Looking for the perfect bottle of scotch? We asked top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which scotches they love and why.
Heads up: The numerical order below is organized alphabetically, not by importance or quality; it’s a list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary state to state.
“From skiing to golfing, a Colorado tradition is to end your day with a fireside s'more. This scotch carries all of the desirable profiles of a good scotch, as well as the smokiness from a campfire.”—Shanna L. Sweeney, sales and marketing coordinator at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa in Colorado
“This particular Balvenie expression has all of the best components for me. Fifteen years is the perfect amount of time in the barrel to create a robust and round flavor profile with the uniqueness of a single barrel.—Nick Elliott, general manager at Whiskey Kitchen in Nashville
“After selling and tasting many whiskeys over the years, I have personally grown fond of trying new and inventive styles or expressions that excite my palate. Although this Speyside single malt does not necessarily taste exactly like an IPA, many beer enthusiasts will certainly be intrigued by the uniqueness and complexity. With bright and zesty citrus notes, this whisky finishes smooth with soft, sweet vanilla and a hint of fresh hops.”—Logan E. Rushing, head bartender and whiskey curator for The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo.
“Definitive proof that maritime or island distilleries don't have to be defined by smoke and iodine. Powerful dried fruit is offset by elegant salinity in this powerfully elegant ode to graceful malt whisky.”—Joaquín Simó, partner and bartender at Pouring Ribbons in New York City
“A well-balanced 100 percent ex-sherry-cask matured single malt from one of the most exciting new producers on Islay. Kilchoman is peating the malt on-site, as well as growing its own barely for distillation.”—Craig Schoettler, beer curator at Beerhaus and director of spirits, wine and beer at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas
“Big, burly and aged exclusively in sherry casks, this is a no-nonsense dram dripping with flavor. If the higher proof scares your old man, save a few bucks and grab a bottle of Tamdhu 10 Year instead.”—Beau Williams, owner and bartender at Julep in Kansas City, Mo.
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.