Unlike in the United States, when the hotly anticipated limited releases and many brand new items are often timed to come out in the autumn, new Scotch whiskies come out steadily all year around. Even people in the business sometimes find it a chore to keep an eye on new single malt releases from dozens of distilleries and several independent bottlers, so missing the latest is an easy oversight.
All of these single malts have come out in just the last few months, and they were chosen based on affordability, with the most expensive coming in at £100/$125. Most cost far less, and although some are available only in the UK and Europe, tacking on a little shipping and handling will bring them to American Scotch lovers as well.
Ardbeg Dark Cove
The most expensive single malt listed here is also the one that saw the biggest buzz among enthusiasts. There was a window of a few weeks where I couldn’t log into Twitter without seeing pictures of full-sized and sample bottles of this year’s Ardbeg special. The whisky is a fine example of why Ardbeg is such a fan favorite, managing to combine the expected Islay flavor profile with sherry cask elements in a way that compliments rather than clashes. Priced at £100 in the UK and $125 in the US, the American buy is a far better bargain, being 50 ml larger and somewhat cheaper.
Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 55
It’s late summer now, and as I discovered last summer, Aberlour A’Bunadh is a marvelous choice for summer sipping. Pour a dram, drop in a couple of ice cubes, and you’ve got something absolutely yummy that also beats the heat. A’Bunadh is a Speyside malt drawn entirely from Oloroso Sherry Butt stock, bottled at cask strength. Batch 55 is this year’s release. Pricing is approximately $51 for a 70CL bottle.
Arran The Bothy Batch 2
Laphroaig’s use of new oak quarter casks to polish up young whisky created a reasonably priced hit in their Quarter Cask whisky. Arran has taken the idea out of Islay with its The Bothy, and upped the ante while they were at it. The whisky is finished in new American oak for 18 months, and bottled unfiltered at cask strength. Batch 2 is this year’s release. Pricing is approximately €65 in Europe and £55 in the UK.
Glenglassaugh Octaves Peated
Are you a peathead like model Kelly Klein or author James Holland? The check out this peaty offering from Glenglassaugh’s Octaves line, aged in specially made octave casks, so called because they are 1/8 the size of a butt. At 62 liters, that is somewhat larger than a quarter cask, but still much smaller than a standard barrel, and therefore firmly in small barrel territory. This single malt fetches about £71 in the UK and €65 in Europe.
Glen Grant 12 Year Old
This is a fresh spin on Glen Grant 12 Year Old, recently released as part of a trio of new additions to their lineup. Running against the croaking of the whisky doom and gloom crowd, what we have here is a new, regular release priced at £37 ($48) that has an age statement and is actually older than previous expressions (down the ladder is an no age statement and a 10 year old whisky).
Kilchoman 100% Islay
This annual limited edition from Kilchoman is now in its sixth release, and is the oldest in the series to date. That doesn’t mean it’s especially old, however, since the whisky was distilled in 2010. However, like all the 100% Islay releases, it was made using barley grown entirely on Kilchoman’s property, and is peated more lightly than other Kilchoman whiskies, creating a fresher flavor profile. Expect to pay about £70 ($91).
Inchmurrin 18 Year Old
Although not new to Britons, Loch Lomond’s Island Collection is now coming to America, and with it is the oldest whisky on this list, Inchmurrin 18 Year Old. It’s not known at present what price this fruity, sweet and spicy single malt will command in the U.S., but on the other side of the Atlantic £70 ($91) is not uncommon.