The Big Winners and Biggest Surprises from Whisky Advocate’s Yearly Top 20 List

Lagavulin's association with Nick Offerman proves fruitful. Plus, a rare Swedish entry.

NIck Offerman showing off Lagavulin Offerman Edition: Guinness Cask Finish, which just won Whisky Advocate's Top 20 Whiskies 2021
NIck Offerman showing off Lagavulin Offerman Edition: Guinness Cask Finish

Nick Offerman’s love of whisky has paid off. A Lagavulin bearing the actor’s name topped the annual Whisky Advocate Top 20 Whiskies list, released on Friday.

Lagavulin 11 Year Old Offerman Edition: Guinness Cask Finish is the second release from the Islay distillery to be inspired by the actor and comedian’s love of single malt Scotch. The 11 year-old whisky spends four months finishing in Guinness casks, resulting in an expression where “peat smoke and maritime salinity become wrapped in the freshness of fragrant citrus, melding with honeyed vanilla and white chocolate,” as the magazine suggests.

Some other interesting takeaways from the rankings:

  • The highest American whiskey to make the list was a limited-edition Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2021 Release: FAE-01, which came in at number two (interestingly, we were a bit more partial to two other releases in the Wood Finishing Series).
  • At number three was a modern rarity: A peaty Irish whiskey called Blackpitts, via Teeling.
  • The recent move by Jack Daniels to release an age-statement whiskey paid off, as the Tennessee distillery’s just-launched 10 Year release came in at number four.
  • Biggest surprise? A Swedish whisky, High Coast Hav, cracked the top 10. Overall, the list did a nice job of staying global, also featuring expressions from Japan and India.
  • And, in the “oh, wow, never heard of that and now I’m intrigued” category, Texas’s Andalusia Stryker came in at no. 20. It’s an American single malt “bathed in oak, applewood, and mesquite smoke.”
The first age statement release from Jack Daniel’s since Prohibition landed in Whisky Advocate’s top 5
Jack Daniel’s

As the publication notes, “To determine our Top 20, we begin by looking only at whiskies that rated ‘outstanding’ (90 points or higher on Whisky Advocate’s 100-point scale). However, the Top 20 is not simply a collection of our highest-rated whiskies, because many of those are so limited they would be impossible for most readers to locate or purchase. Therefore, in addition to quality (based on score), our selection also prioritizes value (based on price) and availability.” As well, the whiskies undergo a blind tasting by a panel of international reviewers.

You can see an ad with Nick Offerman regarding the Lagavulin release below.


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