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A Whisky Writer Names The Best Sips Of Scotch He’s Ever Tasted

Christopher Osburn has spent the past fifteen years in search of “the best” — or at least his very favorite — sips of whisk(e)y on earth. He’s enjoyed more drams than his doctor would dare feel comfortable with, traveled to over 20 countries testing local spirits, visited more than 50 distilleries around the globe, and amassed a collection of bottles that occupies his entire basement. In this series, he cracks open his worn “tasting diary” and shares its contents with the masses.

If you write about whisk(e)y for a living, you’re bound to try some drams that the average drinker will never taste. From rare bottlings to limited-edition offerings to long-matured unicorn expressions, we get to sip some gems. I won’t lie, it’s pretty rad.

Below, you’ll find the 30 best sips of Scotch whisky I’ve ever enjoyed across my entire career. Some are reasonably priced and others are out of this stratosphere expensive (I’d never have been able to taste the top two if it hadn’t been for work). But regardless of their wide-ranging price tags, these are all the whiskies that I’ve loved best, based on taste alone.

Note: This is my taste. Your favorites might vary from mine greatly; other whisky writers might scoff at these choices. That’s the name of the game — all palates are different and while there’s certainly a level of expertise involved in tasting Scotch whisky professionally, there’s still a lot of room for disagreement.

30) The Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask

The Balvenie

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $74.99

The Story:

A favorite of bartenders and drinkers alike, this 14-year-old Scotch whisky is first aged in traditional oak casks before being matured for extra time in Caribbean rum barrels. The result is highly mellow, smooth, extremely sippable whisky.

Tasting Notes:

Take a long whiff of this special offering and you’ll find hints of dried apricots, spicy cinnamon, and vanilla beans. On the palate, you’ll be treated to caramel apples, candied orange peels, caramelized sugar, and butterscotch. The finish is long, lingering, and ends with a final note of toasted vanilla beans.

Bottom Line:

This is a truly decadent, almost dessert-like whisky. It’s the perfect end to a heavy meal. Sip it slowly and let it aid in digestion.

29) Aberlour A’Bunadh

Aberlour

ABV: 59.6%

Average Price: $114.99

The Story:

This high proof offering from Aberlour is truly breathtaking. While many distilleries opt for finishing whiskies in sherry butts, this award-winning, cask-strength whisky was aged completely in Oloroso sherry casks. The result is a highly complex, sweet, truly memorable flavor experience.

Tasting Notes:

Give this whisky a proper nosing and you’ll find a nutty sweetness, dried cherries, spicy cinnamon, and a nice, sweet sherry backbone. Take a sip and you’ll find even more sherry, dried fruits, tropical flavors, and creamy butterscotch. The finish is memorable, with hints of peppery spice and buttery caramel.

Bottom Line:

If you enjoy sherried whiskies, you probably can’t find a better value than Aberlour A’bunadh. It’s a sherry bomb through and through.

28) Dalwhinnie 15

Dalwhinnie

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $78

The Story:

There’s a reason this 15-year-old whisky is beloved. This award-winning dram is soft, rich, and extremely undervalued. For the price, it’s hard to find a better 15-year-old expression on earth.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be greeted with aromas of sticky toffee, orange peels, and just a hint of spice. The palate is filled with candy apples, almonds, creamy vanilla, and buttery caramel. Let it open and savor the gentle, nutty sweetness.

Bottom Line:

This isn’t a crazy expensive bottle for the flavor experience it offers. It’s nutty, creamy, and indulgent — a truly memorable sip.

27) The Macallan Rare Cask

The Macallan

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $299

The Story:

The Macallan Rare Cask expression really is a “rare” offering. It’s made using first-fill sherry casks that were hand-selected by the master distiller, made up of the top 1% of the casks currently aging at the renowned distillery.

Tasting Notes:

As you nose this whisky, you’ll find notes of creamy sherry, dried fruits, and toasted vanilla beans. Take a sip and you’ll be immersed in more sweet sherry, clover honey, buttery caramel, and just a hint of spicy cinnamon. In the end, you’ll find a bit of warmth and a nice crescendo of cracked black pepper.

Bottom Line:

While this bottle isn’t tremendously expensive, it’s not the kind of bottle you’ll just walk into a store and grab for the weekend, either. It should be savored and sipped slowly.

26) Springbank 18

Springbank

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $235

The Story:

At one point, Campbeltown (where Springbank is located) was known as the center of the whisky world. Today that honor likely goes to Islay. But while other distilleries closed, Springbank remained. The distillery is returning the area to prominence with bottles like Springbank 18, an expression aged in both ex-bourbon casks and sherry butts.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of candied orange peels, creamy sherry, and sweet vanilla beans. Take a sip and you’ll add layers of butterscotch, sugar cookies, dried cherries, and subtle cinnamon. The finish is long, warming, and ends with a slight hint of citrus mixed with sweet treacle.

Bottom Line:

Pay tribute to the area that was once a whisky haven by sipping slowly on this highly nuanced, 18-year-old Scotch whisky.

25) Lagavulin 16

Lagavulin

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $79.99

The Story:

If you’re a fan of Islay whiskies, there’s a good chance you enjoy a dram of Lagavulin 16 from time to time. With that being said, this single malt definitely isn’t for everyone. That’s because this is a true blue smoke bomb — a heavily peated whisky, aged to perfection for 16 years.

Tasting Notes:

Take a whiff and you’ll find notes of dried cherries, toasted vanilla beans, charred oak, and the peat smoke drinkers expect from an Islay malt. The first sip is loaded with flavors of ocean brine, sweet sherry, buttery caramel, and sweet vanilla — all underpinned by a smoky backbone. At the finish, you’ll find a cacophony of dried apricots, toffee, and peaty smoke.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to quality, smoky whiskies, Lagavulin 16 is a true bargain. Buy a bottle for now and another for later — it’s nice to have on hand if you have a guest who likes peat.

24) Talisker 18

Talisker

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $184.99

The Story:

Talisker is the oldest distillery on the isle of Skye — the largest, most northern island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. While you can’t go wrong with any of the distillery’s offerings, Talisker 18 was aged for 18 years in a combination of sherry and bourbon casks, adding another layer of nuance.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of dried fruits, toasted oak, and sweet vanilla. On the palate, you’ll be treated to charred oak, buttery caramel, sticky toffee pudding, and a nice hit of subtle smoke. The last sip is full of long, dry, warming heat and more of that smoke.

Bottom Line:

If you’re saving up for a whisky in the $100-$200 range and you’ve never tried Talisker yet, grab this bottle. It’s mellow and sweet enough to appeal to mainland single malt fans with a nice bit of smoke to please to Islay drinkers.

23) Glenmorangie Nectar D’or

Glenmorangie

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $71.99

The Story:

Glenmorangie Nectar D’or tastes exactly as the name would suggest. It’s sweet, smooth, and almost dessert-like in its flavor. It gets these unique notes from being aged in ex-bourbon casks as well as Sauternes wine casks. The bourbon and the sweet white wine casks give the whisky a very memorable flavor that’s well-loved by fans of the brand and critics alike.

Tasting Notes:

You’ll find aromas of maple candy, dried cherries, vanilla icing, and caramel up front. The sip is filled with flavors of sticky toffee pudding, sugar cookies, and just a hint of spicy cinnamon. The finish is long, lingering, and finishes with buttery peanut brittle.

Bottom Line:

There might be no better dessert whisky on earth than Glenmorangie Nectar D’or. It’s elegant, rich, and perfectly paired with a decadent cake.

22) GlenDronach Allardice

GlenDronach

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $189.99

The Story:

Named to pay tribute to distillery founder James Allardice, this 18-year-old highland whisky was matured only in Oloroso sherry butts. Since it didn’t spend any time in the usual charred oak barrels, it has a refined, sweet sherry flavor that makes it stand out and linger in your memory.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll get dried cherries, caramelized sugar, and tropical fruits, The palate is filled with a nutty sweetness, clover honey, dessert wine, and creamy vanilla. It all ends in a warming, mellow finish that closes with notes of maple candy and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

Being aged in Oloroso sherry butts give this a distinct, fruity flavor that makes it well-suited to drinking neat.

21) Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Johnnie Walker

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $199.99

The Story:

You won’t find many blended whiskies on this list, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad by any means. It’s just hard to make a list of 30 whiskies without leaving out a few. That said, there’s a reason Johnnie Walker Blue is one of the most awarded blends in the world. It has no age statement but is made up of a blend of Diageo’s rarest and most mature whiskies.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of licorice, charred oak, vanilla, and spicy cinnamon. On the palate, you’ll be treated to flavors of sticky toffee pudding, rich milk chocolate, subtle spice, and even subtler smoke. The conclusion is long, warming, and ends with hints of dried cherries and a nice kiss of smoke.

Bottom Line:

Johnnie Walker Blue is the type of bottle everyone should have in their liquor cabinets. Great for a special occasion, it’s mellow, soft, and perfect for slow sipping.

20) The Balvenie 21 Year Port Wood

The Balvenie

ABV: 47.6%

Average Price: $249.99

The Story:

Like many special expressions, everything you need to know is in the name. This 21-year-old offering from The Balvenie is first aged in oak casks before being moved to port wine casks for further aging. The result is a deep, rich, vinous flavor experience.

Tasting Notes:

Spend a moment taking in the nose and you’ll be greeted with aromas of dried fruits, rich almonds, and sweet cream. The first sip is piled high with molasses, sour cherries, clover honey, spicy cinnamon, and buttery caramel. The dram ends in a soft, sweet finale of brown sugar and pecans.

Bottom Line:

You can’t go wrong with any bottle of The Balvenie, but it’s hard to top the flavor of this 21-year-old port wood offering. Especially for the price.

19) The Dalmore Cigar Malt

The Dalmore

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $189.99

The Story:

This whisky was designed to be paired with a cigar. But that doesn’t mean non-smokers can’t enjoy this complex juice — matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and Matusalem sherry butts before being finished in cabernet sauvignon wine barriques.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find notes of ripe berries, sweet cinnamon, and sweet cream. The first sip yields hints of sticky toffee pudding, caramelized sugar, dried fruits, and subtle spice. The last sip finishes with a nice combination of dried orange peels and buttery caramel.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a cigar smoker, this is your malt — it’s sweet-not-smoky with a decadent mouthfeel.

18) Glenmorangie Signet

Glenmorangie

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $199.99

The Story:

This very unique single malt from Glenmorangie is aged in specially designed casks. It has no age statement but it’s made up of the oldest and rarest of the distillery’s whiskies and is distilled using roasted “chocolate” barley along with single estate Cadboll barley.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be treated to notes of dried cherries, orange peels, subtle spices, sugar cookies, and maple syrup. The palate is full of hints of cinnamon, candied orange peels, buttery caramel, and sweet treacle. The finish is long, full of warming heat, and ends with a final bit of butterscotch sweetness.

Bottom Line:

A lot of the whiskies on this list are flavorful because of the barrels used in the aging process. This expression gets its memorable flavor from the malts — try it and expand your whisky palate in the process.

17) Ardbeg Blaaack

Ardbeg

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $139.99

The Story:

Ardbeg is well-known for its peat-smoked whiskies. In recent years, the distillery has upped its flavor profile by aging its whiskies in sherry, bourbon, and now, with this expression, Pinot Noir casks from New Zealand.

Tasting Notes:

Take time to nose this sip. There you’ll find aromas of smoked bacon, dried cherries, and caramelized sugar. On the palate, this whisky is swirling with flavors of woodsmoke, creamy vanilla, and spicy cinnamon. The finish is medium, fiery, and ends with a nice hit of peat smoke.

Bottom Line:

If you’re already a fan of Ardbeg, the natural progression is Ardbeg Blaaack. It’s as if you kicked Ardbeg 10 up to 11.

16) Glenfiddich 21 Reserva Rum Cask Finish

Glenfiddich

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $229

The Story:

If you have the money to purchase a 21-year-old bottle of Scotch, you’re probably going to be pretty happy with the flavor. But if you grab a bottle of Glenfiddich 21 Reserva Rum Cask Finish, you’ll have a 21-year-old whisky that was finished for four months in Caribbean rum casks — thereby expanding your whisky palate while offering a feast for the senses.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of dried orange peels, rich honey, and milk chocolate. The palate is filled with cooking spices, creamy caramel, charred oak, and dried cherries. The last few sips from the glass are full of pleasing heat and end with citrus and butterscotch notes.

Bottom Line:

Rum and Scotch are two spirits that seem to be destined to work together. While you might not be happy if you mix the two, finishing a whisky in a rum cask always seems to be a win.

15) Highland Park 18

Highland Park

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $159.99

The Story:

This highly-award whisky from Highland Park is made using both first-filled sherry season European oak casks as well as American oak barrels. It’s aged to perfection for 18 years in Kirkwall, on the Orkney Islands. The result is a spectacular, mellow, aromatic whisky.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of dried cherries, toasted vanilla, and subtle peat smoke. The palate highlights a broad spectrum of flavors — including toasted marshmallows, clover honey, sour cherries, and cocoa powder. It’s all concluded with a nice kiss of briny peat smoke.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason Highland Park 18 is one of the most beloved bottles on the market. And this price makes it a winner on multiple levels.

14) Chivas Regal 25

Chivas

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $429

The Story:

Chivas touts itself as the first luxury whisky, having produced its first expression in 1909 — a 25-year-old blend. Prohibition put an end to that product, but it was finally re-established in 2007. Only released twice per year, all of the hand-picked whiskies that go into this special bottle have spent a minimum of 25 years maturing.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to breathe in this whisky’s various aromas. You’ll be greeted with notes of dried apricots, sweet cream, and caramel. The sip yields hints of raisins, butterscotch, shortbread, and subtle cinnamon spice. It ends with a nice bit of heat, complemented by caramel and subtle smoke.

Bottom Line:

Sometimes people look down on blended whisky. If that’s you, just take one sip of Chivas Regal 25 and your mind will be completely changed.

13) Ardbeg Traigh Bhan

Ardbeg

ABV: 46.2%

Average Price: $289

The Story:

This small-batch whisky from Islay’s Ardbeg Distillery gets its name from the island’s famous Traigh Bhan beach. It was aged for 18 years in a combination of American oak barrels and Oloroso sherry butts.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of dried fruits, charred oak, and a kiss of smoky peat. The palate adds layers, with caramel apples, creamy vanilla, smoked bacon, and subtle cinnamon predominating. The finish is long, warming, and closes with a final flourish of peat smoke.

Bottom Line:

If you started with Ardbeg 10 and worked your way up to An Oa, Blaack, and Uigeadail, it’s time to step it up to Traigh Bhan.

12) The Macallan 18 Double Cask

The Macallan

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $429

The Story:

The Macallan is well known for its relationship with Spain. All of its whiskies have at the very least been finished in sherry-seasoned casks. Its Double Cask 18-Year-Old was matured for 18 years in a combination of American and European sherry seasoned casks — making this expression doubly special.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of candied orange peels, caramel, and dried fruits. The palate is loaded up with ripe citrus, vanilla beans, charred oak, and a nice hint of sweet cinnamon. It all ends in a final warming cascade of citrus and brown sugar.

Bottom Line:

The Macallan 12 is a classic bottle that belongs on your shelf at all times. If you have the money, 18 Double Oak should stand alongside it.

11) Glenfarclas 17

Glenfarclas

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $104

The Story:

While names like Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Lagavulin dominated the market, Glenfarclas has quietly become one of the most highly-regard distilleries in Scotland. Its 17-year-old expression was aged solely in 100% Oloroso sherry butts, giving it a distinctly sweet, warming flavor.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be treated to aromas of sweet sherry, dried cherries, brown sugar, and subtle smoke. The first sip is full of bold flavors like buttery caramel, charred oak, cooking spices, and a warm hug of peat smoke. It finishes with a long, warming feeling and a nice hit of sweet cinnamon.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of both sherry and peat, this is your jam. Grab as many bottles as you can and hide them from your whisky-loving friends.

10) Ardbeg Supernova

Ardbeg

ABV: 53.8%

Average Price: $200

The Story:

This aptly named Ardbeg offering is a high proof, bold, smoke bomb. This extremely limited-edition, no-age-statement whisky was aged in ex-bourbon barrels. While it gained the sweet, caramel, and vanilla flavors from the casks that once held bourbon, this is Ardbeg’s smokiest whisky by far and will only appeal to true peat fans.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is filled with herbal, smoky, and sweet caramel aromas. Take a sip and you’ll be transported to a world of subtle cinnamon, spicy pepper, buttery vanilla, and a whole lot of charred, smoky peat. (You have to be ready for it, it comes on strong.) The last few sips are warming and end with a nice final hint of that peaty smoke.

Bottom Line:

Did we mention this whisky was smoky? It’s really freaking smoky. If that’s your thing, you’ll love it.

9) The Glenlivet XXV

The Glenlivet

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $429.99

The Story:

This exceptional, highly rated whisky spends 23 years in a traditional oak cask before being double-barreled in hand-picked first-fill sherry casks for two more years. The result is a memorable whisky, bursting with a mixture of fresh fruits and caramel sweetness.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find notes of cocoa, dried cherries, and charred oak. The sip delivers flavors of spicy cinnamon, raisins, caramelized sugar, and a nutty sweetness. It all ends in a final wave of sherry and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

This bottle isn’t cheap for a reason. It was aged for a long time and the price and flavor reflect this. Keep it for a truly special occasion and drink it neat.

8) Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 07.1

Bruichladdich

ABV: 48.4%

Average Price: $400

The Story:

The seventh Black Art release, this expression was distilled way back in 1994 before being aged for 25 years in unknown barrels (there’s a lot of mystery surrounding this bottle). It was bottled at cask strength, is non-chill filtered, and as bold and rugged as the island it was distilled and aged on.

Unlike many Islay offerings, Black Art isn’t peated.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of toasted marshmallow, nutmeg, dried fruits, and crème brûlée. The first sip will send you into a world of mellow, rich caramel candy, coconut, candied orange peel, and charred oak. The finish is long, warming, and ends with butterscotch and roasted almonds.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of Islay and its peated whiskies, this is a perfect change of pace. It’s rich, warming, and doesn’t have the gut-punch of smoke that most of that island’s whiskies have.

7) Bowmore 25 Small Batch Release

Bowmore

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $503

The Story:

Bowmore doesn’t get the name recognition of some of the other more lauded Islay distilleries, but it is no less beloved by its fans. This small-batch release was matured for 25 years in a combination of ex-bourbon cask and sherry butts. The result is a highly complex juice with a nice mingling of caramel smokiness and sherry sweetness.

Tasting Notes:

Take time to savor the various aromas and you’ll find notes of ocean brine, caramel, and subtle peat smoke. On the palate, you’re sure to pick up sticky toffee pudding, dried cherries, rich walnuts, and more peaty smoke. The end of the sip is very warm and finishes with a nice combo of maple candy and briny smoke.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the most complex whiskies on the market. It strikes the perfect balance between peaty smoke and sherry sweetness.

6) Bunnahabhain 25

Bunnahabhain

ABV: 46.3%

Average Price: $899

The Story:

This non-chill filtered, small-batch whisky was aged for 25 years at the brand’s Islay distillery. It’s referred to as the “super-premium” member of Bunnahabhain’s range of whiskies. It’s nuanced, well-balanced, and bridges the gap between fruity, nutty, and gently smoky with ease.

Tasting Notes:

Take a whiff of this special bottle and bask in the aromas of charred oak, dried cherries, and toasted vanilla beans. The palate is swimming with a nutty sweetness followed by fresh fruits, buttery caramel, and light peat. The finish is dry, lingering, and ends with a nice combination of smoke and brown sugar.

Bottom Line:

This is a perfect representation of the various styles of whisky from Islay. While many simply assume all the whiskies are smoke bombs, this expression proves that a gentle kiss of smoke is often enough.

5) The Dalmore King Alexander III

The Dalmore

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $359

The Story:

This expression doesn’t carry an age statement, but it’s made up of whiskies ranging in ages from 12 to 25 years old as well the brand’s Cigar Malt. This ridiculously complex bottle also contains whiskies that were aged in various containers — including ex-bourbon casks, Madeira wine barrels, marsala wine casks, Oloroso sherry butts, and even cabernet sauvignon barrels.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of dried fruits, caramelized sugar, and vanilla beans. The palate develops those notes — layering in crème brûlée, candied orange peels, buttery caramel, and blackberries. The close is sweet, warming, and ends with a nice, pleasing kick of cinnamon.

Bottom Line:

You’ll feel like royalty when you slowly sip on a dram of The Dalmore King Alexander III.

4) Laphroaig 30

Laphroaig

ABV: 53.5%

Average Price: $849

The Story:

Even in peat fan circles, Laphroaig isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like brine and antiseptic flavors along with smoky peat, you won’t enjoy this 30-year-old expression. Aged in refill hogsheads before being moved to first-fill ex-bourbon barrels and refill quarter casks, this is a spectacular offering for smoky whisky fans.

If you don’t like the smoke, leave this alone.

Tasting Notes:

Nose this special release and your nostrils will fill with the aromas of toasted brown sugar, almonds, and dried fruits. Take a sip and you’ll get to enjoy the numerous flavors working in harmony — including ocean brine, orange peels, vanilla beans, and a nice hit of peat smoke. It all ends with a final, warming sip of caramel and wood smoke.

Bottom Line:

This iconic bottle will be the centerpiece of any whisky collection. It’s a must for true smoke lovers with some cash on hand.

3) Mortlach 26

Mortlach

ABV: 53.3%

Average Price: $1,800

The Story:

If you haven’t had a chance to try one of Mortlach’s whiskies, we suggest starting with its reasonably priced 12-year. If your palate (and wallet) has evolved past that expression, this 26-year-old was matured in both Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry butts and is truly a feast for the senses.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be greeted with aromas of the rick house itself, tobacco leaves, almonds, and sweet vanilla. Take a sip and you’ll find hints of dried cherries, chocolate fudge, buttery caramel, sweet sherry, and burnt sugar with cream. The close is snuggly warm, with a great hit of caramel and cracked black pepper at the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is an exceptional bottle of whisky. It’s also really expensive. If you get a chance to try it, SAVOR EVERY SIP.

2) The Macallan M

The Macallan

ABV: 44%

Average Price: $6,400

The Story:

While this whisky doesn’t carry an age statement, it was made using the rarest whiskies at The Macallan and you can bet they’re really old and really rare. The main whisky in The Macallan’s 1824 Series, it was a collaboration between The Macallan, art director Fabien Baron, and Lalique.

Tasting Notes:

You’ll definitely want to nose this whisky before sipping it. We mean for a few solid minutes. Breathe and reflect on the teat you’re about to consume.

Upfront, you’ll find aromas of leather, charred oak, baking spices, candied orange peels, and sweet vanilla cream. The first sip adds to that cavalcade of flavors with sweet sherry, rich milk chocolate, buttery caramel, and just a wisp of smoke. The finish is filled with pleasing heat and ends with hints of tobacco and vanilla beans.

Bottom Line:

This whisky is touted as the “most sophisticated whisky in the world” and with its flavor and Lalique crystal decanter, it’s really hard to argue.

1) The Dalmore 45

The Dalmore

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $14,600

The Story:

You can’t speed up time (unless you have a DeLorean and a mad scientist) so to get a whisky aged for 45 years, you have to wait very patiently. That time costs money, as does the craft that goes into this sublime, 45-year-old whisky — first matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred to two different varieties of Vintage Graham’s Port Colheita pipes.

The two whiskeys are then blended and finished in ex-bourbon casks, adding yet another layer to this fascinating offering.

Tasting Notes:

You’ll be greeted with the smells of a musty barrelhouse, dried cherries, rich almonds, and sweet plums. The first taste lightens the mustiness with toasted marshmallows, baking spices, sweet chocolate, and creamy vanilla. It all ends in a brief, warming splash of caramel and spice.

Bottom Line:

Not many Scotch drinkers can justify spending $14,600 for one bottle of whisky. But if you just sold a tech company, know this: This is my favorite sip of whisky ever. So buy a bottle and invite me to share it with you and your rich friends. Please.

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