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20 Highest Quality Scotch Whisky Brands in the World

In this article, we are going to discuss the 20 highest quality Scotch whisky brands in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the success of Scotch, the resurgence of Scotch tourism, and the sustainability initiatives in Scotch, and go directly to the 5 Highest Quality Scotch Whisky Brands in the World

Whether it's the sharp burn of single malt or the smooth, woody aroma of a blended Scotch, the scent of whisky is enough to invigorate even the weariest of souls. Part of the popularity of the beloved golden tipple comes from the sheer amount of tradition that it has behind it. Making whisky is an age-old craft, and one that goes back many centuries. Its origin began over a millennium ago, when distillation migrated from mainland Europe into Ireland and Scotland via traveling monks. The Scottish and Irish monasteries, lacking the vineyards and grapes of the continent, turned to fermenting grain mash, resulting in the first distillation of the modern whisky. 

The Success of Scotch: 

2022 was a great year for Scotch whisky and exports of Scotland’s native spirit hit $7.5 billion that year, the highest figures ever. Exports by volume also rose substantially, with the number of 700 ml bottles shipped overseas up by 21%, to 1.67 billion. 

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The United States is the largest importer of Scotch whisky in the world, with total imports of $1.28 billion in 2022 – an increase of 33% from the previous year. Sales of Scotch have been impacted by various tariffs in recent years, but those were, fortunately, lifted in October 2021. 

Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) - owned Johnnie Walker has played a key role in the category’s growth, meanwhile, Pernod Ricard SA (OTC:PRNDY)’s The Glenlivet was the best-selling single malt Scotch whisky in 2022. Single malt Scotch whiskies are the most expensive whisky brands, with a single bottle of 60-year-old Macallan 1926 even selling for $2.7 million in 2023.

The Resurgence of Scotch Tourism: 

Scotch whisky forms a key part of the national economy, helping to put Scotland on the map and driving tourism from around the world. Over 150 distilleries across the northern country have invested huge sums into new or expanded visitor centers to play up the industry’s heritage and allow guests to soak in the sights and smells of Scotch-making. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has revealed that the number of tourists to Scotch visitor centers throughout the country once again topped 2 million in 2022, signaling a recovery to pre-pandemic levels. Visitor spend per head also increased by 8.65%, with more than $107 million spent in total at sites across Scotland’s five whisky regions, up 90% since 2010.

One of the companies that has invested heavily to promote Scotch tourism is the spirits giant Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO). In 2018, the London-based company announced a $233 million investment to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences in the biggest concerted programme ever seen in Scotland’s whisky tourism sector. Aside from upgrading Diageo’s existing network of 12 distillery visitor centers, the center-piece of the investment is the new state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker immersive visitor experience based in Edinburgh, bringing to life the story of the world’s most popular Scotch whisky and creating a unique welcome for millions of Scotch lovers around the world. Launched in 2021, the eight-floor building features a state-of-the-art experiential retail space where shoppers can select from rare and exclusive whiskies, fill their own bottles, and have them personalized. The highly immersive site has already been bestowed with a Green Tourism Gold Award – the highest sustainability accolade for a visitor attraction.

Scotch Goes Green: 

As one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, Scotland is committed to reaching Net Zero – balancing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere with those taken out – by 2045. Piggybacking on the country’s green transition, the Scotch whisky industry also launched its Sustainability Strategy in 2021, which commits the sector to reaching net-zero emissions in its operations by 2040, five years in advance of the national goal. The Scotch sector has already reduced its carbon emissions by more than half since 2009, as it has gone from consuming just 2% renewable energy to 39% renewable in 2022. 

With no fewer than 28 malt distilleries to its name, Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) has also taken a keen interest in its environmental impact. The spirits giant announced a 10-year sustainability action plan in November 2020 – titled Society 2030: Spirit of Progress –  which aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across direct operations and a 20% reduction in water used to produce every drink, while also working with suppliers in order to reduce indirect carbon emissions by 50%.

Similarly, Chivas Brothers, the Scotch Whisky business of Pernod Ricard SA (OTC:PRNDY), also announced to invest over $110 million into Aberlour and Miltonduff, two of its strategic single malt distilleries. The investment will go into upgrading sustainable distillation technologies at the Speyside distilleries along with significant production capacity expansions to meet the growing global demand for Scotch. In July 2023, the brand made its carbon-reducing technology available to the wider industry. The move was made after the firm’s heat recovery technology was integrated at Pernod Ricard’s Glentauchers distillery in Scotland, lowering the site’s carbon emissions by 53%.

If it stays on this path of sustainability, Scotch can be at the heart of the blueprint to protect Scotland’s unique environment, while also continuing to be a modern, competitive, and successful industry that produces the best whisky in the world.

Both Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) and Pernod Ricard SA (OTC:PRNDY) rank among the Largest Alcohol Companies in the World in 2023

With that said, here are the Best Quality Scotch Whiskies

20 Highest Quality Scotch Whisky Brands in the World
20 Highest Quality Scotch Whisky Brands in the World

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Methodology: 

To collect data for this article, we have referred to a number of sources, such as Liquor, VinePair, Men’s Journal, our own previous articles, and Reddit, etc., looking for the Best Scotch Whisky Brands in 2024. To make sure we only give you the best of the best, we shortlisted whiskies that appeared multiple times in the aforementioned sources, assigned them a score based on their number of appearances, and ranked them accordingly.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

20. Arran

Insider Monkey Score: 8

Founded in 1993 by Harold Currie, Arran is a single malt Scotch whisky brand that is produced on the Scottish island of the same name. In 2017, an expansion of the distillery was completed with the installation of an additional wash and spirit still, more than doubling Arran’s capacity to 1.2 million liters per year. 

19. Aberlour

Insider Monkey Score: 8

Owned by Chivas Brothers, a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, Aberlour is among the Best-Selling Scotch Whisky Brands in the World. The brand’s single malts are made from expertly crafted new spirit, usually double cask matured for at least 12 years in the finest hand-picked Oloroso Sherry butts and American Oak casks. Aberlour was actually Pernod Ricard's first Scotch whisky distillery purchase. 

18. The Dalmore

Insider Monkey Score: 9

For over 180 years, The Dalmore has set the standard in multi-cask maturation. Hand-selected casks from the world's finest bodegas and wineries are expertly curated to create a sumptuous and layered whisky of legendary finesse.

The Dalmore 12 Year Old ranks among the Truly Extraordinary Whiskeys Under $75

17. Loch Lomond

Insider Monkey Score: 9

Since 1814, the Loch Lomond Distillery has been crafting the finest single malts - every bit as delicious as its landscape is stunning. It produces a wide variety of different whiskies, which range from soft and supple to rich and very peaty - all of which are signified with its trademark complexity and depth.

Named Whisky of the Year 2024 by Whisky Exchange, the Loch Lomond 18 Year Old is a perfect representation of the brand’s signature style. 

16. Bunnahabhain

Insider Monkey Score: 10

What makes Bunnahabhain unique is that even though it is located on the island of Islay, it focuses on creating non-peated whiskies, putting it more in competition with Speyside and other whisky regions than traditional Islay powerhouses. 

15. Oban

Insider Monkey Score: 11

The Oban Distillery—one of the oldest and smallest distilleries in Scotland—has been making fine Single Malt Whisky since 1794. Oban is now owned by Diageo plc. Although it is one of the Best Scotch Brands in the World, Oban is made by only seven workers, meaning every drop of whisky is made by 14 hands.

At around $87 a bottle, the Oban 14 Year Old is included among the Best Scotch Whiskies Under $100

14. Talisker

Insider Monkey Score: 12

Established in 1830, Talisker whisky has been made by the sea in the oldest Single Malts Scotch Whisky distillery on the shores of the Isle of Skye. This Top Scotch Brand was acquired by the Distillers Company in 1925 and is now part of Diageo. 

The Talisker 10 bagged a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017, and was also awarded 'Best Islands Single Malt' at the 2017 World Whiskies Awards.

13. Bruichladdich

Insider Monkey Score: 13

Bruichladdich is the only major Scotch producer that distills, matures, and bottles their liquid all on the Scottish island of Islay. The company is the largest private employer on the island. 

Acquired by Remy Cointreau in 2012 for around $75 million, the Bruichladdich Distillery also makes The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, which ranks among the Best Gins Under $50.

12. The Glenlivet

Insider Monkey Score: 13

Made in the Scottish Highlands since 1824, The Glenlivet is the world’s best-selling single malt Scotch. Malt from Speyside and mineral water from Cairngorms National Park are distilled in traditional lantern-shaped stills and then matured in oak casks, giving The Glenlivet its smooth, rich, and fruity flavor. Part of the Pernod Ricard group since 2001, the brand is defining new ways to enjoy single malt for a new generation.

11. Bowmore

Insider Monkey Score: 14

Established in 1779, Bowmore is Islay's first distillery, crafting a collection of perfectly balanced single malt whiskies which defy expectations. In 1989, the Japanese alcohol giant Suntory bought a stake in the distillery and took full control in 1994 – the year after the ground-breaking Black Bowmore was launched.

10. Glenfiddich

Insider Monkey Score: 14

In 1963, Glenfiddich became the first to globally market a “straight malt” or single malt. The marketing worked and today, Glenfiddich is reportedly the second-best selling single malt in the world. Owned by William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddich sold 203,000 9-liter cases in America in 2021, putting it among the Most Popular Scotch Whisky Brands in USA.

9. Johnnie Walker

Insider Monkey Score: 15

With 22.7 million 9-liter cases sold worldwide, Johnnie Walker is the #1 Selling Scotch Whisky Brand in the World. Its prestige status was trumped with the launch of the super swanky Blue Label in the late 1980s, but the iconic Black Label also never lost its cache. Across the world today, a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label is a recognised currency and symbol of excellence. 

8. The Balvenie

Insider Monkey Score: 15

Established in 1892 by William Grant, The Balvenie is a unique range of single malt Scotch whiskies hand-crafted in Speyside using centuries-old skills passed down through generations. Over the last few years, Balvenie has become one of the best-selling single malts and demand is growing.

Today, the distillery is owned by the fifth generation of William Grant’s family, making William Grant & Sons one of the longest single-family ownerships in the world.

7. Highland Park

Insider Monkey Score: 16

Founded in 1798, Highland Park is Scotland's northernmost whisky distillery, lying just to the North-east of fellow Orcadian, Scapa. The Highland Park Distillery is among the very few in Scotland that only use home-grown grain and one of only a handful to continue their own on site maltings.

Edrington, maker of Highland Park, became a billion-pound business in 2023, following a 22% increase in revenues from its core brands that also include The Macallan, The Glenrothes, and the Famous Grouse blended whisky.

Highland Park is counted among the Top 10 Scotch Whisky Brands in our list. 

6. Glenmorangie

Insider Monkey Score: 16

One of the most popular single malt Scotch brands in Scotland, Glenmorangie has been crafting Highland single malt whisky since 1843. As a company within Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH), The Glenmorangie Company benefits from the resources and 'savoir faire' of the world leader in luxury goods, whilst being entirely independent.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Highest Quality Scotch Whisky Brands in the World

Disclosure: None. 20 Highest Quality Scotch Whisky Brands in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.