glass of single malt scotch being held in front of scottish landscape

Best Single Malt Scotch: Our Expert Picks

If you think that scotch has a bit of a Scottish ring to it, you’re 100% correct. It’s a Scottish classic that’s been around for centuries, and it continues to make its way into glasses around the world. Single malt scotch is a unique liquor that people share and enjoy around the world. While it got its start in Scotland, it’s made its way around the world and has quickly become a fan-favorite for people who love whisky.

While single malt scotch is a great liquor to enjoy, choosing the best single malt scotch isn’t always easy, especially if it’s your first time. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Discover everything you need to know about single malt scotch, including some of the most delicious products.

What You Need to Know About Single Malt Scotch

Single malt scotch is a delicious liquor that’s meant for sipping. It’s one of the few liquors whose sole purpose is to be poured in a glass neat, or over ice, and enjoyed among friends. While it’s Scottish in origin, it’s available all around the United States.

Before you purchase single malt scotch, there are a few things you must know. First and foremost, you need to know the history behind this scotch as well as its variations. Knowing how to choose better scotches than others is also useful, along with understanding why there is a wide price range between younger and older single malt scotches.

Single Malt Scotch: An Overview

Single malt scotch is a type of whisky that comes from Scotland, and it’s been around for a long time. In fact, its origins date back to the 1800s in Scotland. For a single malt scotch to be considered a single malt scotch, it has to go through a specific distillation process.

The scotch has to be made at a single distillery, and the distillation process must be done with a pot still. As for the mash, it has to be malted barley, and it can’t be mixed with any other mash. The last factor that makes a scotch a single malt scotch is how it’s aged. According to Scottish law, it has to be aged for at least three years to even be considered scotch. That said, most single malt scotches are aged for much longer periods. Overall, a scotch must have all of these traits to be a single malt scotch. Otherwise, it legally can’t be called that, and Scotland takes its scotch very seriously.

When it comes to single malt scotch’s alcohol content, you can expect a minimum of 40% ABV or 80 proof. Anything lower can’t be considered single malt scotch based on Scottish standards.

How to Choose the Best Single Malt Scotch?

Choosing the best single malt scotch can be challenging, especially when you find out that there are more than 120 distilleries in Scotland producing this scotch. Therefore, knowing what single malt scotch is better than another can be confusing if you don’t know how to evaluate them.

One of our favorite ways to tell the difference is to see what a distillery does with its single malt scotch. Most single-malt scotches are sent out to be blended with other malts to create a scotch blend. While delicious, these single malts rely less on their own flavor and more on the combination with the mixed malt. For this reason, there is often more leeway with the quality and flavor of the single malt scotches coming from these distilleries. Therefore, single malt scotches that come from distilleries that specialize in single malts are usually better-tasting scotches.

Aside from checking out the distillery, you can also check the age of the scotch. Like most whisky, scotch that’s aged for longer periods will be more expensive than scotch that’s only aged for a few years. This is especially true for single malt scotch, which should be aged for more than three to five years once you reach the higher price range. Cost can also be a good indicator, but depending on what you want out of scotch, it might not be perfect.

What Does Single Malt Scotch Cost?

Single malt scotch costs about as much as some other scotches. You can expect to spend around $30 on the low end, but don’t expect it to be a high-quality scotch. On the high end, you can spend several thousand on single malt scotch. Ultimately, it comes down to how long the scotch is aged. That said, expect to pay between $50 and $100 for a good bottle of single malt scotch. While this price range won’t have anything super fancy, it does offer the best value.

Where Can You Buy Single Malt Scotch?

You can buy single malt scotch anywhere you can buy liquor. You’ll find single malt scotch in liquor stores, in restaurants, and behind most bars. Therefore, getting your hands on it shouldn’t be an issue. Local delivery services can also help you find single malt scotch and bring it right to your door if it’s in your area. That said, some parts of the United States might be more limited, so keep this in mind.

The Best Single Malt Scotch

Single malt scotch varies in quality, so it’s important to know what you’re drinking. To help you narrow your options, we’ve compiled a list of the best single malt scotch on the market. Read on to learn more about them below.

1. Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Glenfiddich 12 year old single malt scotch bottle
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MSRP: $49.99

Proof: 80

Tasting Notes: Sweet and fruity notes that develop into a creamy butterscotch. A long smooth and mellow finish.

Our Rating: 5/5

Glenfiddich has been around since 1887 and uses the same highland seawater that they started with back when they brewed their first single malt scotch whisky. This gives the scotch a unique and fresh flavor that’s almost impossible to match unless you have a single malt from a similar part of the area. To further back up these accomplishments, the brand has won several awards for its flavor and testament to the original distillery process.

While the 12-year single malt scotch is what we cover here, it’s not the only available option. Plenty of other single malt scotches are available for you to choose and another favorite of ours is the 18-year single malt scotch. It’s similar to the 12-year scotch but with deeper flavor notes and a smoother overall experience. We definitely don’t recommend using it as shots because it’s more of a sipping scotch.


  • From one of Scotland’s oldest single malt distilleries
  • Wide range of options that extend beyond the 12-year single malt scotch
  • Award-winning brand


  • More expensive than some of the other options

2. Mr. Whisky

MSRP: $83.99

Proof: 80

Tasting Notes: Fruity aromas, sherried character, and balanced with rich smoky notes.

Our Rating: 4.5/5

When you want a single malt scotch that gives you a taste of the highlands, you can’t go wrong with Mr. Whisky. It comes from the Scottish Highlands and is one of the most popular single malts on the market. We love this option because it uses a premium mash of barley straight from Scotland, so you don’t have to worry about it being an American whisky branded as a nice scotch.

Mr. Whisky is also one of the easier options to find in the United States. While supplies may be sold out from some suppliers due to high demand, you can usually find them locally and even through online retailers.


  • From Scottish Highlands
  • Premium whisky flavors straight from Scotland
  • Affordable price compared to other Scottish Highland whisky


  • Frequently sold out and sometimes difficult to find

3.  Highland Park

Highland Park 12 Year Old bottle - Urnes design
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MSRP: $46

Proof: 86

Tasting Notes: Smoky, rich, hints of citrus from dried fruit flavors. Vanilla and honey round out the flavor.

Our Rating: 4/5

Another famous single malt scotch brand is Highland Park. In fact, it’s one of the more unique brands due to the company’s fixation on all things Viking. Furthermore, the company has a remote location for its distillery in Orkney. This makes it the northernmost distillery in Scotland, which gives it one of the most authentic flavors around.

Aside from being a good scotch, there’s a range of whisky available. There is a 12-year-aged whisky, a 15-year-aged whisky, and an 18-year-aged whisky. There are even some cask-strength options for people who want to explore an even stronger single-malt scotch.


  • It is one of the northernmost locations in Scotland, which is great for true Scottish single malt enthusiasts
  • Wide range of age options
  • Balanced flavor


  • Not easy to find everywhere in the United States due to the location

4. Lagavulin

MSRP: $89.99

Proof: 96

Tasting Notes: Soft, clean, fresh tasting notes; almost like tea. Subtle hints of chocolate and even lemon.

Our Rating: 4/5

Lagavulin is a great single malt whisky that comes straight from Scotland and has a lot of heritage. The region of Lagavulin is on the Isle of Islay, which gives it an authentic Scottish whisky flavor. What’s more, it’s one of the oldest distilleries in all of Scotland, and it was founded in 1816. When you have a Lagavulin whisky, you get to enjoy a taste of history.

Additionally, this single malt whisky is special due to the ingredients. It’s made with raw materials from peat bogs and Solan Lochs. There is also a wide range of Lagavulin whisky. You can find 8-year-aged whisky, 16-year-aged whisky, and even 25 or 35-year options.


  • From one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland
  • Plenty of different age options that can fit your budget
  • Double Gold Medal Winner in the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition


  • One of the more expensive options, even for the 8-year-aged whisky

Enjoy the Best Single Malt Today

pouring single malt scotch
Single malt scotch is a delicious liquor that’s meant for good times and slow sipping. Whether you’re someone who loves a good scotch, or if it’s your first time drinking scotch whisky, give one of the best single malt scotches we covered a try. Any of the single malt scotches that we covered can be a great fit for any night out. Whether you’re out at dinner or partying with friends, it’s a smooth way to enjoy your evening – just make sure you drink responsibly!
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