You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.
Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.
“This bottle comes from a lesser-known part of Scotland, which is fun in and of itself. Though this distillery might not be as popular as others, it produces a great scotch with notes of sugar cookies, honeyed bananas and almost a bit of custard.”—Gil Izaguirre, beverage director at Chicago's Honey's
“I love finding a scotch that is reasonably priced and that I thoroughly enjoy drinking and feel comfortable enough giving as a gift to a fellow scotch fan. Ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks deliver flavors of raisins, peaches and apples and oak notes. This is just a nice easy-drinking scotch at a very affordable price.”—Tommy Tardie, owner and operator at New York City's Fine & Rare and The Flatiron Room
“This is an unpeated Bruichladdich and is a perfect scotch for easy drinking on the rocks or neat. It’s wonderful as an introductory scotch for someone just learning about it.”—Knott
“This malt hails from one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, but the flavor is anything but small. It’s rich and round with prominent baking spice and dark fruit notes.”—Thorn
“This awesome unpeated scotch is very accessible, easy to drink and a great gift for beginning scotch drinkers.”—Van den Boomgaard
“It’s a great Highland scotch with depth, flavor and perfection—a step up for a 12-year-old that’s not simply a smooth whisky.”—Kang
“It’s a classic Islay malt with great complexity and a big peat finish—one of my everyday drams.”— Ehrmann
“It’s a great Isle of Skye scotch with a bit of peat expressing the best of its terroir. It has an umami thing going on, with sweet, salty, peaty and spice.”—Kang
“This lightly aged spirit emphasizes the character of the malt and quality of the distillate.”—Dong