The wide world of scotch whisky has a fair amount of notable brands and expressions that true connoisseurs can wax poetically for hours regarding the spirit. As the new year approaches and for those who want something different beyond bubbly, the scotch whisky trio Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, and Royal Brackla is very much worth the investment.
2022 was an eventful year for me as I dove deeper than I ever have into the world of scotch whisky. As I’ve told friends and professionals in the industry, I didn’t enjoy scotch early on but I finally figured out my issue. The problem is I was approaching scotch like bourbon or rye whiskey, not as its own thing.
Along my journey, I’ve come to enjoy Aberfeldy 12 as a formidable daily sipper or cocktail base. The “Golden Dram” never disappoints and showcases the classic Highland style expertly.
Craigellachie is made in the Speyside region and follows the single malt tradition whisky is largely known for. I’ve had both the 13 and 17-year expressions, both full of character, warmth, and true conversation starters. As I continue to get familiar with single malt scotch, Craigellachie hits you in the face with the peaty flavors but make no mistake, it’s not a smoke bomb. This is an adventure of flavor.
Lastly, Royal Brackla is perhaps my favorite of the three brands mentioned in this piece. I’ve enjoyed drams of the 12, 18, and 21-year expressions, full of that beautifully complex Highland flavor. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy Speyside scotch or some of the peatier flavors. But it might be true that Highland single malts speak to me the most but I still have a lot more studying to do.
Below, we highlight some of the offerings from Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, and Royal Brackla. Hopefully, you’ll find your next single malt scotch whisky of choice among them.
I haven’t tried the Aberfeldy Tuscan but I can imagine it’s just as fantastic as other bottles produced by the brand. This whisky is an 18-year finished in Tuscan red wine barrels and is a limited edition release. Learn more about Aberfeldy here and click here to locate a bottle in your neck of the woods.
For those unaware, Armagnac is a type of Brandy produced in Gascony, France, and differs from its close cousin Cognac due to using up to 10 grape varietals. Craigellachie Armagnac is a 13-year expression that I tried recently in a sample and the finishing in Armagnac casks softens the big punch of Speyside single malt scotch. Learn more about Craigellachie here.
As I noted above, I’ve had the entire core range of expressions from Royal Brackla, each improving upon the other by age statement but all excellent in their own right. Royal Brackla is the first scotch to be granted a Royal Warrant by King William IV in 1833. Thus, it is known as “The King’s Own Whisky.” Learn more about Royal Brackla here.