Happy New Year! Here’s a quick overview of the highlights of 2018 before we start a new year of (almost) daily whisky reviews.
I think 2018 was a ‘richer’ year than the past two or three years, in the sense that there were more whiskies which surprised me, with great bottlings coming from more sources.
The undisclosed Speyside whiskies have been in my hotlist since 2016 and there have been a couple of great bottlings this year as well, a 1977 and 1973 from Maltbarn and the Vega whisky from North Star Spirits.
Then there was a list of excellent premium releases (roughly between € 1000 and € 100.000) that I gave a very high score:
- Karuizawa 50 Year Old (65.2%, Elixir Distillers)
- Caol Ila 50 Years 1968 (52.5%, GM ‘Private Collection’ 2018)
- Lagavulin 21 Years 1997 (56.6%, OB for WhiskyNerds, EU oak cask #0001)
In a more affordable range, there were also three highlights:
- Teeling 27 Years 1991 (49.8%, OB for TWE, sherry cask #6838)
- Springbank 23 Years 1995 (48%, WhiskyNerds, hogshead #63)
- Glen Elgin 20 Years 1997 (55.7%, Gordon MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice)
When looking from a price / quality perspective, that Glen Elgin 1997 was probably the best whisky you could buy this year.
In fact Gordon MacPhail deserve a special mention: they have completed a major makeover for most of their ranges and they are now in the lead when it comes to independent bottlings, both in terms of design and sheer quality. Very few bottlers can launch the things they dig up in their warehouses.
Also kudos to the WhiskyNerds for being involved in two of the best whisky releases this year.
Best ‘bang for your buck’ in 2018
Typically I only include bottlings here that cost less than € 100:
- Ledaig 12 Years (58.4%, The Whisky Exchange, sherry butt)
- Glenlivet 11 Years 2007 (67%, SV for Fisser, cask #900201)
- Orkney 13 Years 2005 (56.2%, SV for Flanders)
- Lagavulin Lg8 (59.5%, Elements of Islay 2018)
This whisky blog
… is still going forward, thank you. Just short of 780.000 visitors in 2018 and over 2.6 million page views. Virtually no summer downfall this year and strong numbers in November and December may indicate a great 2019 as well.
Traffic from the Japan (+12%), Taiwan (+11%) and the USA (+10%) is still growing steadily, while virtually all European countries show a downward trend (especially UK, Belgium and Sweden this year).
Traditional markets are disappointed by the current prices and general value for money compared to the old days? What else…