What does it take to be one of the Top Scotch Brands?
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 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 overtones 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 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.
The 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 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
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 raisins 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
Produced 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.
There 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 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.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.