My Favorite “Standard Drams” of 2015

IMG_4430As the end of the year approaches, I was thinking back to some of my most enjoyable drams over this past year – standard whiskies, not special releases or necessarily the best – but whiskies that I simply thoroughly enjoyed. As much as there is always hype over special releases – understandably, as they provide something new and different – standard bottlings often don’t get their due.

  1. Four Roses Small Batch: Just a simple, solid bourbon, that I enjoyed more and more as the bottle diminished.
  2. Clynelish 14 Year Old: What a nice waxy & complex whisky.
  3. Koval Straight Millet Whisky: Unique and quite delicious…makes me wonder why there isn’t more millet whisky.
  4. Ardbeg 10 Year Old: I love my smoky drams, and the batch this year was very enjoyable – there really isn’t anything like the bonfire of Ardbeg smoke. Notably, I enjoyed the 10 year old more than the Uigeadail I had this year as well.
  5. Jefferson’s Straight Rye Aged 10 Years: A different side of Alberta rye that is a bit softer and less medicinal.
  6. Nikka Coffey Grain: There’s such creamy oak mid-palate that this one was hard to forget.
  7. Great King Street Glasgow Blend: Such a well integrated blend – solid stuff, this. The smoke and sherry are woven together in impressive fashion.
  8. Springbank 10 Years Old: This is rough, unyielding stuff – perhaps not for everyone’s tastes – but for me, on a cold evening, little more could be desired than a bit of this.
  9. Crown Royal Hand Selected Single Barrel: On the palate, my favorite Crown Royal – though perhaps a touch sweet at times. Creamy, and almost candy-like – my fingers are crossed for this one to hit the shelves here in Canada.
  10. Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old: A classic favorite, and the bottle I had this year was just fantastic – light, complex, and interesting.
  11. Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony: Yes, not a standard bottling…but for now there are still a few in Ontario so I will leave it here. This makes the list not for the whisky itself, but for one impressive tasting where it paired with an Oliva Serie V cigar and the flavors just danced together so impressively – the best pairing I’ve ever had with a whisky – it made both the cigar and whisky better (As an aside, I’m generally not fond of whisky and food pairings – I’ve never had a whisky taste better because of a pairing, or a food, for that matter). All of us smoked the cigars down until our fingers were burning (see picture above)…we also had a Barterhouse 20 Year Old Bourbon but the Three Grain was a significantly better pairing.

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