Compass Box Glasgow Blend Scotch Whisky
This expression is a marrying of whiskies from all over Scotland. 65 percent of the juice comes from single malts from a distillery near the town of Aberlour, Laphroaig, and Clynelish. The rest is part Highland malt blend and a grain whisky from Cameronbridge distillery. Those whiskies were barreled in sherry and bourbon casks with a French oak barrel thrown in too.
The nose draws you in with this subtle peaty malt that feels more kissed by a hint of smoke than drowned in it in a malting room. Theres also a light stewed stone fruit vibe in play kind of like a prune sitting next to a nutmeg bulb. Going back to the nose, a very faint cherry arrives. The first sip is malty scotch! That then leads to dry straw, very mild plum, the memory of opening up a bag of charcoal, and almond shells. The taste really leans into the malts. But again, you dont feel much smoke. Instead, youre left with a slightly sweet straw and a buzzing maltiness that is more reminiscent of a cleaned-out fireplace than smoke.
Yes, this is blended scotch and I 100 percent stand by it being ranked this high. This is a delightful dram that works neat, on the rocks, or as a cocktail base. Its also one of those ah-ha! drams thatll dial in your palate for great blends.
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port Cask Finish
Robbie Robinson, sommelier and mixologist at The Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina
ABV: 46%Average Price:$59.99
Why This Bottle?
I love Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port Cask Finish. It is a 14-year-old non-peated scotch, finished in Ruby port casks. Its medium-bodied and has notes of cinnamon, jelly, and hints of cocoa nibs.
What Is The Smoothest Single Malt Scotch
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Best Under $: Aberfeldy 12 Year Old
Region: Highlands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Cherry cola, Bittersweet, Tannic, Bright
For a reasonably-priced option, look no further than this whisky from Aberfeldy, a Central Highlands distillery that started operating in 1898. The facility is situated along the Pitilie Burn, a lively stream whose churning, fresh water results in a clean, brisk scotch.
An everyday pour, this whisky offers cherry cola aromas with a mouth-coating, mid-palate sweetness that finishes in bittersweet, woody tannins. Easy to drink neat, on the rocks, with a splash of water, or mixed into warming cocktails, its light enough at 40 percent ABV for a midday tipple, yet flavorful for post-work happy hour.
Johnnie Walker High Rye
This whisky leans into the moment rye is having worldwide. The blend is 40 percent single malts from Diageos stable of distilleries particularly Cardhu, Glenkinchie, and Caol Ila and 60 percent rye whisky aged in American oak. Those whiskies are vatted, proofed down, and bottled.
The nose feels like the best of both worlds as a twinge of rye spiciness mingles with sweet smoky notes cut with orchard fruit and a hint of vanilla. The fruit drives the palate with tart apples spiked with clove and anise as a buttery caramel sweetens the sip. The finish moves on from that sweet note towards a dry sense of woody spices and a touch of dried and smoked apple slices.
This is a tasty whisky that will feel both familiar and new. The rye and American oak is present but veers into fruity and soft smoky Johnnie Walker territory and just works, especially on the rocks or in a highball.
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Is There A Smooth Scotch
We were impressed with Balvenie DoubleWood, the smoothest whiskey in the world that can be drunk straight, due to its excellent flavor and smooth texture. If you want to taste the best whisky, this 12-year-old whisky is unbeatable. A barrel of ex-bourbon is used to age it, which gives the whisky a versatile flavor.
Johnnie Walker Black Label: The Jane Walker Edition
Master Blender Emma Walker created this blend with Cardhu a Speyside distillery at its core. Cardhu was famously founded and run by another female pioneer in whisky, Elizabeth Cumming, back in the 1800s. The juice is a blend of malts that aged at least ten years from the Diageo stable of Scotch single malts.
The sip has a nose with a clean maltiness next to raisins and peach juice with a hint of leather coming in late. The palate is light, almost airy, with stewed apples floating in rich cream next to a touch of milk chocolate. The finish has a very faint hint of Johnnie Walker peat next to dry reeds, more malts, and a bitter chocolate powder.
The Bottom Line:
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Best 10 Scotch Whisky Single Malt Of 2022
You can depend on our experts to share their product searching experiences with you.
To assist you select the 10 scotch whisky single malt brand, we examined all the features and came up with a list of ten possible purchases.
We looked at durability, materials, designs, expert reviews, and customer ratings to find the best-performing 10 scotch whisky single malt.
The review includes detailed performance information and recommendations for your goals and budget. Find out which is best for you.
Best Under $: Glenmorangie The Original
Distilled in the tallest stills in Scotland by the men and women of Tain, Glenmorangie’s The Original is a great go-to single malt. The Highland makers spirit is aged ten years in ex-bourbon barrels, as well as a few custom Missouri-made, air-dried casks. Crisp and fruity, this whisky both starts and finishes strong. An initial wave of vanilla reverberates into flowing fruity notes with a hint of spice. Its a hard bottle to beat.
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan is a magical dram well worth its hefty price tag. Its the kind that can change your entire perception of what whisky can taste like. This 19-year-old single malt is a melange of spirit aged in American oak and Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. True to its Islay roots, the smoke is thick and powerful, but through that veil emerges a cascade of pineapple, chocolate, and spice that will shock your taste buds and leave you wondering why you didnt score a second bottle.
The progressive Hebridean distillers of Bruichladdich make some fine whisky. The island of Islay, on which the brand is based, is traditionally known for the smoky flavor imparted by the peat fires to dry the barley before fermentation. While Bruichladdich does make some extremely peaty whiskies, this Islay maker also makes some non-peated expressions, including The Classic Laddie.
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What We Do At Hard To Find Whisky
Whatever your whisky or spirit preferences, here at Hard to Find Whisky we will have the right blend for you. Unlike many drinks and whisky retailers worldwide, Hard to Find Whisky set out to be unique, offering connoisseurs the very best in rare and vintage whisky. We also provide the very best competitive prices and perfect gifts for drinks lovers all over the world. The Hard to Find Group is the place to look when searching for that perfect gift or treat that can truly not be found anywhere else.
Caol Ila Distillers Edition
This yearly release from the tiny Islay distillery, Caol Ila, is all about the finish. The 12-year-old juice is finished in Moscatel sherry casks to give it a truly deep fruitiness next to that briny Islay peat.
This really draws the peat far into the background as notes of smoked apricots, star anise, and honey-soaked almonds on the nose. The palate has a slight anchovy oil edge that leads towards a very distant whisp of smoke from a campfire far down a rainy beach next to orange oils, smoked salt flakes over buttery toffee, and a touch of more of those honey almonds. The end holds onto that nuttiness and sweetness with a good spray of seawater as the campfire smoke draws nearer and picks up a few more of those stone fruits along the way.
This years distillers edition is among my favorite whiskies of the year overall. Its just a beautiful sip of whisky that truly highlights the distillery.
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Port Askaig 110 Proof
Port Askaig selects prime barrels of peated Islay whisky for their drops. This expression is a cask-strength release of Islay peaty malts with a focus on ex-bourbon cask aging. The juice is then bottled as is without any filtering, cutting, or added color.
Theres an old smoker vibe with all the burnt sugars, apple cider vinegar, and fatty brisket of years past coming through the smokiness. The palate pops with a rush of lemon-lime-orange oils as smoky bacon fat leads back towards a mix of cumin-forward spices and maybe a touch of dried mint. The finish is long and returns to the apple and burnt sugars as the fatty smoke builds and eventually fades.
This really feels like its getting more and more dialed into a Texas BBQ palate with each passing year. Thats not a slight. I dig that, a lot. This also works as a great pairing whisky for Tex-Mex.
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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Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
Evan Hosaka, lead bartender of The Dorsey at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas
ABV: 46%Average Price:$59.99
Why This Bottle?
Bruichladdichs Classic Laddie comes in at 50% ABV, 6-7 years in age, and offers a great non-peated style not typical of the Islay region. Youll notice flavors of vanilla, green apples, and honey amongst other layers of complexity. Definitely a bottle to have at home. If you like peated Scotch, explore their other expressions too.
Best Under $: Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
Region: Islay | ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Green Apple, Brown Sugar, Grass
Bruichladdich is known for releasing some intensely smoky whisky, a signature flavor profile of the Islay region of Scotland. This includes the Port Charlotte and annual Octomore releases, which at times reaches some of the highest levels of peat in any whisky out there. But the core bottling is actually this lovely unpeated whisky.
The Classic Laddie is a non-age statement single malt that is light and full of notes of citrus, sweet malted barley, vanilla and honey. This is a good value at under $100, a great whisky to sip neat, and elevates a simple highball cocktail.
The team at Bruichladdich has been hard at work establishing themselves in the field, and this rare unpeated whisky from Islay absolutely brings some modern, forward-thinking, and transparency to the region.” Stephen Kurpinsky, U.S. brand ambassador for Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
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Best For Cocktails: Auchentoshan American Oak
Region: Lowlands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Nuts, Pepper, Vanilla
While you might want to think twice about using that $300 bottle of 25-year-old whisky to whip up a Manhattan, there are single malt scotches that play beautifully in cocktails . One such whisky comes from Auchentoshan, a distillery located in the Lowlands just outside of Glasgow.
This triple-distilled whisky has an almost bourbon-like character, making it great to use in a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Boulevardier, or any other whiskey cocktail you can think of.
Auchentoshan is one of the few Lowland distilleries making single malt. These whiskies are traditionally very light and grassy. The American Oak is matured in first-fill bourbon casks, giving it a vanilla fruity note. The grassy notes remain but under a lemon curd light citrusy and cream layer. Lynnette Marrero, co-founder of Speed Rack, bar director at Llama Inn
Best Islay: Ardbeg An Oa
Region: Islay| ABV: 46.6% | Tasting Notes: Nuts, Stone fruit, Salinity, Smoke
The first addition to Ardbegs foundational range of scotches in a decade, this 2017 introduction is named after the Mull of Oa, a rocky peninsula on the Kilodalton coast where the distillery is located. This affordable bottle is as approachable as Islay whisky gets, thanks to the balance that the former sherry barrels bring to the salty smoke.
Theyre taking a super-peaty whisky and taming it with beautiful wine-cask, says Shanahan. Theres no age on it, but still, its brilliant. Its a great introduction to the islands style.
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Best Overall: Aberlour 16
- Region: Speyside
- ABV: 43%
- Tasting Notes: Caramel, Oak, Spice
Whisky drinkers in the United States sometimes disregard Aberlour, yet this is unjustified. The 16-year-old from the Speyside distillery is just on the cusp of maturity between the 12 and 18-year-olds, the ranges other two age statement bottles.
Before being blended and then bottled, the whiskey is matured for 16 years in both bourbon and sherry casks. This results in a rich, oaky structure with sweet vanilla aromas from bourbon barrels and exquisite fruits and spices from sherry casks.
For what is single malt Scotch whisky, this is one of the best rated expressions.
Glenmorangie Signet: Dry And Decadent
Boasting the tallest stills in Scotland, the Glenmorangie distillery can be found in Tain, Ross-shire and is categorized as a Highland distillery. The Ardbeg Distillery on island of Islay is also owned by the Glenmorangie Company.
Glenmorangie Signet is a dry and decadent single malt. The nose for me possesses aromas of chocolate raisins, cocoa, and burnt peels. Take a dram and the cocoa intensifies on my palate, and brings with it a malty sweetness, along with oranges. The superb finish is fruity and dry.
Talisker 10 Year Old. This is a great whisky for taking the edge off the day, in my experience. It’s produced on the Isle of Skye using water from local springs.
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Do You Put Ice In Single Malt Whisky
Yes, you can put a little ice or a few drops of water in a Single Malt Whisky to open up the aromas and flavors. Adding a few drops of water to a Scotch is known as “releasing the serpent” in Scotland.
If you do choose to drink your Single Malt Whisky with ice, experts suggest using a large solid ice cube or sphere, which dilutes your spirit more slowly.
Grain Spirit Blends And Single Malts Matured In All Sorts Of Wood
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There are over 130 distilleries in Scotland producing whisky of all kinds: grain spirit, blends, and single malts, matured in all sorts of wood. With so much uisge beatha , as the ancient Celts called it, to choose from, it can be a bit tough to pick a Scotch from your local liquor store shelf. So, what makes a great Scotch whisky?
The world of Scotch whisky is so diverse and nuanced that there is no one answer, and it often comes down to personal preference and taste, says Rachel Barrie, master blender for The GlenDronach, BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh distilleries. To my nose, the greatest Scotch whiskies have an integration of balance and complexity, with expectations always exceeded on taste.
We couldnt agree more. So, without further ado, here are the best Scotch whiskies that will spark up your taste buds, put a fire in your belly, and just plain knock your socks off.
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Benromach 10 Year Old
Mothballed for long stretches by one of Diageo’s precursors, before being revived by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail and reopened in 1998, Benromach has expanded in the last twenty years from just two distillers to a small team today. It currently pitches itself as reviving the authentic taste of Speyside by bringing a light, and supposedly historically accurate, peat note to the refined spirits of the region.
A slightly buttery malt nose, with toffee, touches of green apple and liquorice and an light waft of smoke. The Benromach 10 drinks deceptively easily, with spicy pepper, light sweet malt and more toffee notes, the bonfire air restrained and entwined with cardamom.
The higher peat levels are a joyous union with Speyside refinement. If youre looking for extra oomph, the Benromach 100° Proof has a ‘more is more’ approach, which, interestingly, brings the smoke notes down in the mix.