Distiller Users Favorite Scotch

If you're more interested in what other whisky fans think and less interested in what the experts have to say, then this list is for you! These are the best scotch whiskies according to the Distiller community.
Mar 31, 2016
  • 10
    10 The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year
    89
    This bottling is aged traditionally in used American barrels for 14 years and then finished in rum casks, but these casks were seasoned by The Balvenie themselves. They selected different rums from the West Indies and poured them into new American oak to season the wood. They then take their aged whisky and finish aging in the seasoned rum casks. Incidentally, this method actually further ages the rum which they can then sell back. Classic!
  • 9
    9 Highland Park 12 Year
    91
    Highland Park is renowned for the peat they use and for their exclusive use of ex-Sherry casks. The climate on the Orkney Islands is quite windy and sea swept creating a dismal environment for trees. As such, the Orcadian peat bogs have more heather, grass, and plants than those on Islay. Highland Park 12, first released in 1979, uses about 20% 1st-fill sherry casks. Name change and bottle update in 2017.
  • 8
    8 Oban 14 Year
    83
    Oban 14 Year is quite the crowd-pleaser and is found everywhere from your local pubs to serious whisky bars. Its fans might be surprised to hear it hails from one of the smaller distilleries in Scotland. Also small are the size of their pear-shaped stills. Oban, a seaside town built around the distillery, is actually named after the distillery and not the other way around. The surrounding environment clearly has influenced its namesake whisky as the sea is the signature footprint of Oban whiskies.
  • 7
    7 Monkey Shoulder
    86
    The name Monkey Shoulder originates from an injury that the maltmen (those that hand turn the grain in a malthouse) would get as it would leave one arm hanging. This blended malt whisky is comprised of three single malt distilleries: Kininvie, Glenfiddich, and The Balvenie. The trio gets acquainted in a tun for three to six months before being bottled on site.
  • 6
    6 The Macallan 12 Year Sherry Oak Cask
    89
    The Macallan invests an exorbitant amount each year into the wood in which they age their whiskies. In their case, it is predominately European Sherry casks (almost always Oloroso Sherry). This lends dried fruits and nuts to a whisky and as the European oak is porous and tannic, it allows the whisky to soak up flavors from the wood. The majority of their barrels are 1st fill which will mean even more color and flavors are picked up.
  • 5
    5 The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year
    87
    The DoubleWood has become such an iconic bottling and was inspired by a whisky produced in the mid 80's by The Balvenie's Malt Master, David Stewart. That was the first time Mr. Stewart had used a wine barrel to finish his whisky; arguably, the first time anyone did. The Doublewood is aged for 12 years in 2nd or 3rd fill American barrels and then placed in 1st fill Oloroso Sherry butts for 9 months before bottling.
  • 4
    4 Ardbeg 10 Year
    90
    The Ardbeg 10 Year is something of a benchmark for the Ardbeg distillery. The peat level is on the higher end of the scale at 55 parts per million or ppm. It is bold, it is masculine, and it is not hiding its true character in heavily sherried casks. Just saying "Arrrrddd-beggg", sounds as if you are headed into battle; giddy up, partner!
  • 3
    3 Talisker 10 Year
    96
    There was a time when up to seven registered (and several illicit) distilleries existed on the Isle of Skye -- now only Talisker remains. The peat level is a moderate 16-22 ppm (Phenol Parts per Million) and their 10 year old is aged primarily in ex-bourbon casks which they constructed to a larger hogshead size. Talisker 10 Year is bottled at a very appreciated 45.8% ABV.
  • 2
    2 Laphroaig 10 Year
    96
    Far from a shrinking violet, Laphroaig 10 Year is loud and proud, get used to it. They have managed to produce a whisky showcasing the sights and aromas of the island. The peat, burned to dry the malt, is abundantly clear as is the seaweed found lapping the shores just steps from the distillery. That sweet salty sea air found on Islay is woven throughout their whiskies. NOTE: This is sold at 40% abv or 43% abv depending on your market.
  • 1
    1 Lagavulin 16 Year
    92
    Though not officially (read, legally) established until 1816, there are records that date distillation here going back to 1742. Malted barley produced just a hop, skip, and a jump away at neighboring Port Ellen is utilized. Everything is long at this distillery: fermentation, distillation, and maturation. Good things do indeed come to those that wait. Bottled at 43% ABV after 16 years in oak barrels.