Drinking a little more than usual at the moment? No judgement, we don’t blame you. So to bring a bit of variety to your nightly tipple, here are Ape’s favourite new whiskies from some of the hottest up-and-coming distilleries across the globe.
Bottle To Try: Re-Charred Oak Casks
2019 was a huge year for London-based craft distillery Bimber, with the single malt specialists garnering plaudits across the industry. Not only did they secure Whisky Mag’s Icons of Whisky Rest of World Craft Producer of the Year, but their Re-Charred Oak Casks (below) was a World Whiskies Awards category winner too.
With the exclusive bottling of their first single malt, The First, long sold out, attention should be turned to the award winner.
Limited to a small batch release of 5000 individually numbered bottles, the distillery’s American oak casks were hand-charred on site to ensure wood sugars are caramelised, adding an extra filtering layer of carbon to the barrels, resulting in a distinctively rich, smooth a fruity flavour. Get a bottle whilst you still can.
£65.00 for 70cl; bimberdistillery.co.uk
The Cotswolds Distillery
Recommended Bottle: Founder’s Choice Single Malt
Since its inception in 2017, The Cotswolds Distillery has racked up no less than 13 medals and awards, notably winning big at the World Whiskies Awards 2019. Only locally-grown barley goes into their whisky, with ageing taking place in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels as well as American Oak barrels previously used for red wine.
Cotswolds Founder’s Choice Single Malt is our pick of the bunch. A wonderfully rich and intense affair, it features notes of toffee, oak and red fruits and is full deserving of its Best English Single Malt award.
£64.95 for 70cl; cotswoldsdistillery.com
Recommended Bottle: KVSB002
Screw your rules, say Banffshire whisky makers Kininvie Works. The experimental distillery doesn’t do commercial agendas or abiding by traditional whisky conventions – they’re all about experimentation and pushing the boat out. There’s a wonderfully futuristic and innovative feel to what they’re doing (point six on their manifesto says: “The bottle is just a container”) but does it transfer to the taste of the product? Yes. It does actually.
KVSB002, their second release, is a single grain Scotch that’s well worth trying. Rich toffee flavours and spicy rye notes make for their best release to date.
£35.00 for 50cl; kininvie.com
Recommended Bottle: Solera Single Malt
Australia – surely not? All the way down in the Southern Hemisphere? Believe it. Melbourne-based Starward are causing quite a stir with their single malt and once you’ve taken into account a local surplus of world-class wine barrels and an array of high-quality ingredients within a day’s drive from the distillery, it all makes sense.
Their Solera Single Malt is well worth adding to your collection. Rich and well-balanced, expect jammy fruits, creme brûlée and spice with a lingering dry finish.
$125.00 for 70cl; starward.com.au
Recommended Bottle: Hip Flask Series No 15
Part of the new wave of Scottish craft distilleries, St Andrews-based Eden Mills is a new kid on the block when it comes to Scotch whisky, having previously turned their hand to pretty much every other spirit. Leading their charge is a collection of single cask expressions, each coming in modest hip flask sizes, with designs reminiscent of Penguin Classics.
Our favourite of the series is #15, a pale malt spirit matured in a Virgin American Oak barrel. There’s a toasted oak and sweet vanilla character imparted by the barrel which compliments a rich peppery spice.
£25.00 for 20cl; edenmill.com
Recommended Bottle: Intelligens
Trust the Swedes to really push the envelope when it comes to cool, stylish whisky and spirit innovation. Named after a moth which used to be native to the region the distillery is home to, Mackmyra – although not as young as some of the names on this list – are still approaching their spirits with wild youthful abandon. You may already be familiar with their seasonal limited editions, each usually harnessing an unusual finish or distilling feature.
The show stealer of late however has been their foray into AI. No doubt some will be vehemently against machine learning algorithms getting involved in the most time-consuming processes of whisky production, but for a limited-edition novelty release what’s the harm? The result is a delectably fruity single malt with notes of toffee, vanilla, pear and apples.
£59.90 for 70cl; mackmyra.com