It doesn’t matter if you’re an old Scotch
hound or a total novice; there’s always something new to discover and learn.
Scotch continues to find new audiences, and whether you already know your Speysides
from your Islays
or still find Scotch an acquired taste you’ve yet to actually acquire, we’re here to introduce you to our best-rated bottle-by-bottle guide
that put Scotland on the lips of the great, the good and the grand all around the world. So grab your quaich and drink to the good stuff.
Best Scotch under $50
The Glenrothes 12YO expression is a nod to the process of sun-drying grapes in Jerez for Sherry production, so it's no surprise this bottle is all about Sherry richness
. The banana and vanilla aromas working together with rich flavors of lemon and cinnamon
are the epitome of the Glenrothes distillery
style, and it shows the true character of its makers.
“First time I have tasted Glenrothes. Vanilla, melon, and cinnamon. I usually sip Chevas 12 0r 18-year-old single malt. In their order, the cinnamon, then melon, and finally a very light hint of vanilla. I am sold. I have a new sipper in the house. I am a new Glenrothes fan.” - Ron
OTHER BEST SCOTCH UNDER $50:
Best Scotch under $100
In case you want to broadcast your allegiance to excellence, these Scotch bottles
all stay on the friendlier side of 100 bucks
And with a $100 budget, the Scotch Whiskyworld opens up widely
for you to explore. Most of the blended Whiskies and many (many!) exceptional Single Malts will be in this price range.
Caol Ila 12 Year Old is a malt that takes you back to the coastal shores from where it comes. This is a smoky and sweet expression
hailing from Islay, a classic combination that Caol Ila 12 nails perfectly. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just like every other smoked Islay malt. The Caol Ila 12 Year Old has a lot more to offer than just peat
“This is my favorite Islay whiskey. The peat and smoke are there, but it is complex and rewarding with citrus, vanilla, and spice. Delicious!” - Matthew
Try before you buy.
All Peatheads and soon-to-be Peatheads can try Caol Ila 12 Year Old in this peat-themed Tasting Box.
Only good Spirits are captured inside, plus a concrete coaster and some useful info.
OTHER BEST SCOTCH UNDER $100:
Discover Unique Scotch
One of the best reasons to be a Flaviarista is access to Spirits that are made only for Members – and sometimes by Members. Meet Flaviar’s private bottlings.
The twelve Whiskies in this blend
come from Islay
, the Islands
, and the Highlands
. They were aged in hogsheads, Sherry butt casks, and ex-Bourbon barrels for up to 20 years
If your bucket list has “forget smoothness as a defining quality of great Whisky,” cross it out now. Son of a Peat Batch 03 comes with big guns ablaze and a desire to punch you (in a good way).
Cask strength, peaty as hell, and no-nonsense character. It's as authentic as they come. No fake-ass color; it’s non-chill-filtered, hand-blended, hand-bottled, hand-sealed, and hand-labeled.
Not only is Member's favorite, but it also won a Gold medal at San Francisco World Spirit Competition 2021.
“I love anything peat, and this being non-chill and natural color really makes it that much better. It really is a blend of all the peated expression from islay, the islands, and peat from the mainlands. So glad I bought 4 bottles to make up for missing out on the first 2 batches.” - Michael
MORE RARE BOTTLES:
The holy mission of Flaviar has always been finding you something new
to try. Our scope is beyond the already existing Spirits, so we create new offerings.
Dear, Bear & Moose
range is absolutely adored and top rated
by Flaviar members. These are members’ only
very limited and special Whiskies
that we source and bottle in very small batches
in order to make great, inaccessible Scotch Whisky available to our members. Learn more about private bottlings
from different categories with a story to tell.
Best Single Malt Scotch
Single Malt is one of the most talked-about categories of Scotch Whisky
. And although Single Malts make up just a small percentage of the entire Whisky market, they've managed to achieve something of a cult status
over the past few decades.
Perhaps the most famous Whisky connoisseur of all time — journalist Michael James Jackson — called Highland Park, “The greatest all-rounder in the world of Malt Whisky.”
Named “the Best Spirit in the World”
not once, but twice by Michael James Jackson Highland Park Viking Pride 18 Year Old
has a big name to live up to, and it certainly does just that. The secret of its success is attention to detail, where even the exact location of the peat used to dry the malt is specified, not to mention the origin of the ex-Sherry casks which are used to age for this bottled perfection.
Single Malt will delight the taster with a floral and complex nose with cherry juice, warm toffee, and peat smoke. On the tongue, a creamy texture opens to a variety of flavors, from deep stewed fruits, espresso, citrus zest, toffee, and a delicate spice blend. The finish is long and rounds everything nicely with herbal and sweet notes and a hint of peat.
“For those desperately trying to enjoy Lagavulin (because it’s the best!) but can’t get through the smoke and the power, this is the glorious solution. Layers of character that feature Islay-like peat smoke but also some sweet, delicate notes. Like Iron Mike Tyson with his quiet voice. A first time drinker won’t have the experience to fully appreciate what has been accomplished here, but who cares?! It’s an absolute pleasure.”
Best Blended Scotch
Blended Whiskies make for 95% of Whisky sales
but are often overlooked. There are great blend brands
around & making them is more challenging than you'd think.
Every good home bar
needs a good blend. This can be used in countless cocktails or enjoyed neat, depending on how creative you feel. Blends are consistent in flavor
and are richly complex
Of course, the best-selling blend
is the world-renowned Johnnie Walker
, and it’s always good to have a popular brand at hand.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
is formulated to recreate the character of the original and is regarded as one of the best blends available
This should come as no surprise, as only the finest Scotch Whiskies make it into the blend - only one in every ten thousand casks
, to be exact. In fact, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is so top-of-the-line
that insiders often refer to it by its nickname: “Max Walker
It’s adored for its smoky character, hazelnuts, dark chocolate, and ginger flavor notes.
“This is the whisky that started it all for me. Ever since trying this one, I have been interested in learning and trying more whisk(e)y. Worth every penny!” - Theodore
OTHER BEST BLENDED SCOTCH:
Best Scotch By Region
There are five Whisky regions in Scotland
. Islands are sometimes mentioned as the sixth region but are not officially recognized. Since they’ve been around so long, many Whisky purists regard them as important features to consider
when buying any Scotch.
Let’s take a look at Flaviar member’s favorites
. It will be like taking a mini trip to Scotland
from behind your desk, minus those little snack packs of airline pretzels. Which is kind of a damn shame.
Best Scotch For Beginners
Scotch is a pretty versatile drink and caters to many tastes. When you're new to it, the Scotch world can seem like a maze with so many different brands and expressions out there. To give some direction to all Scotch newbies, here are some best-rated members’ suggestions for those looking to discover their first dram.
Besides its impossibly hard name to pronounce (Craig-el-Achy), it is a great offering from the people at Dewar’s.
is one of the last distilleries to use worm tail condensation
in the distillation process. This creates longer contact on copper as the spirit condenses and makes for a cleaner spirit.
It is then aged in Bourbon Barrels
for 13 years to give it a warm vanilla feel.
For anyone who is just discovering Single Malt Whisky
, this is a great next step into the realms of Speyside.
“Modestly priced but excellent and complex, apples, a hint of smoke and a hint of tropical fruit after the first dram. Really enjoyed.” - John
OTHER BEST SCOTCH FOR BEGINNERS:
Best Peated Scotch
is an acquired taste, but it’s one hell of a taste, to be honest. Peat may not be for everyone, but it’s true: once you go peat, you always go neat.
won a Double Gold medal at San Francisco World Spirit Competition 2017
, and it was named the Whisky of The Year
2009 by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible.
The Uigeadail is named for the Loch from where Ardbeg
draws its waters, and in Gaelic stands for Dark and Mysterious Place
. The Uigeadail is a marriage of Ardbeg's Whisky aged in Bourbon barrels and Sherry butts. It’s bottled at cask strength
for maximum flavor impact. Oo-Yeah.
“How can this be so smooth and yet so packed with flavor? It tastes like barbecue, without the meat. Smoke and sweetness and salt. And yet it goes down so smooth, a perfect post-dinner whiskey.” - Jackson
OTHER BEST PEATED SCOTCH:
Try before you buy!
Before you commit to buying a full-size bottle, you can find all three bottles featured in this Peat It, Peat It! Vol.2 tasting box
. If you would like to join fellow Spirits aficionados and a tasting expert in exploring the box, there’s an ongoing Flaviar series of guided tastings
called Unboxing Flavors
Best Scotch for Cocktails
We all have friends who love to bartend and make drinks, whether they do it for a living or the amateur mixologist
who is just shaking up drinks in his or her kitchen.
If you ever hear people expounding on the beauty of a Manhattan
or the Sazerac, this is great Whisky for them to try their hand with to make Scotch cocktails.
is one the few family-owned distilleries
in Scotland and makes some of the best value Whisky
on the market; there is no expression they make that we would not drink on a daily basis.
When it comes to making cocktails, using cask strength Whisky
always makes for more exciting and more full-flavored drinks
, and this offering from Glenfarclas is one of the all-time greats. It has a big full flavor of dark stone fruits and baking spices
. And it was the winner of the Flaviar Community Award
2017 in its respective category!
“This is one of the better scotches I've had in a while, and I have a ton of high-end scotches in my collection.” - Michael
OTHER BEST SCOTCH FOR COCKTAILS:
Best Scotch to Sip On
If you want to try Scotch that not only can be mixed to make great long drinks and cocktails but which are fabulous to sip, read on.
The Glendronach 15 Year old Revival
celebrates the revitalization of Glendronach after it was bought by The BenRiach Distillery
in 2008. This Scotch is aged 15 years exclusively in Olorosso Sherry casks, making it wonderfully raisiny, savory, and fruity.
It’s a favorite among Scotch enthusiasts, sitting right in-between the 18YO and 12YO Glendronach, quite possibly the best in their whole range.
“Delightful! It is full, rich, and complex with flavors that just keep coming.” - Winston
OTHER BEST SCOTCH TO SIP ON:
Best Scotch for Food Pairing
Voltaire once said, “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” While drinking Scotch may not be incredibly essential to survival, it is definitely a great pleasure, and enjoying food with it makes that pleasure all the better.
In 2011 it swept aside all Single Malt rivals to take the prestigious Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Award. That's saying a lot. It has subtle notes of smoke, with hints of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla. A slightly sugary note comes through on the palate, but the earthiness sets this malt apart.
“One of my favorites!! Hands Down!!” - James
OTHER BEST SCOTCH FOR FOOD PAIRING:
Best Scotch Experience
If you still cannot decide on your next favorite, we suggest joining a club of Spirits connoisseurs
. Flaviar Members get access to the world's best Spirits, exclusive releases, and rare gems.
If you want a full ride then with only $50 a year you can upgrade your subscription to PRIMO Membership and get free shipping on qualified orders, Membership discounts & pricing, access to Flaviar Originals, free tickets to events (40 per year in 25 cities), access to the Vault and much more!
There's only one thing left to say: Sláinte!