Whether you’re new to the world of ambers or a connoisseur of all things Scotch – drams from single distilleries are a must-try. We’re sipping our way through a few single malts that have elevated the whisky game.
If you were to ask most malt connoisseurs or bartenders, few ambers can match the diversity and complexity of flavour that single malts bring to the table. Often occupying the top shelves of stores, these refer to whiskies that are made from 100 percent malted barley and come from a single distillery. Aged for at-least three years in various barrels- these have an eclectic flavour profile. This includes earthy, fruity, nutty, smokey notes that are slightly more pronounced than most other whiskies.
Naturally, single malts are delicious – making for the perfect spirit to have neat or in a classic old-fashioned number. That said, their sophisticated reputation and daunting labels have long led to apprehension amongst even the most enthusiastic malt owners. That said, there are a few coveted bottles that are worth the splurge. This includes both homegrown and international brands. We’ve curated a list of a few that have long been on our radar.
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The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old
Known for being home to some of the finest single malts in the business, a Macallan is a must-have in any whiskey collection. The Double Cask range fuses the classic Macallan style of rich fruits and wood spice with indulgent American Oak. This particular expression also features European oak sherry-seasoned casks. Fully-rounded and warm, it features notes of toffee apple, candied orange, oak, and vanilla custard on the nose. Every sip is reminiscent of citrus, honey, raisins, and caramel. The finish, meanwhile, is sweet and drying. If you enjoy creamy whiskies, this one’s for you.
Amrut Fusion XI
Homegrown brand Amrut boasts a range of smooth drams, having pioneered the single malt revolution in India. Their limited-edition Fusion XI (Eleven) is a nod to over 12 years of their flagship single malt – Fusion. It’s also a tribute to the father of Indian single malts and their former Chairman and Managing Director, late Neelakanta Rao Jagdale. This one-of-a-kind expression is a combination of their 12-years-old, 10-years-old, 9-years-old, and 7-years-old single malt whiskies. Peated in port pipe and ex-bourbon — each sip has fruity notes. You’ll note hints of toffee, lemongrass, and smoke. On the nose are an array of bananas, peaches, green apples, and vanilla. The finish is long and smooth as silk. This golden spirit is highly coveted, with only 1000 bottles available worldwide. You could shop for one at a few retail outlets in Bangalore.
Glenmorangie The Lasanta
One of the finest whiskey brands in the business – Glenmorangie’s drams are innovative and delicious. With this particular expression, the brand attempts to bottle a sunset’s hues – reds, oranges, and purples. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks for 12 years, the amber is rife with sweet and spicy notes. Every sip is reminiscent of raisins, honeycomb, dark chocolate, and hazelnuts. You might also note hints of cinnamon. The finish is long and smooth, with hints of citrus. This one is as inviting and flavourful as they come.
Talisker 10 Years
From the house of Diageo – one of the world’s largest alcohol producers in the world – Talisker is a classic malt for any at-home bar. The award-winning dram is also one of the oldest single-malt Scotches made on the shores of the Isle of Skye. Every sip is reminiscent of the sea, perfectly balancing smokiness, sea-water saltiness, and sweetness. On the palate are notes of dried fruit, smoke, and barley. Meanwhile, the aroma is peaty and the finish is long, warm, and sweet. Bottled elegantly, this one’s a classy gifting option and the perfect dram to start out your single-malt journey with.
Glenlivet 15 Years
Producing some of the world’s most classic, quality Speyside malts – Glenlivet is home to some of the oldest single malt Scotches in the world. Naturally, their expressions spell quality in every sip. And the 15 Years Old is no exception. Aged in Limousin French Oak – often used for cognacs – which has a low density, the whisky’s maturation is carefully controlled to achieve a delicate, pleasing spiciness. You’ll also note hints of almonds and fruit. This one makes for a classic addition to any home bar.
The Yamazaki Distillers Reserve
No single malt roundup would be complete without the inclusion of smoky, peaty Japanese options – which follow the Scotch tradition of double distilling malted barley. The Yamazaki distillery is one of the finest in this regard, having worked at creating a distinctly Japanese whisky for over a century. This particular single malt is one of two from Suntory in Japan.
Ageing in Bordeaux wine casks and sherry lends this malt notes of red berry. Every sip is reminiscent of raspberry, white peach, and coconut. The bottle also contains malt matured in Mizunara casks, which give it an oak-like earthy aroma. Additionally, you’ll discover hints of strawberry and cherry. Round-bodied and luxurious, this one pours gold and is a must-try.
Laphroaig Scotch 10 Years
Known to produce single malts based on age-old traditions established by passionate master distillers – Laphroaig is worth the splurge. This particular single malt is aged for 10 years and features malted barley that’s cold-smoked and then dried over a peat fire. This gives the single mat a bold, smoky aroma. Every sip is reminiscent of peat and seaweed – with a surprising sweetness. Full-bodied with a long finish, this is an award-winning number that’s a must-try.
Glenfiddich 18 Years
Crowned the brand with the world’s best-selling single-malt whisky, Glenfiddich knows a thing or two about smooth drams. Their 18 Year expression is an elegant single malt that’s soft and rounded. Every sip is reminiscent of dried fruit, candied peel, dates, and oak. On the nose are hints of baked apple and wood. The finish, meanwhile, is warming. If you’re looking for something that would add a luxurious touch to your bar, we can’t think of a better option than this one.
Balvenie Double Wood 12 Years
This luxury brand deals with rare, fine whiskies and has been around since 1892. Their Double Wood 12 Years expression is aged in two kinds of oak casks – American and European oak oloroso sherry butts. The payoff? Every sip is sweet and reminiscent of gentle spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, dried fruit, and peat. On the nose are hints of honeyed sultanas and grapes. The finish, meanwhile, is spicy and dry, while still remaining sweet. If you’d like something classic for your after-dinner on-the-rocks-ritual, we can’t think of a better choice than this one.