Best Peated: Talisker Distillers Edition
Region: Islay | ABV: 45.8% | Tasting Notes: Iodine, Earth, Smoke, Dried fruit
A classic Islay scotch subjected to a Highland treatment, i.e. secondary aging in Amoroso sherry butts, this bottle is, at first, big, peaty, and smoky, says Shanahan, but then, you start to see this wonderful new balance created. You get these fruit kickers coming through without being too cloying, but theyre added to the peaty notes of the scotch from the isles.
The sherry-cask fruitiness softens yet also highlights the peat, reminding you of the earthy elements in the scotch, he concludes. Dont be afraid to pair this one with food. Those heavily peated, oily, viscous scotches love seafood or meat, says Tardie. One of my favorite pairings is oysters and peated scotch.
Best 10 Year Old: Jura 10 Year Old
courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Islands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Orange, Cherry
Though not as well-known an island as its neighbor Islay, the isle of Jura also boasts a history of scotch productionand its namesake distillery offers a delicious and approachable 10-year-old expression. This scotch is rested in bourbon barrels and then finished in Oloroso sherry casks, says Adam Morgan, head bartender at Husk Nashville. This unique finish lends a balanced yet sweet finish that dances between spice and oak. The smoke on this particular scotch is soft and intriguing for any first-time scotch drinker.
Our Top Scotch Is The Glendronach Revival
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Best Single Estate:Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate at Drizly
Its honey-blossom nose leads to vanilla and roasted nuts, a delightful herbaceousness, and a hint of orange.
You can have a single malt in America, Japan, Taiwan or elsewhere, but to be scotch, it has to be made in Scotland, says Tommy Tardie, owner of New York’s The Flatiron Room and Fine and Rare. But thats just a starting pointtheres plenty of diversity to the nations signature spirit, including single malts, which are made with malted barley, and blended scotches, whose mash bills include other grains.
The world of scotch is also evolving, with restless distillers nowadays playing around with various categories of the whisky, from heavily-peated smoke bombs to sherry-cask whiskies. Theres been a blurring of the lines in terms of flavor profiles, and theres more experimentation going on, says Pedro Shanahan, spirits guide for Los Angeles bar group Pouring with Heart. Its excitingit makes it more of an adventure for a novice who wants to start exploring scotch. Our top choice, the GlenDronach Revival, is a great example of a scotch with a flavor that evolves and changes throughout the tasting experience. From the Highlands to the isle of Islay, here are the best scotch whiskies to get you started.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Whisky
What is the smoothest whisky?
The smoothest whisky is the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. It is the best choice if youre looking for a smooth whisky. With a rounded nose and the brands signature spiciness, expect sweetness and an explosion of flavor from the first sip. Blue Label is known for being a velvety whisky, so enjoy flavors like hazelnut, toasted oak, sandalwood, and tobacco while drinking it neat.
What is considered the best whisky?
The Glenmorangie Signet is considered the best whisky in the world, thanks to its use of high roast chocolate malt barley with a blend of Glenmorangies rarest whiskies matured in bespoke casks.
What is the best whisky to sip?
The best whisky to sip is the Oban Distillers Edition Single Malt. Oban finishes this bottle in Fino sherry casks, which elevate the sweetness of the spirit. Its a must-try from the brand, especially with the relatively low price tag.
Our Methodology To Select And Rank The Best Whisky Brands In The World
A combination of well-loved favorites, classic choices, and a few left-wing options made up our list of the 15 best whiskies in the world. In order to choose which brand was the best fit for each category, we took into consideration a variety of characteristics and expert opinions.
Price, flavor profile, and unique qualities of each brand were compared to compile the list, leading to an overall top 15 that we recommend sampling.
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How Man Of Many Chose This List Of Scotch Whisky
While Man of Many are sticklers for research and certainly know a thing or two about Scotch, that didnt negate the need for them to turn to the experts for this list. This list was compiled through personal experience and online research, plus through commentary from drinks critics and expert whiskey reviewers. They only looked at Scotch whiskies with a rating of 4.0/5 or higher through Dan Murphys reviews and took into account the major gripes and positives from the public. For the most part, theyre sticking with globally recognised names that you either know and love or should know and love, such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin, The Macallan, and Glenfiddich, but theyre also throwing a few curveballs your way courtesy of whisky expert, Emma Cookson , alongside The Whisky Lists very own Oliver Maruda and Crown Resorts expert Aaron Shuttleworth.
Best For Cocktails: The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch
Courtesy of ReserveBar
Minimum Age: NAS | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Dried Fruit, Citrus Rind, Vanilla
Flavor-packed, accessible, and affordablewhat more could you want from a delicious cocktail scotch? Produced by master blender Gordon Motion, this blended scotch is made from a combination of ex-bourbon cask and ex-sherry cask whiskies. Creamy notes of dried fruit, vanilla, citrus rind, and shortbread lead to a spicy, flavorful finish that promises to stand on its own against a variety of mixers.
For Japhe, the go-to blended scotch cocktail is a no-brainer. If youre drinking a blended scotch cocktail, it’s going to be a Penicillin, he says.
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Best New: Torabhaig 2017 Legacy Series
Courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Isle of Skye | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Salt, Honey, Smoke, Bitter herbs
Want to get in on the ground floor with a new distillery? Only the second-ever licensed facility on the Isle of Skye, Torabhaig opened in 2017, and its first release, this single malt blended from 100 select barrels, is young but delightful. The heavy peat character is tempered by a brisk sweetness from the pure island spring water used to make it and the Kentucky bourbon barrels used to age it. The honeyed vanilla char of the wood mingles with isle seagrass and iodine for a whisky made for sipping or stirring into drinks.
The 30 Best Scotch Whiskies For 2022
Where Kentucky boasts more aging barrels of whiskey than living inhabitants, Scotland can counter with having one distillery for every 40,000 inhabitants. More than any other nation or region in the world, Scotland stakes a credible claim as being the home of whisky with or without the e.
At a quick glance, the category can seem intimidating. There are various regions to explore, from Speyside to Islay. Then there are the different styles: single malts blends and blended malts peated and unpeated. Where to begin?
Thankfully, youve come to the right place. Within this list, theres something for every palate, budget, and occasion. Whether youre looking for a single malt that overdelivers on price, or you finally want to take the first steps into a fiery peated exploration, youll find the perfect partner listed below.
Without further ado, here are the 30 best Scotch whiskies for 2022.
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Paul John Classic Select Cask
After India was introduced to Scotch in the 19th century, they quickly started making their own. Today, India might not be known as a major whisky producer, but they make liquor thats worthy of any connoisseurs bar. One of Indias best whiskys is Paul John, a premium single malt launched in 2008 to compete in the high-end market.
Paul Johns Classic Select Cask is made using exclusively Indian-grown ingredients in Indian-made equipment. The whisky is distilled and aged in the tropical region of Goa, increasing maturation speed. The end result is a strong, rich liquor that packs a punch.
Leading Brands Of Scotch Whisky In The United States In 2020 Based On Volume Sales
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Best Single Estate: Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate
Courtesy of Reserve Bar
Region: Highlands | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Wild herbs, Honey, Roasted nuts, Floral
The whiskies from Glenmorangie pair so well with food, Tardie remarks, “I’m convinced that the distiller is more of a fan of wine than whisky.
Produced using estate-grown malted barley and matured 15 years in American oak ex-bourbon barrels, this lithe, floral scotch complements a variety of summertime meals. Open the whisky up with some water and try it with marinated grilled chicken, barbecued spare ribs, mint-laced salads or fresh berries for dessert. Its honey-blossom nose leads to vanilla and roasted nuts, a delightful herbaceousness, and a hint of orange.
Best For Sipping: Compass Box Hedonism
Courtesy of ReserveBar
Minimum Age: NAS | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Tropical Fruits, Shortbread, Cinnamon
For an ideal blended scotch to sip, check out Compass Box Hedonism. Produced mostly from single grain whisky from Cameron Bridge Distillery and rounded out with single grain whisky from Port Dundas, this ex-bourbon cask-aged blended whisky is loaded with flavors of shortbread, tropical fruits, graphite, vanilla frosting, cinnamon spice, and pepper. Blended scotch skeptics, this spirit promises to challenge your notions.
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Best For Hot Toddies: Black Bottle Blended Scotch
Courtesy of Caskers
Minimum Age: NAS | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Honey, Canned Pears, Sweet Spice
Feeling under the weather? We believe theres nothing that a good ole hot toddy cant fix. Mixing booze into cocktails shouldnt break the bank or sacrifice qualityenter Black Bottle. Double-aged in oak casks, this sweet yet balanced blended scotch is loaded with smoky flavors of honey, canned pears, and sweet spice.
We carry Black Bottle at Gelso & Grand which is full-bodied and is high quality, says Bakhtiar, and although he generally tends to enjoy his blended scotch neat or with a rock, on chillier days Bakhtiar springs for the Hot Toddy. I like to enjoy blended scotch in a Hot Toddy with lemon and honey and a dash of cinnamon, he says.
Best For Gifting: Dewar’s Double Double Aged Blended Scotch Whisky 21 Year
courtesy of Drizly
Minimum Age: 21 Years | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Grilled Tropical Fruits, Honey, Cashews
Searching for something unique for the blended scotch aficionado in your life? Look no further than Dewars Double Double. This unique, 21-Year-Old scotch undergoes a four-stage ageing process and is finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. Notes of honey, grilled tropical fruits, roasted cashews, and smoky wood jump from the spirits golden-hued palate. This is smooth, silky, and seriously easy to drink.
Ive been really digging this Double Double too, says Japhe. Theres just an incredible sophistication to the finish, as well as a prolonged nuttiness to the mouthfeel. Marzipan like whoa.
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The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old
Macallan is a fixture in the high-end whiskey world. Theyve been around since 1824, and theyre still one of the best-selling Scotch brands in the world. In fact, they were one of the first to mass-produce single malt whiskey.
We like Macallans Sherry Oak 12-Year for two reasons: firstly, its matured in unique Oloroso sherry-seasoned oak casks from Spain. These casks introduce a bit of fruitiness and floral spice to the flavor. Secondly, with 12 years of age, its a mature, premium scotch yet much more attainable than Macallans older bottles .
Macallan makes a Speyside whiskey, meaning theyre distilled in Strathspey, Scotland, which just happens to be the home of the other two best-selling Scotch whiskeys in the world: Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. Speysides are characterized by a sweeter and fuller flavor thats more approachable for beginner whiskey drinkers.
Johnnie Walker Red Label
Owned by global drinks giant Diageo, the blended Johnnie Walker Red Label has been the best-selling scotch whisky in the world for decades, selling 14.1 million cases in 2020 and 18.4 million cases in 2019, roughly double the volume of its nearest competitor. A blend of around 30 different malts and grains, Red Label is described as having a citrus aroma, peppery flavor and long, smoky finish.
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Best Port Cask Finish: The Dalmore Port Wood Reserve
Region: Highlands | ABV: 46.5% | Tasting Notes: Berry, Mocha, Ginger
Many scotch distilleries finish their whiskies in port pipeshuge wooden vessels that previously held port, and named for the Portuguese word “pipa,” or caskwhich provides a different way to enhance the flavor of a whisky. The Dalmores already intensely fruity and complex single malt offers striking notes of ripe plum, cherry and dried apricot in the Port Wood Reserve expression. This non-age statement whisky is initially aged in bourbon barrels before being finished in Tawny Port pipes from W & J Graham’s winery in Portugalexemplifying why port wood is a preferred cask finish.
Region: Highlands | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Espresso, Tobacco, Orange
Glenmorangie offers a wide selection of whiskies, from the 10-year-old core expression to some incredibly expensive vintages. Although the Signet single malt does not bear an age statement, it does not need one .
According to the distillery, roasted chocolate barley malt is used in the mash bill, and the spirit is aged in designer casks. I love coffee and chocolate notes in both spirits and cocktails so this one sings to me, says Meaghan Dorman, bar director at Dear Irving on Hudson. Velvety and sophisticatedthis is a unique spirit, worth the investment.
Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
When an American first learns about whiskey, theres a good chance its a brand impression of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. Its odd, in a way, because America prides itself on bourbon, but its Jacks affordable price, iconic branding, and incredibly smooth profile that makes this a quintessential whiskey in America.
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What Is The Number 1 Scotch In The World
Johnnie Walker blended scotch is the global best selling whisky brand by sales and market share, accounting for almost one in every five bottles of whisky sold worldwide. Single malt scotch dominates prestigious whisky awards. Ardbeg 10 Year Old has been declared World Whisky of the Year four times in seven years. Glenallachie 10 Year Old won Worlds Best Single Malt at the 2021 World Whiskies Awards.
Scotch is a unique drink with a long history and well-deserved reputation as a premium spirit. Whether youre looking to find out more about the best-selling scotch globally, the top award winners in recent years, or the scotch varieties most appreciated by whisky enthusiasts and connoisseurs, our clear and simple guide will help you find out what is the number 1 scotch in the world.
Best Rum Cask Finish: The Balvenie Caribbean Cask
Region: Speyside | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Spice
Finishing whisky in a rum cask might not be as popular as sherry or wine casks within the single malt scotch category, but there are some benefits. A rum barrel brings new flavors to the mix, like banana, brown sugar and cocoa. The Balvenies Caribbean Cask 14-Year-Old Scotch is a stellar example. Everything about this whisky draws you in, says Otsuji. The ex-rum barrel finish creates a sense of richness in the flavors, like toffee or caramel, toasted oak, or perhaps a bit of honey on fresh papaya but rather than expressing itself as a sugary taste, it comes through as a luxurious textural element.
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At The Malt Maniacs Awards
The Malt Maniacs collective of worldwide malt whisky enthusiasts have been running their own independent Malt Maniacs Awards since 2003.
In 2020, the supreme winner and best premium whisky at the MMAs was the Caol Ila 8 Year Old single malt scotch from James Eadie. Distilled and matured on Islay, this scotch is described as having earthy and smoky qualities with a long, peppery finish.