Smoothest Single Malt Scotch (2023)

Single Malt Scotch whiskeys are unique from blended scotches because they are made from 100% malted barley and are distilled at only one distillery. There are hundreds of distillers that produce single malt scotch. It is aged for a minimum of three years in wooden casks.

If single malts are your thing and you are looking to enhance your whiskey collection, you may find something worth trying in our list of the smoothest single malt scotches.

#1. Auchentoshan 12-Years Old

What is the most expensive whiskey ...

What is the most expensive whiskey in the world

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Auchentoshan
Age: 12

The Auchentoshan 12 Years Old is a signature drink of the distillery and is made from 100% malted barley. The spirit is distilled three times before being diluted and put in barrels, making it incredibly smooth. The malted barley is well presented, and it expresses nuttiness and fruity flavor quite generously. It is a 12 years old scotch and is priced reasonably at $45.

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Nose: This single malt scotch whiskey gives the smell of crème Brulee with some fruity and citrus flavors. There is also a touch of some nuttiness and green leaf. It is quite pleasant and inviting.

Palate: The palate is relatively smooth and sweet with barley sugar, fruit, and vanilla notes. I liked the dense and nutty barley that comes in the middle.

Finish: The finish is quite lengthy with a dry and oak finish and some sweetness, cocoa powder, vanilla, and toffee flavor.

#2. Robert Burns Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

ABV: 43%
Distillery: Arran
Age: NAS

This single malt scotch is produced in the Arran distillery. It is bottled at 43% and has a malty and sweet taste along with some spices. The spices may be very prominent at the beginning, but the smoothness comes out shortly after. It is priced reasonably and is worth having a try.

Nose: It gives the smell of sweet and creamy notes of fruits, honey, and pecans.

Palate: When you first sip it, it gives a perfect blend of rich malt and vanilla notes, forming a smooth palate. It is overall light and sweet, along with some spice and oak.

Finish: It gives a clean and fresh finish and has a taste of hazelnuts and chocolate at the end.

See also Best Short Whiskey Glass

Smoothest Single Malt Scotch (1)

#3. Aberlour 16-years Old

ABV: 43%
Distillery: Aberlour
Age: 16 years

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This single malt scotch by Aberlour tastes excellent and is quite unique. It is matured in ex-bourbon and sherry casks for 16 years. It is made from 100% malted barley and gives a great balance. It has a solid sweetness with some hints of earthiness that balance the fruity flavors well. Overall it is very pleasing and inviting.

Nose: You will feel the aroma of butterscotch, toffee, raisins, and maple, followed by citrus and orange peels.

Palate: When you first sip it, you will find the blend of sherry with some coffee notes and sweetness followed by honey, cinnamon, hay, and some fruity flavors. You will get a taste of green grapes in the mid-palate.

Finish: The finish is quite spicy and nutty at first, with a touch of dry smoke. You will find some spiciness of cloves and cinnamon, which lasts quite long.

#4. Bruichladdich-The Classic Lady

ABV: 50%
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Age: 6 years

Bruichladdich is mainly known for its smoky flavor profile. This single malt scotch is made from 100% Scottish barley and has a smell of warm and fruity profile along with a strong layer of pastry notes. It has a light gold appearance. Bruichladdich is priced reasonably and is great to sip neat. It tastes great when mixed with cocktails as well. Overall it has a great balance of flavors and gives a warm feeling.

Nose: The nose is lightly fruity with notes of plum, apples, and peach, along with honey and raisins. The smell is light with 50% ABV and has a nice balance of sweetness and airiness.

Palate: When you have the first sip, you will notice red apples and grapes with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar. It gives a nice balance and has a great taste.

Finish: The finish is medium long. It is slightly sweet with some bitterness of charcoal. You will find the mineral-rich malt with notes of toffee and honey. Overall the finish is warm and has fruity notes with charred oak at the end.

#5. The Glenlivet

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Glenlivet
Age: 12 years

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The Glenlivet is a 12-year-old single malt scotch that is priced reasonably. It is one of the most popular malts and has a smooth balance. This whiskey is matured with American and European oak and is great for beginners as well. If you are looking for single malted scotch and don’t want to spend much, this is an excellent option for regular drinking.

Nose: It has a very light nose with notes of vanilla and malt and hints of orchard fruit, citrus, honey, and strawberry.

Palate: It is a very light flavor whiskey with the main notes of vanilla and malt followed by some grassy notes of light orchard fruits, honey, orange, and lemon. The vanilla and toffee flavors add some richness to the drink. Overall the single malt whiskey gives a nice balance and is quite refreshing.

Finish: The finish is quite long, smooth, and creamy. The wood, malt, and sweet notes remain for a long time and give a slightly dry finish.

Smoothest Single Malt Scotch (2)

#6. Aberfeldy 12-Years Old

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Aberfeldy
Age: 12

This classic single malt whiskey is distilled in the highlands. The packaging is great with a black and rose gold color palette. It is made with 100% malted barley and is 100% proof. It is matured in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, producing a rich flavor profile. The drink is quite pleasant and light.

Nose: The smell is fresh and fruity with notes of melon, green apple, and pear, along with vanilla, peaches, and oak.

Palate: It has a sweet and malty taste but keeps the mouth clean and fresh. The light spicy flavor gives a nice balance to the drink.

Finish: The finish is quite long with a fruity flavor with roasted almonds. The mouth feels dry with notes of vanilla, oranges, and honey.

#7. Benromach 15-Years-Old

ABV: 43%
Distillery: Benromach
Age: 15 years

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The Benromach 15 years old single malt whiskey is matured with ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks with a high proportion of sherry casks. It has a good balance of spice and sweetness. The smoky charred oak is well balanced and in harmony with other notes. It is bottled with 43% ABD with no added colors. Having it with water will help to reveal its flavors and fruity notes.

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Nose: It gives aromas of toffee, orange peels, honey, black pepper, and smoke notes.

Palate: When you first sip it, you will find the palate creamy and sweet with ripe apple and charred oak notes. The palate is rich, thick, and rounded. You will find chocolate flavor notes along with a hint of charcoal.

Finish: The finish is medium to long, with notes of chocolate, dried fruit, and soft smoke. It fades away slowly, leaving the taste of menthol, cocoa, and mint. The finish is dry and timid and has a nice balance.

#8. Glen Grant 10 Years Old

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Glen Grant, Rothes, and Speyside
Age: 10 years

The Glen Grant is a famous distillery in Scotland. Their 10 Years Old whiskey is one of the best quality single malt whiskeys at a great price. It has a very light pine color. It has a great balance of ripe orchard fruits. It matures in Bourbon Casks. It is a perfect drink for those who like sweet flavors, and also great to have during warmer weather.

Nose: It gives the smell of sweet apples, ripe pears, and sugar with a touch of grapefruits and olives. If you have it with water, you will notice the floral and vanilla notes.

Palate: It is very light and firm on the palate, with notes of orange, lemon, and sweet apple. It has a slightly creamy texture. Overall the taste is soft and fruity with a honey note.

Finish: The finish is short and intense with fruity flavors. You will notice the notes of lemon and shortbread. It gives a soft, almond finish at the end.

Smoothest Single Malt Scotch (3)

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Parting Words

Here we have listed some of the best and smoothest single malt Scotches. Most of these whiskeys have great flavor profiles generated from their time spent in ex-bourbon and sherry casks. If one or some of these malt scotches caught your eye, give them a try and we are confident you will find something up your alley.


What is the smoothest of the Scottish whiskey? ›

What are some of the smoothest scotches?
  • Ardbeg Uigeadail. Deep smoky notes with luscious, raisin-y tones. ...
  • Lagavulin, 16 year old. ...
  • Glenmorangie, The Accord (Bourbon and Sherry Finish) ...
  • Naked Grouse.

Is Single Malt Scotch smoother than bourbon? ›

Bourbon tends to have sweeter, more mellow characteristics, with vanilla, oak, caramel, grain, nutmeg, and cinnamon notes. Scotch has a sharp, distinct flavor that's more of an acquired taste than bourbon. You'll find that blended Scotch is smoother and maltier with a spicy finish.

Which is smoother single malt or blended? ›

Blended Whiskey

This type of blend typically has a richer, more complex flavor than a single malt whiskey. On the other hand, Blended grain whiskey is made by blending two or more single grain whiskies. This type of blend tends to be lighter and smoother than blended malt whiskey.

Is Scotch smoother than Irish? ›

But the biggest difference between Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey is the distillation process. While both spirits are distilled liquors, Scotch is distilled twice to Irish whiskey's thrice. This extra distillation gives Irish whiskey a smoother finish and some say make it the best in the world.

What is the most popular Scotch in America? ›

Leading brands of Scotch whisky in the U.S. based on volume sales 2021. In 2021, Johnnie Walker Black was the leading Scotch whisky brand in the United States with about 1.14 million 9-liter cases sold. The third most popular Scotch whisky brand was Johnnie Walker Red, also supplied by Diageo.

What is Scotland's favorite scotch? ›

These are the go-tos: (1) The Famous Grouse, aka The Low Flying Bird It's the top selling blend in Scotland. (2) Dewar's, aka The Drinking Man's Scotch Best seller in the U.S., top five in the world. (3) Bell's, aka Afore Ye Go Top mover in the U.K. overall.

What is the #1 scotch? ›

Johnnie Walker blended scotch is the global best selling whisky brand by sales and market share, accounting for almost one in every five bottles of whisky sold worldwide.

Is Scotch healthier than bourbon? ›

Bourbon and Scotch are identical in terms of nutrition. However, they're made from different grains, which afford them slightly different taste profiles.

Why does bourbon taste better than Scotch? ›

Taste Difference Between Scotch and Bourbon

However, as mentioned, bourbon tends to be sweeter compared to scotch. This is mainly because of the barrels used to store and produce bourbon, which end up giving it a sort of an oaky vanilla taste.

What is the best way to like single malt scotch? ›

Scotch is best served at room temperature

Traditionally, scotch is served with a side of spring water (tap water may interfere with the taste). Add water, if desired, little by little to your taste. If you do prefer cold scotch however, fill your glass with ice rather than adding one or two cubes.

Why do people prefer single malt? ›

Traditional single malts do typically have a flavour advantage over grain whiskies though. This is why most scotch whisky connoisseurs quickly migrate to single malts, for the wide diversity of flavour they can provide.

Is Chivas Regal a single malt? ›

At Chivas Regal, we use a blend of single malt and grain whiskies from Scotland's very best distilleries. These include the hugely respected Strathclyde and Longmorn distilleries, and of course, the legendary Strathisla distillery, which produces the single malt at the heart of our blends.

Is Glenfiddich single malt or blended? ›

Glenfiddich Whisky: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 12 to 50 Year Old.

Why is older Scotch smoother? ›

The wood from the barrels a Scotch (or any whisky) is aged in tends to break down the rougher flavors in the alcohol, leaving you with a smoother taste. The longer the alcohol is in there, the smoother it gets. And yes, that is lovely.

Do Italians like Scotch? ›

While the Scots were succumbing to the dubious charms of vodka, Italy became the third-biggest importer of Scotch in the mid-1970s, and number one for malts. Quite how this wine-drinking culture became so hooked on whisky after the Second World War is a fascinating and – outside Italy, at least – untold story.

Is Scotch easier to drink than whiskey? ›

Bourbon is considered easier to drink vs Scotch, which has a very distinct flavor. The breakdown in flavors is: Bourbon whiskey has a sweeter, more mellow flavor than Scotch, with notes of vanilla, oak and caramel.

What are top shelf Scotch brands? ›

12 Top-Rated Scotch Whiskies Worth Splurging On
  • The Glenlivet 12 Year Old. Scotch whiskey. ...
  • Ardbeg 10 Years. Scotch whiskey. ...
  • Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie. Scotch whiskey. ...
  • Oban 14 Years Old. ...
  • The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old. ...
  • Highland Park 18 Year Old Viking Pride. ...
  • Lagavulin 16 Year. ...
  • The Dalmore Port Wood Reserve.
Nov 13, 2022

What American whiskey is closest to Scotch? ›

Michter's US*1 Small Batch Bourbon

On the palate, it's similarly scotch-y, with a good dose of sweetness thrown in for good measure. Think oak, smoke and a whole sweet shop of toffee notes.

What Scotch do the Royals drink? ›

Charles, Prince of Wales

His favorite whisky is a peaty Islay single malt, Laphroaig 15-year. Prince Charles also helped produce his own whisky, Barrogill; HRH personally selected the single malts for the blend, which was distilled by Inver House Distillers and North Highland Products.

What is the biggest selling Scotch in Scotland? ›

The single malt whiskies used in The Famous Grouse blend include the Edrington-owned Highland Park and The Macallan. Its emblem is the red grouse, Scotland's national game bird. It has been the highest-selling whisky brand in Scotland since 1980.

What is the most Scottish drink? ›

What is Scotland's national drink? Whisky! (Although IRN BRU likes to think of itself as Scotland's 'other national drink' too).

Which is better Glenfiddich or Glenlivet? ›

The Glenfiddich is a bit more fruity, while the Glenlivet is higher in vanilla so it comes down to a matter of personal preference of which flavor you prefer.

Which single malts are not peaty? ›

The 7 Top Non-Peaty Scotch Picks
  • Longmorn 16 (Non-Peaty Scotch) | $109.99.
  • GlenAllachie - Single Cask Series | $104.99.
  • Hibiki 21 | $339.99.
  • Yamazaki 18 | $799.99.
  • Aberlour A'bunadh | $71.99.
  • Balvenie 15 | $124.99.
  • Bunnahabhain 18 | $129.99.

How does Glenfiddich rank? ›

Based on 216 votes, the average rating for Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Whisky is 7.9/10. ― Best Scotch made!!

What is the most popular Scotch in England? ›

Last updated: February, 2023.
NameCritic' ScoreBrand / Producer
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky Blended94 / 100Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky Blended86 / 100Johnnie Walker
2017 The Macallan 18 Year Old Sherry Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky Single Malt92 / 100The Macallan
9 more rows

Is Glenfiddich a good Scotch? ›

It has (in my opinion) remained true to its origins; Glenfiddich is a very good whisky that you can buy at a pretty reasonable price on nearly every shelf in Scotland With one million cases reportedly sold annually I suggest they are not doing too much wrong; he distillery has a glowing reputation that easily matchea ...

What is better single or blended Scotch? ›

Flavor profile: Expect different whiskeys to taste unique, regardless of whether they're single malt or blended. Single malt whiskey will likely have a more uniform taste because of its single origin, while blended whiskeys might mix a variety of flavors.

Which alcohol is easiest on liver? ›

So, now on to the all-important question, which alcohol is easiest on the liver? The quick answer is, none of them. The reason is that the main liver-damaging ingredient in all types of alcohol is ethanol. It doesn't matter which alcohol you chose, be it weak beer or grain alcohol.

Which alcohol is least harmful to your liver? ›

According to a new study published in Oxford's Alcohol and Alcoholism journal, scientists discovered that hoppy beer is significantly less harmful to the liver than liquor and even beer without hops.

Is Scotch the healthiest alcohol? ›

As well as having an actively positive effect on the body, whisky is also the healthiest alcohol you can drink. It contains no fat and hardly any sugar or carbohydrates. It barely alters the level of sugar in your blood, making it a better choice for diabetics than other alcohol.

Why is Scotch cheaper than bourbon? ›

There are many factors that contribute to why cheap scotch is generally worse than cheap bourbon. Firstly, scotch must be aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels, while bourbon only needs to be aged for two years.

Is Jameson A Scotch or bourbon? ›

Is Jameson A Scotch or bourbon? No. Jameson is an Irish whiskey produced, distilled and matured in Ireland. However some of our whiskeys use Bourbon barrels, such as Jameson Black Barrel.

Which grain makes the smoothest whiskey? ›

Like Kentucky Bourbon, wheated bourbon is smooth and has a sweeter profile as you can find vanilla, honey, dried berries, and toffee notes. These are some of the smoothest whiskeys ever made.

Do you put ice in single malt scotch? ›

Yes, you can put ice in single malt scotch. Put one or two cubes in your whisky, it will chill it slightly, melt into water, and then help release all these wonderful aromas and flavors.”

Should you drink single malt neat? ›

“Whisky, particularly if it's cask strength, can actually have its flavours amplified by adding a little water. But, add ice, and you're going to dilute the flavours. The best way to drink whisky will always be neat.”

Should you add water to single malt scotch? ›

Some whiskies nowadays are 55 to 60 percent ABV, and that's quite a lot of alcohol, so adding water to it can really improve the drinking experience to tailor the alcoholic strength of the spirit to what you enjoy.”

What is the most popular Scotch drink? ›

Here's one of the most famous Scotch cocktails of them all: the Rusty Nail. This slow sipper got popular in the 1960's, pairing whisky with Drambuie, a Scotch-based liqueur. All you need is two ingredients and you get lots of flavor: honey, herb and sweet notes from the Drambuie, and a spicy finish from the Scotch.

How do you drink Scotch if you don't like it? ›

Prepare your palate

McGoram says the best thing to remember is to go slow and get your palate familiar with drinking straight whisky. Taste just enough to wet the tip of your tongue – a tiny drop is enough. “Don't take a gulp,” says McGoram. “Give your tongue time to recognise something different.”

What is the most popular scotch in Scotland? ›

These are the go-tos: (1) The Famous Grouse, aka The Low Flying Bird It's the top selling blend in Scotland. (2) Dewar's, aka The Drinking Man's Scotch Best seller in the U.S., top five in the world. (3) Bell's, aka Afore Ye Go Top mover in the U.K. overall.

What's a good top shelf scotch? ›

Johnnie Walker Blue

Another famed blended whiskey brand that started as a liquor store, Johnnie Walker sources the finest scotch from around Scotland to create an award-winning line of blends. Johnnie Walker Blue label is the most popular blend of hand-selected whiskeys.

What are top shelf scotch brands? ›

12 Top-Rated Scotch Whiskies Worth Splurging On
  • The Glenlivet 12 Year Old. Scotch whiskey. ...
  • Ardbeg 10 Years. Scotch whiskey. ...
  • Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie. Scotch whiskey. ...
  • Oban 14 Years Old. ...
  • The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old. ...
  • Highland Park 18 Year Old Viking Pride. ...
  • Lagavulin 16 Year. ...
  • The Dalmore Port Wood Reserve.
Nov 13, 2022

What is the No 1 scotch in the world? ›

Ardbeg Islay Single Malt Scotch – A 10-year-old scotch that is beloved for its peaty flavor profile. Those who enjoy a smokey finish are often impressed by this choice of scotch.

What scotch does James Bond drink? ›

The Macallan is James Bond's whisky of choice and as two renowned global brands, we share many synergies, most notably as modern innovators linked by our Scottish heritage.

Should you drink Scotch straight? ›

The simplest way to enjoy your whisky is neat, cleansing your palate with cool water between sips. Some people also add a few drops of water to their whisky, which can open up the flavors as the liquids combine. Experiment to see what works for you, but go slowly. Don't add too much water at once.

Does Scotch or bourbon taste better? ›

True, both bourbon and scotch are known to be strong drinks with a typically smoky flavor. However, as mentioned, bourbon tends to be sweeter compared to scotch. This is mainly because of the barrels used to store and produce bourbon, which end up giving it a sort of an oaky vanilla taste.

Why don't you put ice in scotch? ›

The consensus, then, is much the same as the science – adding ice dulls flavours, anaesthetises the tongue and confuses the composition of the spirit.

Why do people add soda to scotch? ›

Adding still water to whisky opens up the liquor's flavor, and club soda will do the same. It also brings in a little effervescence to make it even more invigorating. The amount of soda is really up to you; some people prefer it in an old-fashioned glass while others like this drink as a highball.

Why do people drink scotch with water? ›

Adding water frees up more of the aroma molecules to evaporate into the taster's nose. Since appreciation of flavors happens at least as much in the nose as on the tongue, “watered-down” spirits actually seem more flavorful.


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