Scotch refers to the single malt liquors produced by Scottish distilleries. If you want to find the best Scotch to add to your collection, it is important to know a few things about the production process of this liquor and about the different distilleries that make Scotch.
Eight Best Scotch Of 2019
Choosing a quality Scotch can be challenging due to the many options available. It is also important to understand how the distillation and maturation processes used by different distilleries are going to fimpact the flavor profile of a bottle of Scotch so you can pick a liquor you will enjoy drinking. Here are a few product recommendations.
How We Chose Our Ratings
We only selected liquor produced by Scottish distilleries.
We included different flavor profiles so you can find a Scotch you will enjoy drinking.
We looked at awards and other distinctions given to different Scotches.
We chose the best Scotch in different price ranges so you can easily find a bottle for your budget.
Top Eight Best Scotches of 2019
We think that any of these eight Scotches would be an excellent addition to your collection. Compare their flavor profiles to determine which liquor you will enjoy the most.
Highland Park Full Volume
This Scotch won a silver medal at the latest San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It is pricier than the other liquors we recommend, but this Scotch is worth every penny with its rich flavor profile.
This liquor has a creamy texture and blends a traditional smoky taste with sweeter notes such as vanilla, caramel, and toffee. You will probably notice some notes of exotic fruits and espresso as well.
Some people have compared this Scotch to Rum because of its sweet and exotic notes. Full Volume is a Scotch with a unique flavor profile that mixes original fruity notes with smoke. It achieves an amazing balance, and the sweet notes make the smoky taste easier to appreciate, especially if you are new to drinking Scotch.
This Scotch is a great choice if you are looking for something unique or enjoy sweet and exotic notes in your liquor. However, the mango and vanilla notes aren’t what you would expect from a traditional Scotch.
Glenlivet 18-Year Old
This single malt Scotch is the proof that Glenlivet is still one of the best distilleries around. This Scotch is an excellent value for the price, and you are going to love the smooth notes of caramel and honey.
The flavor profile of this liquor also includes some hints of orange, raisins, and winter spices. It has been aged in oak casks and sherry casks to absorb the fruity notes and crispness of this wine.
Glenlivet’s 18-Year Old Scotch has a complex flavor profile and might not be a good choice if you are new to drinking whiskey. On the other hand, this is the perfect liquor to serve during a gourmet meal or celebrate a special occasion.
Aberfeldy 12-Year Old
Aberfeldy is a traditional distillery located in the Highlands. Its 12-Year Old Scotch is a very affordable single malt liquor.
The malt used to make this Scotch is the source of the most noticeable notes of the flavor profile. You will also notice some citrus notes and a creamy taste. The smoky note is noticeable but doesn’t overpower the Scotch.
Aberfeldy uses the traditional peat smoke to dry the barley used to make Scotch. This is where the noticeable smoky notes that are often associated with Scotch come from.
This Scotch is a great way to discover and learn to appreciate that traditional smoky note since it is extremely well-balanced with the citrus and sweetness of the liquor while still being noticeable.
Aberfeldy’s 12-Year Old Scotch is an affordable and pleasant option. It reproduces the traditional flavor profile of a Highlands Scotch without letting the smoky note overpower the liquor, which makes it ideal for casual whiskey drinkers.
Benromach 15-Year Old
Benromach is a Speyside distillery that has been around since the end of the 19th century. Its 15-Year Old single malt Scotch is right for you if you enjoy liquors with dessert flavors.
The flavor profile of this Scotch is somewhat complex, but the sweet notes make it easy to appreciate. You will notice some caramel and black cherry notes at first before sweet notes of honey, chocolate, plums, and mint take over. Black cherry is one of the most noticeable notes throughout the tasting process.
This Scotch is aged in bourbon and sherry casks to create this complex flavor profiles where several sweet notes become intertwined. The result is a rich liquor without a trace of smoke.
If you don’t like the traditional smoky notes of Scotch and are looking for dessert flavors, this 15-Year Old Scotch is right for you. Serve it at the end of a meal or enjoy it with a dessert cigar.
Glenfiddich Winter Storm
Winter Storm is a limited edition from Glenfiddich. The price tag is higher than other liquors since it is a limited edition, but Winter Storm is well worth it.
This is a Scotch that has been matured for 21 years in Canadian icewine casks. Scottish distilleries traditionally use oak casks for most of the maturation process and transfer the Scotch into sherry casks to let the liquor absorb sweet notes towards the end of the maturation process.
Icewine brings some uniquely crisp notes since it is made from quality grapes that are frozen before the fermentation process begins. Freezing the grapes preserves the sugar and brings a crisp taste to the wine.
Winter Storm is a rich fruity liquor with a crisp flavor. You will probably be reminded of candied fruits or lychees when you taste it.
Highland Park 12-Year Old Viking Honour Expression
This Scotch has won a silver medal at the 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition thanks to its unique flavor profile. You will find notes you wouldn’t expect to notice in a traditional Scotch from Highland Park.
This 12-Year Old Scotch stands out because of its floral notes and creamy texture. You will notice an interesting balance between notes of honey, citrus, and jasmine.
This single malt is an interesting addition to your collection because of its affordable price and full flavor profile. This is a Scotch you can taste and share with friends to make them discover all the notes that can exist in a Scotch outside of the traditional peat smoke flavor.
Talisker 10-Year Old
We think this is the best Scotch if you are looking for a traditional liquor. Talisker’s 10-Year Old Scotch represents a great value for the price and has a classic brine and smoke flavor that one usually associates with Scotch.
This is a single malt Scotch that balances pepper, smoke, and malt. You will notice some sweet notes but the peat smoke taste is one of the most pronounced aspects of this flavor profile.
This Scotch delivers a very authentic experience, but the ten-year maturation period means the flavor profile is still very accessible compared to older Scotches.
This Scotch is a great choice if you want to experience the traditional flavors created by combining peat smoke and oak cask maturation without being overwhelmed by these strong notes.
Corryvreckan is made at the Ardbeg distillery on the island of Islay. It has a strong and pronounced smoky flavor profile.
If you are looking for liquor with a noticeable peat overtone, this is the right Scotch for you. Some say they notice tobacco and coffee notes, as well as anise and cherry notes.
The smoky notes are the most defining characteristic of this Scotch. The deep flavor is intense and makes this Scotch a great addition to your collection if you have been enjoying whiskey for years.
If you are new to drinking Scotch, it might be best to start with a liquor that has a less pronounced peat note to determine if you enjoy smoky flavor profiles before trying Corryvreckan.
How To Choose The Best Scotch
Knowing a few things about how Scotch is made and about the different distilleries in Scotland will help you choose the right Scotch.
What Is The Difference Between Scotch And Whiskey?
Scotch and whiskey are alcoholic beverages made from barley, rye, wheat, and other fermented grains. Scotch is the name used to refer to whiskeys produced in Scotland with malted barley and left to mature for at least three years.
The production process is similar for all whiskeys. The grain is soaked in water, drained, and left to germinate so that sugar can appear.
Scottish distilleries traditionally use peat smoke to dry the grains and stop the germination process. This is one of the steps that help create the taste that is typical of Scotch.
Peat is a material that mixes acidic soil and partially decomposed vegetation. The use of peat smoke in the Scotch manufacturing process makes the taste unique to a geographical region.
The grains are then turned into flour and hot water is added before the mixture is left to steep. Yeast is introduced to ferment this mixture and cause alcohol to appear.
The liquor is then distilled twice to increase its alcohol content and left to mature. The choice of barrel or cask is important since the liquor will absorb compounds from the wood and develop a specific flavor profile and color. Oak casks are often used to mature Scotch.
You will encounter more diversity in whiskeys since they are made all over the world and production process can differ from one distillery to another. Scottish distilleries work to create a unique flavor for their products but the process used is similar from one distillery to another.
Even though most Scottish distilleries make single malt Scotches, you can find blended liquors made in Scotland. This can create a more complex flavor profile and help balance the strong smoky taste of Scotch.
Different Distilleries And Flavors
Because Scotch is exclusively made in Scotland, it is fairly easy to keep track of the different distilleries that make Scotch and to compare their products. Even though the distilleries use similar techniques and equipment to make Scotch, each distillery has developed a unique flavor profile over the years.
Each region is associated with specific trends when it comes to developing flavor profiles. It is easier to find a Scotch that matches your tastes once you have tasted the products of a few different distilleries.
The Lowland region is where you will find distilleries such as Bladnoch, Glenkinchie, or Auchentoshan. The Scotch made in these distilleries typically has a mild and delicate flavor.
Islay is home to distilleries such as Ardbeg and Laphroaig. These distilleries are known for the strong peat smoke taste of their liquor.
The Highland region has a lot more diversity due to its size. You will find distilleries that made spicy Scotch in the North while the Southern distilleries typically make Scotch with a sweet flavor profile.
Speyside has the highest concentration of distilleries in Scotland. You will find a lot of variety in this small region, but Speyside distilleries are usually a good choice if you are looking for a sweet flavor with a dry finish.
You should attend a Scotch or whiskey tasting event so you can try different products and determine which flavors you like best. Here are a few recommendations:
- Laphroaig Scotch is your best choice if you like strong smoky notes.
- Try Scotches from Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, or Ardbeg for a balance between smoky notes and sweetness.
- If you love citrus and other fruity flavors, we recommend Scotch from Balvenie or Glenkinchie.
- Glenmorangie stands out thanks to its Scotch with grassy flavors
These tips will help you find the best Scotch for your taste. It is best to get started with a liquor that doesn’t have a strong flavor profile and to stay away from pronounced peat smoke notes until you gain more experience with drinking Scotch and learn to appreciate these distinctive notes.