My Favourite Drams of 2016 (Part 1) / by Jason Hambrey

You may have noticed that I have been posting a large number of very highly rated reviews of late - and now you know why - so I could squeeze in all of my favorites! This year has continued to be a stellar year for whisky, and looking back I have put together a few of my favorite (not necessarily the most highly rated) whiskies of the year. With all the marketing buzz over special releases, it can sometimes be too easy to forget about some of the great standard bottles.

I'll post part 2 of this list tomorrow, which will include my favorites of the bunch. Otherwise, these aren't in any particular order:

1. Longmorn 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

This whisky is sadly no more - this last year it was repackaged (and doubled in price) because of popularity and the continued pressing towards luxury whiskies from many Scotch producers. Sad. However, this is still around in some stores and worth getting. It's a lighter style whisky which is immensely complex and the 48% ABV gives it a great body and finish.

Read my review here.

2. Crown Royal Hand Selected Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

I absolutely love this stuff. It is big, creamy, and very confectionary, and some barrels are incredibly complex. Tasting it makes you taste drops of this stuff at the core of so many Crown Royal Products, and it is a favorite of mine to pull out for random tastings. One of the best Canadian whiskies you can buy, when you can find it.

Read my review here.

3. Masterson's 10 Year Old Straight Rye Batch 1 Canadian Straight Rye Whisky

This is magnificent stuff, and batch 1 was my favorite of all the batches of Masterson's - my favorite brand of straight rye. It is still kicking around in Quebec among other places, and it is breathtaking straight rye. It'll show you how good the rye can be up in Canada...

Read my review here.

4. Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky Batch 001

Though originally bottled for the Taiwanese market, this hit the shelves in Western Canada for the first time this year. Very complex, well-aged corn whisky which has brilliant leathery complexity, and is bottled at a good 46% for more flavor than many of the older Canadians that we see.

Read my review here.

5. Amrut Peated Cask Strength Batch 12

Amrut makes some terrific whiskies, and this is my favorite of all the Amruts that I have tried. It's not overly smoky - but has wonderful complexity and some very notable dried flower notes. I tasted nearly 60 of my unopened whisky bottles in the last year, and this was a surprising standout that was hard to beat in various flights.

Read my review here.

6. Longrow 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Springbank makes terrific whisky, and this beauty of a long aged, heavily peated whisky is elegant, rich, fascinating stuff. Even at the price, it does pretty well value-wise for old Scotch. Perhaps one of the best standard 18 year olds in Scotch Whisky.

Read my review here.

7. Lagavulin 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Lagavulin produces a terrific 16 year old, but every year they do a special release of a 12 year old which is bottled at cask strength. The stuff out of Lagavulin is great, and this smoky delight does not disappoint.

Read my review here.

8. Bowmore Laimrig 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Yes, you'll notice that I have a penchant for good cask strength peated whisky. Good peated whisky, alongside good rye, is my favorite style of whisky. This whisky is 15 years old and matured in sherry casks which bring in great fruitiness and complexity to complement the smouldering peat. For what it is, it is usually very well priced too.

Read my review here.

9. Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky

I was only introduced to this whisky during the summer, and I fell in love with it (no surprise). It's laphroaig, but a lot bigger which does wonders too for the complexity. Any big peat lovers need to try to get a taste of this stuff.

Read my review here.