7 Scotch whiskies (and 1 American outlier) to enjoy while watching The Open

loch lemond whiskey

We give you the skinny on these championship-caliber whiskies, along with a few other notable new Scotch releases.

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Chances are, you’re not jetsetting across the pond to take in the action of the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. But just because you won’t be traipsing along the edges of the fairway in the north of England this week doesn’t mean you can’t drink as if you’re there.

For several years, Loch Lomond has served as the official whisky of the Open Championship, each year releasing at least a couple of special-edition expressions that were created to celebrate The Open. This year is no different.

Here, we give you the skinny on these championship-caliber whiskies, along with a few other notable new Scotch releases, all of which will enhance your viewing of The Open later this week (although a couple will set you back a significant sum). Oh, and just in case Scotch whisky isn’t your thing, we’ve included one limited-edition summer expression from a prominent American whiskey producer. Hey, it might make a great celebratory pour should an American be so lucky as to hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday.

The Open Championship Editions by Loch Lomond

In years past, Loch Lomond has produced entry level Open Championship special releases that were special blends or unique aged expressions, as well as top-shelf Open Championship whiskies that were matured for extensive periods of time and finished in unique casks. This year, the Scotch producer has flipped the script, at least on the latter detail.

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Loch Lomond’s entry level Open Championship whisky for 2023 is one that was aged first in American oak casks before being finished in red wine Rioja Alta Reserva casks, which brings out the spirit’s unique red berry notes with hints of dark chocolate that complement a soft smoke on the finish. The whisky, which retails for £45 (about $60), shares characteristics with sherry-matured single malts and punches well above its weight.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Loch Lomond’s Open Course Edition (£240, about $315) is an organic, 22-year-old single malt that delivers buttery, rich aromas that conjure up thoughts of freshly baked pound cake. It’s just as soft and mellow on the palate, but it still carries a presence and introduces lots of spice notes that are juxtaposed against a floral, vanilla backbone.

loch lemond whiskey
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Royal Salute 21-Year-Old Jodhpur Polo Edition

Inspired by the rich spices and flavors of India, this whisky, which retails for $160, is comprised of a special blend of carefully curated malt whiskies that was finished in virgin oak casks. On the nose, the whisky offers up prominent red candy apple aromas; however, the nose of this whisky is far more assertive than its flavor profile. In that regard, it’s best to think of this 21-year whisky as a challenging golf course — one that is best enjoyed by players of a certain skill level. In other words, drinkers with experienced palates will be able to coax out and identify a lot of the complex flavors in this whisky, especially because they’re subtly woven into the background.

royal salute polo india whiskey
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New (Teenage) Kids on the Block

A marriage of bourbon- and sherry-matured single malts forms the foundation of Glengoyne’s 15-Year-Old Highland Single Malt ($130), a Scotch whisky that is now a part of the distillery’s core lineup and recently made its debut on American shelves. With rich aromas that might easily convince you that the liquid is far older, this whisky introduces notes of dried fruits and fresh hay on the nose, which transition to slightly spicier flavors on the palate — a medley that balances cinnamon and other baking spices with the presence of tropical fruits.

Similarly, the Speyside distillery Benriach has reintroduced a 16-year-old expression into its core lineup of whiskies. Known simply as The Sixteen ($115), the well-aged spirit is a marriage of single-malt whiskies that are matured in bourbon barrels, as well as sherry and virgin oak casks. On those nose, this whisky delivers aromas of baked apple with some gingery undertones and the faint presences of hazelnuts. On the palate, flavors of honey and stone fruit are interwoven around prominent stewed and spiced apples. It’s a luscious dram, one that’s layered without being overly complicated.

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Legendary Pours

From 16 years to 40. That’s what Benriach has done so far this year as it not only introduced The Sixteen to the U.S. market but also released limited bottles of The Forty, one of the oldest peated malts produced by a Speyside Distillery. With a suggested retail price of $4,500, this isn’t a whisky that will fit into most consumer’s budgets, but should you wish to seek out a bottle, here’s what you can expect. Most notably, it’s rich and fruity on the nose with hints of sweet orange, plum, and honey pomelo, along with some dark chocolate. On the palate, more orchard fruits emerge, with slight hints of walnuts and dark chocolate on the finish. What you don’t encounter is the prominent smoke character that most people associate with peated single malts.

benriach whiskey
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The Glenglassaugh Distillery is lesser known — a fact easily attributed to the Highlands distillery being mothballed for more than two decades (it reopened in 2008). Nevertheless, the whisky producer held onto its stock of well-aged whiskies and this year has released a 46-year-old single malt that is exclusive to the U.S. market. Priced at $4,800, this whiskey may be prohibitively expensive for most, but should you find yourself holding a dram, here’s what you can look forward to: plums, black currants, and dark ripe cherry aromas characterize the nose, while similar fruit flavors, along with mango, tart citrus (think grapefruit) and a wisp of mint define the flavor profile. Most notably, a roasted coffee note lingers on the finish in a remarkably pleasing way.

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An American Party Crasher

It’s okay if Scotch whisky isn’t your thing. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of new limited-edition American whiskies on the market. One that caught our eye is WhistlePig’s Summerstock ($73), a whisky created to celebrate the distillery’s achievement of becoming 100 percent solar powered. It’s hard to know the DNA for the liquid inside this bottle, but it drinks like a soft buttery toffee. What we do know is that the limited-edition whiskey is aptly named—it’s a sipping whisky that tastes as if it was made specifically for day drinking during a sun-splashed summer afternoon. In fact, it’s the kind of American whisky that would make a delectable highball. Just saying.

whistlepig summer stock whiskey
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Shaun Tolson is a freelance writer based in Rhode Island. When it comes to golf, he covers everything from architecture, course reviews, and travel, to equipment, gadgets and gear, and feature profiles. As a lifestyle writer, his expertise is rooted in the finer things in life — wine and spirits, luxury automobiles, private aviation, hotels & resorts, fine dining, and more.

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