In celebration of World Whisky Day today, we’ve rounded up some of the most exciting new whisky releases to arrive in Australia this year that you ought to add to your collection ASAP (or, if you’ve got a bottle in your liquor cabinet already, that you should pop open and taste…)
Every year, the third Saturday of May marks one of my favourite days on the calendar, World Whisky Day: a one-day celebration of all things dark and delicious. While initially founded in 2012 to celebrate Scotch whisky, it’s since become a day to celebrate whiskies from all around the world.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of whiskies from across the globe (including a few from Australia, naturally) that are worth investing in, in 2023. Slàinte Mhath and have a great World Whisky Day!
Oban 10 Year Old Special Release
First up, we have Oban 10 Year Old Special Release, which is part of Diageo’s 2022 ‘Elusive Expressions’ special release range – which has finally made its way Down Under. The collection, which features unusual expressions from Diageo’s Scottish distilleries, also boast beautiful artistic bottle designs featuring fanciful creatures. They’re really very striking.
Oban is one of Scotland’s most unique and smallest distilleries: located in a small village of the same name on the West Coast, it’s a portal to Islay – yet Oban itself is a Highland distillery through and through.
Oban 10, which features maturation in refill and new American Oak, then double maturation in ex-Sherry & Amontillado seasoned casks, brings a mild nose with maritime salt and sea air. The creamy texture introduces a taste rich in sweet hints of wine-poached spiced plum, balanced by vibrant salt and spice, before finishing as chilli pepper. Rich, sticky sweetness sparkles through light smoke and salt, in an Oban of supernatural character.
Origin: Highlands, Scotland
700ml / 57.1% ABV
Suntory Hibiki Blossom Harmony Limited Edition
Suntory Hibiki Blossom Harmony is about as Japanese as Japanese whisky can get. This coveted release blends Suntory’s already-prized Hibiki whisky with whisky that has been finished in barrels made from sakura trees, or Japanese cherry blossom trees – the first Suntory whisky to be aged in sakura barrels. Sounds a bit fanciful, but it’s no gimmick.
Featuring a fragrant aroma reminiscent of cherry blossom flowers and a harmonious round taste with well-developed sweetness, this bright and complex whisky is easily one of the best Japanese whiskies I’ve ever had the good fortune to put past my lips.
700ml / 43% ABV
The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old
The Macallan is rightfully one of the most respected distilleries in the world – it’s the ‘blue chip stock’ of whiskies, famous for releasing some of the oldest and tastiest whiskies ever seen.
The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, as the name implies, was matured exclusively in hand-picked, sherry-season European and American oak casks. This clever combination marries the classic Macallan style with the unmistakable sweetness of American oak. The result? A fully rounded single malt in perfect balance, with flavours of fudge, citrus and soft spice.
Origin: Speyside, Scotland
700ml / 40% ABV
Jack Daniel's Bonded
One of the most exciting whisky releases in Australia for 2023, Jack Daniel’s Bonded is an elevated, premium and exciting take on the time-honoured Jack Daniel’s formula.
Distilled to the standards of the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897 – meaning this whiskey is from one distilling season, at 100 proof, and is matured for a minimum of 4 years at Jack Daniel’s federally bonded warehouses – Jack Daniel’s Bonded is a darker, richer, and more oak-forward drop, with bold, layered notes of caramel, rich oak, and spice giving way to a pleasantly lingering finish. This one will change your of Jack Daniel’s and American whisky.
Origin: Tennessee, United States of America
700ml / 50% ABV
Sullivans Cove 21YO American Oak Ex-Bourbon
Simply put, this is the oldest Australian whisky ever to be released – and if that doesn’t make you excited, we don’t know what will. Due to the environmental challenges of long-term maturation in Australia, casks very rarely make it to this age. Sullivans Cove 21 is a milestone for the Australian whisky industry.
The flavour? It’s somewhat reminiscent of Chinese-style mango pancakes, with an amazing oily texture and just a hint of Tasmania sea salt. Subtle tannins and a fragrant, buttery aroma make this a truly wondrous dram.
Origin: Tasmania, Australia
700ml / 48.3% ABV
Nikka Yoichi 10 Year Old
Nikka is one of the most respected names in Japanese whisky. Even complete whisky novices have probably heard of Nikka From The Barrel, which ranks as one of the best intros to premium Japanese whiskies one can hope to put past one’s lips.
Now, Nikka has announced they’re introducing the rare and highly-anticipated Yoichi 10 Year Old single malt to the Australian market. Smoky, savoury, malty and fruity, Yoichi 10 has a well-deserved reputation as one of Nikka’s (and Japan’s) finest whiskies.
In Australia, Yoichi 10 will be exclusively available only at ultra-premium whisky and cocktail bars. Find out more here. Otherwise, a few select retailers have bottles in stock – but they ain’t going cheap…
700ml / 43% ABV
Manly Spirits Co. Coastal Stone ‘Montepulciano’
In time for World Whisky Day 2023, Sydney’s Manly Spirits Co. has released its Coastal Stone ‘Italian Luxe Trio’ limited-edition whisky series comprising of ‘Sangiovese’, ‘Montepulciano’, and ‘Aglianico’ expressions. Manly Spirits Co. is the first distillery in the world to create single malt whisky in these ex-varietal red barrels, making this a particularly interesting release.
The pick of the litter is the Montepulciano, we reckon. Rich and robust, boysenberry notes abound with milk chocolate, custard and the tiniest hint of pepper dancing on the palette. La dolce vita indeed.
Origin: New South Wales, Australia
500ml / 51.7% ABV