What are the Top Scotch Brands?

What does it take to be one of the Top Scotch Brands?

Top Scotch BrandsWith the decline in China’s economy and the worrying time over Scotlands Independence vote, you would be forgiven for thinking that sales of Top Scotch Brands would have had a massive down turn.

Whilst its true that Scotch Exports to China fell, this was more than made up for with strong sales to the rest of the world and in fact ended with an overall increase of around 3%.

Despite the increasing competition on the world stage (USA, Canada, Japan), the majority of the top brands managed to increase their volumes and show positive growth.

The best Scotch whisky brands are typically made in a pot still in a single distillery using malted barley.

The whiskey is aged in oak casks which is a major factor in its resulting taste. In fact it is interesting to note that Scotland has regulations when it comes to whiskey production, one of which is that the whiskey must be matured for a minimum of three years. Although it has to be said that the Top Scotch whisky brands are aged for much longer, producing a pretty outstanding, fine tasting beverage.

Top scotch brands, must produce consistent top quality whiskey. The methods employed must remain the same and the taste must be uniform. A customer must be confident that if he buys several bottles of the same whisky, that they are all going to be as good as each other. That is the mark of a top scotch brand.

Whilst we are talking about top scotch brands, lets take a look at some of them.

Top Scotch Brands

Cardhu Scotch Whiskey

Cardhu Scotch WhiskyCardhu Scotch dates back to 1824 and is distilled in Speyside in Scotland. It offers a delicious, 12 year single malt whiskey which is easy on the palate with a lovely burst of sweetness from the honey. It is very light and perfect with a little water which seems to open up a lovely oak flavour. It does have a richness to it but this isn’t too overbearing and there is a gorgeous nutty overtone which really bring out the malt. This is a lovely drink which is perfect for summer thanks to it’s light character.

Cutty Sark Whiskey

This blended Scotch whisky dates back to 1923 and was first produced in Speyside. It tastes of citrus and has Cutty Sark Whiskyovertones of floral notes that work as a good contrast to the slight zingy taste. It does however retain a lovely smoothness – this is what makes it a well rounded beverage which is light on the palate.

Cutty Sark Whiskey is a label that is known world wide. This drink is unique because it can be used as a mixer, most notably in cocktails. In fact, it is this diversity that made the name so popular in the first place.

Grants Scotch Whiskey

William Grant started producing this very popular whiskey in the late 1800’s and it is still very much a family business today.

Grants Scotch WhiskeyGrants Scotch is typically made using grain whiskey and single malts – the Girvan Distillery is responsible for producing the pleasing characteristics of this stunning drink. In fact, the end result is something quite smooth and with a lovely sweetness.

From 12 to 25 year old whiskey’s to their collection of Family Reserve, the Grant name is synonymous with quality and is a name that is trusted worldwide.

Glenfiddich Scotch Whiskey

This well known single malt Scotch whiskey has won many awards for its unique taste and it prides itself on quality. The range of whiskey on offer includes their popular 12 year old Single Malt to their rarer collection.

Glenfiddich Scotch WhiskyThe quality that Glenfiddich is so renowned for, is injected into the stunning whisky to ensure a quality bottle every time and the 12 year old single malt is no exception. There is a lovely pear tasting note which works well with the oakiness and which provides a fresh, clean tasting but deep flavoured drink.

Their 15 year single malt is no exception and is both stunning on the nose and rich in flavour – The burst of honey on the palate develops slowly before it is finished with spicy herbs which gives a slight edge on the palate.

The aging of this whiskey is infused by three different oak casks which adds a depth to the rich flavour, before being finished in a Portuguese oak barrell. This is a fantastic tasting single malt which comes from a name that is renowned for its quality and one which is trusted.

The Glenfiddich Scotch 21 year old Reserve has a unique taste of rum thanks to being finished in casks that were used to produce rum. It is dark and rich with fruit and spice and the unmistakable earthy oak dances on the taste buds. This is a warming whiskey which is full of flavour. The added rum finish makes it very unique and brings something a little bit different and surprising to the palate.

Laphroaig Scotch Whiskey

Laphroaig Scotch WhiskyLaphroaig Ten Year Single Malt is one of the best single malt scotch whiskeys and is a beautiful tasting whisky with a depth which is quite smoky and very complex. The notes of pepper work well with the distinct taste of rich oak which is finished with a spicy kick – It manages to be an easy drinking whisky despite its big rich flavour and is a very decent single malt.

Laphroaig offers a stunning collection which brings out the the very best of Scotch whiskey and which would not be out of place in any decent whisky collection.

Aberfeldy Scotch Whiskey

Aberfeldy produces a decent whisky range which includes an excellent 21 Year single malt – This vanilla notes work Aberfeldy Scotch Whiskywell with the spicy overtones and there is a good amount of smokiness.

This is a warming well balanced drink from a producer who instills quality throughout its brand.

The 12 year single malt whiskey has notes of smoke throughout, with just the right amount of citrus and honey and vanilla. It isn’t too complex on the palate and works very well with the light peaty taste. The apple is noticeable without being overbearing and the finish is rather sublime.

Glengoyne Scotch Whiskey

Founded in the 1830’s the Glengoyne Distillery produces some fine tasting whiskey – They produce a range of different aged single malts including their delicious 12 year single malt which is infused with sherry with hints of Glengoyne Scotch Whiskyraisins and apple – The oak is noticeable on the palate and balances well with the sweeter notes.

Glengoyne also produces the very stunning 15 year old single malt Scotch whiskey which has a lovely woody flavour thanks to the oak casks that it is matured in which are infused with delightful sherry. This is a full flavoured, complex drink which is enhanced by slightly sweeter notes. The spicy kick on the palate is very welcoming and warming.

Glengoyne also produce an 18 year old single malt which is infused with lovely fruit and is rich on the palate. It is a stunning tasting whiskey which has been matured with care and patience and delivers a sophisticated but warming taste sensation on the palate.

Oban Scotch Whiskey

Oban Scotch WhiskyProduced in a small distillery dating back two hundred years in the West Highlands. Oban produces a lovely malt whiskey which is earthy and robust. It has a good strong smokey overtone with defined hints of malt. There is a little sweetness but the peat is quite noticeable and works well against the richness of the oak which seems to cling to the palate.

Oban whiskey is a very unique tasting whiskey which will be loved by those who seek something a little bit richer, fuller and earthier and who enjoy the smokiness that peat brings out.

Johnny Walker Scotch Whiskey

Johnny Walker Scotch is a hugely popular label which sells whiskey to all corners of the globe. It originated in 1860 and produces a stunning array of whiskey.

Johnnie Walker Scotch WhiskyThere is something for everyone ranging from their 12 year old Black label which has gorgeous hints of smoke gently coming through on the palate and which is pleasantly smooth, to the hugely popular red, green and blue labels.

The red label is exciting and bold with intense hints of spice with a rich smoky flavour that dances on the palate. In fact, the peat overtones are the star in this warming drink and the depth of flavour is truly sublime.

The Green label is blended with malt and is rich and exciting – the blends are from each of the four regions in Scotland which creates something robust and malty with gentle overtones of peat coming through on the palate. There are defined notes of oak which work well with the smokiness which makes this a rather hearty drink.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a rarer whiskey and is expertly crafted to produce a spicy and fruity finish with a strong smoky overtone. The honey balances well and is a nice surprise on the palate – the sweetness of the honey helps to balance the richness of smoke.

Deanston whisky

Deanston Scotch is produced by the River Teith and is known for its single malt Scotch. There is something quite different about the way the whiskey is distilled using the old and very traditional methods. In fact, the whiskey is produced in a weaving shed and the distillery prides itself on sustainability and using organic methods.

Deanston Scotch WhiskyThe 12 year old single malt is matured in barrels that were previously used for bourbon and the result is a gorgeous honey infused, warming drink with notes of apples. It is easy on the palate yet the bourbon hints linger, ever so gently, without overpowering the lovely sweetness. There is a touch of spice to give it a little bit of a kick but the entire sensation has been expertly crafted, using fine and traditional distilling methods.

Deanston Scotch cares very much about the the quality of it’s collection. The distillery and visitor centre give people the opportunity to witness and taste this fantastic whiskey.

Edradour Scotch Whiskey

This distillery produces fine single malt whiskey and was founded around 1825.

Apparently the smallest distillery in Scotland, Eradour Scotch whiskey is not produced on a mass scale compared to other well known brands. However this makes it all the more attractive and there is something quite pleasing about a distillery which is so small and which prides itself on an excellent bottle every time.

Eradour Scotch WhiskyThe 10 year single malt is quite stunning and pleases the palate with a spicy and nutty overtone. Vanilla comes through and is evened out by the complex and very unique finish – Fruit and sherry offer something sweet but the overall taste is gorgeous and unusual.

They do an utterly stunning 15 year old single malt which is very rich but which has a burst of sherry and delicious fruit which lingers on the palate and which is a great contrast to the spiciness.

The bittersweet finish is indulgent and delightful. This is a quality whiskey which is interesting and which hits all the right notes.

For those who love the rich peaty overtones that often enriches whiskey, the Edradour Ballechin 10 year old is a delightfully rich and indulgent offering and the smoky character from the heavy peat overtone is perfectly warming.

Matured in both sherry and bourbon casks, it works incredibly well with the peat. You can smell the hints of sherry on the nose and of course the stunning overtones of smoke work brilliantly together. There are some complex notes here and a great favourite to be added to your best scotch whiskey list.

Macallan Scotch

Producers of single Highland malt whiskey, Macallan pride themselves on the fact that they normally use sherry casks to mature their whiskey.

The 12 year old sherry oak offering is bursting with flavour and the rich and earthy overtones warm the palate nicely. Raisins, brown sugar and fruity notes make this drink perfectly balanced with the rich oakiness.

Macallan Scotch WhiskyThe Macallan Scotch fine oak eighteen year old is sublime and is full of flavour. Aged in sherry and bourbon casks it has a lovely bite to it without being too strong. The bourbon and the sherry notes come through and there are hints of rich citrus which isn’t too overpowering.

The deep oak overtones are a delight and makes this is a wonderful whiskey which is full of character and which has been made skillfully crafted to deliver a delicious drink. The smokiness finishes off this flavour full whiskey nicely.

Macallan Scotch have perfectly mastered their stunning whiskey collection to ensure a well balanced drink which is unique and complex.

The best Scotch whiskey is a fine beverage that delivers a sublime taste in each glass.

Much skill in terms of the distilling process, goes into producing a very diverse range of whiskey which are all unique in terms of their character and the flavour that each one brings. An appreciation must surely be given to the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle of this excellent spirit.

Scotch Whisky Brands

Scotch Whisky Brands

The best scotch whisky brands

Scotch whisky ranks as the most superior whisky in the world and Scotland is probably the best known producer.

Of course, whisky can only be labelled as Scotch whisky if it has been allowed to mature for at least three years and only in Scotland.

Nobody is quite sure who invented whisky (or at least the distillation process to create the spirit). Some scholars say it was the Egyptians and some say the Romans. The first actual documented proof of the distillation and creation of alcohol in Scotland, was an order for eight bolls, from Irish Monks (listed in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls) in 1494.

Malt Whisky

Today Scotland exports nearly forty bottles a second and creates an income of nearly four billion pounds for the UK economy. That equates to something like 100 million cases a year, of top quality Scotch whisky, being exported around the globe.

This golden liquid has created jobs for over 50,000 people who are directly or indirectly involved in the production and sale of whisky. Currently there are 115 distilleries that are registered to produce Scotch Whisky Brands and they are sitting on over 20 million casks. These casks lie quietly maturing in warehouses, spread throughout Scotland.

As we have seen, the production of Scotch whisky is split into five Scottish regions, Highlands, Lowlands, Campbeltown, Islay and Speyside.

This allows for a wide range of diverse whiskies to be produced, with each region being known for different tasting whisky, due to the water, crops or process that is used.

Blended Scotch whisky is manufactured from numerous single grain or single malts, that have been blended together to form a consistent tasting whisky.

However it is the single grain or malt whiskey, produced by an individual distillery, which is one of the most sought after drinks in the world.

Scottish CountrysideThe taste of the finished product depends on a number of different factors. The oak casks used to age the whisky. These are always second hand and have normally been used first to age sherry port, or bourbon. Aging in these types of barrells, creates those familiar sweet, fruity notes, commonly associated with Scotch whisky.

Water used in the distillation process will also affect the final product. Some of the water used has been filtered through limestone, which removes certain elements and leaves the whisky with a fresh taste.

Peat is also commonly used in the distilling process and this gives Scotch Whiskey its familiar Smokey edge. The amount of peat determines whether the Smokey notes are light or a rich Smokey flavour.

Scotch whisky Brands

Cragganmore

Cragganmore

The Cragganmore Distillery has a long history, being founded by John Smith in 1869. Situated in Speyside and close to the waters of Craggan Burn and with the Strathspey Railway on the doorstep, it was the perfect place to produce Scotch Whisky.

The Distillery was owned by the family until the late 1920s, when it was purchased by White Horse, a subsidiary of Distillers Company Ltd (which eventually became part of Diageo).

Cragganmore whisky is known for it sophisticated fruity and toffee notes. The majority of their whisky is matured in old sherry barrels. The whisky has sweet-fragrant aromas with smoke and a malt finish, ideal with rich meat tastes, scotch pies, Cumberland sausage, pate de campagne, salami, prunes in bacon, roast suckling pig with glazed crackling, shredded beef with oyster sauce.

“One of Speyside’s greats. Elegant and austere. Gradually, almost reluctantly, reveals itself. The most fragrant of whiskies: delicate, herbal, flowery. A palate blossoming with flavours, and a long, lingering, finish.”

Michael Jackson, whisky writer and expert.

Dalwhinnie

Dalwhinnie

The Dalwhinnie Distillery has had a turbulent history. Founded in 1897 by three business partners, it went bankrupt the next year and was sold to A P Blyth who gave it the Dalwhinnie name. It was sold again in 1905 and in 1934 production stopped. The Distillery was reopened in 1947 and production continues to this day.

The site was especially selected for its proximity to spring water from Lochan-Doire-Uaine and the large amount of peat in the surrounding bogs. Dalwhinnie is one of the highest distilleries in Scotland.

This elegant whisky is exceptional smooth and full of flavour. Matured in rich Oloroso casks, you will uncover traces of dried fruit, cinamon, cloves and a warming peat glow.

Lagavulin

Lagavulin

There were two distilleries built on this site in 1816 by John Jonston and Archibald Campbell. Eventually one of them was taken over by the other to form the Lagavulin Distillery. Lagavulin has a reputation for using a very slow distillation process and the unusal pear shaped pot stills.

This is a dramatic, robust and feisty whisky, just like the surrounding area of Lagavulin itself. Intense peat smoke combined with rich cereal under-note that rounds the whole experience off.

Oban

Oban

Situated in the town of Oban and probably one of the smallest in Scotland with only two pot stills. Founded in 1794 by the Stevenson Brothers and operated by them until 1883. It was completely rebuilt in 1898. Today it is owned and operated by Diageo.

This distillery produces a whisky that has been described as having a “West Highland” flavour that is somewhere in between the dry, smoky style of the Scottish islands and the lighter, sweeter malts of the Highlands.

Talisker

Talisker

Founded in 1830 by the brothers MacAskill, it has enjoyed various owners before being completely destroyed and fully rebuilt by a fire in 1960. It is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye.

The water used in the manufacturing process is drawn directly from a spring next to the distillery. The water flows over peat and gives the whisky a warm intense peaty flavour, combined with a rich dried-fruit sweetness with clouds of smoke and strong barley-malt flavours.

Blair Athol

Blair Athol

This distillery was built in 1798 by John Steward and Robert Robertson. The distillery was called Aldour, which is after the Allt Dour burn, where the spring water is taken to be used in the production process. The distillery based in Pitlochry has been brought and sold numerous times throughout its history, until it closed in 1932. It was reopened by Messr’s Bell and Sons (some of the produce is used in the famous bells whisky).

The premium Barley and fresh springwater contribute to complex, sweet and fruity whisky.

Caol lla

Caol Ila

Caol Ila is the gaelic word for sound of Islay. This must be a reference to the position of the distillery situated on the Isle of Islay and overlooking the Islay strait.

Built in 1846 by Hector Henderson, the distillery has had a bit of a rough life. In 1972, Caol Ila was completely rebuilt with a much larger version and is still in production.

Caol Ila is one of the lighter Islay whiskies, pale in colour, with peaty, floral and peppery notes.

Clynelish

Clynelish

Relatively modern by distillery standards, the clynelish distillery was built in 1968. Situated in the coastal holiday town of Brora, Sutherland, around an hour north of Inverness. With stunning vistas of the North Sea and the hills to the north. The Clynemilton burn used in the manufacture of Clynelish whisky, runs over seams of gold in the rock. With this water, the Clynelish distillery produces a fruity, waxy, slightly smoky single malt.

Cardhu

Cardhu

A colourful history is behind the Cardhu Distillery, as it was founded by a whiskey smuggler called John Cumming in 1824. Although the distillery was actually run by his wife. It continued to be run by the female line of the cumming family until 1893 when it was sold to Johnnie Walker and Sons. This was on the condition that the cumming family continued the day to day management.

Cardhu whiskey is known for its silky smooth taste. Very light and smooth, a hint of pear drops, sweet and malty – you can definitely taste the ladies touch!

Glen Ord

glenord_logo

This distillery is situated on the Black Isle in the west of scotland. Founded in 1838 and known as the Ord Distillery Company. The company produces 48 different bottles of whisky and produces over 5 million litres a year.

The water comes from Loch nam-Bannach and Loch nam Euan and unusually the distillery still operates its own on site malting. The lack of peat used in the malting process and the use of sherry casks, means the whisky is fruity and sweet with background notes of malt and spices.

GlenKinchie

Glenkinchie

The distillery is in the Lowland region of Scotland, specifically in the glen of Kinchie Burn in East Lothian (hence the name).

Founded by the Rate brothers in the late 1820’s. In 1969 the distillery stopped malting it’s own grain and the malting warehouse turned into a museum.

The local Lammermuir Hills provide the water for distillation, which produces the characteristic lowland light, fruity and dry tasting whisky.

Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar sits close to Balmoral Castle, Scottish home to her Majesty the Queen. After being burnt to the ground twice in suspicious fires in 1824 and 1841, it was completely rebuilt once again by John Begg in 1845.

The name Lochnagar is taken from the mountain range which overlooks the distillery. Water is taken from the River Dee which runs close by.

This water combined with the highest quality barley, creates whisky that is known for its sweet toffee, malt and vanilla taste. The palate is smooth and sweet with flavours of fudge, honeycomb, and green apples.