How We Selected Scotch Whiskies
Our quest to provide you with a list of the best Scotch whiskies to drink in 2022 took us to far-flung corners of the internet. From popular websites to more obscure domains, we scoured the web for both expert and community reviews that would help us compile our inventory.
We also took into account a variety of factors. Firstly, we looked at whisky type, the maturation process, and age statements. After all, a single malt whisky aged for a decade will have a very different taste profile from a younger variety that blends different malt and grain whiskies. We also considered geography, since different climates tend to influence both aroma and flavor .
With so many variables, selecting a Scotch whisky that hits the right notes can be a tall order. To simplify the process, here is our list of the best Scotch whiskies to drink in 2022.
Best Single Malt: Glenmorangie Original 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Courtesy of Caskers
While there are more affordable single malts on the market, few of those expressions pack as much flavor into the bottle as Glenmorangie Original. The Highland maker ages the spirit in ex-bourbon barrels for a decade in the tallest pot stills in Scotland. The result is soft and supple, with riffs of juicy tree fruit, citrus, and vanillastraight magic in a glass. Sure, Glenmorangie Original tastes like it should cost a tidy sum, but, thankfully, it doesnt.
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The San Francisco World Spirits Competition Declared This 40
At a time when coveted bottles of whiskey regularly sell for five, six, or even seven figures, who wouldn’t want to know what the next hot Scotch will be? Founded in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition bills itself as the “the oldest and largest competition of its kind,” and over the weekend, the annual event revealed the winner its 2022 “Best in Show:” a limited-run bottle from a small Scotch distillery, Benromach 40 Year Old Single Malt.
Located in the town of Forres in the Speyside region, the 124-year-old Benromach Distillery which is currently managed by Gordon & MacPhail released a mere 1,000 bottles of 40 Year Old, their oldest Scotch, in 2021. This was the bottling that was judged, according to The Northern Scot.
“Every expression produced by Benromach Distillery is made by hand for genuine character by our small team of distillers who rely exclusively on their expertise and senses,” Keith Cruickshank, the distillery manager, told the paper. “To bring home the coveted ‘Best in Show’ accolade from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication that goes into producing our distinctive Speyside single malts.”
What Is Scotch Whisky
So what is Scotch whisky? Well, we could wax poetic about the water of life and so on, but instead, well stick to the basics. According to the official Scotch Whisky Regulations which were last updated in 2009 genuine Scotch whisky must meet the following criteria:
- It must be produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley.
- Should any additional grains be added to the mash, they must be whole grains.
- The distillery must perform the following actions to all of the grains:
- Process them into a mash
- Convert them to a fermentable substrate exclusively by endogenous enzyme systems
- Ferment them by adding yeast only
If you wanted to explain Scotch whisky to someone in a single sentence, weve put this one together Scotch whisky is a whisky thats made in Scotland using water and malted barley and is aged for a minimum of 3 years inside oak casks with an ABV of more than 40%.
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Replace: Keyword Buying Guide: What To Look For Before Buying
It can be hard to know where to start when youre in the market for a new cheap scotch whiskey. There are many options out there, and each has pros and cons. Luckily, weve done the research for you and compiled all the information you need to make a smart choice about what to buy. Our buying guide is here to help you find the right product for your needs.
Before you buy cheap scotch whiskey, make sure that you look at these factors:
- Search for the best quality product: Quality is the most important thing to consider when buying cheap scotch whiskey. If you want your product to last long and give value for your money, then look for a high-quality product.
- Buy the best durable product to save money: How long does it take for your cheap scotch whiskey to break down or stop working? It is worth the investment if you have an item that lasts longer than expected.
- Always buy from renowned brands to get the best one: Established brands are more reliable than new ones since they have proven their strength and quality over time. Some brands also have a reputation for providing excellent customer service.
- Observe user feedback on various sources: Review sites like Amazon can provide you with information about other peoples experiences with products.
Take a look at these factors before buying cheap scotch whiskey:
Benromach 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch
This Speyside stunner is matured exclusively in first-fillOloroso Sherry butts and bottled at a cask strength of 57.1% ABV. It is a rich and rounded malt from a 125 year old distillery which is today managed by the talented folks of Gordon & MacPhailthe legendary independent bottler out of Elgin, Scotland.
The genius of this dram begins with the nose: bright and brimming with baking spice and stewed orchard fruit. Following the punchiness is a velvety body which carries caramel and croissant across the palate.
These sorts of tonalities are laudable, for sure. But they can be found in many a malt that doesnt warrant world-class distinction. The real separator here is in the finish. It yields tobacco, leather, and threads of toffeeall of which just refuses to fade. In fact, its one of those rare sipping experiences for which time just seems to slow. Youre left contemplating this liquid for what feels like ages.
And ponder this: you can still actually purchase a bottle for under a $1000. That reads as a bargain for 40-year-old single malt these days. So dont expect the price to hold much longer after news of this award spreads. The uptick underscores the economic engine driving this newfangled competition-industrial complex.
LiveWire founder Aaron Polsky shows off the hardware for winners at the 2022 San Francisco World … Spirits Competition
Aaron PolskyStarward Whisky
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How Many Whisky Distilleries Are There In Scotland
Right now, this will depend on when youre reading this article as there are many being built, some awaiting planning and new plans for new distilleries being unveiled on what seems like a monthly basis.
As of July 2022 there are over 130 malt and grain whisky distilleries , making Scotland the greatest concentration of whisky production in the world.
Oban Aged 12 Years The Tale Of Twin Foxes
Obans location on the Scottish coast, next to both the Islands and Highlands, allows it to harness the best of both regions when making its whisky. This years 12-year release is built on the backs of both ex-bourbon casks and refill bourbon casks, allowing the stronger notes of those new bourbon casks to get a light mellowing from the refill wood. The results are bottled at cask strength.
Briny thats the draw here. The nose has this mellow mix of spicy nori crackers that lead towards an old wooden cutting board thats slick with olive juice, fish oils, salt, and black pepper that you then take a heel of bread to mop up while a slight note of smoked haddock or cod lingers on the very backend. On the palate, a burst of citrus oils arrives to cut through all that umami, oil, and brine as a light malty fruitiness adds a little tart and sweet to the mix, with a sense of cedar chips soaked in mild chili oil driving a sense of warmth. The finish lets that spice build towards a dry pepperiness thanks to the wood as the fruit ties itself to a very mild tobacco leaf and another note of that smoked fish sneaks in on the very end.
This was the shock of my year and sort of came out of nowhere. But, I do love Oban and this special release is everything anyone could want in a subtle, seaside whisky that has a pirate character with the softness of a grandparents warm embrace on a cold day.
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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.
What Are The Key Scotch Whisky Regions
There are six distinct Scotch-making regions in Scotland, each with their own character and traditions. The Highlands and Lowlands are divided by a line that runs from the Clyde estuary to the River Tay. Speyside, as you’d expect, surrounds the River Spey in the northeast. Campbeltown and Islay are neighbours separated by the Jura Sound in the southwest. And, lastly, the Islands, which includes Arran, Jura, Tobermory, Talisker, Skye and more.
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Best Dsitillers Single Malt Scotch Loch Lomond Original Single Malt
This lightly peated single malt from the Highlands is a classic. The juice is a no-age-statement whisky thats meant as an entry point to the wider brand. The malt is just kissed with peat while malting. The single malt blend is a mix of those barrels with an eye on highlighting the subtler aspects of the whisky. Once vatted, the whisky is proofed and bottled.
The nose opens with a nice dose of honey wafer biscuits wrapped in an old leather sheet with a hint of dried grass, soft raisin, and mildly spicy malts. The palate leans into those malts with a hint of malted vanilla next to oatmeal cookies with cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts next to a glass of heavy cream for dipping. The end kicks in with a sharp orange/cinnamon before descending toward soft oak and more of that leather and honey wafer.
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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Best Scotch Whiskies To Stock Your Home Bar
You can purchase single malt anywherein America, Japan, Taiwan, or any other countrybut for it to qualify as scotch, it must be produced in Scotland. The scotch industry is also changing as restless distillers experiment with a variety of whiskey categories, from heavily-peated smoke bombs to sherry-cask whiskies. The distinctions between flavor profiles have become increasingly hazy, and experimentation has increased. Here are the best Scotch whiskies to stock your home bar.
Douglas Laing Big Peat Islay Malt 46% ABV Sooty, Ashy
Big Peat is a blend of only Islay-based single malt Scotch whiskies. It encapsulates everything that is Islay in a single bottle, with Caol Ila spirit adding sweetness, Bowmore providing the ideal balance, Ardbeg an earthy, medicinal note, and Port Ellen adding a touch of refinement.
Glenmorangie Signet 46% ABV Coffee, Espresso, Raisins, Cinnamon
The barley was so heavily toasted that the spirit is known as chocolate malt. Similar to how a chocolate malt gives a porter or stout a mocha flavor in brewing, this Highland scotch is full of cocoa and espresso flavors that only get stronger with age. It has a seriousness that Tardie respects because it is made from the distillery’s oldest whisky, a 35- to 40-year-old scotch that was aged in American white oak. Dark chocolate and coffee grinds come through strongly when you sip it and the alcohol burns off.
Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate 43% ABV Wild Herbs, Roasted Nuts, Honey, Floral
How To Drink The Best Whiskey
There is something to make something clear, there is no right or wrong way to drink the best whisky. You will be the one who will drink it and who will enjoy it, that is what matters, although you can follow some recommendations to make the experience more pleasant.
For a better experience visit our article on how whiskey is served.
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Sia Blended Scotch Whisky
SIA Whisky is the result of Carin Luna-Ostaseskis passion for the good stuff from Scotland. Luna-Ostaseski successfully launched this whisky through Kickstarter, making the first crowd-sourced whisky. The actual juice in the bottle is a blend of Speyside, Highland, and Islay juices with a 60/40 grain whisky or malt whisky ratio.
Theres a marrying of bright orange zest with a five-spice note lurking beneath. The citrus really brightens things up as hints of vanilla pudding, honey, buttery toffee, and fatty nuts balance out the flavor with a very distant wisp of that Islay smoke. The end is well-rounded, nutty, and full of vanilla cream, all finishing on a slightly sweet smoky note.
This blend continues to shine as something new in the world of blended scotch. I tend to use this pretty much just for highballs. But in that application, it always delivers.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year Of The Ox
This is the mountaintop of Johnnie Walkers whiskies. The blend is a marriage of ultra-rare stock from extinct Diageo distilleries around Scotland. Thats cooler than Brad Pitt wearing work boots and aviators on his motorcycle. This expression is all about barrel selection and the mastery of a great noser and blender working together to create something special.
Dried fruit with a plummy sweetness mingles with a very soft and almost dry waft of smoke. The palate then veers in a completely different direction folding in orange oils, marzipan, rose water, honeycombs, and even a dusting of bitter cacao once a drop of water is added. The end is slow, smoky, and full of dry fruits, nuts, with a malty nature.
This is Blue Label, sure. But this bottle is truly magnificent. The hand-painted art on the bottle is worth the price of admission alone. This really is a great collectors item with a stellar whisky inside.
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Smws 11255 The Devil In Pink Silky Pyjamas
If there was a prize for the best named whiskies, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society would win every time. As it happens, the Scotch bottler didnt need the extra category to clean up at this years tastings, taking away a total of six accolades for its submissions, including a Master medal for 112.55 The Devil in Pink Silky Pyjamas. Spirits writer Jennings enthused: A tropical fruit explosion, deceptively drinkable at full strength, and with water it just sings from the rafters drink me all day long. I adored this.
The SMWS also took home Master medals for its Campeltown single malt Apocalypse Cow the cask-strength The Gentle Sparkling Beast From the East the creamy and fruity Funky Old Bodega and Islay single malt Lighthouse to Smokehouse plus a Gold medal for Sacher Torte and Simnel Cake.