Scotch whisky is an exciting spirit. For the uninitiated, it seems too fancy and expensive for most drinkers. It feels like to get your hands on a great bottle of whisky (in Scotland, they omit the ‘e’ in whiskey), you need to spend the equivalent of a mortgage or car payment. And while there are many ridiculously expensive, long-matured, limited-release Scotch whiskies, there are also countless reasonably priced, nuanced, highly-sippable expressions on the market.
As a little background, there are different types of Scotch whisky, and each comes with a different price point depending on age and how limited they might be. While there are others, the most popular are blended Scotch whisky and single-malt Scotch whisky. While there are countless well-made blended Scotch whiskies on the market, from the likes of Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, and Compass Box, single malt Scotch is the real winner.
You can easily fork over hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for hard-to-find bottles from The Macallan, Bowmore, The Dalmore, and more. But there are also a ton of notable bottles in the $100 and above range that are well worth the money. These are the bottles we’ll be drinking in 2024.
If you’re a whisk(e) drinker, you absolutely should have a few bottles of single malt Scotch whisky on hand at all times for sipping neatly or with a splash or two of water to open them up. While we enjoy Scotch all year long, it’s especially warming during the winter months. You should also have a few bottles of blended Scotch whisky for mixing into drinks like the iconic Penicillin, Godfather, or Rusty Nail. Keep scrolling to see five of our favorite Scotch whisky expressions for 2024.
We believe that when it comes to Scotch whisky, it’s important to mix it up between single malts and blended whisky. This way, you have a bottle for every occasion in 2024. Below, you’ll find five of our can’t-miss expressions.
Aberlour A’Bunadh Single Malt Whisky
Aberlour A’Bunadh isn’t a new whisky, but it is one we’ll be drinking often in 2024 (just like we did in 2023). This cask-strength single malt whisky was matured completely in Oloroso sherry casks. This award-winning whisky is known for its nose of candied orange peels, vanilla, cherries, and oak and a palate of candied nuts, dried cherries, sweet sherry, oaky wood, citrus peels, caramel, and gentle spices. Sweet, lightly spicy, and high in ABV. Drink it neat with a few drops of water to open it up.
Highland Park Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky
Highland Park is distilled in Kirkwall on the Orkney islands. One of the most northern distilleries in Scotland, Highland Park is known for its nuanced, complex whiskies. One of its best newer expressions is Highland Park Cask Strength. Matured in a mix of first-fill sherry seasoned European oak barrels as well as first-fill sherry-season American oak barrels, a small number of refill casks, ex-bourbon barrels, and finally, ex-port casks. It’s known for its flavors of licorice, candied orange peels, vanilla beans, sweet sherry, gentle spices, and robust peat smoke.
Compass Box Hedonism Blended Grain Scotch Whisky
Sometimes, blended Scotch doesn’t get the respect it deserves. This is because there’s a stigma surrounding the term “blend,” and many expressions are fairly inexpensive, making drinkers assume it isn’t as good. One of the brands changing this image is Compass Box, and one of its best expressions is Compass Box Hedonism. Hand-selected grain whiskies are blended to create a complex sipping whisky with notes of dried fruits, coconut, vanilla, oak, and light spices.
Kilchoman Loch Gorm Single Malt Whisky
Kilchoman might not have the name recognition of some of the other distilleries on Islay, but it’s producing some amazing, award-winning expressions. One of its best is its annually released sherry cask matured expression. Named for the largest freshwater lake on Islay, Kilchoman Loch Gorm is known for its nose of dried cherries, fresh leather, and robust campfire smoke. Sipping it reveals hints of chocolate, candied nuts, sweet sherry, salted caramel, and peat smoke.
Ardbeg Anamorphic Single Malt Whisky
If you’re a fan of Islay peated single malt whiskies, especially Ardbeg, you know all about their limited releases. One of the best new releases is its Ardbeg Anamorphic. It gets its unique, complex flavor profile featuring salted caramel, dried fruits, vanilla, and rich peat smoke because of its aging in barrels that had their cask heads removed and given “intense” toasting. It’s not the easiest single malt whisky to find, but it’s definitely worth it.
Like with all spirits, when deciding which Scotch whiskies to purchase, it’s important to think about both how you plan to use it (sipping neat or mixing into cocktails) and what flavors you prefer (sweet and soft, fruity, or peat smoked). Find out what type of whisky you’re looking for and purchase accordingly.
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