Choosing a good Scotch whisky can be tricky. Unless you really know your stuff, it’s hard to tell a good Scotch from a mediocre one.
Luckily our friends over at FindTheBest helped us narrow down the 10 best bottles of Scotch for experienced and novice drinkers alike.
FindTheBest used a smart rating to rank the different kinds of Scotch. The smart rating is a weighted average of four whisky-rating sources: the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Beverage Testing Institute, the Los Angeles Whiskey Society, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
10. Arran 12-Year-Old ($64)
The refined palate of the Arran 12-year-old Scotch brings to mind the bitterness of coffee and dark chocolate while finishing off spicy and citrusy. It’s a complex blend of 17 first-fill sherry butts and four second-fill sherry hogsheads, which have been bottled at natural cask strength.
9. Royal Salute 38-Year-Old Scotch ($924)
The most expensive Scotch on our list, this whisky by Royal Salute ages for 38 years and is known as “the Stone of Destiny,” the name of the ancient stone used for British royal coronation ceremonies. Its richness comes through with notes of cedar and dark fruits.
8. Inver House Green Plaid 12-Year-Old Scotch ($25)
Inver House’s Green Plaid Scotch is slightly sweet with a light body; it earned a Double Gold distinction at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year. At about $US25 a bottle, Green Plaid is proof that a good Scotch doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
7. Hankey Bannister 25-Year-Old Scotch ($375)
Matured in casks that used to house sherry and bourbon, the Hankey Bannister 25-year-old is spicy and fruity with a long finish. It’s a special selection of the distillery’s Master Blender, Stuart Harvey.
6. Bowmore 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch ($100)
5. Balblair 11-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch ($98)
American oak barrels lend to this Scotch’s warm toffee aroma. Balblair’s 11-year-old single malt is honey-coloured and slightly sweet and spicy, with a finish that warms from the first sip to the last.
4. Macallan 21-Year-Old Fine Oak Scotch Whisky ($220)
Perhaps one of the more well-known brands, Macallan’s 21-year-old Scotch is aged in Spanish oak casks that have been seasoned with bourbon. This is a great full-bodied whisky that invokes thoughts of burning wood, but is surprisingly light in colour with a slight, vanilla scent.
3. Highland Park 30 Scotch ($365)
At 30 years old, this Scotch is the oldest in the Highland Park range. The colour is striking, with red-gold hues and strong flavours of nuttiness that contrast the oaken, chocolaty aroma.
2. Bowmore 25-Year-Old Scotch ($190)
The second Bowmore bottle to make the list, this 25-year Scotch is produced in the Islay region, and is a blend of whiskies matured for 25 years in American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks. Drinkers note hints of toffee and a warm, smoky flavour.
1. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old “Cask Strength” Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($60)
This 10-year-old single malt is only a decade old, proving that age isn’t the only factor that goes into making a great Scotch. Laphroaig’s was still named the Best Single Malt Whisky In The World in 2005 by Whisky Magazine. Its rich flavour comes from a distilling process that incorporates peat-fire-dried malted barley.
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