Taster’s Club Best Single Malt Scotch
Written by Emma C | Updated May 2023
If you’re a Scotch enthusiast or just getting to know the timeless spirit, you might be searching for some great single malts. This whisky expression is made exclusively from malted barley at a single distillery before being matured in wooden casks for at least three years. Scotland is home to single malts from over 130 distilleries throughout the country – from Speyside and the Highlands to the Lowlands and beyond. So, it’s no wonder some people feel overwhelmed about choosing them. This is exactly why we’ve tasted many expressions and created Taster’s Club’s 2023 guide to the best single malt Scotch around – which are all conveniently available in our bottle shop. Take a look at our top recommendations for your next dram – there’s a style and profile out there for every taste, preference, mood, and budget.
Best Single Malt Scotch: Available in Our Bottle Shop
- Top Single Malt: The Glendronach 15 | Aberfeldy 12 Year
- Top Speyside: Aberlour 18 | Benriach The Smoky Twelve
- Top Islay: Ardbeg Uigeadail | Bowmore 15
- Top Highland: Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or | Glengoyne 18
- Top Lowland: Glenkinchie 12 Year Old | Auchentoshan Three Wood
- Top Campbeltown: Glen Scotia 10 Year | Springbank 18
- Top Islands: Arran Sherry Cask Finish ‘The Bodega’ | Old Pulteney Huddart
Top Single Malt
1. Glendronach 15
Glendronach’s 15 expression is aged in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. The full-flavored, complex Scotch has notes of dark fruits, rich chocolate, and manuka honey with a gingery, fruity finish. Natural in color, this luxuriously sherried Highland single malt whisky is bottled at 46% ABV.
Region: Highland | Tasting Notes: Fruit, Honey, Chocolate | ABV: 46%
2. Aberfeldy 12 Year
Multi-award-winning Aberfeldy 12 Year is a honeyed single malt Scotch with floral, fruit, spice aromas, plenty of vanilla, and a bit of smoke. You’ll enjoy flavors of apple, butterscotch, tangerine, cocoa, and some peat before the lingering vanilla-orange finish kicks in.
Region: Highland | Tasting Notes: Fruit, Vanilla, Spice, Smoke | ABV: 40%
1. Aberlour 18
Aberlour 18 contains a large proportion of sherry wood, elevating it from the brand’s younger Scotches. On the nose, enjoy leathery cigar boxes, vanilla, and orange marmalade, and on the palate, you’ll notice a syrupy consistency with notes of oranges, sweet sherry, honey, and figs. Finally, the spirit finishes long with spicy oak, caramel, citrus fruit, and aniseed notes.
Region: Speyside | Tasting Notes: Orange, Honey, Sherry | ABV: 43%
2. Benriach The Smoky Twelve
The Smoky Twelve is the perfect combination of fruit, malt, oak, and rich smoke. It’s crafted from unpeated, peated, and three cask-matured spirits for at least 12 years in sherry casks, bourbon barrels, and Marsala wine casks. The whisky from each is then expertly blended to create a smooth, creamy single malt, with flavors of ripened fruit, aromatic smoky sweetness, and warming oak spice.
Region: Speyside | Tasting Notes: Fruit, Spice, Oak | ABV: 46%
1. Ardbeg Uigeadail
Pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’, this expression combines Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with sumptuous raisin notes of old ex-Sherry casks. Ardbeg Uigeadail was voted by the 120,000+ strong Ardbeg Committee as their favorite expression.
Region: Islay | Tasting Notes: Raisin, Smoke | ABV: 54.2%
2. Bowmore 15
Bowmore 15 is first matured in bourbon barrels, followed by Oloroso casks, for a fine sherry cask finish. The final three years spent in Oloroso casks give this whisky its rich, deep color and robust warming finish.
Region: Islay | Tasting Notes: Wood, Toffee, Pine Oil, Malt | ABV: 43%
1. Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or
Made with the delicate, fruity spirit of giraffe-high stills, Glenmorangie’s Nectar D’Or was aged in American oak bourbon casks along with ex-Sauternes sweet white wine casks. The amazing result is delectable flavors of white chocolate swirled with lemon cream, crème caramel, and almond croissants, balanced with soft spice.
Region: Highland | Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Caramel, Almond | ABV: 46%
2. Glengoyne 18
The result of 18 long years, a generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks, and patience with Scotland’s slowest distillation is Glengoyne 18. The expression has beautiful notes of ripe apples and spicy vanilla fruit, along with a rich, luxurious mouthfeel.
Region: Highland | Tasting Notes: Fruit, Vanilla | ABV: 43%
1. Glenkinchie 12 Year Old
This flagship expression from Glenkinchie is a superb introduction to the Lowland region. The maker’s 12 Year Old Scotch shows off the quintessential lightness and grassy elements characteristic of the region’s whiskies, with hints of nuts, oatmeal, cooked fruit, and Sauternes wine as well.
Region: Lowland | Tasting Notes: Cooked Fruit, Oatmeal, Grass, Nut | ABV: 43%
2. Auchentoshan Three Wood
Aged in American bourbon, Spanish oloroso sherry, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, this rich and complex whisky from Auchentoshan carries enticing aromas of cooked fruit, sherry, and toffee, rich flavors of liqueur cherries, fruit, and dark chocolate, and a rich, balanced finish.
Region: Lowland | Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Fruit, Liqueur Cherries | ABV: 43%
1. Glen Scotia 10 Year
Glen Scotia’s 10 Year offers unique notes of green fruits, rich oils, citrus, and some signature maritime flavors on the palate. It’s aged in first-fill bourbon barrels and is an excellent introduction to the Campbeltown whisky region.
Region: Campbeltown | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Fruit, Maritime Notes | ABV: 40%
2. Springbank 18
Springbank’s 18-year-old multi-award-winning whisky is as classic and full-bodied as it gets. Aged in ex-bourbon casks, this unique Scotch has aromas of banana, honey, baking, and coastal notes, big, spicy flavors of pine, chili, fruit, and citrus, and a long, salted-chocolate finish.
Region: Campbeltown | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Chili, Fruit, Pine | ABV: 46%
1. Arran Sherry Cask Finish ‘The Bodega’
Arran’s sherry-casked ‘The Bodega’ is an addition to its core whisky range. Complex and full-bodied, the expression offers aromas of orange, chocolate, spice, fruit, and wood, flavors of similar notes plus caramel, and a long, rich finish.
Region: Islands | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Orange, Spice | ABV: 55.8%
2. Old Pulteney Huddart
Richly warming, this single malt embraces a mellow smoky character, with Old Pulteney at its heart. The combination of influence from the salt-infused sea air and the peat smoke makes for a whisky with real character, depth, and identity. With a richness extending into its rich gold color, this single malt offers plenty of complexity and flavor.
Region: Islands | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Spice, Salted Caramel, Smoke | ABV: 46%
With this 2023 Taster’s Club list of the best single malt Scotch, you’ll never be short of ideas whenever friends drop in, you’re wanting to stock up your home bar, or you just need to put your feet up at the end of the day. The best part is it’s so easy to grab any of these bottles 24/7 from our shop. Or, for a more curated experience, check out our Scotch Club for top Scotch whiskies delivered right to your door each month.
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