Experts Name These As The Top 20 Whiskies Of 2019 And It Looks Like I’ve Got Some Serious Drinking To Do Now

Baker's Bourbon Single Barrel

Cass Anderson


It has been an excellent year for whiskey releases. I’ve had the chance to drink some of the finest Bourbons, Ryes, and Single-Malt Scotch Whiskeys that came out this year but I still have a ton of work to do.

I’ll soon be releasing a full roundup of my personal favorite whiskeys from 2019 but that will be just one man’s opinion even if it is the best whiskey opinion around. In the meantime, the ‘Top 20 Whiskeys of 2019’ have been named by experts over at Whiskey Advocate who release an annual list of the year’s best whiskeys.

Sadly, I only have three of these whiskeys sitting on my bar(s) at home right now. Pop on over to my house and we can sample the #’s 3, 12, and 16 ranked whiskeys on their list but I’ll need to stock up on the rest of these bottles before the holidays. I’m particular intrigued by the #1 overall whiskey, the George Dickel 13-year-old Bottled in Bond (bottled in 2005) because George Dickle has always been one of my top three favorite distilleries.

I’m also a bit sad to see that Whiskey Advocate didn’t give the Booker’s Batch releases the love they deserve because those were some of the best 2019 whiskey releases. Also, the 2019 Little Book was phenomenal as was the Canadian Club 42-year-old. The Glenrothes 18-year-old might be the best Single Malt I drank this year alongside some Japanese whiskeys I can’t remember the names of. Those are a few that you can expect to see on my list that wasn’t featured below by Whiskey Advocate.

You can click any of the links below to visit their annual rankings which have in-depth information on the bottling of each expression and you can find information on where to find a bottle for yourself. Let’s check out how the Top 20 Whiskeys of 2019 from Whiskey Advocate breaks down:

20. Adnams Rye Malt
Score: 90 points
Price: $80
Style: Rye (England)

19. Matsui The Peated
Score: 92 points
Price: $90
Style: Single Malt (Japan

18. Powers Three Swallow
Score: 92 points
Price: $48
Style: Single Pot Still (Ireland

17. New Riff Bottled in Bond Rye
Score: 92 points
Price: $46
Style: Straight Rye (Kentucky)

16. Baker’s Single Barrel (No. 000185706)
Score: 93 points
Price: $60
Style: Straight Bourbon (Kentucky

15. Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2010
Score: 91 points
Price: $100
Style: Single Malt (Scotland – Islay)

14. Kaiyō Mizunara Oak
Score: 92 points
Price: $60
Style: Malt Whisky (Japan)

13. Talisker Select Reserve
Score: 92 points
Price: $46
Style: Single Malt (Scotland – Island)

“Part of the Game of Thrones collection, this pop culture mash-up whisky represents House Greyjoy and features its kraken sigil on the label. The whisky sings of the sea, as blasts of ocean spray, sea salt, wet sand, and seashells swirl above undernotes of peach, cranberry, citrus fruits, and blackberry tart. The mouth fills with bonfire smoke, light peat, toffee, black cherry, and peppercorn. The addition of water coaxes out chocolate, light black pepper notes, and citrus. A flourish of allspice, bitter chocolate, more toffee, espresso, and almond on the finish. —David Fleming”

12. Laphroaig Càirdeas Cask Strength Triple Wood (2019 Release)
Score: 92 points
Price: $80
Style: Single Malt (Scotland – Islay)

“The 2019 edition of Laphroaig’s annual Càirdeas series, this is a cask-strength version of Laphroaig Triple Wood. The complex nose is redolent of iodine, lime, peat smoke, wood-fired meats, drying seaweed, salt air, and other maritime notes. Charred smoky peat and coal fire envelop the palate, and embrace emerging notes of bitter chocolate, licorice, savory herbs, smoked jerky, cracked pepper, and cigar ash. A spicy finish is filled with leather, bitter nuttiness, dark chocolate, espresso, and lingering peat smoke. —David Fleming”

11. Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series #1
Score: 92 points
Price: $60
Style: Straight Bourbon (Kentucky)

10. Writers’ Tears Double Oak
Score: 92 points
Price: $65
Style: Blended Whiskey (Ireland)

“Walsh Whiskey has rarely released better whiskeys than those of 2019, which included two expressions made in collaboration with the Legaret family of Deau Cognac. Here, they apply bourbon and French oak cognac barrels to the unique marriage of single pot still and single malt Irish whiskeys, arguably the most premium interpretation of the Irish blend. Aromas of dark berry fruit, cinnamon, fudge, milk chocolate, graham crackers, jellied fruit, and a smudge of dry spices. Compelling, well-structured whiskey with cinnamon, chocolate, dark toffee, pepper, and ginger; never cloying, nor overly sweet, just a richly rewarding glass . —Jonny McCormick”

9. Glenmorangie 14 year old Quinta Ruban
Score: 92 points
Price: $55
Style: Single Malt (Scotland – Highlands)

8.Glenlivet Enigma
Score: 93 points
Price: $149
Style: Single Malt (Scotland – Speyside)

7. Old Ezra 7 year old Barrel Strength
Score: 94 points
Price: $40
Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

6. Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof (2019 Release)
Score: 94 points
Price: $130
Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

5. Aberlour A’bunadh Alba Cask Strength (Batch 001)
Score: 93 points
Price: $90
Style: Single Malt (Scotland – Speyside)

“The yin to Aberlour A’bunadh’s yang, this cask-strength single malt is matured entirely in bourbon casks rather than sherry. The result is a bracingly pure whisky with deceptive simplicity; its flavors are clean and its structure precise, but it’s far from boring. The nose recalls black-and-white cookies, vanilla-frosted yellow cake, and shortbread with caramel topping, along with honeysuckle, jasmine, and coconut cream. Mouth-coating and full, it has flavors of poached pear, malt balls, nougat, lemon curd, toasted coconut, and hints of spice. Vanilla, chocolate, and nut flavors are almost endless on the finish. Add water, or don’t: this is delicious either way. —Susannah Skiver Barton”

4. Heaven Hill 7 year old Bottled in Bond
Score: 92 points
Price: $40
Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

3. Four Roses Small Batch Select
Score: 93 points
Price: $55
Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

“The limited-edition releases from Four Roses are always top-notch, but this bourbon—a permanently available addition to the lineup—proves itself every bit the equal of its rarer brethren. Made with the distillery’s F yeast strain, among others, it has a perfumed nose, with orange blossom, cedar chest, berries, spearmint, tobacco leaves, sassafras, licorice, and layers of earthy spice. The palate is consistent and deep, with flavors of cherry Coke, cough syrup, orange oil, leathery dark fruit, black pepper, chili flakes, and chocolate, shifting into a minty finish replete with pepper, cinnamon, dark chocolate, cooked berries, and roasted walnuts. Full, rich, and utterly satisfying. —Susannah Skiver Barton”

2. Dewar’s 21 year old Double Double
Score: 94 points
Price: $50
Style: Blended Whisky (Scotland)

“Master blender Stephanie Macleod’s innovative blend was inspired by Dewar’s famous double aging process. She separately blended parcels of aged malt and grain whisky, left each to marry, then blended them together to marry again, before finishing in oloroso sherry casks. A tantalizing nose of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, crystalized orange slice, fresh plum, black cherry, and moist coffee grounds. Smooth flavors of chocolate-dipped raspberries, gingersnaps, and bold sherry fruit yield to a finish of smoke and spice. By releasing in novel half-bottles, Dewar’s spreads the love, enabling us to experience a 21 year old scotch for just 50 bucks. —Jonny McCormick”

1.George Dickel 13 year old Bottled in Bond (Distilled in Fall 2005)
Score: 94 points
Price: $36
Style: Tennessee Whiskey

“Following Tennessee’s practice of charcoal-filtering the distillate before aging, this whiskey is soft around the edges yet delivers plenty of intensity. The mouthwatering peanut aromas evoke memories of cracking open a school lunchbox while the palate delivers abundant fruit: orange marmalade and caramel apple. Fine bitter-sweet balance suggests burnt sugar, Mexican chocolate, chocolate-covered almonds, and toffee. Indeed, sweet nuts, like French burnt peanuts, candied pralines, and marron glacé, seem to be the common thread here, lending this a consistent chord from initial nose through the drying, pleasantly spiced finish.”

You can click here for their top 20 with links to each bottle, information on that expression including ABV% and how to find a bottle for yourself.


This is definitely an intriguing list of the year’s best whiskeys because none of them really price out a serious whiskey drinker. There are only two bottles over $100 and the rest can likely be found at your local Total Wine or whatever liquor store you shop at.

I published this roundup of 2019’s Best Whiskey, Ryes, and Single Malts a few months ago and will be updating it in the next week or two (before Christmas) to include ALL of my favorites from this year if you’re curious how my choices stack up to these.