nutty, and spiced, showcasing brown-sugar bacon, smoked salt, milk chocolate, pepper, and well-integrated oak, all wrapped up like a cigar with flakes of ash and sustained smoke. This precocious youngster shows more complexity than some whiskies twice its age, making it a remarkable find. —Susannah Skiver Barton