Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Ok, so I know this is not a new malt, but hey, this is the one that stood out this year for me. There were a couple of close runner-ups: I didn’t actually taste Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan until Jan. 1, 2010, but it is so good that it nearly transcends time and qualified. Also, Highland Park’s 30yr old, the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons tasted at WhiskyFest, and The George Dickel Barrel Select loom pretty large in the mind. Still, it was the Quarter Cask that I spent the most time with and was continually impressed by. After blowing me away at WhiskyFest, I bought a bottle for my dad for Christmas and he promptly joined me in my blown-away-ed-ness as have several friends that I’ve recommended it to. It’s one of the most comforting drams I’ve ever tasted, perfect Laphroaig smoke balanced with just the right amount of sherry smoothness, warming, cozy, near perfection…simply incredible. It’s also a very affordable Scotch, especially for something of this quality, I hope it stays that way because there are definitely more bottles in my future.