As a descendent of the Macintosh clan—way, way back on the old family tree—scotch whiskeys always have a place in my heart. And I look back fondly on a long ago trip to the misty moors of Scotland. I visited the oldest distillery in the country, Glenturret, and stayed at the ravishing country manse Gleneagles. When there are game birds on the menu and tweed on my back, it just feels right.
The single malt whiskey trend of the past couple decades has been a boon for those of us who prize individuality and personality in the glass. As opposed to blended whiskeys, which are created to maintain a consistent house style palatable to large numbers of drinkers, single malts are quirky indeed. The extra-peaty Laphroig is a favorite of mine and of those who shrink not from big, bold flavor. (Imagine a Braveheart warrior GIF here.)
New names in the single-malt game rarely arrive on our shores, so it’s a bonny piece of news that John Dewar & Sons, maker of a familiar blended whiskey, is releasing three new labels for the first time in the U.S. market, to add to their two other others in a collection they call The Last Great Malts. They are making their debuts in the next few weeks.
Yes, that might be a bit of PR overstatement. But these are worthy single malts, all different from each other and all worth trying.
The Aultmore 12-Year-Old ($50) has the light gold color of a Chardonnay, and a crisp, piney taste profile. Is there such a thing as a food scotch, in the same way we talk about a food wine? You could try it out with a roasted chicken and see for yourself. There’s also an 18-Year-Old Aultmore for $115.
The Deveron 12-Year-Old ($45) is an appealing hit of smoky apricot, and it’s a perfect whiskey for mellowing out on a rainy day. It leaves the sweetest impression of the three new labels. Upgrade to the Deveron 18-Year-Old ($110) if a dozen years seems too young.
The Aberfeldy 12-Year-Old ($45) had the most complex finish in my estimation, spinning out its apple spice, honey, and toasty tang for a few minutes—next time I hope to try the Aberfeldy 21-Year-Old ($195) too, because I bet that’s another good way to make autumn seem like the best season of all.