National Scotch Day (July 27) has finally arrived, which means we should all raise a glass to the finest whisky style of them all. Whisky in Scotland can trace its history back to the Exchequer Rolls of James IV in 1494 and has since become the most respected style of the spirit. With over half a millennia of history behind it, we certainly think its worthwhile to take one or two days–the other being Burns Day–per year to just appreciate the golden liquid.
With that in mind, we put together a list of Scotch whiskies from distilleries across the country that should appeal to anyone looking to dig a bit deeper into the famed spirit. Drams on our National Scotch Day list feature the best of what the style is known for, from Islay’s iconic smoke to the rich, full-bodied flavors of the Highlands to the nutty, fruit notes of Speyside, and all of them are drinks worth celebrating.
So without further ado, here are our Essential Whiskies For National Scotch Day:
The Arran Barrel Reserve ($50)
Bottled at 43%, the Barrel Reserve emphasizes the delicious, sweet fruit notes which are the hallmark of the Arran Whiskies. On the nose, the whisky delivers aromas of lemon, citrus fruits and green apple. Vanilla sweetness coats the palate with light cinnamon notes in the background. The finish is subtle and lingering, with hints of sweet oak and a good balance between fruit and spice.
Ardbeg Uigeadail ($75)
Pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’ and bottled at 54.2% ABV, Ardbeg Uigeadail is a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. Ardbeg Uigeadail was voted by the 120,000+ strong Ardbeg Committee as their favourite Ardbeg. On the nose, the whiskey is rich and weighty with heady and smoky aromatics. The palate features an intriguing balance between sweet, spicy and deep smoky flavors. The finish is long and chewy with lingering raisiny, deep mocha tones and rich aromatic smoke.
Balblair 15 Year Old ($110)
Tropical and mature, with the texture of melted chocolate Balblair 15 Year Old is round and velvety, yet developed and fresh. On the nose, the whiskey offers leatherwood honey and spicy gingerbread followed by juicy prunes and fresh lemon peel. The palate is velvety in texture, bursting with dark chocolate, tropical fruit and spices. The finish is long and mellow, with notes of creamy vanilla and citrus
The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old ($135)
The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old is a balanced single malt whisky created by bringing together two oaks to make one single malt whisky. Sherry seasoned American oak adds delicate vanilla to the subtle spice of European oak, delivering a whisky with a sweeter, warmer taste and character. On those nose, the whisky delivers dried fruit, toffee and vanilla alongside smooth oak and baked apple, which are balanced with notes of honey and chocolate. The palte features notes of sweet raisin and sultana, which build with hints of vanilla, wood spice and citrus. The finish is warm with ginger turning to caramel and citrus, with a lingering and creamy mouth feel.
The GlenDronach Allardice Aged 18 Years ($150)
Named after the renowned founder of the distillery, James Allardice, The GlenDronach Allardice Aged 18 Years is matured in the finest Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 46% ABV. It presents exquisite complexity, with aromas of fudge and Muscovado sugar alongside fruit compote and glacier morello cherries. The palate is rich, dark, and seductive. Favors of stewed fruits and all-spice marry together with classic aged Oloroso sherry and toasted walnut bread combined with chocolate orange.
The Glenrothes 18 Year Old ($198)
Bottled at 43% ABV, The Glenrothes 18 Year Old received 98 points from the 2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was ranked #3 in the “Top 100 Spirits of 2020.” It is a complex and well-rounded expression, matured only in sherry seasoned oak casks, a high proportion first fill. On the nose, the Scotch features aromas of orange oil, vanilla pods, pear, and almonds. The palate delivers ginger, rose water, pears and vanilla. The finish blends sweet, spicy and slightly peppery notes.