Age statements mean a lot in the world of single malt whiskies. Though it’s shifted over the years, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, and 25 years have become the standard ages most single malts carry. The higher those years reach, the rarer those whiskies are (which is, of course, directly linked to price).
If you’re buying Scotch whisky this weekend, you’re sure to see plenty of single malts with years-spent-in-the-barrel on their labels. But you’re almost as likely to see single malts with a “name” rather than an age statement. There are various reasons for this. Part of it is about brands finding uses for lower age statement whiskies that consumers wouldn’t reach for (we’ve all been pretty well trained to think 10-year-old scotch is the starting point — it’s not). Another aspect is the natural, capitalist drive to make something new and unique to put on store shelves. If a brand already has 10, 12, 15, 18, and 20-year whiskies on the shelf, why not also have a few no age statement releases, too?
These newer, “no age statement” single malts are our focus today. Below, you’ll find eight of my favorite no age statement single malt scotches. Keep scrolling to see all of my picks and comment at the bottom to share your own favorites.
Average Price: $80
While Ardbeg is well-known for its ten-year-old expression (and other age statement whiskies), the Islay distillery makes a handful of noteworthy no age statement bottles. Ardbeg Uigeadail, named for a nearby loch, it’s a mix of sweetness and smoke thanks to those Islay peated malts and finishing in former sherry butts.
A complex nose of clover honey, ripe berries, dried cherries, sweet vanilla, and robust, peaty campfire smoke greets you immediately. The palate reveals hints of butterscotch, dried fruits, berry jam, smoked malts, and an ever-present peaty smoke. It all ends with a pleasing mixture of fruity sweetness and rich smoke.
This is the whisky where peat meets sweet. It’s a great gateway for sherried Scotch fans looking to get into Islay malts as well as peat fans looking to get into sherried whiskies.
The Dalmore Cigar Malt
Average Price: $189
I don’t smoke cigars frequently, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying this complex non-age statement expression from The Dalmore. Created to pair with a fine cigar, it was aged in a combination of ex-bourbon casks, oloroso sherry butts, and cabernet sauvignon barrels.
On the nose, you’ll be treated to the aromas of freshly brewed coffee, fudge, butterscotch, and almond cookies. The palate is swirling with flavors like sweet treacle, dried cherries, candied orange peels, sherry sweetness, and a light, nutty note that’s perceptible throughout the taste. The finish is slightly spicy and sweet.
This is a sweet, almost dessert-like whisky. I can see why it pairs so well with a bold cigar. It’s also great as an after-dinner drink, even if you don’t smoke.
Average Price: $189
Glenmorangie has a nice range of non-age statement whiskies as well as age statement expressions. One of its best no age statement bottles is Signet. This elegant whisky is a blend of two different whiskies made with unique barley. The first was distilled with single estate Cadboll and the second was distilled with malted chocolate barley.
The nose is loaded with scents of sticky toffee pudding, caramelized sugar, vanilla beans, raisins, and slightly bitter chocolate. The palate is highlighted by flavors of candied orange peels, chocolate fudge, dried fruits, cinnamon sugar, and candied almonds. The last few sips are dry, warming, and sweet.
While this whisky doesn’t carry an age statement, some people believe it contains whiskies as old as 35-40 years old. Regardless of its age, it’s complex, nuanced, and highly memorable.
Average Price: $50
With a name like Talisker Storm, you know you’re getting a wild, unbridled, bold whisky. This single malt whisky definitely lives up to its name. Aged in refill, toasted American oak barrels, it’s known for its combination of gentle smoke, ocean brine, and spicy sweetness.
If you spend a moment nosing this expression, you’ll find hints of dried fruits, oak, caramel, ocean salinity, and a nice wallop of vibrant smoke. The palate remains true to the nose with notes of ocean brine, cracked black pepper, campfire smoke, oak, and toasted vanilla beans. This all leads to a dry, woody, slightly spicy finish.
This whisky is like a storm in a bottle. It’s spicy, smoky, sweet, briny, and complex. It deserves to be enjoyed slowly in front of a roaring fire.
Average Price: $115
Ask a handful of bartenders what their favorite no age statement single malt scotch is and many of them will tell you Aberlour A’Bunadh. This cask-strength whisky is aged completely in oloroso sherry casks from Spain. The result is a big, bold, rich, sweet, whisky well worth its price tag.
The nose is a symphony of candied almonds, butter cookies, orange peels, dried cherry, and sherry sweetness. Sipping the dram brings forth notes of dark chocolate, wood char, raisins, maraschino cherries, holiday spices, and a fruity sweetness that is mixed with cocoa and wood at the finish.
Fans of sherried, cask strength whiskies don’t need to waste their time looking for age statement-adorned bottles. This is their new favorite dram.
Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
Average Price: $59
Islay might be known for its peat-smoked whiskies, but Bruichladdich makes a handful of expressions that are exclusively un-peated. One of the best is its Classic Laddie. Made with 100 percent Scotland-ground barley, this beloved single malt was matured completely in American oak barrels.
Right away, on the nose, you can tell you’re in for something special. There are notable aromas of manuka honey, caramel candy, candied orange peels, slight ocean brine, and vanilla beans. The palate is centered around cloves, cinnamon, butterscotch, maple sugar, raisins, and salted caramel. It ends as gently as it began with notes of brown sugar and dried fruits.
This sweet, rich, complex single malt is like a warm hug in a dram. It’s a great sipper for a cold fall or winter day.
Jura Seven Wood
Average Price: $79
This is a really wild whisky. And by wild, I mean that it’s aged in a medley of different woods including American oak, French Limousin, Tronçais, Vosges, Allier, Les Bertranges, and Jupilles. It’s known for its complex, nutty, sweet, oaky flavors.
On the nose, you’ll find aromas of ripe berries, toasted vanilla, baking spices, butterscotch, and toasted almonds. Take a drink and you’ll find flavors like raisins, dried orange peels, oaky wood, buttery caramel, and just a hint of smoke. The finish is sweet, spicy, and slightly smoky.
It should come as no surprise that this is a whisky for fans of wood. The seven different kinds of wood used for aging give it great flavors of oak, caramel, and vanilla.
Auchentoshan Three Wood
Average Price: $70
This award-winning Lowland single malt is a blend of whiskies aged in three different barrels. They are ex-bourbon barrels, Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, and oloroso sherry butts. The result is a well-balanced, woody, rich whisky.
Memorable aromas of sweet sherry, black cherries, butterscotch, oaky wood, and toasted vanilla beans greet your nose. On the palate, you’ll be greeted with flavors like fruitcake, dried cherries, bitter chocolate, caramel candy, and toffee. The finish is caramel-centric with just a hint of ripe fruit at the end.
This is a great whisky for anyone looking to mix whisky-forward cocktails, a killer highball, or just sipping slowly on a winter evening.