The Best Scott Whiskey
Our picks for the best Scotch whiskeys
Some spirits have unique flavors that spread across the palate and offer amazing tasting experiences. This is the case with Scotch whiskey, which offers a woody and smoky experience, thanks to the time it spends maturing in oak barrels. Next, we will analyze our selection of the 10 best Scotch whiskeys, with the characteristics of each one.
1. Glenfiddich 15 Years Old Our Solera Fifteen Single Malt Scotch
Glenfiddich Distillery was built stone by stone by William Grand and his family in 1886 with the aim of making the best Scotch whiskey in the valley. More than a hundred years later, the brand’s 15-year-old liqueur is one of the most awarded in the world and represents the determination and spirit of its founder.
Made with a unique technique, during which it acquires soft notes inspired by the wineries of Jerez and Portugal, in oak barrels used for Sherry wines. Thanks to this process it acquires a deep golden color, with reddish reflections. On the nose it is complex, with aromas reminiscent of heather honey, vanilla cream and black fruits.
To finish, the palate is smooth and layered, starting with oak and marzipan, cinnamon and ending with ginger, a long and satisfying finish.
2. Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
According to the opinion of users and experts, Macallan could be the best brand of Scotch whiskies. Its liqueurs have a great tradition and have been chosen by great figures such as Winston Churchill. This 12-year-old Scotch has a complex flavor, thanks to its maturation in sherry-seasoned European and American oak casks.
The result is a golden yellow whisky, with amber highlights that is creamy on the nose, with notes of caramel, apple, candied oranges, vanilla cream and a finish of freshly cut oak. On the palate it has a sweet, spicy and woody flavor, with a balanced finish of raisins and caramel.
This could be one of the best Scotch whiskeys of 2022 to drink neat, with a little ice or with the Macallan Ice Balls, ice balls that melt less quickly, so they release less water.
3. Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
If you’re wondering what the best smoked Scotch whiskey is, Laphroaig might be the answer. It is one of the liquors with more personality that you can find. Made on the remote island of Islay, west of the Scottish coast, it is one of the most appreciated single malts by whiskey lovers.
Thanks to its distillation with water from the Kilbride Dam River and its particular process, it obtains a unique range of flavors, between smoky, salty and earthy. It is a vintage whisky, light yellow in color with aromas of smoke, seaweed and a sweet, slightly mineral finish. In the mouth, its sweetness surprises, with hints of peat and salt, with a long finish.
It is a Scotch whiskey that is enjoyed neat, in a wide glass, or with a little ice. In cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, it offers a unique and personal flavor.
4. Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whiskey
James and John Chivas, after a three-day journey on foot from their farm, founded the Chivas store in the Scottish city of Aberdeen. From the store’s cellar they began their long tradition of blending Scotch whiskeys to some of the best spirits in the city. In this sense, the Chivas Regal 12 Years is one of the most representative of the brand, made with a mixture of grain whiskey and malt.
It is a whiskey with a bright, amber color, with dark reflections. On the nose it has hints of infusions of wild herbs, heather, honey and dried fruit. On the palate, it is round and creamy, with a flavor of honey and ripe pears, with a sweet finish reminiscent of butter and sweet vanilla.
It is a “blended” with a lot of flavor, ideal for those who enjoy whiskey neat or with ice, but it is also a good whiskey for mixed drinks.
5. Talisker 10 Scotch Whiskey
The Talisker distillery is the only one on the Scottish island of Skye, located in a magical place by the sea, which gives the liquor a marked marine profile, which is even reflected in the colorful blue box with which it is marketed. It is distilled twice to obtain a unique, strong and deep personality, typical of Single Malt whiskeys from the islands.
It is a whiskey with an intense, dark golden colour, with complex aromas of sea salt, peat and the characteristic smoky and spicy perfume of Scotch. On the palate it has spicy flavors of pepper and malt, which join the sweetness of dried fruit, and the smoked and marine, slightly salty.
It is a single malt whisky, thanks to its distinctly smoky profile, which is traditional for island whiskies, due to the peat with which the whiskey is macerated.
6. Aberfeldy 12 Year Old Scotch Whiskey
Aberfeldy is a land rich in gold deposits. The brand’s winery, located deep in the valley with the same name, uses water from the Pitilie Brun River, famous for the freshness and purity of its waters. If you’re wondering which Scotch whiskey to buy to drink straight, this could be the best, thanks to its distillation process in copper stills, which produces a whiskey with all the character of the Highlands.
All Aberfeldy whiskeys have an age declaration, so you can be sure of how long they have spent in barrels. It is a golden liquor, with a lot of reflection, that offers notes of aromas of sweet fruits, with balsamic touches of incense and toasted cereal. On the palate it is light and enveloping, with spicy and slightly bitter notes.
It is an ideal whiskey to drink neat or on the rocks, but it is also a great option for the classic Old Fashioned, thanks to its unique flavor.
7. The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
Glenrothes, together with its The Soleo collection, inspired by the “soleo” process to which the grapes destined for Sherry are subjected, could be the best Scotch whiskey of the moment. It is a liquor aged for 12 years in Spanish oak barrels, used for Sherry, and bottled as soon as it comes out of the barrel, without oxygenating.
For its elaboration, own water sources are used, so it is a clean whisky, without impurities and lighter. Thanks to this characteristic, it has a light and bright amber color, with soft aromas of melon, cinnamon and vanilla. On the palate it is pleasant and fruity, with flavors of banana, lemon and cinnamon, with a long finish with notes of melon.
It is a selected malt whiskey, so it is very pleasant to drink neat or with ice. On the other hand, as it has fruity flavors, it is also highly appreciated in cocktails.
8. The Famous Grouse Scotch Whiskey
The Famous Grouse is a “blend” type whisky, made from a mixture of high quality grain and malt whiskeys. The blend is left to rest for longer, in barrels selected by master Stuart MacPherson, for smoother flavors. Finally, it is filtered at a high temperature to enhance its flavor, obtaining what could be the best value for money Scotch whisky.
It is a golden colored whisky, with many clean and bright nuances. In the glass it has aromas of oak, Sherry and a long finish of citrus notes. On the palate it is a mature and complex liquor, smooth to swallow and very rich in flavours, reminiscent of Speyside fruits, with a clean and slightly dry finish.
Despite being one of the cheapest options you will find, it is a whiskey that can be drunk neat, with ice or as a base for cocktails.
9. Oban Scotch Whiskey
This is a single malt Scotch whisky, from one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, renowned for the humility of its origins. The selected malt goes through a slow distillation process in stills, known to be the smallest in Scotland, with copper coils that cool the liquid as they pass. From there, it goes through a 14-year maturation process in oak barrels.
It is a whiskey with a dark golden color, with orange reflections and aromas of orange, pears, figs and a touch of sea salt, with final smoky notes. On the palate it is sweet, with dry and spicy smoky touches, with a long and persistent finish, reminiscent of the seawater of the Scottish islands.
It is a whiskey with an “Islay” profile, with a more powerful flavor than that of cheaper products, making it a great option to give as a gift to a lover of spirits with personality.
10. Cardhu Gold Reserve Scotch Whiskey
Cardhu Distillery, Black Rock in Gaelic, was founded by John Cumming, a whiskey smuggler, at the top of Mannoch Hill. Cardhu’s whiskeys are made with water from the River Speyside, so they contain the unmistakable aroma of rich Highland peat. Each bottle of Gold Reserve is printed with a numbered series that indicates the year of barrel selection and the number of its batch.
It is a pure malt whisky, with a deep golden color and woody reflections. In the glass it is very aromatic, with notes of caramel, biscuits and light smoky touches, classic Scotch whiskeys. On the palate it is dry, with an oak flavor and fruity touches reminiscent of apple and oranges.
Cardhu Gold Reserve releases unique flavors, much more fruity, if combined with ice. Although it can also be enjoyed as a base for the Old Fashioned.
Origin and Use
With our Scotch whiskey comparison complete, we continue to explain the origin and history of this world-famous liqueur. So that you know how to drink it, we will show you some cocktails with whiskey and we will tell you how to preserve it so that it does not lose its flavor and aromas.
Whiskey is the national drink of Scotland, where there are currently more than 100 distilleries in operation, some of them with more than two hundred years of tradition. The first record of the preparation of this drink dates back to 1494 and it details how the monks made the drink for medicinal purposes. In those days, whiskey was called “aqua vitae” or water of life, which in Gaelic translated as “uisge beatha”, which would eventually become the term whisky.
The most important ingredient in Scotch whiskey is malt, so the first step is to choose high-quality barley. In this sense, the big brands like Cardhu grow their own barley, of which they control the humidity and germination. Once collected, they are moistened and spread on the “malting floors”, where they wait for them to germinate. When they do, they are moved to ovens where they are dried.
A combination of decaying plants, called peat, is added to these kilns and is responsible for the unique flavor of Scotch whiskies, known as ‘Peat’. From the oven, the malt is taken to the mill where it is mixed with spring water at controlled high temperatures and ground to obtain the so-called “wort”, a kind of porridge.
The wort is cooled, yeast is added and allowed to ferment. Two days later, the alcoholic fermentation ends and the liquid passes into pot-shaped stills. These teams, unique in the world and different in each distillery, are what provide the flavors and aromas to the drink.
The final distillate, called “wash”, is distilled again in the same pots. In the first point, the alcohol is separated from the solid waste, with which the “low wine” with an alcohol content of 20% is obtained and which is transferred to the “Spirit Still” in a different pot for another distillation.
At the end of this stage, the purest distillation is obtained with a concentration of 68 degrees. This liquid will be examined by the experts of each distillery, called “Stillman”, who will determine the type of distillate in which this base liquor will become.
The liquid, which is still transparent, is then transferred to oak barrels, which can be new or used. The most common in Scotch whiskey is that they have been used in the production of Sherry and that they are toasted barrels.
Finally, the whiskey matures in these barrels for 12 years during which it obtains its golden colour, as well as a much smoother flavor, broadening its taste profile with more complex touches due to the properties of the wood. By law, Scotch whiskey must be matured for at least 3 years. Although most “Single Malt” do so for a minimum of 8 years, maturing up to 20 years in the case of high quality whiskeys.
We follow this guide to buy the best Scotch whiskey talking about mixes and cocktails. In this case, one of the most popular mixes is the Old Fashioned, which can be made with Scotch whiskey, three dashes of angostura, sugar, ice water and a marasquina cherry. Ice is added to the mixture and served in a wide glass, with a piece of orange peel to decorate.
However, the best quality Scotch whiskey is best enjoyed neat. Served in special glasses, which are wide and low, so that the liquor is oxygenated. Some, like the Cardhu, obtain different flavors when refreshed with ice, acquiring new fruity or spicy notes.
Scotch whisky, no matter how much it costs, is sold at its optimum consumption time. However, as long as the bottle is kept closed, it can be stored for a long time without losing its organoleptic properties, as long as it is kept in a horizontal position and in a dry place, with a controlled temperature and away from sunlight.
Once opened, the conservation time will depend on its quality. Inexpensive whiskeys will not keep for more than three years without beginning to lose qualities. The best will keep well for up to five years, as long as the bottle is tightly closed and kept out of sunlight.
A shot of Scotch whiskey (30 ml) contains 70 calories which are 100% carbohydrates (0.03 grams). The same amount, provides 293 kj of energy. In addition, Scotch whiskey also provides 1 mg of potassium.
Whiskey is a drink with a very high alcohol content, so it should not be consumed by those under 18 years of age. Alcohol should also not be consumed if you are going to drive, and when you do drink, you should do so responsibly.