The World's Best Scotch Whiskies

The best liquid gold for your festive drinking 

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Despite being made from only three simple ingredients – barley, yeast and water – whisky is capable of infinite complexities. A bottle of Scotch could contain anything from a light, honey-scented easy-drinking eau de vie through to a thunderous, high-proof, peaty monster.

“Whisky becomes a voyage of discovery for people,” says Malcolm Mullin, long-time proprietor of award-winning London whisky mecca The Vintage House. “There’s always something new to try. We sell 1,500 malt whiskies here in the shop, and 300 upstairs in our members’ bar, The Soho Whisky Club.”

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Here, we've whittled that selection down to just five worthy additions to your drinks cabinet, with Mullin's expert tasting notes. Sláinte. 


Lowland: The Entry Point
Auchentoshan 18-Year-Old (43% abv)

"A beautifully light, triple-distilled Lowland whisky. Very, very easy to drink– too easy, some might say. It’s distilled on the outskirts of Glasgow– a funny place to have a distillery. It’s delicate, matured in American oak casks, and has a wonderfully fruity nose.”
£55, masterofmalt.com 

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Speyside: The Easy Drinker
GlenDronach Allardice 18-Year-Old (46% abv)

“Speyside is a classic whisky-making area. I’d suggest the GlenDronach 18-Year-Old, which is  matured in oloroso sherry butts. It’s very dark, rich, with a mahogany colour, smooth, intense wood flavours and a sweet finish.”
£52, thewhiskyexchange.com


Orkney: The Big Hitter
Highland Park 25-Year-Old (48.1% abv)

“This has a little bit of smoke, and a very slight amount of peat. It’s complex and flavoursome. Ask any  distiller what their favourite whisky is and they’ll all include Highland Park in their top-five.”
£160, highlandpark.co.uk 


Skye: The Treat
Talisker 18-Year -Old (45.8% abv)

“Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. It’s a peated whisky, but not heavily. Most people have tried the 10-year-old Talisker, but the 18-year-old is a different quality level. It’s less pungent than the 10-year-old, but the length goes on and on. You get notes of coffee, oak, and some wood smoke– it’s a gorgeous whisky. Something you keep at the back of the cupboard when you want to give yourself a treat.”
£67, royalmilewhiskies.com


Islay: The Peated Whisky
Bowmore Tempest 10-Year-Old (55.1% abv)

“There are seven or eight distilleries on Islay, and they’re all unique,” Mullin says. “It’s the home of whisky, for many, and Bowmore claims to be the first recorded distillery on the island. Released once a year, their 10-year-old cask strength is a really nice introduction to heavily-peated, smoky Islay whisky. It sells out fast, so it’s quite hard to find. And it does need a health warning, due to the strength.”
£46.60, whisky-online.com 

 

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