The Best Whiskies Of 2023 To Drink, Buy & Invest In

Our guide to the best whisky releases of 2023.

The Best Whiskies Of 2023 To Drink, Buy & Invest In

Image: House of Suntory

There’s never been a better time to be into whisky than in 2023 – and there’s never been as much interest in whisky as there is right now.

During the pandemic, many of us discovered or rediscovered a love for whisky, as we broadened our palettes with refined drams whilst we couldn’t go out. Now that we can go out, we’ve got a taste for the finer things – and more and more whisky bars are opening in order to wet our collective whistles.

At the same time, distilleries have gone hard and heavy this year with cool special releases. In fact, there’s so much excellent whisky out there that it’s hard to figure out what’s actually worth investing in, gifting or drinking for one’s self.

Never fear: we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite 2023 whisky releases for your reading (and drinking) pleasure. From Scotland to the United States, Japan and also the best homegrown Australian drops, these are the whiskies you need to try ASAP.

Limited-Edition Hibiki 21-Year-Old Whisky and Hibiki Japanese Harmony

The House of Suntory’s Hibiki is considered by connoisseurs and aficionados among the most prestigious whiskies in the world, and this centennial edition of the 21-year-old blend is no different.

First debuting in 1989, Hibiki has established itself as a staple of any self-proclaiming whisky fan’s bar; a delicate marriage of malt and grain whiskies meticulously blended, this Limited Edition release puts rare Mizunara oak at the forefront, allowing its undeniable aroma and character to permeate throughout the drop.

For something a little lighter on the wallet, you have to try Hibiki Japanese Harmony. Featuring details from the changing seasons, this centennial edition drop is a celebration of 100 years of Suntory whisky and a collector’s dream.

Origin: Japan

700ml / 43% ABV

Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara

Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest whisky distillery and is responsible for some of the world’s finest drops. Their special releases are particularly hot property – like this Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara, a potently Japanese expression from Japan’s founding house of whisky.

A masterclass in mizunara (also known as Japanese oak), it kicks off with stonefruit notes on the nose, with a hint of spice that builds and dances on the palate. It’s got a really intense incense note – like walking through a Japanese temple – with the slightest hint of sea salt.

Those flavours then build to a pleasantly woody and natural finish, with characteristic sandalwood, dried coconut and clove. A surprisingly sharp sweetness rounds things off: a truly astounding whisky that’s easily one of the best whisky releases of 2023.

Origin: Japan

700ml / 43% ABV

Bushmills 10-year-old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Located in the Bushmills region of Northern Ireland where this iconic brand gets its name, Bushmills can count itself among good company as the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery and is the only Irish whiskey to make our list for 2023.

Bushmills 10-year-old Single Malt Irish Whiskey is triple distilled before being introduced to Oloroso sherry-aged and American bourbon-seasoned barrels through the maturation process, delivering that signature sweetness and a rich and smooth finish that’s recognised all over the world.

With a smooth and intense product that’s been perfected over 400 years, Bushmills is one of the most respected Irish whiskey brands still producing top-tier products today with a rich and storied history that’s shared between generations and imparted into every one of their signature selections. 

Origin: Ireland

700ml / 40% ABV

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

For more than 200 years, Buffalo Trace has set the standard for premium American bourbon with an illustrious history that has solidified its position as the most-awarded whiskey in the world; a testament to this American institution’s unwavering commitment to preserving the traditions of the past, whilst innovating for the future.

The result is Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a deep amber whiskey that reflects the time-honoured aging process that has imparted depth and character into each signature drop. On the nose, whiskey lovers are met with the signature aroma of warming vanilla. To taste, Buffalo Trace is smooth and sweet, with indulgent notes of sticky brown sugar, toffee and dark fruits owing to the charred American white oak barrels that help to refine the spirit as it matures.

From the alluring aroma that beckons with every pour to the layered and nuanced taste that unfolds with each sip, Buffalo Trace continues to set the standard for what it means to be a truly exceptional American bourbon.

Origin: Kentucky, United States of America

700ml / 40% ABV

Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt

Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt, as the name implies, it places a unique emphasis on peated whisky, using peat imported from Scotland to malt Japanese barley – a distilling challenge made possible by the Hakushu distillery’s pure and unique water, which softens the whisky’s signature smoky taste. Like the Yamazaki above, it too is aged in mizunara casks.

On the nose, ripe green apple, sage and licorice abound. It’s bright and ever-so-slightly spicy. It’s undoubtedly smoky, but in a comparatively subtle way: it’s not a massive smoke bomb, nor does it hide the peat away. It’s a distinctly Japanese take on a peated whisky.

That smoky and umami palate gives way to layers of grapefruit and honey, with a pleasantly smoky finish that lingers with undernotes of fresh green citrus and fine tobacco. It’s really something.

Origin: Japan

700ml / 48% ABV

Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest

A Tale of The Forest is Glenmorangie’s most herbaceous whisky to date and the first whisky ever crafted from barley kilned with woodland botanicals (namely juniper berries, birch bark and heather flowers): an ancient technique that was previously unheard of in modern whisky-making.

Intriguing and complex, it hits you with a bouquet of pine, juniper and coriander, along with roasted chestnut and an intriguing whisper of smoke (unusual for a Glenmorangie). Peppermint, eucalyptus and orange mix with those classic Glenmorangie vanilla notes, with a gentle finish of lemon and oak.

Origin: Highland, Scotland

700ml / 46% ABV

The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11

The GlenDronach is one of our favourite whisky distilleries here at DMARGE. Known for exclusively maturing its spirit in ex-Oloroso sherry casks, their whiskies are fruity, spicy and rich – they’re the perfect Christmas whiskies, although they’re good all year round.

Bottled at a full-bodied cask strength of 59.8% and fully matured in first-fill Pedro Ximénez & Oloroso Sherry casks, The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11 is a ‘sherry bomb’ like no other. Expect lots of raisins, chocolate, mulled wine and maraschino cherry.

Origin: Highland, Scotland

700ml / 59.8% ABV

Oban 10 Year Old Special Release

Oban 10 Year Old Special Release is one of Diageo’s 2022 ‘Elusive Expressions’ special release range – which has finally made its way Down Under in 2023. They always make us wait for the good stuff! The collection, which features unusual expressions from Diageo’s Scottish distilleries, also boasts 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: Highland, Scotland

700ml / 57.1% 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. Of course, you could invest in a bottle of The Macallan, or you could just drink it…

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

Westward American Two Malts BridgePort Brewing Co.

Westward Whiskey is an American single malt distillery – a growing category of whisk(e)y that might initially be hard to wrap your head around, but one that definitely deserves your attention. Westward is an exemplar, known for its high ABVs and quirky approach to distilling under Head Distiller Miles Munroe (who’s a top bloke).

The latest offering in their popular Two Malts Series, Westward American Two Malts BridgePort Brewing Co., as you may have guessed, is a collaboration between Westward and the now-defunct BridgePort craft brewery. Essentially, the wash that went into this whiskey was brewed alongside the BridgePort team using a clone of their Kingpin Red Ale.

That might sound bonkers but whiskey is essentially just beer without hops that’s been distilled – so why not use a really good beer to make your whiskey with? The result is a complex and warm American single malt, with intriguing marshmallow, cereal, rye and sour candy notes.

Origin: Oregon, United States of America

750ml / 45% 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. Don’t be fooled: this ain’t your standard Jack.

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 whiskey.

Origin: Tennessee, United States of America

700ml / 50% ABV

Stranahan’s Diamond Peak Extra Añejo Cask

Stranahan’s is another highly underrated American single malt distillery based out of Colorado that’s known for its innovative approach to whiskey… And this release is aggressively American, in all the best ways.

A collaboration with famed tequila distillery Jose Cuervo, this special release features a blend of five-to-eight-year Stranahan’s in used casks from Jose Cuervo’s prized extra añejo Reserva de la Familia line for two years. The resulting whiskey is herbal, peppery, buttery and oaky, with agave sweetness and fire on the finish.

Origin: Colorado, United States of America

700ml / 45% ABV

Morris Cellar Reserve Muscat Barrel

A drop made for the truly discerning whisky lovers, this intriguing release from the very Scottish-sounding Rutherglen is actually an Australian whisky from rural Victoria. Who woulda thunk it? Morris is best known as a winery, but their whiskies are truly exceptional, too.

Unbelievably highly acclaimed – having netted 11 gold medals as well as winning Best Australian Single Malt World Whiskies Awards this year – Morris Cellar Reserve Muscat Barrel is a cut above the rest. It’s matured in a combination of French and American oak ex-wine barrels, followed by an extended maturation in Morris’ multi-award-winning ex-fortified Muscat barrels.

A creamy mouthfeel packed full of rich dark fruits and sweet malt notes gives way to sweet vanilla and cocoa interspersed with cinnamon spice in this decadent and dessert-y single malt. Good stuff.

Origin: Victoria, Australia

700ml / 48% ABV

The Gospel Project Release Legacy Rye

Upstart Melbourne-based distiller The Gospel is Australia’s only dedicated rye whiskey distillery – yet ranks as one of the most acclaimed modern rye whiskey makers on the planet. All their whiskeys are distilled from 100% Australian unmalted rye cultivated and nurtured by a single farmer in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia, which gives their whiskey a robust, distinctly Australian flavour.

Legacy Rye, their first project release of 2023, is a 3-year-old whiskey distilled from a mash bill of 59% Mallee rye, 35% Australian corn and 6% Australian malt barley – a whiskey reminiscent of Maryland-style ryes. It was then aged in a heavy toast and high char cask in the middle of the bond store, providing a very consistent maturation profile.

With notes of orange marmalade, lemon curd, toasted cedar, burnt toffee, leatherwood honey and cultured butter, this is a seriously grown-up rye.

Origin: Victoria, Australia

700ml / 56% ABV

Sullivans Cove 21 Year Old 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 and without a doubt one of the most exciting whisky releases of 2023.

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. This is definitely one to invest in and save for a special occasion.

Origin: Tasmania, Australia

700ml / 48.3% ABV

Manly Spirits Co. Coastal Stone ‘Montepulciano’

To celebrate World Whisky Day 2023, Sydney’s Manly Spirits Co. released three very interesting single-cask whiskies in its limited-edition Coastal Stone ‘Italian Luxe Trio’ series, which comprises ‘Sangiovese’, ‘Montepulciano’, and ‘Aglianico’ expressions.

As you might have guessed, these whiskies were aged in ex-red wine barrels: Manly Spirits Co. is the first distillery in the world to create single malt whisky in these barrels from these varietals, making them a particularly interesting proposition.

All of them are delicious but 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