Winter 2021 Editors’ Choice: Redbreast, Torabhaig, Balcones

In each issue of Whisky Advocate, the editors select three whiskies they consider to be the most impressive, based on score, price, and availability. For Winter 2021, our Editors’ Choice selections include a cask strength single pot still Irish whiskey, a peated single malt scotch, and a Texas single malt with a sauternes finish.

Check out the Buying Guide for a complete list of whiskies reviewed in the Winter 2021 issue.


Redbreast 12 year old Cask Strength single pot still (Batch B1/21)
94 points, 56.3%, $84

Golden sultana, fragrant spice, dried orange slices, star anise, baked apricot, and hints of flaked chocolate bar. Spices leap from a butterscotch and red berry base, vociferously showing clove, star anise, and ginger root, which part to welcome flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla pod, oak, and juicy nectarine. The cask strength is rarely less than spectacular, but this batch is singularly distinctive.—Jonny McCormick

Torabhaig Allt Gleann Legacy Series single malt
93 points, 46%, $62

Fresh sea-blown peat on the nose, pine tar, sea salt, seaweed, dried seashells, and a tropical note of lime. Sweeter vanilla scents emerge, along with coconut, light nuttiness, and a hint of coffee. It’s peated but light and floral. The palate is honeyed, with vanilla, spice, dark chocolate, and lemon playing above beautifully integrated charcoal and peat. The mellow peat influence integrates beautifully into flavors that are dynamic, gorgeous, and memorable.—David Fleming

Balcones Pilgrimage Sauternes Cask Finished single malt
92 points, 58.5%, $80

Pleasantly aromatic on the nose, with vanilla maltiness, cinnamon stick, and mixed berries. Tropical notes—lime, grapefruit, and pineapple—start things off on a smooth palate, seamlessly integrating with chocolate, spice, and hints of smoke. Water brings out spiced crème brûlée and baked apples. The finish offers length and balanced sweetness. While it does well without water, a splash certainly enhances things. Overall, a very well-textured, flavorful expression.—David Fleming

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