The mad fanaticism over all things whiskey continued unabated in 2022, but with quality like this on the market, it’s hard not to see why. Some of this stuff is so insanely good that we can fully understand the wild price hikes and long lines and lotteries just to win the chance at buying a bottle… though, gulp, I can’t say that anyone on the staff is ready to plunk down four figures for 750ml of whiskey, no matter how good it is. That’s a long way of apologizing for the high prices and extreme rarity of a few of the whiskeys on this list, but with our top 10 whiskeys of the year list, our goal has always been to celebrate the absolute best quality products that hit the market in the last year, even if they do come at an extreme cost. (For more affordable picks, please refer to our holiday shopping guide.)
As always, we’re revealing one whiskey each day over the next 10 days until we hit #1 on Christmas Eve. While you’re preparing for the big reveal, feel free to indulge in some of our previous top 10 whiskey lists: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017. You can also search multiple stores at wine-searcher to find the best prices on all these products and more.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the #6 pick!
7. Gold Spot Irish Whiskey – The “Spot” Irish whiskey line has yet to disappoint, and this year’s release, Gold Spot, earns its place on our list with a brilliant pot still spice character coupled with a well-integrated range of flavors. Aged in four different types of casks (bourbon, port, sherry, and Bordeaux wine), Gold Spot oozes caramel and toasted marshmallow but balances those sweeter notes with baking spices as well as gentle wood tannins. Some apple and raisin fruit arrive soon after, and the crème brûlée finish seals the deal. Gold Spot has a lot going on, but it keeps its flavors distinct and delicious. 102.8 proof. $105 -RL
8. Remus Repeal Reserve VI – Ross & Squibb (nee MGP) did a great job this year of distracting drinkers from their unusual renaming by releasing back-to-back bourbon beauties. It started with this bottle, the sixth edition of Remus Repeal Reserve, which hit shelves in September. The first Repeal Reserve produced under the stewardship of new master distiller Ian Stirsman continued the brand’s tradition of blending several (five in this case) high-rye bourbons to create a final product greater than the sum of its parts. Constructed from comparatively younger stocks (8 to 10 years old) than previous releases, this edition was vibrant and fruit-forward while still showcasing an impressive balance of seasoned oak and dark baking spice that never allowed things to skew too bright or sweet. Apparently, Mr. Stirsman decided to save his older stocks this year for another Gilded Age-inspired stunner, Gatsby Reserve, which very nearly made the cut, as well. 100 proof. $150 – DB
9. Laphroaig Cairdeas Warehouse 1 Edition 2022 – If the 52.5% abv wasn’t enough to dial in a warning of caution, a big blast of phenolic and lemon notes on the nose immediately informs drinkers this Laphroaig is an intense variation that pushes beyond what its core range offers. The smoke here is relentless, with hints of coastal waters, peat, and spice on the palate all attempting to claw their way to the surface. All of the distinctive and signature marks Laphroaig lovers enjoy are present, just amplified. With Laphroaig returning to ex-bourbon casks this year, one would think oak influence would play a significant factor in the entire tasting experience. It doesn’t, and the complexity and intensity on display throughout are all the better for it. 105 proof. $80 -RT [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
10. M&H Apex Dead Sea – Israel is not a country that one commonly associates with whiskey, and sure enough, M&H (aka Milk & Honey) has to date produced a series of serviceable but not wholly memorable offerings. That changes with Apex Dead Sea, an experimental whiskey aged near the ultra-hot Dead Sea. The whiskey pours on wood and filters it through notes of apricot, banana, and orange peel. Racy at full proof, but always evocative. 112.4 proof. $120 -CN