The Tatler Bar Recommends: 6 Single Malt Scotch Whiskies to Drink Better in 2021
Single malt Scotch whiskies will never go out of style, especially these prized bottles beloved by connoisseurs all over the world
The whisky scene has grown over the years, with many imbibers developing a palate for its variety of flavours. But while the blended whisky (a melange of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with single grain Scotch whiskies) remains the top choice for most imbibers, Stuart La Brooy, marketing director of Diageo’s Strategic Partnerships, affirms that single malts have emerged as one of the fastest-growing categories within the overall spirits.
"What makes single malts special is they retain the distinct characteristics of the distillery," elaborates La Brooy. For instance, the Glenkinchie 12 Year Old is a Lowland single malt with light and floral nuances unique to the Glenkinchie Distillery.
There are many more special expressions in the Diageo portfolio, which owns 28 malt distilleries in Scotland. And if you've recently developed a palate for this fine whisky, here are six Diageo single malt Scotch whiskies available online at The Tatler Bar to get you started.
Talisker 10 Year Old
This powerful single malt whisky is the stalwart of the iconic Talisker distillery, which was established on the Isle of Skye in 1830. It is coveted by connoisseurs for many reasons, but most especially for its smell and taste that reflect the island’s rugged coastal environment. It starts with the sea-salty aroma that captures its unique seaside location, followed by a spicy complexity, intense smoky-sweet character and distinct peppery finale that lingers on the palate.
Oban 14 Year Old
Oban is one of Scotland’s oldest, smallest and storied distilleries that produces their signature expressions using time-honoured methods—and in limited quantities. This West Highland Malt is a good introduction to the brand and is prized for its complex taste: a well-balanced marriage of rich sweetness and smoky dryness, with hints of spice that sets it apart from other Highland Malts. As the name implies, it’s matured in American oak casks for 14 years and contributes to its long and oaky finish.
Lagavulin 16 Year Old
Lagavulin is a name synonymous with intensely rich and peaty whiskies—the trademark flavour of this iconic distillery on the Isle of Islay which has been in operation for over 200 years. Experiencing the ‘King of Islay’ often starts with its benchmark dram, the Lagavulin 16 Year Old. Aged in oak casks for at least 16 years, the single malt is powerful on the palate thanks to its peat-smoked notes balanced with a richness and dryness, and hints of sherry and fruits. Each sip culminates with a spicy, long finish.
Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old
The 15 Year Old is the signature expression of Scotland’s highest distillery, nestled between two mountain ranges in the Scottish Highlands. It’s famed for its lightly peated taste made more complex by layers of smokiness, honey sweetness and heather flavours. It’s clean and smooth on the palate, and best served chilled.
Cragganmore 12 Year Old
Revered Cragganmore Distillery produces whiskies which the late influential Scottish whisky writer, Michael Jackson, declared had “the most complex aroma of any malt”. It’s evident in its 12 Year Old, boasting sweet floral notes mixed with herbs and a little bit of honey and vanilla. Taste-wise, it’s rich and smoky on the palate with just enough nuances of chestnuts, walnuts and stone fruits for a desirable finale.
Glenkinchie 12 Year Old
The distillery champions the Lowland style of whiskies, and this means the flavours are more on the delicate and floral side. Take, for example, the 12 Year Old single malt; its aroma is akin to a “country garden” on a spring day that blossoms on the palate with the sweetness of crême Anglaise sprinkled with butter icing, lemon cheesecake and freesias.