Winter 2020 Best Values: Hudson, The Busker, Label 5

In each issue of Whisky Advocate, the editors select three great value bottles: whiskies with solid scores, modest prices, and wide availability. For the Winter 2020 issue, bourbon, Irish single malt, and single grain scotch all ranked as Best Values.

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


Hudson Bright Lights, Big Bourbon New York Straight bottle.Hudson Bright Lights, Big Bourbon New York Straight Bourbon
90 points, 46% ABV, $40

Distilled from 95% New York-grown corn and 5% malted barley. Vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate, orange zest, ginger snaps, fresh flowers, leather, and allspice on the nose. The mouthfeel is light, with notes of herbs, orange slices, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, almonds, and brown sugar. A smooth, spicy finish brings on a finale of orange tart, ginger, dried almonds, and a pleasant cereal note. Light but well spiced, with depth and balance. —David Fleming

The Busker Single Malt bottle.The Busker Single Malt Irish Whiskey
89 points, 44.3% ABV, $30

This is the best of the range: It carries more weight and shows greater depth than Royal Oak Distillery’s other Buskers. An enticing nose of fresh conference pear, apple peels, baking spice, nutmeg, and a hint of smoked orange peel. Its well-rounded and smooth character carries flavors of toffee, apple, sultana, and vanilla essence, broadening out with chocolate ganache, active spices, milky coffee, caramel, and rich fruit. —Jonny McCormick

Label 5 Bourbon Barrel Single Grain Scotch
88 points, 40% ABV, $19

How wonderful it is to have this single grain whisky added to the Label 5 range of blends! A heavy waft of vanilla essence, toffee, toasted nuts, and wood spice, but there is a clear grain character, no mistake: chopped herbs, perfume notes, mint leaf, and a whiff of nail polish remover on the nose. Light-bodied and delicious, with toffee, nuts, coconut macaroon, maple syrup, ground hazelnut, and oak char, with a nutty toffee finish. —Jonny McCormick

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