Best new whisky releases: 12 to try

whisky bottles
world whisky day 2023

World Whisky Day (20 May 2023) is a global celebration of all things whisky. It was established in 2012 by Blair Bowman, when he was a student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Held on the third Saturday in May each year, World Whisky Day is marked with special events, tastings and get-togethers. The central message of the day is to celebrate the best whisky: wherever it comes from and however you like to drink it.

Whether you prefer your dram neat, with water or ice, mixed or in a cocktail, this is a chance to enjoy whisky in all its glory. Anything goes, as long as it’s fun and accessible – and, of course, responsible.

Of course, distillers are keen to mark the occasion too, with many launching special bottlings and new releases. So if you’re keen to find a new addition for your whisky collection, it’s a good time to take a look at the options.

To get you started, we’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite bottles from recent tastings. They range from special cask finish Scotch to rye whiskeys from the US and Finland. You’ll also find Japanese whisky finished in a sake cask, an award-winning single malt from Israel, English whisky and classic pot-still styles from Ireland. Enjoy!

Best new whisky releases: 12 to try

Tasting notes by Neil Ridley (NR) and Julie Sheppard (JS)

Bushmills 30 Year Old

One of Ireland’s best loved whiskeys, Bushmills has recently celebrated the opening of a brand new state-of-the-art expansion at its distillery, which is a stone’s throw from the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This landmark release will set you back a cool £1,975. The aromas are deep and complex, with well-ripened stone fruit, dark chocolate, a touch of fresh toasted coffee beans and bonfire toffee. On the palate, layers of tropical fruit arrive first, with mango and papaya, a nutty, praline note and a lingering, charred blood orange note. NR Alcohol 46%

Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura

The latest release from Glenfiddich celebrates Hanami – the Japanese cherry blossom festival. It’s a 29-year-old single malt Scotch finished in ex-awamori casks; this rice spirit is only made in Okinawa and just a small percentage is aged in oak, which makes awamori casks a rarity and helps to explain its £1,500 price tag. Distinctive aromas: a lifted herbal note overlays notes of apple, fruit cake and toasty oak, which follows through to the palate. Complex layers of creamy toffee (from the awamori), dark spices, cigar box, fresh green apple, grapefruit pith, and a warm, earthy base note. JS Alc 45.1%

Glen Scotia 11 Year Old White Port Finish Campbeltown Malts Festival 2023

From a small Scottish region of just three distilleries, Glen Scotia has released this annual bottling to coincide with the festival of malt and music which happens on the 23-25 May. A wonderful lightly peated coastal smoke note arrives first, with sea salt, toasted oak, rich caramel fudge and a fruity floral fresh grape note. The palate is complex, with more light smoke, milk chocolate and a lingering dark fruit and spiciness. NR Alc 54.7%

InchDairnie RyeLaw

RyeLaw is the first spirit produced by the innovative InchDairnie Distillery, located at the heart of the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland – and one of only a handful of Scottish rye whiskies. Made from a mash of Scottish-grown rye and malted barley. The nose is full of rich, pungent spiciness (think cracked Szechuan pepper and toasted clove) with vanilla, sweet oatcakes, malted cereal and dried fruit notes of raisin and dates. NR Alc 46.3%

Kyrö Wood Smoke Malt Rye Whisky

Kyrö is the brainchild of a group of friends and spirits enthusiasts in Finland, who decided to develop a distillery, using one the nation’s most abundant crops,: the humble rye grain. On the nose, an immediate smoky aroma hits home, with an additional layer of aromatic wood, soft brown sugar, some earthy notes and a distinct peppery spice. On the palate, the smoke is more pronounced and…

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Best new whisky releases: 12 to try  
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