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