Get ’em while they’re hot: Whisky Advocate’s top 20 for 2018
Good things come to those who wait. Over the past week, Whisky Advocate magazine rolled out its top 20 whiskies of the year in batches. The No. 1 dram? Japanese blend Nikka From the Barrel, which earns a score of 94 and typically goes for $65.*
As executive editor Jeffery Lindenmuth points out, the Japanese have sipped From the Barrel since 1985, but it only launched in the U.S. this year. Better late than never. “Notably balanced and elegant, the colorful palette of whiskies combines for tremendous depth of flavor,” Lindenmuth writes of the 51.4% ABV blend. “Overall, it feels generously malty, with the grain whisky lending broad sweetness and supple mouthfeel across the long finish.”
Two Yanks, a Scot and a Canuck walk into a bar…
Rounding out the top three are a pair of Americans: Kentucky’s Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye ($70, also scoring 94) and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Heritage Barrel from Tennessee ($65, with a score of 93).
Port Charlotte 10-year-old, a single malt from the Scottish island of Islay, takes fourth place. A Canadian claims the No. 5 spot: Crown Royal Noble Collection 13-year-old Blenders’ Mash. In what amounts to a crime against the Manitoba-based distillery’s home and native land, that number is only sold stateside. For more great Canadian whiskies, see here.
*All prices in U.S. dollars
Single malt, single room: A whiskey lover’s mini hotel
If you’re all about the whiskey and like to keep to yourself, we know just the place to spend the night. Travel+Leisure recently took a tour of the Napoleon Hotel in East London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, which offers guests three bars and just one posh suite.
Billing itself as the London’s “smallest grand hotel,” the Napoleon has dedicated its Black Rock bar to whiskey. That joint’s best design feature: an 18-foot-long table fashioned from a single oak tree—and inlaid with two channels bearing house blends to twin taps.
Whiskey a go-go
Rather stay put in the luxury Napoleon Suite? Out front of the hotel, a whiskey vending machine dispenses pouches from subscription service Whisky-Me, and staff will bring anything on the food and drink menu to your room. To borrow from literary great, longtime Londoner and legendary boozer Kingsley Amis, “One large Scotch whisky delivered as ordered, sah!”
Sip it slow, laddie: Nick Offerman puts on his game face
Lagavulin must have made Nick Offerman an offer he couldn’t refuse. At a recent National Hockey League game in Chicago, the gruff Parks and Recreation star sat in an armchair for 45 minutes dressed as a bronze statue, slowwwly knocking back a tumbler of the Scottish distiller’s finest. This isn’t the first time Offerman has run out the clock in a marketing stunt for Lagavulin—in the spirit of the season, here’s a Yuletide example—and we doubt it’ll be the last.
Manhattan transfer: A cocktail that leaves us stirred
In case you didn’t know, a Manhattan is a martini made with rye and sweet, not dry, vermouth, GQ explains. Paula Forbes shares a recipe with a bitter twistfrom the book Cocktail Codex by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan. Try mixing up the Death & Co. craft cocktail chain founders’ rye-based take on a Boulevardier, too.
Holiday gift guide: Winter accessories
Still seeking a present for that whiskey-mad someone? Take a cue from this Thrillist roundup of gifts under $50 and by not adding to their bottle collection. The choice of accessories, gadgets and other goodies is broad, from a clever cigar glass ($24.95) to a watch made (well, most of it, anyway) from American oak whiskey barrels ($249). Knock on wood!