VinePair is ringing in the Holiday Cheers with a spotlight on the bottles we’re gifting (and hoping to receive) and a look inside some of our favorite holiday traditions and recipes — from elevated eggnog to all things bubbly. Plus, we’ll be reflecting on the past year in the beverage industry and shifting our focus to the drinks trends we expect to see in 2022.
Beloved by collectors and generally appreciated by drinks enthusiasts, Scotch is revered across the world for its wide variety of styles from new and historic brands. Which is why, more often than not, a good bottle of Scotch is a solid option for gifting this time of year.
With its often lengthy age statements, quality Scotch can cost a pretty penny — but of course, there are exceptions. From top-shelf bottles to impress the boss, to budget-friendly whiskies that offer a true bang for your buck, there’s likely a Scotch out there for everyone on your list this season. Here are seven of the best Scotches at a range of price points to give friends, family, and coworkers this holiday.
- Best value Scotch: Dewar’s 15 Year Old Blended Whisky
- Best splurge Scotch: Mortlach 20 Year Old Cowie’s Blue Seal Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Best Scotch for beginners: Arran Barrel Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Best Scotch for whiskey geeks: The GlenDronach Revival Aged 15 Years
- Best Scotch for cocktail lovers: Mossburn Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
- Best Scotch for the boss: The Macallan Double Cask 12 Year
- Best limited-edition Scotch: Laphroaig Càirdeas 2021 Pedro Ximénez Casks Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Best Value Scotch
It’s hard to find a 15-year-old Scotch at under $50. It’s nearly impossible to find one that actually delivers on quality. Dewar’s is a true diamond in the rough — an ultimate bottom-shelf gem that’s ideal for last-minute gifting. Its notes of caramel, apple, and citrus fruits — alongside a honeyed, peppery finish — make this a whisky ideal for sipping neat or mixed in your favorite highball.
Best Splurge Scotch
With a vibrancy that belies its age, Mortlach 20 Year Old is ripe with notes of red berry fruit and a floral bouquet. Its vanilla finish with a touch of baking spice gives this whisky a satisfying feel and makes it well worth the price. For whisky lovers with top-shelf taste, this is the ultimate holiday present.
Best Scotch For Beginners
This expression arrives on the lighter end of the spectrum, making it an approachable introduction for those newer to Scotch. An Island single malt, Arran Barrel Reserve is a blend of 7- and 8-year-old whiskies, which harmonize in a bright, citrus and vanilla flavor. While it’s vibrant enough to sip during the warm months, it would be just as at home by a wintry fireplace.
Best Scotch For Whiskey Geeks
While not yet a mainstream hit, true Scotch aficionados know and love GlenDronach. The insidery bottle is rich with aromas of blackberries and figs. It was aged in sherry oak barrels, adding a level of sweetness that balances out its roasty, nutty notes. It’s a bottle that’s sure to impress the collector in your life.
Best Scotch For Cocktail Lovers
With an equal representation of oak and fruit notes, Mossburn Speyside can absolutely be enjoyed neat. However, at a relatively low price point, it’s also a great ingredient to have on hand for the aspiring mixologist. Gift it to your Rob Roy-loving friend, or to the Old Fashioned fan looking for a change.
Best Scotch For The Boss
Whether or not your boss has a strong knowledge of Scotch, they will surely know The Macallan and its reputation. The brand has been around since 1824, and its whiskies are some of the most highly regarded in the world. Notes of candied ginger, nuts, and a sweet finish will impress any whiskey fan.
Best Limited-Edition Scotch
Beloved by geeks, this highly anticipated release doesn’t disappoint. The 2021 edition is no exception — delivering a near-perfect balance of fruit, peat, and alcohol to the palate. Its sherry cask finish lends it an inviting caramel hue, making it an interesting bottle to display on the bar cart of any collector.