When it comes to the best Scotch whisky on the shelf, you’re going to have to pay for it — sometimes dearly. The good stuff from Scotland tends to be rarer, comes from further away, and (a lot) less of it actually gets here — all of which jacks up those price points. It only takes one trip around the liquor store to find that there are arguably more expensive Scotch whiskies on the shelf than cheap ones — that’s especially true if you’re comparing prices to, say, bourbon whiskey.
That alone makes it worth exploring which bottles of truly expensive Scotch whisky are actually worth spending your very hard-earned cash on. Which is exactly what we’re doing today.
When it comes to talking about expensive Scotch whisky there’s a huge caveat to address in the American whiskey market. Expensive Scotch whisky is usually priced high at retail from the jump. Where some rare bourbons/ryes with a low MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) get massively inflated price tags on the aftermarket (for example a standard bottle of Pappy only costs $99, but will cost you well over $2,000 in reality), scotch usually costs what it costs. Generally, expensive Scotch whisky is priced at an astronomical price point by the manufacturer (not the retailer). This stuff actually costs its price tag because it’s that rare.
Long story short (too late), expensive Scotch is actually expensive. The bottles I’ve listed below generally cost what they’re selling for. A few of them have gone up in price as supplies have dwindled but, even then, not by that much.
- Advertisement -
Below, I’m listing expensive Scotch whiskies and breaking them into two categories. I’ve broken them into the “expensive” stuff that’s under $500 and you can generally find in “Part 1.” Then I’m going to list the astronomically priced bottles that you’ll need to really want to seek out or maybe even invest in “Part 2.” The throughline of all of this is that these all taste phenomenal so I’m not ranking anything. These are simply great bottles of Scotch whisky that are worth adding to your collection. Let’s dig in!
Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Scotch Whisky Posts of The Last Six Months
Part 1 — The “Expensive” Bottles
The Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Estate
Average Price: $289
This The Macallan expression ups the ante by using barley from the Easter Elchies Estate around The Macallan distillery, making it a single-estate whisky. The spirit from that hyper-local mash is aged for an undisclosed amount of time in undisclosed barrels but you can bet there’s some sherry and bourbon involved.
- Advertisement -
Nose: Woody cinnamon sticks rubbed with orange zest pop on the nose as a thick banana bread batter with walnuts, nutmeg, and plenty of butter leads to a smidge of lemon oil and maybe some river rock.
Palate: The palate has plenty of woodiness from that cinnamon and adds in a touch of clove and allspice before savory figs and meaty prunes lead to a mix of raisins, nuts, and candied orange peels.
- Advertisement -
Finish: The finish is pure silk with layers of orange cake, cinnamon frosting, and fig jam culminating in a rush of soft woody spices on the back end.
The Macallan is a whisky that everyone knows (even the newbies). It’s where whisky-philes get their start when they want to dive into the good but findable stuff. Overall, this is a straightforward sipper that shines either over a big ice cube or neat. I’d argue that it’s especially good after a big holiday meal as a digestif, sipped neat from a big brandy balloon glass. But that’s just me.
Royal Brackla Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 21 Years
Average Price: $250
This whisky is the oldest aged statement from the Last Great Malts from John Dewar & Sons line. The juice is distilled slowly before it spends 21 long years maturing Olorosso sherry casks where it’s left untouched. The barrels are vatted when they’re just right, proofed with soft Speyside water, and bottled.
Nose: Light vanilla pudding with a big dollop of berry compote welcomes you on the nose as this vibrant white grape bursts forth.
Palate: The taste meanders from spicy dark chocolate towards a malty Black Forest cake as stewed cherries, light cream, and a lot of dark chocolate shavings come together.
Finish: The finish embraces the chocolate until that bright white grape comes back to bring about a nice end.
This is a great unpeated malt for dipping your toes into the rarer stuff. It’s very easygoing and a classic (to its core) unpeated Highland malt. If you don’t dig it, you might simply not like unpeated single malt, which is totally fine. There are some peat monsters later on this list to try. That said, pour this over a big rock and take it slow, it’ll be a nice ride.
The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 21 Years
Average Price: $310
This redesigned The Glenlivet is still a classic whisky. The hot juice is aged in a triple combination of first-fill Oloroso sherry, Troncais oak Cognac casks, and vintage Colheita Port casks. After 21 long years (at least), the barrels are vatted and proofed down before bottling.
Nose: Leather and winter spices lead the way on the nose with a hint of saffron-stewed pears, ripe peaches, and lush eggnog next to boiled beans with a bay leaf.
Palate: The palate leans into the peaches and pears but puts them in a pie with plenty of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg next to apricot jam and rum-raisin.
Finish: The mid-palate hits a pine resin note before descending toward brandied cherries and dark chocolate with fresh ginger sharpens and a dash of cinnamon candy.
This is a great place to dig into the softer side of unpeated single malt. This whisky is so soft and smooth that it almost becomes part of you. It’s like drinking honey filtered through lush malty whisky. The question is, who doesn’t want that in their life?
Glenfiddich Grand Cru Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 23 Years
Average Price: $359
It’s all in the name of this yearly special release from Glenfiddich. The whisky in the bottle matures for over 23 years in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks before it’s vatted and then filled into French Cuvée casks that held Champagne. That whisky is then cut down to proof and bottled just in time for the holiday season.
Nose: This is straight-up classic malt on the nose with stewed apples and pears with a slight tartness and floral impression over a buttery brioche with a hint of maple woodiness.
Palate: The palate is lush and supple with a vanilla foundation and layers of pear candy, old toffees, creamed honey, and orchard wood with a sweet side.
Finish: The end has a pear and apple skin ambiance that leads to barks, cores, and stems with soft floral honey and a tiny bit of proofing water.
If you looked up Scotch whisky (unpeated) in the dictionary, this bottle might be there as the prime example of the style. It’s delicious and deeply flavored for the experts while still being 100% accessible, even to a new whisky drinker. It’s a wonderful balancing act and something that you can go back to again and again.
Aberfeldy Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 Years Old Finished in Tuscan Red Wine Casks
Average Price: $229
Aberfeldy’s Stephanie Macleod hand-selected Tuscan red wine casks from Bolgheri, Italy to finish this whisky. Once those barrels hit the right spot, they were vatted, proofed, and bottled as-is for this special limited release.
Nose: There’s a cumin and chili powder essence on the nose with vanilla cream, cherry cake, spiced caramel malts, and maybe a fleeting hint of flour tortillas with a hint of lard.
Palate: The palate Leans into the spiced and sweet malts with a dash of sharp green pepper next to lime leaves before moist marzipan and vanilla cake counterpoint the spice with sweetness.
Finish: The end has a soft oakiness that leads to a hint of soda bread with a mild pepperiness to the malt.
This whisky is a little bit more complex, which makes it fun for tastings. But that complexity is never the main point. The draw here is a whisky that highlights quintessential Highland unpeated malt whisky notes with a deep and dark Italian red wine accentuation that runs deep.
That all makes this a great option for an Italian red wine fan who wants to pair a great whisky with their oenological passions. I’d also argue that that makes this a great food pairing whisky too.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $240
This is the mountaintop of Johnnie Walker’s whiskies. The blend is a marriage of ultra-rare stock from extinct Diageo distilleries around Scotland. That’s just … cool. This expression is all about barrel selection and the mastery of a great noser and blender working together to create something special.
Nose: The nose on this one feels like silk with soft malts, dried plums, good marzipan, old boot leather, mulled wine spices, and a whisper of fireplace smoke.
Palate: The taste layers orange oils into the marzipan as rose-water-infused honey leads to a line of bitter dark chocolate that’s touched with smoked malts and nuts.
Finish: The end has an even keel of velvet mouthfeel next to floral honey, soft smoldering smoke from a fireplace, and old dried fruit.
It’s easy to say, “If you buy one Johnnie Walker…” But that’s not exactly true. I’d argue that Johnnie Walker Green Label is the must-have on the bar cart because it’s less than $100 and f*cking delicious.
That said, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is iconic for a reason. This whisky really is that good and lives up to the hype. Here’s the play, buy the Johnnie Green for yourself, for those easy-sipping mid-week pours, and mixing. Buy/pour Johnnie Blue when you have over some good whisky friends and you’re dressed to impress because, well, it’s delicious too.
Lindores Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky MCDXCIV
Average Price: $300
This Lowlands whisky is all about tradition and patience in a nearly-thousand-year-old abbey setting. The wash is made from Kingdom of Fife barley with an extra-long fermentation period. After distillation, the juice is loaded into ex-bourbon barrels, ex-wine barriques (casks from Bordeaux), and sherry butts. Those barrels are batched and blended before proofing and bottling as-is without filtration or coloring.
Nose: A pile of grilled tropical fruits greets you on the nose with pineapple and mango being the most distinct alongside wintry spices, a touch of vanilla, old leather gloves, and a hint of sweet oak.
Palate: The taste largely follows that path and layers in fresher orchard fruits, some dried-out dates, more dark spice, and a touch of dry vanilla tobacco.
Finish: The end is a distillation of the sugars from the tropical fruits with a line of spicy malts tying it all together.
This is a real whisky nerd whisky. This is the bottle you break out when you have some hardcore whisky fans over who you can regal with stories of rare Lowland whisky, speculate about old abbey monks, and go deep on finishing barrels.
Oh yeah, the whisky is tasty and unique too, which is sure to spark more conversation.
Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Signet
Average Price: $240
This Glenmorangie expression is a prime example of something truly special. The whisky is a mix of single malts with estate-grown malts and “chocolate malts” (meaning they were roasted until dark and chocolate-y). The hot juice then went into new American oak for varying amounts of time for blending, proofing, and bottling. While there’s no age statement, there are barrels up to 40 years old in the mix.
Nose: You’re greeted with a note of dried apricots with a hint of clove, leading towards a very light dark orange chocolate.
Palate: The chocolate amps up the bitterness, reaching espresso bean levels as some eggnog spice kicks in with a silky mouthfeel and a touch of wet tobacco.
Finish: The end brings about a flourish of bright citrus zest that dries everything out, leaving you with a lingering end and a final note of earthy dried mushrooms, burnt orange cut with clove, moist marzipan, and this faint whisper of sagebrush blooms.
This is a much sought-after bottle of whisky. That’s mostly due to it being truly luscious. This is the bottle you break out when you want to really go deep on an unpeated malt (that finish just keeps going) but also want to be comforted by something as familiar as an old wooly blanket on a rainy day.
Octomore 13.3 Edition Aged 5 Years Super Heavily Peated Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $346
This new limited edition Octomore from Bruichladdich is all about Islay. The whisky is made from heavily peated malts grown on the island (most malts are shipping in from the mainland) back in 2015. In 2016, the whisky was distilled right by the sea at Bruichladdich and then loaded into first-fill, ex-American whiskey casks and second-fill European oak casks from the Rivesaltes region of France and the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. After five years, the casks were vatted and then bottled completely as-is.
Nose: The nose is a subtle mix of salted caramel with sweet caramel malts, apricot jam, gingerbread, and a touch of nasturtium with a whisper of smoked apples and pears before the ashen peat starts sneaking in with a sense of a BBQ pork rib rack smothered in BBQ sauce.
Palate: The palate opens with smoked brown sugar next to rich marzipan with a hint of Almond Joy next to Kiwi boot wax, orange marmalade, dried roses, lemon pepper, and a hint of oyster liquor.
Finish: The end has a caramel maltiness that’s just kissed with sea salt and potpourri cut with mild dark spices and more of that marzipan, finishing on a light fruit soda vibe.
This is the whisky for the peat-seeking whisky nerds out there. That said, this is a nuanced and subtle peated malt that has so much more than just “smoke” or “ashiness” on the palate. If you can get past that (or if you love it), you’ll be treated to a truly deep and fun whisky experience. And if the peat is too much, try it with a large ice cube. It’ll calm down the harsher edges of the ash and sea brine while amping up the creaminess of the nuttiness, orange, and caramel.
The GlenDronach Parliament Aged 21 Years Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $250
Don’t let the name fool you. The “parliament” in this case is the collective noun for rooks — a type of European crow that nests above the distillery. That dark essence is rendered in the whisky through 21 long years of maturation in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks exclusively.
Nose: There’s a lot going on with this nose, starting with blackberry brambles hanging heavy with ripe fruit leading towards a well-spiced oatmeal cookie, soft marzipan cut with hints of orange zest, a light sense of dark chocolate with a creamy edge, and soft vanilla cookies sprinkled with mint and lavender.
Palate: A sticky toffee pudding sweetness arrives (heavy on the black tea-soaked dates and nutmeg with a good salted toffee drizzle) with flourishes of bitter dark chocolate notes and a sharp holiday spice matrix that leans into bark and berry botanicals with a dash of sweet nutmeg.
Finish: The end is very long and very velvety with hints of dark fruits, winter spice barks, soft marzipan, and a fleeting sense of a wildflower orchard.
This is one of my all-time favorite whiskies (pause for bombastic classical music to play) in the whole world. Seriously, if you don’t dig this unpeated malt, you might not like whisky, full stop. This feels like Christmas morning, your birthday party, and summer vacation in a glass.
The Dalmore King Alexander III Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $300
The Dalmore went above and beyond with this bespoke blend of malts. The mix marries six barrels: French wine, Madeira, sherry, Marsala, port, and Kentucky bourbon casks. This is one of the more creative and extreme examples of barreling in the single malt game and resulted in an award-winning and much-beloved whisky.
Nose: There’s a deep sense of fruit on the nose which really leans into raspberry, red currant, and a touch of blueberry with chocolate maltiness and creamy bourbon vanilla.
Palate: The palate embraces the vanilla to the point of creating a pudding texture while dark chocolate-covered almonds lead towards cherry brandy, hints of boozy oranges, and salted caramel ice cream.
Finish: The end is long and full of Christmas spices that bring everything together like a brandy-fueled, marzipan-heavy, and fruity dessert-laden holiday meal in a Glencairn glass.
This is another one that kind of causes you to shake your head it’s so good. You start asking yourself what you’ve been doing with your life up to this point and why this whisky hasn’t always been a part of it. If you want to experience one of the pinnacles of unpeated single malt, then get this bottle asap.
Oban Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 10 Years Special Release 2022
Average Price: $299
This lightly peated Highland whisky from the tiny Oban Distillery is rendered from refill and new American oak barrels. That whisky is vatted and then refilled into Amontillado-seasoned casks for a final rest before batching and bottling as-is for this special one-time-only release.
Nose: There’s a lithe sense of lemon/lime saltwater taffy wrapped in white wax paper with a hint of lime leaves and wild sage next to salted smoked lemons and tangerines with a hint of really good and cloudy extra virgin olive oil speckled with smoked sea salt and freshly cracked red peppercorns.
Palate: The palate is silken and full of layers of smoked grapes, smoked plums, and salted chili pepper candies with a fleeting sense of violet and lavender creaminess tied to a lush vanilla underbelly.
Finish: The end has a mild woody chili pepper spiciness that’s dry and leads to a limber finish with warmth, lightly caramelized malts, and smoked apricot jam with brandy cream.
Oban is the perfect peated malt for the peat curious. The earthy peatiness is tied to smoked fruits with a subtle and sweet vibe that’s welcoming and convivial. There’s no licking the ashtray with this peated whisky. If you’re even remotely interested in trying a peated whisky, start here. You may well fall in love.
Part 2 — The “Fabulously Expensive” Bottles
Springbank Aged 25 Years Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $989
This is a very rare whisky aged in 60% sherry casks and 40% bourbon casks for 25 long years in the tiny and very old Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown. After that whisky is touched with a little local water, and it’s filled into only 1,300 bottles per year (there are insane lines to get it at the distillery when it drops).
Nose: The nose opens with a soft marriage between fresh raspberries and subtle rose petals with old cellar beams, cobwebs, and a dirt floor rounding things out, with a whisper of seaside air lurking in between.
Palate: The palate veers from that nose pretty drastically with hints of rum-soaked overripe bananas next to wet brown sugar, rock candy, and a hint of large salt flakes.
Finish: The end builds on that saltiness with a rush of malted barley and sweetgrass after the rain.
I would argue that it’s worth actually flying to Scotland for this release. If you’ve earmarked $1,000 for a bottle of whisky, you may as well experience getting it from the source. The ancient distillery is worth the trip alone, add in the beauty of the Kintyre peninsula and the whisky friends you make along the way, and you’ll have more than just a bottle of great whisky. You’ll have a great story to tell to everyone you share it with.
I’d argue that this is the sort of whisky that deserves that level of effort.
Ardbeg 25 Years Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $899
This expression from Ardbeg also happens to be their oldest expression (as of their current lineup). The whisky is the epitome of peat on Islay. What makes this expression so special and extremely rare is that it was distilled and casked when Ardbeg was on its knees as a company, in the early 1990s. They simply weren’t making that much whisky back then and there’s hardly any of it left. That makes this a one-and-gone whisky with only 278 bottles, 90 of which were sent to the U.S.
Nose: Heavy cream, smoked toffee, lemon pith, and ashes from last night’s campfire open this one up on the nose before veering toward soft sea-filled air, a touch of muddy bog, and old shovel handles from a well-worked farm.
Palate: On the palate, there’s this deep sense of potting soil that’s still in the plastic from the garden shop next to uncooked smoked bacon rashers with plenty of black pepper and a slightly sour edge leading back to that heavy cream and smoked toffee by the mid-palate.
Finish: Finally, hefty/spicy packed tobacco chewiness brings about a full-on head buzz — it’s a wild sensation.
This is the best bottle of Ardbeg currently available. It’s such a subtle and nuanced whisky that takes you places you didn’t know whisky could take you. This is the sort of pour that works on a sunny day next to a barbecue in the backyard or at the fanciest of celebrations throughout the year. It puts on zero airs but it delivers in every way.
Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 30 Years
Average Price: $1,560
Talisker’s seaside vibes are on full display in this beautiful bottle. The 2021 limited release (the 30-year is on a random release schedule) was around 3,000 bottles, making this a very rare expression from the Isle of Skye distillery. Those bottles were pulled from both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and masterfully blended right next to the sea at cask strength.
Nose: The nose is shockingly subtle and soft with velvety notes of smoldering dried nori next to matchsticks that have been dipped in a buttery and rich dark chocolate with sea salt gently sprinkled all over.
Palate: The palate leans into the dialed-back peat by bringing about a smoked cream with fire-seared peaches next to a hint of wet cedar, very old tobacco leaves, and a touch of almond or oat milk flecked with salt.
Finish: That salt drives the mid-palate towards a finish that’s like getting kissed by merfolk on a beach next to a campfire that’s heating a cauldron full of spicy stewed peaches in more of that cream.
I love Talisker. It’s the whisky that got me interested in whisky years ago. The beauty of this expression is that the wide-eyed wonder I felt first sipping a Talisker 10 back in the day is still there in this whisky but then has grown into so much more (like my whisky palate along with it) to new heights of flavor. That nostalgia aside, this seaside peated malt is so subtle and deeply refined that you’ll always find something new and different with every nose and sip. And I promise you that there’s something to love in there if you take the time to find it.
Mortlach Midnight Malt Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged for 30 Years
Average Price: $4,799
This is 30-year-old Mortlach from a couple of barrels that actually made it that long without drying out or becoming undrinkable — it’s kind of a miracle in that sense. The vatted whisky was finished in a trio of barrels — Bordeaux wine, Calvados, and Guatemalan rum — before bottling completely as-is.
Nose: There’s a lovely hint of malt dipped in honey with a touch of apple stewed with cinnamon and saffron that leads to roasted pork skin and fat cut with a sense of rosemary and singed sage before a honeyed oaked sweetness arrives again
Palate: The taste is like a creamy, apple-forward, malty lush elixir cut with hints of black pepper, burnt orange, and marzipan that leads to a sense of honey-soaked cinnamon sticks floating in apple cider.
Finish: There’s another rush of that black pepper late that leads to woody apple cores and wintry barks that eventually fade towards a mildly spiced apple-cinnamon tobacco leaf packing into an old cedar box.
Mortlach is that little distillery that only the most hardcore whisky connoisseurs will know and love. And this is one of the rarest bottles from that shingle. Overall, this is such a rare find that if you do find one, you’ll be one of the lucky few. If so, can I steal a pour?
It’s too sad a prospect to face that I may never taste this again.
Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky 1978 Single Cask
Average Price: $2,299
This ultra-rare single cask single malt from Speyside is a thing of beauty. The whisky is from a single barrel — a sherry cask — that was filled in 1978 and left alone for 40 long years. That barrel yielded 184 bottles, all of which were bottled as-is with no fussing.
Nose: The nose opens with this mix of kiwi skins, sandy pear flesh, saffron threads, and creamy honey with a thin line of old vanilla husks.
Palate: The palate layers orange and lime citrus into the honey as soft notes of black and green peppercorns mingle with a faint whisper of wet chili pepper, old lemon candy wrappers, and dark chocolate powder laced tobacco.
Finish: The end softens considerably toward a lush and silky finish full of chocolate malts, rich toffee, marzipan, and this almost invisible line of peaty yet sweet fireplace smoke.
This is another miracle. The fact that potable whisky was even left in a 40-year-old barrel is so rare that it makes this worth seeking out for that alone. That aside, the whisky wasn’t just drinkable, it was delicious — adding the “miracle” of it all. All of that said, if you’re looking for something incredibly rare yet fully approachable with a deep nostalgic vibe, this is the bottle for you.
If you or someone you know were born in 1978, this is a no-brainer buy/gift.
The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky The Tale of the Dog Aged 42 Years
Average Price: $18,799
This whisky was named after a famed whisky thief — or “dog” — that was flattened to stop too much whisky being thieved back in the day. The actual whisky in the bottle is from two casks that were put on the racks in 1974 and 1978 and left alone.
Nose: There’s a classic sense of old and sweet malts on the nose that leads you to sweet and floral perfume that’s so subtle and enticing before a hint of sticky toffee pudding and geranium bound toward old mint rolled into chocolate malts.
Palate: The palate has a soft and salted toffee with honey nut cluster dusted with light notes of sweet winter spice and floral orchard blossoms before a hint more of honey and sweet old oak arrives.
Finish: That sweet oak drives the finish toward nutty creaminess, old orchard wood, and a sense of soft summer flowers with a hint of malt cookies cut with raisin and cinnamon.
Yes, this whisky originally cost $17,000. So that price isn’t inflated that much. Is any whisky worth that price? I guess that can only be answered with “why not?” Asking that question is like asking whether Ferrari or Louis Vuitton should exist. We’re talking elite whisky and this is up there in the stratosphere. It also happens to be really f*cking good tasting. It wouldn’t be on this list if it wasn’t.
Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 25 Years
Average Price: $3,489
This bottle was originally released in 2016 along with the launch of Lagavulin 8. The whisky is a sherry-cask-aged whisky that was left alone for 25 long years in a storehouse next to the cold and black sea. The honey barrels that made it through that era of aging were then vatted and bottled as-is at cask strength into only 8,000 bottles.
Nose: The nose meanders through old wood varnish, rich sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce, savory figs, black-tea-soaked dates, meaty smoked prunes, peppery smoked beef fat, chewed-up Band-Aids, and an old cedar box that’s been filled with pennies for decades.
Palate: The palate feels like raspberry saltwater taffy wax wrappers filled with smoked honey candies and waxy cacao nibs straight off the tree. A soft cherry wood smoke meanders through more honey and pine kindling with plenty of pitch, tart yet dry cherry tobacco, long and dry willow branches, and burnt mint leaves.
Finish: Candied orange peel drives the mid-palate back to that smoked honey and peppery beef fat as dried chipotle chilis mix with a very dark and bitter chocolate, a dash of BBQ ash, and a little bit more of that pine resin.
This is the best Lagavulin that you can buy. I’ve tasted some that are a little older from the cask — that are only marginally better — in that aforementioned storehouse but those will never be released. This is as close as you’ll get to that. But you’re going to need to act now. These won’t be available forever.
Caol Ila Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 24 Years 175th Anniversary
Average Price: $799
This whisky was bottled to celebrate the 175 years Caol Ila has been operating on Islay. 3,000 bottles were rendered from barrels of at least 24-year-old whisky, each of which highlighted the sophisticated brand’s nuanced peatiness and fruitiness.
Nose: The nose opens with a sense of a beach campfire far away as fresh brioche filled with nougat and dusted with nutmeg dries the profile toward raisins soaked in mulled wine with plenty of orange and clove.
Palate: There’s a sense of that deeply ruddy mulled wine on the palate with star anise, allspice, cinnamon bark, and rum-raisin butter next to prunes, dates, figs, and tart dried red berries with a flourish of moist vanilla cake frosted with salted toffee and dusted with dark chocolate shavings.
Finish: The end leans into the woody spices with mulled wine-soaked cinnamon bark and clove buds next to salted caramel tobacco leaves rolled with old cedar bark and strips of nori as that whisper of beach campfire smoke sneaks back in.
This was UPROXX’s 2022 Whisky of the Year. It’s a rare bottle that you still can get a hold of and it’s not insanely priced. In fact, you can get a pour at the Johnnie Walker Princess Street Experience bar overlooking Edinburgh if you want to try it before you commit to the full bottle.