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Breaking Down The Best-Selling Scotch Whiskies In The World

“What’s the best-selling scotch whisky in the world?” isn’t a particularly fun question. Though it’s easy to focus on aficionados, most drinkers weigh affordability and brand recognition high when grabbing a quick bottle. Better questions are: “Is the best-selling scotch whisky in the world deserving of its success? Does it taste good enough to justify its sales numbers?”

We’re not going to spoil those answers just yet. But we will say, while the masses have plenty of factors that impact their purchases. Assuming they have trash taste is wrongheaded.

The Spirit Business compiled a list of the ten best-selling scotch whisky brands by actual sales numbers. Scotch whisky as a whole — that’s the blended stuff and single malts — is experiencing a serious growth spurt. More expressions are becoming available on the U.S. market than ever before, despite the Trump administration’s damaging tariffs (which keep scotch prices higher).

Interestingly, there are no single malts on this list. Blended scotch clearly dominates if you look through a sales lens only. But are these wildly successful whiskies actually the best tasting, too? Let’s dive in and pick them apart.

10. Label 5 Blended Scotch Whisky

Label 5

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $15

The Whisky:

Label 5 is a bottle of simple whisky you’ll find around continental Europe, mostly. It’s a rail bottle (cheap shots, mixer, etc.), so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best selling in the world. The actual juice focuses on Speyside grain and malt whiskies, each around three years old.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is slightly bourbon-esque with vanilla, spice, and toffee sweetness. The palate is full of very sweet caramel apples with a citrus twist. The citrus helps usher in the quick end with alcohol warmth.

Bottom Line:

You can grab this in the U.S. in some regions but it’s not worth wasting your time tracking down. It might be a top ten seller but unlikely to make a top ten in anyone’s tasting notebook. If you do grab a bottle, use it as a mixer for highballs or scotch and Coke.

9. Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky

Black & White

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $25

The Whisky:

Good ol’ Black & White. This used to be Dean “The King of Cool” Martin’s go-to whiskey — so there’s a bit of panache that still goes with drinking this stuff. The black and white dogs on the label have become damn near synonymous with whisky in the U.K. to this day. The juice leans into Speyside grain whisky more than malt and is pretty damn dialed in.

Tasting Notes:

The bready grains come through with a note of lemon curd and a wisp of smoke. The lemon carries on and is married with a Christmas cake spice and caramel sweetness in the body of the sip. The end is short and sweet both literally and figuratively.

Bottom Line:

I really dig this stuff. It’s definitely a top 5 blend for me. Throw on an old Dino record, pour some of this over ice, and let the evening fade away.

8. Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky

Dewar

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $25

The Whisky:

Dewar’s White Label is a pretty easy bottle to find at U.S. liquor stores. The juice is a blend of 40 single grain and single malt whiskies. The core is the stone-cold classic, Aberfeldy.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a grassy nature on the nose next to an apple orchard dripping with honey sweetness. The honey carries on in the dram as oak, spice, and vanilla marry a buttery toffee and billow of mild smoke. The finish lingers as the honey holds your senses and the dry grassiness makes a reappearance.

Bottom Line:

This is a very solid bottle to have around for mixing up drinks, especially cocktails. It’s affordable, easily findable, and perfectly drinkable, which makes this a top three scotch blend in my book.

7. William Peel Blended Scotch Whisky

William Peel

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $20

The Whisky:

This is another whisky that’s really popular behind bars in France and more widely in Western Europe. The whisky is a blend of 18 single grain and single malts.

Tasting Notes (from the blender):

“You discover its rounded character with generous notes of malt and fruits.”

Bottom Line:

This feels like another simple scotch for taking shots or mixing with Coke. Seems like it’s in the exact spot it belongs in.

6. J&B Blended Scotch Whisky

J&B

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $25

The Whisky:

J&B is another back bar mainstay. This old-school blend became hugely popular in the U.S. after Prohibition and still sits on most American bar shelves to this day. The juice is a mix of 42 single grains and single malts with a heavy lean into Speyside whiskies.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is malty with a flourish of orange zest next to cedar bark and sweet, buttery toffee. That sweetness carries and folds in fatty nuts and a bit of red fruit. The oak and spice kick in late as the sip fades fairly quickly while warming you up.

Bottom Line:

This is a classic cocktail base and feels exactly like a solid 6/10. Though, its “brand” is squarely in our grandparent’s generation at this point. Still, this is a solid scotch to give a try as you learn to make some scotch-centric cocktails.

5. William Lawson’s Blended Scotch Whisky

William Lawson

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $15

The Whisky:

This scotch is climbing up the charts, mostly due to its popularity in Mexico. Bacardi has been pushing the stuff in Mexico for years now and it’s paying off — people really seem to dig it.

Tasting Notes (from the distiller):

“Nothing to stop you enjoying its big, bold fruity flavor. Its taste of toasted cereal. Hint of juicy apple. And dollop of chewy toffee.”

Bottom Line:

This falls squarely into the “rail” bottle category of a mixing whisky that’s probably just tasty enough to take a shot of with a beer back and belongs squarely in the middle of any list, as it is here.

4. Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky

Chivas Regal

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $35

The Whisky:

Chivas Regal has been winning whisky awards for decades. It’s started to make a comeback thanks to the fact that it’s legit tasty while still being affordable. And while this is a real powerhouse in East and South Asia, it’s readily available in pretty much every U.S. liquor store.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bold and deep blend. The nose opens with a rush of anise-forward spices next to bright lemons, salted caramel, cedar bark, vanilla pudding, and a hint of banana. The palate delivers on the promises made to your olfactory system and then adds in nuttiness, peppery spice, and well-rounded maltiness. The end holds onto the peppery spice as it warms and slowly fades towards a sweet finish.

Bottom Line:

I drank this stuff for about a year straight when I lived in Jakarta. Chivas highballs were my go-to. It also works really well simply on the rocks. This is legitimately a very tasty whisky at a very accessible price point that I’d likely rank as my number one blended scotch overall.

3. Grant’s Blended Scotch Whisky

Grant

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $26

The Whisky:

Grant’s prides itself on the triple barreling techniques they employ. The juice ages in ex-bourbon, new oak, American oak before it’s blended into the final product.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lightness to the sip that’s, well, refreshing. The dram has echoes of bourbon with vanilla and caramel mingling with malty grains and a bit of oak and bitter chocolate. The end is swift, sweet, oaky, and warm.

Bottom Line:

This is another fairly easy whisky to find in the U.S. and certainly lives up to its price. That being said, I never reach for it because Chivas is usually sitting right next to this bottle. Still, this is certainly a top-five blend.

2. Ballantine’s Blended Scotch Whisky

Ballentine

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $20

The Whisky:

Ballantine’s Finest is another classic blend. The juice is a mix of 40 single grains and single malts from four regions around Scotland. The end result is a very approachable scotch at a very easy price.

Tasting Notes:

Malty grains and toffee are supported by a very distant wisp of smoke on the nose. The palate rounds out with sweet caramel malts next to subtle peatiness. That soft peat carries on to the slow, svelte, and warm finish.

Bottom Line:

If you’re thinking about getting into peat whisky, maybe give this a try. This blend would certainly be in my top ten but not my top five. Plus, there are tons of whiskeys in the U.S. at the $20 price point that beat this one.

1. Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky

Johnnie Walker

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $40

The Whisky:

Johnnie Walker being the best-selling scotch in the world was a given. There’s no getting away from this brand. It’s also a very wide label with eight-core bottles and a slew of specialty releases.

For the classic Black Label (linked for $40 above), the blend is compiled from over 40 whiskies from three dozen distilleries in the Diageo stable, including powerhouses like Talisker and Lagavulin.

Tasting Notes:

Citrus meets spicy Christmas cake and a bit of powdery pepper. Those wintery spices carry on through the taste as creamy maltiness, caramel sweetness, and dry herbs bounce on your tongue. The oak comes in late with a dose of peaty smoke that’s cut by an orange zest flourish on the quick end.

Bottom Line:

Johnnie Black is blended to a be a sipping whisky (Johnnie Red is for mixing). And, truthfully, it’s hard to not give Johnnie Walker its due. This stuff is very drinkable and often most people’s introduction to scotch as a style. It’s great on the rocks.

Personally, I’d grab Chivas before this for both taste and price. But I’d certainly grab this next.

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