Whisky Advocate Top 20 List

Posted by Ilya Dorfman on

Each year, Whisky Advocate Buying Guide reviewers collectively sample hundreds of whiskies. These include rare and extremely limited releases, as well as new and emerging labels that will find their way to shelves across the nation. To determine the Top 20, folks at the establishment 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 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), the selection also prioritizes value (based on price) and availability.

An important step in gauging the true merit of these whiskies is blind tasting review by a panel of international reviewers. The review panel tasted the eligible whiskies in a series of blind tasting flights to arrive at the final list. The panel did not know the identity of the whiskies being tasted—not their producer, country of origin, age, nor price. The average rating from the blind tasting panel supersedes the original Buying Guide rating. The individual reviewer rating will remain noted in the Buying Guide for the record. The final decision for placement considers average score, price, and availability.

In short, the Top 20 is a selection of whiskies worthy of your attention. The list includes great values that might otherwise be overlooked, whiskies that are best in class for their style, and highly accomplished bottles you should be looking for. Most importantly, each of these whiskies generates excitement and marks a highlight across a year of tasting.

Note: If you are interested in whikies on this list and don't see a link to it, talk to us. We might be able to find you a bottle.

2019 2018 2017


  1. George Dickel 13-year-old Bottled in Bond
  2. Dewar’s 21-year-old Double Double
  3. Four Roses Small Batch Select
  4. Heaven Hill 7-year-old Bottled in Bond
  5. Aberlour A’bunadh Alba Cask Strength
  6. Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof
  7. Old Ezra 7-year-old Barrel Strength
  8. Glenlivet Enigma
  9. Glenmorangie 14-year-old Quinta Ruban
  10. Writers’ Tears Double Oak
  11. Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series #1
  12. Laphroaig Càirdeas Cask Strength Triple Wood
  13. Talisker Select Reserve
  14. Kaiyō Mizunara Oak
  15. Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2010
  16. Baker’s Single Barrel
  17. New Riff Bottled in Bond Rye
  18. Powers Three Swallow
  19. Matsui The Peated
  20. Adnams Rye Malt


  1. Nikka From the Barrel
  2. Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye
  3. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Heritage Barrel
  4. Port Charlotte 10-year-old
  5. Crown Royal Noble Collection 13-year-old Blenders’ Mash
  6. Armorik Double Maturation
  7. Laphroaig 10-year-old Cask Strength (Batch 010)
  8. GlenDronach 15-year-old Revival
  9. 1792 Bottled in Bond
  10. Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve
  11. Little Book Chapter 2 “Noe Simple Task”
  12. Forty Creek Unity
  13. Virginia Distillery Co. Cider Cask Finished (Batch 3)
  14. High West Double Rye!
  15. Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2018
  16. Green Spot Chateau Montelena
  17. Penderyn Celt
  18. Glendalough 13-year-old Mizunara Cask
  19. West Cork Glengarriff Series Peat Charred Cask
  20. Sierra Norte Single Barrel Yellow


    1. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
    2. Glenmorangie Astar 2017 Release
    3. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades
    4. Lagavulin 12 Year Old (Diageo Special Releases 2017)
    5. Rampur Select
    6. Ardbeg An Oa
    7. Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza
    8. Tamdhu Batch Strength 002
    9. Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010
    10. Glen Moray 18 Year Old
    11. Little Book “The Easy”
    12. Rebel Yell 10-year-old
    13. Sheep Dip Islay Blended Malt
    14. High West Campfire
    15. Kentucky Peerless Straight Rye
    16. Tyrconnell 16-year-old
    17. Macallan Double Cask 12-year-old
    18. Crown Royal Noble Collection Wine Barrel Finished
    19. Chivas Regal Ultis
    20. Fukano 2017 Edition

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