Ranking my best Scotch bottles 2020

May 20, 2020

I've been pretty bored since all of my weddings have been canceled with COVID-19 looming, I decided to go through my entire Scotch collection and rate the bottles 1-10 with some notable details. I understand they aren't all true SCOTCH but I kept them all in to give you a sense of ranking. I try to buy at least one new bottle every month that I've never tried before so here's the last 4 years or so of my efforts.

Ardbeg 10 - 4/10 average, watery peat taste, short finish

Balvenie 12 - good 6/10

I see a lot of grooms and groomsmen drinking Balvenie, especially the 14 year or Caribbean Cask variant. This bottle is okay, nothing that blows my mind.

Bushmills black bush - 5/10 smooth irish

Caol Ila - 5/10 decent albeit watery, poor mans Lagavulin

Crown Royal - meh 3/10

It's Canadian Whisky, so technically not scotch, but it's decent stuff for being available at the local dive bar.

Clynelish 14 - 

Dalwhinnie 15 - good 6/10

Dewars White Label - 2/10 tasteless cheap for mixing only

Dewars 12 - okay 3/10

A lot of people love Dewars, the 12 model is a little higher than your average scotch but still nothing special.

Dimple Pinch - good 4/10

The bottle is cooler than the taste.

Gary's Winery Special Edition Cask - rich fruity nose, light woody taste, super smooth, short finish 8/10

This is one of my favorite bottles I've tasted. I got a sample dram from a friend so I don't know too much about it, but Gary's releases it once a year and it's rare and produced in very low quantities.

Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve - 4/10 fruity unrefined rum kick

Glenlivet12 - decent 4/10

This is the stuff you get at weddings or special events with an average open bar. It's okay, I drank it at my sister's wedding. I would never turn this stuff down or turn my nose up if it were at an open bar.

Glenlivet18 - good 6/10

This is decent stuff, definitely worth the price at under $100 but there are better bottles for the money.

Glenmorangie Sherry 12 - delicious 6/10

Great Scotch, will always keep this in my collection, definitely wont dissapoint you.

High West Campfire - poor 2/10

It isnt true scotch, its from the USA, someone recommended it to me. It's okay around the campfire but that's about it.

Johnny Walker white walker - eh 3/10

The only nice part about it is the Game of Thrones Label. This is somewhere between Red and Black in quality.

Johnny Walker Green Label - average, low taste 5/10

It's better than Black label, that's about it.

Johnny Walker Blue Label - smooth, decent taste, super smooth, silver standard, 8/10

One of the best regularly-available bottles under $200, necessary for anyone's collection. It's good stuff but grossly overrated for what it is.

Knob Creek Special Batch 120 proof - strong but tasty 7/10

Thanks to my good friend Justin I got to try some of his hard-to-find special batch of Knob Creek. Super potent since it's cask strength, but a really great strong taste and smooth taste even for a "double shot".

Lagavulin Nick Offerman 11 - good 6/10

Not as good as 16year, but not as expensive as it either. Signature smoky taste. Nick Offerman himself doesn't even drink it so that tells you something.

Lagavulin 16 - delicious 7/10

This was an acquired taste for me since it's so heavy with peat flavor and has a rich smoky taste, but definitely has it's place in my collection and one of my favorites to drink around the holidays. Also the favorite of Nick Offerman AKA Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation

 

Lagavulin 12 Cask Strength - good 5/10

Great value for the money since it is cask strength, but it's grossly too potent for normal use.


Laphroiag - nice 4/10

This is the watery version of Lagavulin, also half the price if you can't afford the legit stuff.


Macallan #5 Purple - smooth 7/10

Good stuff for what it is, Macallan is my favorite brand so I'm biased but whatever.

 

Macallan 12 Sherry Cask - average, sweet, rich flavor, 6/10

This is my normal scotch of choice. Great for the money, I drink it regularly and always have a decanter filled for guests. I prefer the Sherry over the Double Cask or the Oak Cask because it's just better and worth the extra $10. The bottle looks great, the taste is great, and it's perfect for any occasion.


Macallan 15 - good 7/10

Decent for the money, I drink Macallan 12 as my everyday scotch in my decanter. This is half a step above that.


Macallan 18 - delicious, smooth, tasty, gold standard, 9/10

This is what I reach for if I'm feeling special or really nostalgic. Don't try this at home unless you're comfortable buying a $300 bottle and getting addicted to it forever. It's so smooth, I've been hooked ever since my 21st birthday when my best friend got me a bottle.


Macallan Enigma - sherry nose, sherry taste, super smooth very short finish 9/10

This stuff is damn good, one of the best I've ever tasted. Only available at certain locations and in Europe. I had to import this personally from London. Price is cheaper than 18 but I would say it's closer to 21 for what it is.

Michters 10yr Bourbon 95proof - smooth for bourbon 5/10

I'm not a huge bourbon fan, but this sample I got from my friend Justin is really smooth for what it is. 

 

Monkey Shoulder - unrefined, average taste, GREAT value for the money 4/10


Mortlach 12- great 7/10


Old particular 25 - blargh 1/10

This is cask strength grain whisky made in the US. Don't get it its disgusting. It tastes like bacardi 151.

 

Pendleton canadian watery slight kick 4/10



Shackleton Whisky- vanilla 5/10

Comparable to Johnny Walker, this is the cheap replica stuff if you can't find or get your hands on the super rare reproduction.


Shackleton Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt - different 5/10

This brand is the actual reproduction version of the few 1907 bottles found in Antartica back in 2011. It's definitely different and worth a spot in my collection, it's also the rarest bottle I own as I've only seen one in person and immediately bought it and still own the same bottle today. It's a great look into what scotch tasted like 100 years ago, nothing to write home about but definitely a different taste from scotch brands today.


Singleton 18 - great 6/10

This is good stuff, one of the best 18yr bottles you can get under $100

 

Spey River Sherry Cask - Average 4/10 

Great for a baller on a budget, inexpensive way to get that sherry cask taste


Talisker 10 - awesome 7/10

Can't go wrong with Talisker, good for the money and definitely not the last bottle I'd reach for.

 

Talisker Storm - 


Tamdu 10 - great 7/10

Recommended by a friend, definitely worth the money and one of the best bottles under $50 you can buy.


Tomintoul 16 - fruity nose, Decent smooth slight smoke 6/10


Trader Toes Speyside 8yr - decent, watery, 7/10

This stuff is AMAZING for the price, don't knock Trader Joes! I thoroughly enjoy this brand and it's one of my go-to's when I'm on a budget.

 

Yamazaki 12yr 8/10 super smooth, light body taste
 


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