My list of the Best Whiskies of 2016

By 19 January 2017Informatie
Best Whiskies of 2016

Well, due to popular demand, I’ve decided to translate my Best Whiskies of 2016 blogpost with my selection of the best whiskies I’ve had in 2016. So here we go …

How did I select the best whiskies of 2016

First of all, I have to admit … I’m a bit late with my list of the best whiskies of 2016. Plenty of bloggers already had their list ready at the end of 2016. Personally, I think a list of the Best Whiskies of 2016 can only be made once 2016 is over! You never know what you will be drinking on New Year’s Eve!

Anyway … how did I select this list of the Best Whiskies for 2016? Well … all year I’ve invited a large panel of highly esteemed whisky professionals to my home to allow them to taste some whiskies with me. Sadly … none showed up and I had to do everything on my own. In other words, my list is just a summary of my personal favourite whiskies that I’ve tasted in 2016. And no worries … there is a whisky in there for everyone, since as in previous years, it was pretty clear to me that price or age an’t the most important criteria for a good whisky!

So, the criteria for my list were … I had to have tasted the whisky in 2016, and I had to like it a lot. Since I’ve had a lot of good whiskies in 2016, this has proven to be tougher than I expected.

My list of the Best Whiskies of 2016

It was nearly impossible to divide everything into separate categories. What I did try was to select the winners into 3 different segments. First of all there is the segment below 100 euro, then there is the segment between 100 and 200 euro, and finally … the rest. The selected whiskies are the winners of the “Whisky with Friends Awards 2016”, if that award might actually exisst!

In the category “For that price, I’m taking 2 bottles”

So, in the segment “For that price, I’m taking 2 bottles … or 3” the clear winner was the Finlaggan Port Finish. Personally a revelation to me, a delicious whisky for an awesome price. If, just like me, you love the combination of Port Maturation or Port Finish and Peat, then this is definitely the whisky for you!

The Finlaggan Port finish is a delicious whisky at a very affordable price point!

The Finlaggan Port finish is a delicious whisky at a very affordable price point!

The runner-up this year has to be the Gordon & MacPhail Bunnahabhain Peated 8 Years Old. A young and atypical Bunnahabhain with a touch of vanilla, lots of fruitiness and a nice but not predominant Peat.

In the categorie “A bit more expensive, but still affordable”

In the category “A bit more expensive, but still affordable” you’ll find a whisky that surprised me a lot this year. A slightly older whisky from a distillery that is still a bit unknown to me. We’re talking about the Ben Nevis 20 Years Old specially selected for the 10 th anniversary of The Nectar. Bottled at 47,6 % ABV, this whisky was probably my favourite of 2016.

Normally I tend to write Dutch tasting notes for this website, but there is a reason why I didn’t do that for this Ben Nevis 20 Years Old yet. Normally I write those tasting notes when the bottle is almost empty. Well, I bought this bottle in august at Proof in Gent, and there is still plenty of it in the bottle. Maybe in the future I should change this habit and try to write my tasting notes sooner. Heck, if there is enough interest I might start to write them in English too!

The whisky which left a very lasting impression in 2016 must have been this Ben Nevis 20 Years Old, selected for the 10 th anniversary of The Nectar!

The whisky which left a very lasting impression in 2016 must have been this Ben Nevis 20 Years Old, selected for the 10 th anniversary of The Nectar!

A runner-up in this category? Well … a whisky I’ve tasted in Bar Bijou in Antwerp. An Asta Morris Imperial 1995 Signatory bottel. This one was delicious too! Too bad I had this whisky after I’ve had a few other drinks. If I had known this beauty would show up, I would probably have skipped the other drinks. Again … no tasting notes for this whisky. Writing tasting notes is something I do at home, where I can concentrate on the task at hand, without external influences.

The Signatory Imperial 18 Years Old bottled for Asta Morris. Too bad I didn't take the time to enjoy this a bit more!

The Signatory Imperial 18 Years Old bottled for Asta Morris. Too bad I didn’t take the time to enjoy this a bit more!

For once I’m gonna add another runner-up to this category. Maybe it’s a whisky which falls in between this category and the next one. For my 45 th birthday earlier this year, I had the opportunity to get my hands on the very first bottle of whisky from my year of birth … 1971! What was even better was that it was still reasonable affordable as well. The actual whisky? Well a 21 Years Old Speyburn from Gordon & MacPhail. The whisky was distilled in 1971 and bottled in 1992. Just like myself at that age, the whisky needed some time and room to breathe before you could enjoy it’s complex character and awesome body 🙂

Something special for my 45th birthday earlier in 2016. A 1971 Speyburn from Gordon & MacPhail

Something special for my 45th birthday earlier in 2016. A 1971 Speyburn from Gordon & MacPhail

In the categorie “I was lucky enough to taste this whisky!”

The last category is a category I called “I was lucky enough to taste this whisky” but some people might also call it “Once in a lifetime whiskies” or even “Out of my reach / budget whiskies”. Anyway … this year there were 2 awesome whiskies which I’ve tasted which are the clear winners in that category.

First of all, I had the opportunity to taste the phenomenal Benromach 35 years old. A whisky which is best given enough time and a cozy environment so you can enjoy every bit of it at your own pace! Sadly … a bit out of reach for my budget.

Benromach 35 Years Old

Benromach 35 Years Old

The runner-up here is definitely the St Magdelene 1980 which I’ve tasted at Geert De Bolle’s place. A 15 Years Old St Magdalene distilled in 1980 and bottled in 1995 from the Gordon & MacPhail Centenary Reserver collection.

St Magdalene 1980 from the Centenary Reserve collection of Gordon & MacPhail!

St Magdalene 1980 from the Centenary Reserve collection of Gordon & MacPhail!

I think both of them were “Once in a lifetime whiskies”, since chances are probably very slim that I’l ever get the opportunity to taste them again. Getting my hands on a bottle is probably out of the question too, or I should win the Lottery this weekend.

Honorary Mentions

I tired to keep the list short. There should have been 6 whiskies in my Best Whiskies of 2016 list, yet there are 7 in there. Tough choices were made, but there were a few more whiskies which are worthy of a Honorary Mention this year: Redbreast Lustau Edition, Jameson Caskmates, Teeling Galway Bay Stout Cask, Johnny Walker Green Label, Ardmore 1996 van Gordon & MacPhail and the Laphroaig Brodir of course!

Which whiskies were your favourites in 2016?

So, now it’s up to you, my Whisky Friends. If you have a few minutes, feel free to post your top 3 best whiskies of 2016 below this post. Who knows … me might pick a winner in the category “Whisky with Friends Audience Award”!

Stefaan Lesage

About Stefaan Lesage

Software Developer / geek / blogger / (amateur)fotograaf / podcaster (Tech45) / Sci-Fi & fantasy lover en natuurlijk Whisky liefhebber.

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