The Finest Blended Scotch Whiskies on the Market
Care for a Sheep Dip? How about a Dimple Pinch? No, these aren’t dirty jokes or double entendres. They’re the names of some of the finest blended Scotch whiskies that we have tasted. Blended Scotch typically comprises a combination of single malt Scotch whiskies and grain whiskies, and is often more balanced, less expensive and easier to drink than single malt offerings.
A popular spirit worldwide, blended Scotch accounts for about 90 percent of all whisky production in Scotland. While most of our top blends combine both
and grain whiskies, we also feature one that is solely single malts, and another that is 100 percent grain whiskies from multiple distillers.
See which of GAYOT’s Best Blended Scotch Whiskies is your favorite.
Black Bull 12 Year Old
A younger blended Scotch of distinction, this Bull gets our attention immediately.
Featuring a 50 percent grain and 50 percent barley mash, it charges with a complex nose that speaks to the United Kingdom’s traditional foods such as biscuits, fruitcake and buttered brown bread. The palate is a shocking departure from the nose as raisin, plum, smoke, orange rind, chocolate and a hint of olives emerge. It finishes with a simple, sweet nuttiness.
Compass Box Hedonism
One hundred percent grain whisky is a rarity today, but was an everyday occurrence 100 years ago.
However, Compass Box is reviving the lost art of grain whisky by sourcing barrels from distinguished distillers like Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas and Dumbarton. Owner and innovative whisky maker John Glaser has developed this Scotch for those who desire the very best. Hedonists will enjoy decadent aromas of toffee, vanilla cream and coconut cream pie. These aromas are established on the palate as well, followed by a long, lingering finish of heather honey, almond brittle and a smidgen of oak.
As an aperitif, serve with a small amount of chilled water. Late in the evening, serve neat. Also makes a great whisky sour.
The Dimple Pinch
Haig, Scotland’s oldest surviving Scotch whisky distiller, produces this 15-year-old blended whisky.
First released in 1893, it is known as much for its taste as it is for its distinguished bottle. The famous dimpled container was the first three-sided bottle to be registered as a trademark in the United States. The nose boasts distinct cherry aromas, while the palate offers a viscosity and gentleness derived from the more than 30 malt and grain whiskies used in the blend. It finishes surprisingly dry with a hint of spice, cherries and earthiness. It’s a smart whisky for the novice or connoisseur.
Islay Mist 17 Year Old
This blend is a distant relative of the original Islay Mist started in the 1920s.
Its age is of importance because it makes for a more rounded, alluring and approachable Islay Scotch. Its nose pays homage to Islay without the explosion of aromas normally associated with the region’s Scotch. The softer aromas of peat and smoke are joined by tobacco, toffee and green grapes. The palate is alive with a bouquet of smoked and honeyed walnuts, finishing with a smoked peatyness that lingers for awhile. The Mist is a fabulous introduction to Islay whisky for the uninitiated or those preferring a more relaxed version of the island’s classic flavors.
Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky
Spirits with great history add to the allure of the drinking experience. Stories don’t come any better than the one attached to Mackinlay’s.
In 1907, Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to the Antarctic. The trip ended in failure, but a century later, the explorer’s whisky stash was discovered there, buried under the ice. Using these original bottles as a guide, Master Blender Richard Paterson recreated the Shackleton whisky at its original 47.3 percent strength. There is a fistful of peat in this bottling, but before it becomes overwhelming, a soft floral note comes in to balance the blend’s muscular nature.
Blending Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie whiskies, this quirkily named spirit is a multiple award winner.
With its creamy mouthfeel and subtly sweet notes of dried fruit, Monkey Shoulder has become a bit of a bartender’s darling. It mixes incredibly well in cocktails, and also stands up nicely to a splash of water. The comfortable price point doesn’t hurt either.
Rock Oyster Blended Malt Whisky
Fresh herbs, brine and honey. Seem like an odd combination?
Perhaps, but it’s also a beautiful summation of the Island whisky style. Sourced from Jura, Arran, Orkney and Islay, this is a blended whisky with maritime terroir. With a nose like sea air and smoke, a palate of peat and brine and a honeyed finish, this whisky is poised to surprise even the most well-schooled aficionado.
Royal Salute 38 Year Old Stone of Destiny
At over $600 a bottle, one might argue that the price tag is prohibitive.
Chivas Brothers, who make this super premium blend, created this bottling to celebrate the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Stone of Destiny in the name refers to the historic sandstone block used for coronation ceremonies. The scent of fruit, nuts and butterscotch give way to chocolate and malt, as well as more fruit and spice in the mouth; the finish is equally satisfying with notes of malt and spice.
Sheep Dip — its name starts a conversation, but its taste will make your day.
Masterfully blended from an array of single malt Scotches ranging in age from 8 to 21 years, this whisky tastes of the grassy plains of Scotland with a touch of floral orange and pear. It settles down on the palate with a finish of sweet melon and raw almonds. The blend exhibits strength in body and character in the finish, courtesy of the fact that these single malts are all from first-fill casks. All in all, Sheep Dip is a joy to drink whether at home or after dinner at a restaurant.
Usquaebach 15 Year Old
This blend uses a selection of Highland single malts that have been aged at least 15 years in oak and Sherry casks.
The oak gives the blend heft; the Sherry offers beautiful smoothness. For those who aren’t fans of peat (and even those who are), this whisky captures the boldness of the Highlands without being overpowering. Named after the Gaelic phrase, uisge beatha, which means “water of life,” the dominant flavors in this bottling are vanilla, caramel and just a touch of peat.