‘All scotch is whisky, but not all whisky is scotch.’ Scotch is a pure and refined beverage that was originally made from malted barley. Whisky was made from wheat and rye when it was first introduced in the late 18th century. Scotch whisky is a legalized term created to protect whisky made in Scotland. By law, scotch whisky has to be distilled and matured in oak casks for at least three years. The number on the bottle denotes the minimum age of the drink. Scotch can only be purified to 94.8% ABV, which is higher than bourbon. But, like bourbon, it has to be bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV. Scotch could taste like anything because Scotch is produced among many distinct regions, with refining traditions and environmental conditions that strongly influence the final flavor of the Scotch. The statistics show that India is a nation of whisky drinkers consuming more than half of what is sold globally. Let’s look at the 20 best Scotch brands in India after which you might need at least one dram of it.
An iconic one, Lagavulin was founded in 1816 and is a representative of Islay style malt. It is exclusively matured in ex-bourbon casks, which gives it a robust flavor, uncompromising smoke, and a salted-fish character. Lagavulin still remains the firm favorite of countless malt fans worldwide. There are 5 bottles of Lagavulin navy and is made in the south of Islay, at a distillery with breathtaking views over Lagavulin Bay.
Macallan distillery, founded in 1824, is located in Moray and was one of the first Scottish distilleries to be legally licensed. In 2009, it was reported that Macallan is the world’s third largest-selling single malt and second largest by value. The Macallan has characters and styles of dried fruit, nutmeg, and fruitcake. A lot of time and effort is invested in the making of Macallan and was matured only in oak sherry casks.
Bruichladdich distillery was built-in 1881 by the Harvey brothers and sits opposite the western shore of Loch Indaal on Islay. The distillery produces mainly single malt Scotch whiskey and is one of eight working distilleries on the island. It has characteristics of butterscotch, apple, and lemon.
4. The Dalmore
One of the most legendary distilleries in the world, The Dalmore was founded by Alexander Matheson in 1839. It has a unique maturation process: many expression of The Dalmore is matured in 2 precious wooden casks: American white oak ex-bourbon casks and exclusive aged sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass. It is undeniably one of rich, full-bodied whiskey, with orange, chocolate and coffee flavors.
5. The Glenlivet
The Glenlivet distillery was founded in 1824 and the brand is the biggest selling single malt whisky in the US and the second biggest selling single malt brand globally. This one is a pretty refreshing malt and packs in a citrusy punch, with the smooth aroma of grapefruit, lemon and juicy citrus notes lingering on long after you’ve completed your drink.
Glenfiddich is a Speyside single malt Scotch whisky and the Glenfiddich Distillery was founded in 1886. Glenfiddich means “valley of the deer” in Scottish Gaelic, which is why the its logo is a Stag. Glenfiddich is matured in many different casks such as Rum casks from the Caribbean, Bourbon whiskey barrels from America and Sherry butts from Jerez in Spain. Glenfiddich now accounts for about 30% of all single malt sales worldwide and was the first single malt to be marketed outside scotland. Mild and clean on the palate, this one is thought for a fruity aroma and a sweet, creamy mouthfeel.
7. Monkey Shoulder
Thoroughly a modern scotch whisky, Monkey Shoulder pays tribute to the maltmen who suffered to produce fine whisky, and their dedication to quality. Monkey Shoulder Scotch is a vatting of 3 unique single malt whiskeys. The malts are matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks and then are vatted together in small batches for up to 6 months before bottling at 40% abv. Glenfiddich Distillery was founded in 1886 and the spirit is slightly creamy with hints of woody spice and citrus having characters of butterscotch, popcorn, vanilla and honey.
Talisker distillery, founded in 1830 is an Island single malt Scotch whisky distillery based in Carbost, Scotland. The spirit is most frequently matured in American oak cask and is loved all over the world for its marine character. It has a fresh and fragrant nose and pungent smoke with black pepper, with a touch of brine and dry barley. Orchard fruit provides a beautiful and delicate balance.
Jura distillery, founded in 1810 is a Scotch whisky distillery on the island of Jura and is the only legal distillery operating on the island of Jura. With less than 200 people living on the island, it sits in the middle of Craighouse, the island’s biggest town and is the heart of their community. An easy-sipping spirit, it has honey and toffee notes.
The picturesque Kilchoman distillery began production in 2005 and produces single malt scotch whisky. The distillery uses barley grown on site and releases separate bottlings. The scotch whiskey is aged in bourbon and sherry casks and has vanilla and smoky caramel notes.
11. Old Pulteney
The Pulteney distillery produces the Old Pulteney single malt whisky at a number of ages. These are matured in ex-bourbon casks and has flavors of toffee, herbs, and spices. The whisky itself is a deep amber color and it has a clean, dry finish: faintly salty and with a slight sherry note.
Glen Grant is a large-volume, hugely popular young malt whisky in Europe, where it is usually sold as a very mild, light five-year-old and is normally drunk with cola. Scotland’s Highlands has fresh air and bright sunlight which gives this whisky its distinctive, pale golden appearance and also a clean taste.
Celebrated for being the world’s richest single malt scotch, Laphroaig’s award-winning family of whiskeys are the end result of a spirit matured in a range of different woods and casks. It is the product of a 200-year-old tradition of unique whisky making. It is loved by those who enjoy its medicinal, smoky flavor and Laphroaig distillery sits on the south coast of Islay.
14. Chivas Regal
Chivas Regal is a world-famous scotch produced by Chivas Brothers and traces its roots back to 1801. The distillery is the oldest operating Highland distillery. This is a very refined blended whisky, with herbs, honey and fruit springing forth on the palate. F. Paul Pacult described Chivas Regal as “the blend for grown-ups”, awarding it an impressive 9 out of 10 and the sales grew by 61% between 2002 and 2008.
15. Johnnie Walker
Originated in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock, Johnnie Walker is a brand of Scotch whisky now owned by Diageo. The brand was first established by grocer John Walker. It is the most widely distributed brand of blended Scotch whisky in the world and sold in almost every country. On the nose, it’s all about the honey with thick caramel notes and a subtle nutmeg spice. Smooth elements come through on the palate, along with sweet, spicy vanilla with a sweet finish.
16. Royal Salute
Founded in 1801 in Scotland, Royal Salute is a brand of Scotch whisky produced by Chivas Brothers. Named after the traditional 21-gun salute, Royal Salute whisky is aged for at least 21 years and is a luxurious, distinctive spirit. The first bottles were launched at the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II. It is loved for its oak, honey and dark chocolate flavor notes
The Ballantine’s flavor is dependent on fingerprint malts and is blended with fifty single malts and four single grains. The brand has won many accolades and awards for its products and is the world’s second highest selling Scotch whisky. This scotch whisky stands out for its smokey barley, creamy vanilla, and sweet caramel flavors.
18. Imperial Blue
Imperial Blue is famous for being enjoyable in any form, be it with mixers or straight over ice. It is a perfect blend of Indian grain spirits and imported scotch malts for exquisite smoothness. It has preserved the tagline for its brands in the form of ‘Men Will Be Men’ and was launched in 1997.
Antiquity comes in 2 variants: Antiquity Blue, which has a rich woody aroma and is blended with grain sprit and Antiquity Rare, which is a blend of Indian malts matured in oak casks and amalgamated with scotch whisky and has a golden color.
20. Black Label
A true icon, Black Label’s iconic square bottle makes it one of the world’s most recognizable scotch whiskeys and is recognized as the benchmark for all other brands. It can be enjoyed in any form, be it on its own or as a mixer, but is recommended to have it with soda. It is created using only whiskeys aged for at least 12 years from the four corners of Scotland and is matured in heavily charred old oak casks. It has a smooth, deep, complex character with a sweet, fruity aroma.