This thread goes back a while and whence reading through it two things come to mind:
1) Most of the whiskies recommended are official bottlings. This is greatly because most stores (in the U.S. anyway) don't carry any independent bottlings. This is due to their buyers and owners knowing nothing about what and who they are. Consequently, consumers never see them. For most of the stores that do have some independent bottling representation, the staff in the store likely doesn't know anything about them and they never get recommended to the customer.
My point, where there's nothing wrong with official bottlings (in fact, some are great), if you're not shopping in a store where independent bottlings are a designed and prominent part of the stores malt strategy, you should find yourself another store. I feel very strongly about this, as you might tell.
2) For me, the best whisky ever is the next one.
Each whisky has something to discover. Some are better than others. Some bottlings are better than others. Some casks are better than others. I look forward to the next dram from a distiller or bottler with whom I have little or no experience equally to some of my favorites. We lovers of malts are on a journey and not looking for a destination.
That said, here's a list of my top 15 from the last year:
Mortlach 15 Yr G&M bottling
Glenturret 11 Yr G&M
Strathisla 25 G&M
Macallan 59 Yr, 1950 G&M warehouse cask sample
Glenlivet 21 Yr G&M
Macallan 35 Yr, 1972 Speymalt G&M
Benrinnes 15 Yr, 1990 Signatory Vintage bottling
Longmorn 18 Yr, 1992 SV
Ben Nevis 18 Yr, 1992 SV
Springbank 30 Yr Lombard bottling;
Dailuaine 31 Yr, 1964 Lombard
Glenfarclas 15 Yr Official Bottling
Miltonduff 10 Yr OB
Sringbank 10 Yr, 100 Proof OB
Benriach 10 Yr, Curiositas Peat OB