My Favourite Drams of 2018 (Part 2) / by Jason Hambrey

Basically, my favorite special releases this year.

1. Caroni 2000

Caroni is a closed rum distillery from Trinidid & Tobago, and is now renowned for its unique and complex spirit. This is my favourite spirit I tasted this year, 55%, unsweetened, and 17 years of age. I bought it at a whisky store in New York. Heady and complex - immensely spicy and medicinal, with all sorts of rubbery and tarry notes (to the point that some friends thought they’d get a headache just smelling the stuff). If you like intense, medicinal peated whiskies this stuff works a charm. Read my review here.

2. Talisker 8 Year Old Cask Strength

This stuff is just awesome. If this could possibly be turned into a regular release, I would love it. Huge, complex, smoky, spicy, fruity.

Read my review here.

3. A few other Diageo Special Releases: Cladach, Inchgower 27 Year Old, Carsebridge 48 Year Old, and Caol Ila 35 Year Old

These don’t merit their own line item like the Talisker 8 because of some rather prohibitive pricing. The Cladach is a remarkable complex blended smoky malt with lots of marine character. The Inchgower 27 was uniquely herbal and lightly fruity, the Carsebridge was incredibly rich and elegant, and the Caol Ila 35 is among the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted. If you get a taste of any of these, you won’t be dissapointed.

4. Lot no. 40 11 Year Old Cask Strength

I don’t have a lot more to add - this stuff is just awesome, as always. Intense, rich, and moreish. Big and fruity this year. If they keep bottling these upwards of 8 or 9 years they’ll probably be a perennially on this list.

Read my review here.

5. Century Reserve 30 Year Old and Canadian Rockies 21

Two old corn whiskies coming out of highwood - the incredible 30 year old from BC liquor stores which came in at 45% and only 150$! The Canadian Rockies 21 is always good, too.

Read my review here.

5. Crown Royal 13 Year Old Blender’s Mash (Noble Collection)

This whisky tastes just like an elegant bourbon, but it is immensely complex with a ton of rye character. In a blind tasting of over 100 whiskies, this came in my top 2. It’s sadly only available in the USA, but if you can get it, you should…

Read my review here.

6. J.P. Wiser’s 35 Year Old

This year’s isn’t quite as unique or rye heavy as last year, but it’s a bit more approachable and still unbelievable. Perhaps the pinnacle of Canadian whisky at the moment.

Read my review here.

7. J.P. Wiser’s Seasoned Oak

A 19 year old corn whisky, with a very lovely dash of rich rye. Oaky and rich, too.

Read my review here.

8. Westland Amaretto Cask

This was one of my favourites of a the year - a cask sample of an amaretto casked Westland. I thought it might not work at all, but it was just awesome!

Read my review here.

9. Westland Garryana

I tried a single cask of an exclusively Garry oak matured westland, and I understand why they blend it - it is intense and rich, similar to Japanese oak in its overpowering nature. When Westland applies their blending magic, though, we do get something truly spectacular in the peated releases.

Read my review here.

10. Port Charlotte 2007: CC1

I quite like the cask strength port charlottes, and the cognac cask does the trick here…very nice!

Read my review here.