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The best whiskey: our top picks from scotch to malt

Are you a whiskey lover looking to try a new blend? Or perhaps you want to buy a friend or family member a unique bottle for Christmas? In which case, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best whiskey 2018 has to offer. 

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for someone else, one of the first things to consider when choosing a whiskey is what your favourite tastes are. For the whiskey aficionado, earthy and rich blends tend to be popular; in which case you can’t go wrong with a traditional Scotch Whiskey. If you’re a complete beginner, sweet and citrusy is gentler on the palate. For something a bit different, look out for unique bottles or something you’ve not tried before; opt for whiskeys with different origins or blended recipes.

Whether you’re an Old Fashioned, Hot Toddy, or simply like it straight up: we’ve put together a list of the best whiskey to suit a range of different tastes. There are many different ways you can enjoy this popular spirit, so all you’ve got to do is pick your favourite from our list, sit back and enjoy every sip. 

1. Johnnie Walker Green Label

A classic contender with a traditional Scotch taste

Best for: Nightcap | Origin: Scotland | Type: Malt | Serving suggestion: Straight up

Traditional scotch
No presentation box 

If you want to play it safe or simply know what you like then this Johnnie Walker Green Label Malt Whiskey will not let you down. This is a typical scotch whiskey that has been aged 15 years, with a rich and oaky taste. This is the perfect choice of gift for Father’s Day, or as a treat over the Christmas holidays. 

2. Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whiskey

An alternative to the traditional Scottish malt

Best for: Unique gift | Origin: Japan | Type: Blended | Serving suggestion: With water

Japanese origin
Pretty bottle
Not traditional Scotch 

Whiskey is no longer just a Scottish tradition, and this Japanese Blend is a great gift idea for a whiskey aficionado who has tried it all. It comes in a stunning bottle and is drawn from a blend of malt and grain whiskeys to produce a sweet and floral taste with woody undertones. 

3. Highland Park 18-Year-Old Whiskey

A whiskey-lovers staple

Best for: Special occasions | Origin: Scotland | Type: Malt | Serving suggestion: on the rocks

Sweet taste
Traditional malt

Known as the nation’s favourite whiskey, Highland Park is a must-have for any drinks cabinet. This is the special stuff you only bring out at Christmas, as it is very expensive, but is made to be savoured. It is a traditional malt whiskey that has a sweet marzipan taste to it which makes it the best whiskey for Irish coffee. 

4. Talisker Storm Islands Single Malt Whiskey

This smoky whiskey is sure to brew up a storm

Best for: Smoky flavours | Origin: Scotland | Type: Malt | Serving suggestion: Straight up

Full of flavour
Overbearing for some 

This whiskey has divided people like marmite. Some find it overbearing, whereas for those who like a rich and woody flavour, Talisker Storm Islands is the perfect flavour explosion. You’ll notice undertones of pepper, paprika, smoky caramel and a hint of sweetness such as vanilla which balances out the final taste beautifully. 

5. Woodford Reserve

An old fashioned Kentucky Bourbon

Best for: Whiskey cocktails | Origin: USA | Type: Bourbon | Serving suggestion: Old Fashioned

Best for cocktails 
Bourbon taste
Low volume 

If cocktails are your speciality then get yourself a bottle of the classic Woodford Reserve and rustle up a refreshing Old Fashioned or put your own twist on a classic. This is a bourbon style whiskey that is triple distilled and has a full-bodied taste. It is also one of the cheaper whiskeys on the list, meaning an evening of cocktail making won’t break the bank.  

6. Ben Nevis 10 Year old Single Malt Whiskey

A refreshing taste of the Scottish Highlands

Best for: Budget buy | Origin: Scotland | Type: Single Malt | Serving suggestion: With a drop of water

Budget option
Refreshing taste
Nothing unique  

If you’re looking for a decent Scotch that won’t break the bank, then this Ben Nevis 10 Year Old Single Malt is a winner. This is a fresh a dry smelling whiskey with a somewhat bitter taste to it. We recommend drinking with a drop of water to open up the aromas and really appreciate the undertones of toffee and caramel.  

7. Millstone Rye 100

A European alternative to Malt Whiskey

Best for: Sweet tooth | Origin: Netherlands | Type: Rye | Serving suggestion: Straight up

Sweet and fruity
Made with rye
 A little sickly

This Dutch Whiskey is incredibly sweet, which is not to everyone’s taste but it goes down incredibly well without the need to add water. This is the high percentage of corn makes the whiskey smoother to taste. It would also blend nicely in a whiskey cocktail for those who prefer a long drink and is our choice of the best whiskey for beginners. If you’re buying a gift for someone but don’t know their palate, this is something different that is worth a try. 

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Check out our guide to the best hip flasks to find a vessel for your tipple.