Looking to try a new dram? This year has seen some exciting whisky launches, including a few for the collection.

No matter what your budget, there is a new whisky or whiskies to try from this year’s releases – with many under £100 per bottle.

From limited editions celebrating heritage to new bottlings and different cask finishes, 2020 has been an exciting year for whisky fans so far.

Tamdhu

Tamdhu new

The limited edition Dalbeallie Dram 003 was released earlier this year in honour of the famous Dalbeallie train station that sits alongside the distillery.

Dalbeallie Dram 003 is individually numbered and bottled at cask strength 60.7% ABV, non-chillfiltered and, like every bottle of Tamdhu, is natural colour.

True to the brand’s production of “only the best” sherry cask matured whisky, it has been matured in European and American Oak Oloroso sherry seasoned casks from the cooperages and bodegas of Jerez, Spain.

The team say: “It is balanced and creamy, with hints of banana and lime, toasted marshmallow and spiced bread and butter pudding on the nose.

“The mouthfeel is luxurious, thick and syrupy on the palate, oozing with vanilla, dried fruits and soft spice, with gentle waves of oak. And building sherry notes join with the oak and sweet liquorice to give Dalbeallie Dram 003 a velvety and pleasingly dry finish.”

Only 1,000 bottles of Tamdhu Dalbeallie Dram 003 are available to purchase as an online exclusive from the Tamdhu website at RRP £90.00 per 70cl bottle (60.7% ABV).

Jura

Released in May this year, Jura’s Red Wine Cask Finish is the latest edition to the island whisky range.

Priced at £44, the Jura team describe this new release: “We celebrate the connection between the land and spirit with our cask editions.

“Bringing the distinctive regional flavours of selected European wine casks to our island malt, this unique red wine cask edition continues to explore the world of cask finishes in ever more innovative ways.

“It is a fruity, full-bodied single malt – a special whisky for special moments.”

The tasting notes are, on the nose: sultanas, caramel and black forest fruits and taste: raspberries, strawberries, vanilla and cinnamon.

Initially matured in American White Oak Ex Bourbon barrels, and finished in hand-selected red wine casks to deliver a balance of rich berry flavours.

Glen Moray

Glen Moray Madeira

Earlier this month Glen Moray introduced a new expression to its Elgin Curiosity Range – the Glen Moray Medeira cask project.

The whisky was fully matured in ex-sweet Madeira hogsheads for 13 years and 10 months, making the expression a rich combination of Glen Moray’s classic Speyside style mellowed with the sweet fruit and toffee influences of Madeira.

Just seven of these casks were laid down in 2006, tucked away undisturbed in Warehouse 1 – home to the Elgin-based distillery’s maturation experiments over the years.

On the nose you’ll find toffee, dark chocolate, fig, and dates balanced with sweet pears, berries and subtle exotic spices.

The taste is sweet, syrupy, with deep notes of toffee, chocolate, black coffee, and figs, developing to sweet oak, poached pears, and soft fruit, and the finish is rich, lingering, and sweet with gentle exotic spices and dried fruit.

Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project is bottled at 46.3% ABV at its natural colour and is non-chill filtered. It is a UK exclusive, available in 70cl in specialist whisky shops, with a RRP of £65.

John Crabbie & Co

new whiskies

 

John Crabbie & Co has recently released its latest expression – a single cask 1994 25-Year-Old Island Malt, with just 247 bottles available in the UK.

Distilled at the Tobermory Distillery, the Crabbie 1994 Island Single Malt has been matured for 25 years in an ex-sherry hogshead. Each bottle is non-chill filtered, naturally coloured and bottled at 46.2% ABV.

Appealing to collectors, the expression is dark gold in colour, has rich notes of fruitcake, dark chocolate and warming spices and is presented in an elegant box.

John Kennedy, head of sales for Scotland, John Crabbie & Co, explains: “Crabbie 1994 Island Single Malt is one of our most carefully planned releases to date.

“We’d had cask samples from distilleries all across Scotland and it was a difficult choice, but this sherry cask from Tobermory was absolute stand out with its nose of sweet macerated dates, fruit cake, warming spice and its orange marmalade and rich dark chocolate finish. It will most certainly appeal to those who take their whisky seriously.”

The RRP is £300, and for more information please visit the distillery website. It’s also available to buy from Master of Malt, here.

The Glasgow Distillery

new whiskies

In May The Glasgow Distillery Company launched its Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Triple Distilled – Release No.1.

This expression follows on from its Glasgow 1770 Peated expression in 2019, and the distillery’s inaugural launch, Glasgow 1770 Original, two years ago.

The team at the Glasgow Distillery Company said that as the eagerly anticipated Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Triple Distilled – Release No.1 completes its Signature range, with the focus now being turned to producing a selection of single cask and limited edition releases.

The new whisky harnesses the pure water of Loch Katrine – the distillery’s natural water source – with a third distillation and maturation exclusively in virgin oak casks. This process has created a “smooth single malt whisky with deep complexity, character and warmth”.

Tasting notes say the Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Triple Distilled – Release No.1 provides aromas of rich sweet butterscotch toffee and dark cherries on the nose, leading to hints of ripe pear and baked vanilla cheesecake on the palate, followed by spicy chocolate.

The finish is described as long and clean, with lingering notes of rich honey and vanilla.

The whisky is priced at £49 and available to buy here.

Ardbeg 

new whiskies

The newest release from this Islay distillery, Ardbeg Blaaack was launched to celebrate the virtual Ardbeg day in May.

The team say that this single malt ‘knits together flavours of velvety summer fruit pudding and bitter cherry, with a deeper edge of soot and Ardbeg’s hallmark smoke.’

Ardbeg Blaaack is available to buy from the distillery website, Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists, and online retailers around the world, priced at £94.

Kilchoman 

new whiskies

Another new release from Islay is Loch Gorm 2020 from Kilchoman, which is named after the famously dark and peaty loch overlooked by the distillery.

This year’s sherry cask matured limited edition was put on sale in April with only 15,500 bottles available.

The 2020 edition is made up of 21 oloroso sherry butts filled in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, bottled at 46% abv without any chill filtration and colouring.

Speaking of the new release, Anthony Wills, Kilchoman founder and managing director says: “The peat smoke and citrus sweetness of the Kilchoman spirit pairs beautifully with the rich influence of these oloroso sherry casks.

“Overall there are a lot of similarities between the 2019 and 2020 expressions however the 2020 bottling is much more fruit forward, there’s a bit less of the dry sherry influence and more dried fruits and cinnamon sweetness.”

The Loch Gorm 2020 is on sale for£69.90 in the UK (70cl, 46% abv) from the distillery website.

The GlenAllachie

new whiskies
Exclusively available at The Whisky World, the GlenAllachie Single Cask Whisky was available to buy from mid June and will appeal to whisky fans who appreciate a heavily sherried dram.

Distilled in April 2000 and bottled close to two decades later in March 2020, the cask type for this GlenAllachie whisky is a first-fill Pedro Ximenez (PX) Sherry Hogshead; bottled at a natural cask strength of 52.5%.

Prior to its maturation in PX Hogshead cask, the whisky was aged in an ASB (American Standard Barrel/Refill Bourbon) which it had been in since distillation.

This cask was amongst the first batches that master distiller Billy Walker re-racked into Sherry wood on purchase of the distillery in 2017, so the finish in the first fill PX Hogshead was for a minimum of two years.

The official tasting notes for this release as noted by Billy Walker, are: nose – vanilla pods, mocha, pineapple and plantains, and taste – lashings of butterscotch, dark chocolate and treacle, with orange zest, almonds and cinnamon.

The whisky is priced at £149.90 and is available to buy online here.

Arbikie

Although Arbikie’s Highland Rye Single Grain Scotch Whisky was launched in 2018, the second release hit the market earlier this year.

The Highland rye was laid down in 2015 and uses a combination of Arantes Rye, Odyssey Malted Barley and Viscount Wheat.

Fully compliant with SWA rules, it is categorised as a single grain instead of a single malt due to the fact it is made using rye (52 per cent), wheat (33 per cent) and malted barley (15 per cent) instead of malted barley on its own.

The whisky, which is owned and distilled by the Stirling brothers in Lunan Bay near Arbroath, adheres to the family’s farming heritage with all crops grown on the farm meaning every ingredient used in the making of the Highland Rye can be traced back to the field it was grown in.

The copper pot distilled Highland Rye Single Grain Scotch Whisky has been matured in first-fill charred American Oak casks and enriched in Armagnac barrels.

The second release – of which there are only 1220 bottles –  is available online at the distillery website, priced at £250.

Angels’ Nectar 

Grantown-on-Spey based Highfern Ltd have launched their new Angels’ Nectar Cairngorms Edition – a single cask Speyside single malt whisky.

Distilled within the Cairngorms National Park, the Cairngorms Edition has been released in partnership with the Cairngorms Trust, to support environmental and community projects in the park.

The 11 year old single cask has been bottled at 46% and at natural colour. It has a sweet nose with hints of demerara sugar and gingerbread, which opens on the taste to reveal dried tropical fruit and marzipan.

Rich and delicate, this is a traditional Speyside dram, and it’s a limited edition as there are only 263 bottles.

A donation from each bottle sold will go towards the Cairngorms Trust, whose vision is to encourage sustainable and community led development, which enhances wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation and cultural heritage in the Cairngorms National Park.

Recent projects the Cairngorms Trust have assisted include improving habitat to encourage breeding ospreys and mountain footpath restoration.

Nancy Chambers, Cairngorms Trust Manager said: “We are delighted that Angels’ Nectar have chosen to donate to projects within the Cairngorms through the sales of the Angels’ Nectar Cairngorms Edition.”

Robert Ransom, who established Angels’ Nectar in 2014 added: “‘For those who are missing the opportunity to get out and about in the Cairngorms this summer, what could be better than enjoying this taste of the Cairngorms at home.”

Amongst others the Angels’ Nectar Cairngorms Edition is now available from the Balliefurth Farmshop, the Speyside Centre, and online at Whisky Castle and Highfern’s own online store at £68.00 per bottle.

Fettercairn Distillery

Fettercairn Distillery has recentl unveiled a new addition to its core range of single malt whiskies, Fettercairn 16 Years Old.

This is the first of a number of new products set to be released this year, as the distillery looks to build on the positive response garnered by previous releases from this truly distinctive Single Malt Whisky.

Fettercairn 16 Years Old has been made to showcase the distillery’s tropical style achieved from the distinctive copper cooling ring distillation process.

This release has been distilled with chocolate malted barley and matured in first fill American ex-bourbon casks, before being finessed in select sherry and port casks for two further years.

The team say: “Bottled at 46.4%, Fettercairn 16 Years Old is sunset gold in colour, with rich harvest highlights.

“On the nose, this single malt brings together vanilla and ginger with sun-kissed raisins and on the palate, it is the combination of succulent peach, ginger and caramel which gives way to banana, with chocolate and demerara sugar on the finish.”

Kirsteen Beeston, Head of International Malts at Whyte and Mackay, said, “Since we launched the new-look Fettercairn 2 years ago, we’ve talked and listened to those across the full spectrum of the whisky community to understand what they think of our whiskies.

“These new releases are testament to the importance of this feedback. Beginning with this wonderful 16 Years Old, we share how we shape our approach to whisky making and the stories that define Fettercairn.

“We are confident that we are bringing single malts to market that will truly excite whisky drinkers and allow us to celebrate Fettercairn for the incredible single malt that it is.”

Fettercairn 16 Years Old is available exclusively in the UK from The Whisky Shop throughout June, thereafter via specialist retailers, at an RRP of £69.

The GTR edition will be in 1L formats with an RSP of £80.

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About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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