A subscription service is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Yes, we made a Forest Gump reference and you can mock us if that is not true. Given that most of whisky subscription services deliver surprise whisky expressions (just as ours), it’s difficult to know if those expressions will, in fact, be premium or not.
There are a lot of factors that make a whisky truly premium that, consequently, will make a premium whisky subscription box. In this article, we’ll discuss these factors and tell you what are the most premium whisky expression we have sent to our costumers in the past.
Table of Content – Sip this article
- What is Premium Whisky?
- The Most Premium Whisky in Our Subscription Box
- Premium Whisky Advent Calendar
Defining premium whisky can be quite difficult since there is no worldwide regulation or following norms so that a whisky may advertise itself as premium or not. Truth is, the regulations that exist change from country to country, and regulate what a spirit can be called.
Although some can designate what is “premium” or not, they exist so that a brand can’t call itself something it is not. For instance, a Scotch whisky can only be called “Scotch Whisky” if it produced in Scotland. Therefore, if a spirit follows all the other norms, but is produced somewhere else in the world, it cannot be labelled “Scotch Whisky”.
Bottom line, it all comes down to quality over quantity. Uniqueness over conventionality. Innovation and creativity over blandness. In order to understand what makes a premium whisky, we lined up some factors that might contribute to this designation:
- High quality ingredients – the cereals, the water source, the yeast and the casks in which a whisky is matured in. This all counts to the final product to be considered premium. If a whisky is made with the highest quality ingredients, that will make a difference in its flavour and it will, most certainly, be a high-quality whisky.
- Maturation time – Most whiskies are required to age at least 3 years before bottling. The longer the spirit stays in barrel, the more unique of a character it will develop. So, premium whiskies are aged quite longer than is the minimum required by law. This is why spirits with over 15 years of maturation are considered to be super premium.
- Quantity of Whisky Bottled – If a spirit has “small batch” written in its label, it means that only a small quantity of that whisky was produced. Each batch is different and, with less bottles for sale, that whisky is not available for everyone, neither it will be produced to taste the same as the previous batch. And that also contributes for a whisky to be premium.
- Prizes Won – Either in national events or internationally. The more awards a whisky won, the more premium it will be. Afteralll, the experts and other whisky connoisseurs tasted it and rated it.
- Rarity of the Whisky – The older whisky, as well as whisky from distilleries that no longer operate or expressions that were produced in really small batches makes that whisky really hard to find and more expensive to buy. For those reasons, rare or vintage bottles of whisky are considered premium.
- The Bottle – Looks matter (at least in the whisky world). The more crafted is the bottle, especially with high-end materials and techniques, the more premium and expensive the whisky will be. We can point the obvious bottle that highly contributed for the final cost of the whisky: The Isabella Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. One bottle was sold for 6,2 million and most of its value came from the fact that the bottle is covered in diamonds and rubies. This is not only the most premium whisky in the world, but also the most expensive whisky worldwide.
Whatever the reason why these next expressions are premium, we managed to send whisky miniatures to our clients so that they could taste unique whiskies at least once in their lifetime.
When signing up to our Whisky Tasting Box, keep in mind that the longer the subscription, the more premium and exquisite the whisky expressions will be.
Armorik Double Maturation Single Malt Whisky
Delicate and smooth, the innovative Double Maturation with a finish in Oloroso Sherry casks is just one of the factors that make this whisky to be considered premium. The other factor is that this one of few whiskey brands in France.
If you haven’t tasted it, know that this is a brand that we usually (but not always) send to our customers.
Black Whiskey – Andean Black Corn Whiskey
The name answers straight to “why is this whiskey premium?” Truth is, this whiskey has it all.
It’s the first whiskey produced in the Andes (Peru), the mashbill is innovative and creates a complex spirit, it was awarded multiple times and the 2022 New York World Spirits Competition named it The World’s Best Whisky.
Do you still have doubts about tasting Black Whiskey? Know that it was already sent to our customers multiple times.
Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Single Malt Whisky
A unique whisky from Taiwan that is impossible not to be premium. The Kavalan Port Cask Single Malt, from the Concertmaster series, is matured in Ruby Port casks, which makes it pretty innovative, given that Taiwan whisky has a quite recent history.
Besides this aging technique, this whisky is awarded as well. It won a Gold Medal in the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and in the 2020 Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition.
Langatun Old Eagle Swiss Rye Whiskey
A 100% rye whiskey made in… Switzerland! That may be an odd combination, since we are used to know rye whiskey from the USA or Canada. The Langatun Old Eagle came to shake things up, while honouring the heritage of rye Whiskey, given that this cereal is produced locally.
Bowmore 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Perfectly balanced and one of the rarest single malts of the Bowmore whisky range. The Bowmore 18 Years Old is lightly smoked with heavy notes of chocolate, caramel and ripe fruit.
Such an iconic expression has already won awards: Gold at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2018, Double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Gold at the International Spirits Challenge.
SaarWhisky Gruwehewwel Single Malt German Whisky
This German whisky brand can’t produce a whisky without having a backstory. The SaarWhisky Gruwehewwel tells the tale of the miners in Saarland, but goes beyond that to be considered a Premium Whisky.
Aged for 11 years in bourbon casks and bottled at cask strength, this smoky German whisky expression was already awarded with the Liquid Gold Medal in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, with 96.5/100 points.
The Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years Old Single Malt Whiskey
With a bottle created in the 80’s that resemble the bottles of Cognac, this is a rare edition of the Balvenie 10 Years Old Founder’s Reserve. How could this expression not be a premium whisky?
In addition to this bottling being already considered vintage, this expression is no longer produced by the brand.
Glendronach 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
We just love an “old enough” and independent whisky. The Glendronach 21 Years Old Parliament is a fruity and chocolaty whisky that deserves to be named “Premium”.
This expression is aged for 21 years in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, so it has an extra sweet flavour to it. It was also awarded Double Gold in 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Tomintoul 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Tomintoul is known for the pure ingredients the brand uses in its mashbill. Combining them with the natural environment that surrounds the distillery, the perfect conditions are created for the production of a unique whisky.
Well, almost. This Tomintoul Single Malt Scotch Whisky expression is aged in the finest bourbon casks for 25 years, which allows it to develop such a complex character.
Red Earl Blended Irish Whiskey
When a whisky has a background story we can taste, there’s no way that whisky is not premium. That’s is one of the reasons the Red Earl Blended Irish Whisky is on this list.
Besides the fact that it was created by Kinsale Spirits to honour a hero of the Irish history, this Kinsale Spirit Company whisky is a blend of ex-bourbon cask whiskey with ex-sherry cask whiskey. The whiskey finishes its maturation in ex-Rioja casks, which are pretty innovative regarding other Irish Whiskey expressions.
Do you know we have a specific tasting box with just Kinsale Spirit Company Irish Whiskey? Check it out: https://www.whiskyflavour.com/shop/kinsale-spirit-company-whiskey-box/
Suntory Kakubin Yellow Label Japanese Whisky
Such a classic Japanese whisky expression has to be a premium whisky. Although many may disagree with this, given that it is too easy to find in Japan, we say that the Suntory Kakubin Yellow is an expression that carries legacy.
Being the first whisky produced in Japan, this Suntory whisky blend uses Yamazaki and Hakushu expressions and it is matured in ex-wine and ex-sherry casks. It was made to be the Japanese whisky to pair with Japanese food, but it goes great just by itself.
Royal Salute 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky
21 years of pure luxury. With a bottle that catches the eye, the Royal Salute 21 Years Old is a Blended Scotch whisky created by Chivas to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal Salute 21 Years has recently won two awards: the gold medal in the 2020 International Spirits Challenge and a silver medal at the 2019 International Wine & Spirits Competition.
Jim Beam Black Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Known as the world’s highest rated Bourbon, it was difficult not to feature this expression in this list or to not send it to our customers in the past.
The Jim Beam Black is a bourbon that ages for longer than most bourbon whiskeys. It ages in American Oak Barrels, as it is needed by law. It won the trophy for Best Bourbon in the 2016 International Wine & Spirits Competition.
WhistlePig Small Batch Rye 10 Years Old Whiskey
Whistle Pig is known for its rye whiskey and this was the expression that started everything. The Small Batch Rye is aged for 10 Years, which is longer than most Rye whiskeys use to age.
Besides, it is bottled at 100 proof, which makes it a versatile whiskey and, surely, a premium dram.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey
Single Barrel whiskey is, as the name states, the whiskey that comes from only one barrel, usually the one that is on the top reach of the barrel house. Being just one barrel, this type of whiskey is the smallest batch there is. And Jack Daniel’s managed to produce a complex dram from it.
The Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select is a signature Tennessee Whiskey bottled at 94 proof, filled with caramel and spicy flavour notes.
Who said you have to buy a Premium Whisky Advent Calendar just for Christmas? We have good news for you: we have a few of them left from last year’s edition, so you can get yours now!
This is what you can count on:
- 24 original branded whisky miniatures;
- 1 full size whisky bottle;
- 2 glencairn glasses;
- 2 cork coasters;
- 8 marble whisky stones;
- 1 Whisky Tasting Tray.
Order your Premium Whisky Advent Calendar and get to taste 25 whisky expressions of all types and from all over the world!