The most precious alcoholic liquids take time to mature. Wine, tequila, rum, brandy, and whiskey are alcoholic drinks that all take precious time to produce the best qualities.
Focusing on scotch whiskey, the best bottles aren’t enough to go around. Takoda, an outdoor bar in DC, offers a wide range of scotch whiskeys you may have never heard of.
When producing these grain or malt whiskey drinks, supply lags demand by years – sometimes decades. And in the future, these unique whiskey brands will be scarce.
We’ll discuss a bar full of 5 underrated scotch whiskey gems that may be collecting dust in a cellar while you read.
1. Inchgower SMWS Series
Quality over quantity. Remember how we said that these scotch whiskey bottles take a long time to be produced? This is just a handful in the basket. The Inchgower SMWS series is one of the classics produced by the Inchgower distillery in Scotland.
There are over 10 different whiskey bottles produced under the Inchgower SMWS series. Some of them are SMWS 18.3 (Inchgower), SMWS 18.4 (Inchgower), SMWS 18.5 (Inchgower), SMWS 18.15 (Inchgower), and many more.
Some of the bottles in this series are as young as 10 years and others are as old as 35 years. Let’s focus on SMWS 18.3 (Inchgower).
SMWS 18.3 (Inchgower)
SMWS 18.3 is a 36-year-old vintage bottle of whiskey. It was distilled at the Inchgower distilleries in Speyside Scotland in May 1966 and bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) in July 2002.
It is described as an old, rare drink that gives a drinking experience different from anything you expect.
- Nose. The whiskey is heavily sherried with chocolate raisins and eucalyptus, with a hint of chestnuts and candied almonds. You get a whiff of smoked tea, which presents a beautiful and complex nose.
- Taste. SMWS 18.3 tastes like pure power, extreme. It is oily like Lebkuchen soaked in concentrated sherry and cough syrup.
- Finish. The taste finishes off in your mouth like burning sherry oil. It doesn’t become bitter but warms you up from deep inside.
2. Glenfiddich Grand Series
Glenfiddich is another old but gold distillery that produces one of the best whiskeys you need to try. They remain the global best-selling single malt scotch whiskey, producing different series, aged to produce the best taste.
The Glenfiddich Grand series is an epitome of luxury, fit for the grandest celebrations. Out of the many bottles in this series, the Grande Couronne Cognac Finish stands out as one of the best.
Grande Couronne Cognac Finish
A limited edition of the Grand series, this single malt whiskey is distilled for 26 years and finished for two years in a French oak cognac cask. The luxurious casks add layers of sweet oak and aromas of soft spice, brown sugar, and cafe cream.
It features the signature of Glenfiddich, orchard fruits, and the luxurious taste of honey, roasted almonds, sultanas, and orange peel.
- Nose. A sharp nose will catch the trademark orchard fruit mixed with the scent of poached pear and simmered Tarte Tatin. The soft baking spices give a note of sweet pastries and cream. Let’s not forget the powerful scent of delicate oak.
- Palate. The Grande Couronne Cognac Finish gives a velvety hit to your palate with a prime burst of soft spices of vanilla and nutmeg, brown sugar, and honey. It develops to a fruity element, adding sweet notes of grapes.
- Finish. This classic sweetness finishes with creamy notes that dawdle into sweetness before fading away to a soft spice and polished oak.
3. Speyside By Speyburn
A common single malt whiskey? Maybe not. It is a unique selection that offers a luxurious and classic taste of Speyside.
Speyburn 1977 (44-Year-Old Private Collection)
A Speyburn single malt classic that was distilled in 1977 and left to mature in a refill sherry butt for 44 years from. It was bottled in November 2021 and is part of the Speyburn Private Collection.
- Nose. A subtle aroma of sherry, intertwined with cocoa powder and walnut. It is followed by pungent ginger spices, followed by tobacco.
- Palate. Seville orange peels and autumnal spices lie at the front of honey flavors that accompany Medjool dates and demerara sugar.
- Finish. Black pepper, red apple, and a strong taste of menthol linger.
4. 16-Year-Old From Mortlach Permanent Collection
This rich sherry expression is often compared to its counterpart, the 16-year-old Flora and Fauna whiskey. However, it is not as meaty and, frankly, more balanced with a mix of rich dried fruits and juicy berries.
It is matured for 16 years in sherry casks to convey rich, fragrant notes. It was inspired by the iconic first bottling that was released in 1992.
- Nose. The perfect description is a trickle of apple pie and scorched raisins coated with rich apple sauce. At the core, an aroma of stewed apples, rich spice, and dried fruit fills you up. This smell is joined by fresh oak cinnamon, chocolates, and damp oak rancio.
- Palette. A sticky sweetness of thick brown sugar mixture into a bowl of dried raisins and apples is highlighted on your palette. It is balanced by the bitterness of barrel char and the smack of sharp orchard fruit. You get a hint of apples and crunchy pears, and hidden at the back is a relish of menthol.
- Finish. It finishes with a lingering mix of mint and menthol that fade to chocolate and dried raisins.
5. Mortlach 26-Year-Old Special Release 2019
Have you heard of the Best of Dufftown? This is a limited edition scotch whiskey that is featured in Diageo’s 2019 special releases. Only 3,883 bottles were produced with a label saying ‘Rare by Nature.
It is drawn from Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry seasoned casks. This distinct single malt whisky was distilled 26 years before its release date.
- Nose. Imagine the sweet smell of polished wood. This whiskey will give you memories of an antique shop. You’ll also get whiffs of walnut, mixed with dried apricots, dates, and cooked peaches. Add a little water to awaken the silent tobacco and apple notes.
- Palate. A single sip will give you an oily texture of leather and tobacco. It fades into a sweet chocolate and vanilla fudge. Water does the magic of taming this beast then you get the sweeter elements of fruits.
- Finish. The polished taste is prolonged and you start to get a spicy taste of orange peel. It lingers further to produce a note of salted caramel and chocolate.
Have a Toast With These Premium Whiskeys
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough.” – Mark Twain, Author
Mark Twain understood the value and worth of good whiskey, why won’t you? If you are looking for unique, single malt scotch whiskeys, you should start with this list or try the whiskeys at Takoda.