Top 10 Scotch

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Top 10 Scotch

Looking for a great Scotch to try but don’t know where to start? Scotch whisky definitely gets the lion's share of the popularity in the world of whiskey and is a staple of every home bar.

We’ve rounded up the top ten Scotch whiskies you won’t want to miss. From Speyside to Islay and everything in between, get your glasses ready for this world-famous Scottish legend.

Let us help you find your new favorite Scotch bottle for your collection. If you are feeling adventurous get to know whiskey from all over the world and check our list of best 10 whiskeys!

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  1. The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof80 (40% ABV) - May vary
    Size750mL
    Matured in both American and European oak casks that were previously used to age sherry, The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask pairs the indulgent fruit, caramel and oak spice character of European oak with the bright citrus and vanilla notes of American oak casks. A perfectly balanced and satisfyingly rich flavor experience, it greets with rich and festive aromas of fruitcake and oak spice on the nose while the palate brings caramel, nuts, and vanilla, leading to a citrusy finish.

    Bottled at 80 proof, this expression has received a unanimous Double Gold Medal upon its release at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017 and a Gold Medal & 95 points rating from the International Review of Spirits Tasting in 2017.

    Situated on a ridge above the banks of the River Spey, the Easter Elchies House has been the spiritual home of The Macallan for over three centuries. In 1820, Alexander Reid began renting the home from Sir Lewis Grant of Grant. Reid was a farmer, and soon after he sowed the fields surrounding the home with barley, Reid established the first licensed distillery on the estate, which he named Macallan after an ancient church that had been destroyed by fire during the 15th century. In the winter — when there was little activity on the farm — Reid would ferment and distill his excess grains into whisky, which was often drunk straight from the still or sold to travelers passing through the town.

    Today, the Macallan Estate encompasses 370 acres, 95 of which are devoted to the production of the Macallan Estate's Minstrel barley (a single acre produces about 2.5 tons of barley each year, enough to yield 1,800 bottles of The Macallan). In addition, the distillery contracts with farmers to purchase barley that is low in nitrogen and high in starch, resulting in a rich and oily whisky.

    After the barley is harvested in late August and early September, it is malted before being mashed in one of The Macallan's two mash tuns, a process that takes between four and eight hours. Then, the barley is fermented with a specially cultured yeast before being distilled twice through The Macallan's copper-pot stills. The copper comprising the stills acts as a catalyst, and enhances the formation of sweet esters while minimizing impurities such as sulphur. In addition, the curiously small stills — some of "the smallest stills within the Scotch whisky industry," according to production manager Alexander Tweedie — produce a whisky with a heavy, oily flavor.

    Following distillation, The Macallan distillers remove the heads and tails of the whisky and collect approximately 16% of the spirit to fill into casks for maturation. This "cut," which is among the highest of any Scottish distillery, results in a more full-bodied and and rich whisky.

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    Festive aroma of fruitcake and match heads — a bit lighter on the nose than its Sherry Oak sibling. A palate of raisins, brazil nuts, and honey follows, leading to a citrusy floral finish.
    $79.99
  2. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch Whisky

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    93%
    5
    Upon his father's death in 1820, a young grocer named Johnnie Walker invested his £417 inheritance into a grocery and spirits shop on High Street in Scotland. While Walker himself was a teetotaller, he sold a popular single malt whisky under the name Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky. When Walker retired from the store in the 1850s, whisky sales represented just 8% of the store's business.

    In 1857, Alexander Walker — Johnnie Walker's eldest son — inherited the store and began improving its selection of single malt Scotch whiskies. In addition, Alexander had apprenticed with a tea merchant in Glasgow and there, had learned the art of blending tea. Under his stewardship, the House of Walker began blending whisky and bottling it in an iconic, square bottle adorned with a slanted label. By the time Alexander Walker retired in the 1880s, whisky sales represented over 95% of the store's business.

    Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky represents the epitome of blending and the pinnacle whisky of the House of Walker. The blend was personally created by James Beveridge, Johnnie Walker's Master Distiller, and is crafted to reflect the style of whiskies produced by Johnnie and Alexander Walker in the 19th century.

    "I think of blending as being like the process of writing," says Beveridge. "Is the final book just a series of words, a lot of facts and information, or has it been put together with care and attention so that the end result will relate to the person who reads it? If it does, then that, you could argue, is magic blending, like writing, like any creative process, is much more involved in the world of ideas, with trying to connect with the whisky drinker. I like to think that we have made that connection."

    Knowing that only one in every ten thousand casks makes it into the Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a proof that it truly is an unrivaled masterpiece.

    Johnnie Walker Blue has a subtly sweet aroma with notes of bittersweet chocolate, caramelized oranges and a touch of tobacco. The initial notes of roasted nuts and smoky chocolate are complemented by hints of rich fruits (including pears), dates, toasted bread and delicate brown spices. The finish, which is incredibly smooth, has a touch of pecan pie, milk chocolate, peppercorn and figs. The whisky earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013, and earned a score of 95 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

    Each bottle of Johnnie Walker is encased in a silk-lined box, and comes with a certificate of authenticity and unique serial number.

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    Aroma of bittersweet chocolate, caramelized oranges and a touch of tobacco. Initial notes of roasted nuts and smoky chocolate are complemented by hints of rich fruits (particularly pears), dates, toasted bread and delicate brown spices. Finish, which is i
    $216.99
  3. Craigellachie 13 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof92 (46% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Located in the heart of Speyside, at the confluence of the rivers Fiddich and Spey, Craigellachie Distillery takes its name from the town of Craigellachie, which literally means "rocky hill." Situated on a cliff that overlooks the river Spey, the town of Craigellachie dates back to the early 18th century, and the distillery itself was built by a group of blenders and merchants in 1891. Designed by then-famous architect Charles Doig, Craigellachie Distillery reflects the rustic, adventurous attitude of the mountains on which it was built, and has been described since its earliest days as "old-fashioned."

    Craigellachie Single Malt Scotch Whisky is crafted from malted barley and pure spring water sourced from a spring on nearby Little Convall Hill. The malt is prepared in a wood-fired kiln before being triple-distilled through Craigellachie’s two spirit stills — finally, the distillery uses rare worm tub condensers to impart unusually strong flavors unto the whisky.

    "Craigellachie has always been the problem child for us in that’s it’s sulphury and meaty," says Stephen Marshall, a global marketing manager for the brand. "It’s difficult for other companies to take. We’ve been sitting on stocks of it without realizing how good it was; it’s really good stuff."

    Craigellachie 13 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is part of the Last Great Malts Collection from Dewar’s, and it has been carefully selected by Master Blender Stephanie Macleod to showcase the very best of Craigellachie’s distinct character, which has been said to demonstrate the best elements of Speyside, both dark and light. The whisky has straw gold color and a bold, peppery aroma that is bolstered by stone fruits, cloves, vanilla and marshlands. The palate is hearty, filled with lively notes of melon, honeysuckle, toffee and burnt wood, and leads to a complex finish, with additional notes of charred oak, apricots and rustic earth.

    The Craigellachie range was dubbed one of the "Best New Launches" at the 2015 World Whisky Awards.

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    Straw gold color and a bold, peppery aroma that is bolstered by stone fruits, cloves, vanilla and marshlands. The palate is hearty, filled with lively notes of melon, honeysuckle, toffee and burnt wood, and leads to a complex finish, with additional notes of charred oak, apricots and rustic earth.
    $59.99
  4. Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Unpeated Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof100 (50% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    98%
    6
    Inspired by an entrepreneurial flair and a youthful enthusiasm, the Harvey brothers began construction of the Bruichladdich (pronounced brook-laddie or broo-lah-dee) Distillery in 1881. For five decades, the brothers — descendants of a dynastic whisky family — owned and operated the distillery. Following the death of William Harvey in 1936, however, the distillery changed hands a number of times and was shut down in 1994, seemingly forever. In 2000, the distillery was purchased by a group of investors led by Mark Reynier and Murray McDavid. Together, the pair convinced Jim McEwan, who had been working at Bowmore Distillery since the age of 15, to join Bruichladdich as master distiller.

    Today, McEwan's incredible work ethic and creative vision have made Bruichladdich Distillery one of the most exciting and innovative distilleries in Scotland.

    Bruichladdich Single Malt Whisky is made exclusively from unpeated barley grown on 23 different farms in Scotland. After the grains are milled and mashed, they are fermented in the distillery's original washbacks, which are made of Douglas Fir. The wood from the washbacks absorbs heat generated during fermentation, and allows for a longer, slower fermentation process as compared to steel, resulting in a more flavorful and rich whisky.

    After fermentation, the wash is distilled twice through Bruichladdich's 130 year-old, 20-foot tall, diamond-shaped stills. The Victorian-era stills produce whisky that is notably floral and elegant.

    The Classic Laddie is "our signature bottling and the definitive Bruichladdich," says McEwan. Trickle distilled and matured for its entire life in American oak casks that were previously used to mature bourbon, the whisky has an aroma of green apples, stewed berries and biscuits. The aroma gives way to notes of citrus, melon, vanilla and salted caramel on the palate, and finishes with a touch chocolate, honey and earl gray tea.

    This whisky "is a testament to the quality of our ingredients," says McEwan.

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    Aroma of green apples, stewed berries and biscuits. Notes of citrus, melon, vanilla and salted caramel on the palate. Finishes with a touch chocolate, honey and earl gray tea.
    $61.99
  5. Glenmorangie 18 Year Old Extremely Rare Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof86 (43% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    53%
    1
    After distillation, Glenmorangie 18 Year Old Extremely Rare Single Malt Scotch Whisky is aged for fifteen years in used bourbon casks. Approximately 30% of the whisky is then double-barreled, or finished, in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks for an additional three years. After both the original and double-barreled whisky have reached 18 years of age, they are blended together in order to create Glenmorangie 18 Year Old Extremely Rare Whisky.

    Glenmorangie's 18 Year Old Extremely Rare "embodies our house style," says Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie's Head of Distilling and Flavor Creation since 1998. Lumsden, who holds a PhD in Biochemistry (he wrote his dissertation on yeast physiology) and is the only person in the world to have been honored with Whisky Advocate's "Industry Leader of the Year" award three times, is one of the most respected figures in the Scotch whisky industry. "It develops and fills out the characteristics of the 10 Years Old, adding another dimension," he says of the 18 Year Old expression, "but it remains true to its origin."

    Glenmorangie 18 Year Old Extremely Rare Whisky earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2010, and the title "Best in Class" at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2009.

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    Notes of mandarin, banana, apple and pear. Well-textured, flavors open up to notes of apricots, nuts and vanilla, along with hints of raisins and fudge. Finish lingers with a touch of almonds and sweet citrus.
    $152.99
  6. Oban 18 Year Old Limited Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof86 (43% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Oban Single Malt Whisky is made using 100% barley, which is malted to the distillery's exact specifications. After the barley is malted, it is partially germinated and gently dried over a peat kiln, giving it a slightly smoky, malty flavor profile. Then, the malted barley is mashed and fermented before being twice-distilled through Oban's lantern-shaped copper-pot stills. The stills are among the smallest in Scotland, and limit Oban's production to just 650,000 liters of whisky annually.

    Following distillation, Oban Limited Edition 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is aged for 18 years in oak casks. During this beautyrest, the whisky is touched by its unique environment and geography — the warm, salty Gulf Stream and mild, temperate climate of Oban are reflected in the whisky. As a result of the distillery's unique stills and geography, the whisky has an aroma of citrus fruit, crisp sea breeze and salty tang that give way to notes of dried spices, seaweed and oak on the palate. The finish is soft and elegant, with touches of smoke and fruit set against a slightly oily background.

    Oban Limited Edition 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky earned the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and earned a score of 91 points from Whisky Advocate.

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    Aroma of citrus fruit, crisp sea breeze and salty tang that give way to notes of dried spices, seaweed and oak on the palate. Finish is soft and elegant, with touches of smoke and fruit set against a slightly oily background.
    $187.99
  7. The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof86 (43% ABV) - May vary
    Size750mL
    Born in December 1839, William Grant became a cattle herder at the age of 7 in order to supplement his family's income. As a teenager, Grant apprenticed as a cobbler and a clerk, and in 1866, he joined Mortlach Distillery as a bookkeeper. For the next two decades, Grant managed the affairs at the distillery, while secretly learning the art of distillation. In 1886, he resigned from his position as distillery manager and bought a field beneath the towering shadows of Balvenie Castle, which he eventually converted into Balvenie Distillery. Today, Balvenie Distillery, situated in the Speyside region of Scotland, remains one of the most independent and prestigious distilleries in all of Scotland.

    Balvenie Single Malt Whisky is made from fresh, plump barley grown on Balvenie Mains, a 1,000 acre farm situated adjacent to the distillery (the farm has been the distillery's source for barley for over a century). After the barley is harvested, it is malted at the distillery with spring water sourced from the rolling Speyside hills that overlook the distillery. During the malting process, the barley is turned up to four times a day in order to ensure that it germinates evenly (Balvenie is the only single malt Scotch whisky distillery that continues to grow and malt its own barley).

    Once the barley has been malted, it is milled and mashed at the distillery before being fermented using a proprietary strain of yeast. Following fermentation, the wash is distilled twice, first through Balvenie's copper-pot wash still and then again through its copper-pot spirit still. "The most important reason for using a copper still,"explains Dennis McBain, Balvenie's coppersmith, "is that it acts as a catalyst. It removes any sulphur which may be carried over from the fermentation process prior to distillation." McBain, who joined Balvenie Distillery in 1959, is one of the oldest coppersmiths remaining in the industry.

    In addition, the size and shape of Balvenie's stills — the stills' necks have unique boil balls that are nicknamed "Balvenie Bowls" — results in Balvenie's signature bold and malty flavor profile. "The size and shape of the boil ball allow for the vapors to mix before continuing up the head," explains McBain. "That helps make The Balvenie special."

    Following distillation, The Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured in traditional, American oak casks before being double-barreled, or finished, in European oak casks that were previously used to mature sherry. As a result of spending a dozen years in oak casks, the whisky has an aroma of citrus, honey and vanilla. The aroma gives way to notes of red fruits (particularly berries and plums) on the palate, along with hints of sherry, caramel and butterscotch. The finish is long and warming, with a slightly sweet touch. Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood earned the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In addition, the whisky earned a score of 94 points from Wine Enthusiast, which called it "silky and downright succulent."

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    Aroma of citrus, honey and vanilla. Notes of red fruits (particularly berries and plums) on the palate, along with hints of sherry, caramel and butterscotch. Finish is long and warming, with a slightly sweet touch.
    $75.99
  8. Glendronach 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof92 (46% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    93%
    1
    The year is 1826, the Temperance Society had just been formed in Boston, Beethoven’s Quartet No. 13 is premiered in Vienna, the combustible engine is being patented, and deep within the Scottish Highlands, in the land of peat and bagpipes, the GlenDronach distillery is being born. GlenDronach got its start shortly after the Excise Act of 1823 when James Allardice became the second person to apply for a license to distill Whisky in Scotland. Ever since, the iconic Scottish distillery has been under the ownership of several well-known names in Scotch, namely; Walter Scott, Captain Charles Grant, and William Teacher and Sons.

    The distillery is located near Forgue, by Huntly, Aberdeenshire, in the Speyside region, and is currently owned by BenRiach. GlenDronach survived many setbacks, including a fire in 1836 that nearly destroyed the entire facility. Their floor malting was also halted in 1996, and the distillery was mothballed. The distillery experienced a near complete overhaul when giant Pernod Ricard acquired them in 2005. They converted the last of the Scottish coal-fired stills to indirect steam-heated coils. GlenDronach was the last of the remaining distilleries using the method at this time.

    “GlenDronach 15-year-old Revival went on hiatus three years ago due to a shortage. In 2018 it re-emerged with a new recipe, tweaked by master distiller Rachel Barrie. As before, a mixture of Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks has taken care of the aging process, and the result is one of the very best sherried single malts of its age on the market. The distillery’s characteristic spice, fruit, and chocolate notes are here in abundance, merging seamlessly and with satisfying complexity to create a great after-dinner dram” (Gavin D Smith, Whisky Advocate).

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    Sherried notes spice, fruit, and chocolate notes are here in abundance, merging seamlessly and with satisfying complexity finish.
    $177.99
  9. Aberlour Abunadh Alba Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof114.2 (57.1% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    100%
    1
    Aberlour Single Malt Whisky is made exclusively from Scottish barley, which is malted for approximately seven days before being dried above an unpeated kiln. Once the barley has been dried, it is milled and mashed with water drawn from St. Drostan's Well. The well, which has been the distillery's source for water for over a century, was named after a missionary who used water from the well to baptise inhabitants in 580 AD. After the barley has been mashed, it is fermented before being twice-distilled through Aberlour's copper-pot stills. The stills enjoy broad bases to expose as much direct heat as possible to the wash, and are equipped with swan-shaped necks which capture only the most pure vapors during distillation.

    Scotch Gaelic for “the original” or “the origin,” this whisky was inspired by the discovery of a time capsule, dating all the way back 1898. This A’bunadh is inspired by the style of whisky produced by the Aberlour distillery in the late 19th century. The classic A’bunadh is a blend of whiskies ranging from five to 25 years old.

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    Fruit notes, peach, dried fruits, and a hint of cherry followed by candied citrus zest, sweet spice aromas of baking spice, hints of vanilla, walnut, sweet honey notes and sherry. The palate is sweet with sherry, dried fruit notes, apple and caramel. Burnt sugar is followed by baking spice, bittersweet notes of dark chocolate and espresso. The finish is lingering, and complex with layers of dried fruit notes, caramel and hints of peppery spice.
    $113.99
  10. GlenAllachie 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Proof92 (46% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Glenallachie is situated in Banffshire, at the foot of Ben Rinnes, neighboring several other distilleries. Founded in 1967 by Mackinlay McPherson Ltd Glenallachie is one of the youngest distilleries in Scotland. In 1989 Campbell Distillers acquired The GlenAllachie Distillery, starting production run that lasted for nearly 30 years.

    In 2017 Billy Walker, Trisha Savage and Graham Stevenson came together to acquire the GlenAllachie facility reincarnating the distillery as The GlenAllachie Distillers Company Limited. The highly anticipated core range of the GlenAllachie distillery from Speyside was finally launched in July 2018.

    The water for the distillery comes from the dam heads over 2 miles from the distillery. Henshead and Blackstank flow into Beachshach Burn, which supplies the water directly to the distillery, and sits on the North East of BenRinnes. The distillery was designed to be gravity fed, created with horizontal condensers that maintain a consistent temperature, or increase/decrease to alter the character of the spirit.

    Using a vast amount of aged stock that was obtained along with the distillery, dating back as far as the 1970’s GlenAllachie Master Distiller Billy Walker has masterfully created a signature single malt. The most important release in the history of The GlenAllachie Distillers Company; GlenAllachie 12 Year Old, is the heart of their range, a landmark bottling, selected and bottled under the careful eye of Master Distiller Billy Walker. Earning a Gold medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this 12 year showcases whisky matured in Pedro Ximénez sherry, oloroso sherry, and virgin oak casks.

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    Notes of butterscotch and honey playing the lead, with raisins and mocha in the background. The palate has notes of honey, marzipan and bananas, with lashings of butterscotch, raisins and a delicate hint of mocha.
    $75.99