One of the traditional things to do when you are approaching the year’s end is to prepare a ‘Best of’ list. You can see these list of almost everything all over the net so as a ‘Whisky Blog’, here is my Best Whiskies of 2016 list.

This is a special year for me. I started Malty Mates Whisky Blog back in the March of 2016 so this will the first ‘Best Whiskies’ list for the site. In 2016, I attended a lot of Whisky related events, Spirit of Speyside, Whisky Exchange Whisky Show London and etc. , where I got the chance to sample some of the best expressions, new and old alike. I shared my experiences about these great whiskies in my posts on the site throughout the year.

Following list is compiled from my highest scoring expressions released in 2016. I hope you enjoy. As always feel free to drop a comment…

Best Overall – Springbank 16 Year Old Local Barley

Original Springbank Local Barley editions were famous back in mid 1990’s to early 2000’s for their extraordinary quality. These expressions were made using local barley sourced from nearby farms around the distiller’s location in Campbelltown. Some of these old expressions, matured more than 30 years, were highly praised by the Whisky authorities and became ‘bottles of desire’ for the enthusiasts all around the world.

Springbank 16 Year Old Local Barley is an expression distilled in September of 1999 and matured for 16 years in 80% Ex Bourbon and 20% European Oak Sherry casks. The type of barley used for this edition is ‘Prisma Barley’ sourced from the Low Machrimore Farm located in the south of the Kintyre peninsula.

Springbank 16 Year Old Local Barley detailed review and tasting notes can be found here.

Springbank 16 Year Old Local Barley

Best Islay – Lagavulin 25 Year Old

2016 has been the year of Lagavulin for many whisky enthusiasts. This year, the legendary distillery from Islay is celebrating its 200th anniversary and to commemorate this special occasion they have been releasing great limited editions throughout the year.

Lagavulin 25 year old is the crown jewel of these special series. This expression is released as a recognition of the contribution made by the distillery managers throughout the proud history of the distillery. This has also been reflected on the bottle design itself as the names of the 19 distillery managers along with the names of founders John Johnston and Archibald Campbell are etched to the front of the bottle.

Lagavulin 25 Year Old detailed review and tasting notes can be found here.

Lagavulin 25 Year Old

Best Irish – Redbreast Lustau Edition

Redbreast Lustau Edition is the result of several years’ work by Billy Leighton, Master Blender at Irish Distillers, and the recently deceased Manuel Lozano, the winemaker who earned Lustau its international prestige in the last two decades.

It is made from spirits matured in Ex Bourbon and Ex Sherry (Oloroso) Casks for 10 to 13 years. Following that, for an additional one year, they were finished in Lustau Casks which were seasoned with young Oloroso sherry for two years before being shipped to Ireland.

Final product is a masterpiece of rich and balanced flavor profile. It does carry all the signature elements of a great Sherry finish without being overwhelmingly sweet.

Redbreast Lustau Editition detailed review and tasting notes can be found here.

Redbreast Lustau Edition

Best Exotic – Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask is the latest release from the famous Taiwanese Distillery. Part of the ‘Solist’ series which includes cask strength expressions.

Moscatel is a naturally sweet wine, produced in a similar way as Pedro Ximénez, with the grape variety being at least 85% Moscatel de Alejandria. These sweet dessert wines are characterized by a lot of floral aromas and a honeyed, raisiny palate.

The magical combination of Tropical heat with Moscatel Casks resulted in this sweet and rich expression with Ruby like natural colors.

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask detailed review and tasting notes can be found here.

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask

Best Newcomer – Kilkerran 12 Year Old

I think Kilkerran 12 Year old deserves a special mention as the ‘Best Newcomer of 2016’. It is the first official core release from the Glengyle Distillery – ‘The newest old distillery’ from Campbeltown.

The spirit comes from  a mixture of cask types, 70% of this has been matured in bourbon casks, and the remaining 30% in sherry casks. But the best part of this expression is the price. In today’s market where whisky producers are trying to market their expensive NAS (Non Age Statement) products with creative stories, hand made decanters or fancy bottle and label designs, Kilkerran 12 Year Old, a proper age stated whisky with a fantastic flavor profile, is being offered for £35.

Kilkerran 12 Year Old detailed review and tasting notes can be found here.

Kilkerran 12 Year Old

I hope, 2016 has been a great year for all the Whisky Enthusiasts and wish a better 2017.

Slàinte Mhath…