The World’s Best Scotch—According To The 2024 World Whiskies Awards

Food & Drink

As one of the oldest whisky styles on the planet, scotch has earned a spot in the hearts of many whisky enthusiasts. First distilled in the early 15th century, it helped introduce whisky to the global market. Its DNA can be found in bourbon, Japanese whiskey, and a myriad of other styles. A profoundly complex spirit that possesses a wide range of flavors, its success in the last few decades kicked off the current premiumization trend sweeping across the drinks landscape.

So, finding the best bottles on the market can seem like a Sisyphean task to any collector or lover of fine sips. There is just so much to choose from. Luckily, over 200 expert judges take the guesswork out of consumers’ hands every year when they award the coveted Best of the Best and World’s Best awards at the World Whiskies Awards. This year, they sifted through over 1,500 whiskeys from more than 40 countries, awarding World’s Best titles across 23 categories.

Five of those were for Scotches (*), and any one of them, or all, would make an ideal addition to any drinker’s bar. Each winner bested other regional winners to emerge on top. It’s the ultimate King of the Hill competition that rewards any lover of scotch. Here are the World’s Best Scotch’s for 2024.

Dewars Double Double 37 Years Old

It’s only fitting that a scotch from Dewars should take home an award. Founded over 170 years ago, Dewars was one of the first scotches to be exported outside the United Kingdom, thus introducing many palates to the joys of fine whisky. Named the World’s Best Blended Malt, this beautiful, limited-edition scotch was created by a unique 4-stage aging process that was then finished in ex-bourbon barrels, and Oloroso sherry casks that once held Aultmore single malt from the Speyside region of Scotland.

Packaged with two Baccarat Massena crystal tumblers, this blended scotch exhibits sweet flavors often prevalent in fine-aged whisky. It bested seven other bottles to be named the best. Here’s what the judges had to say about it.

Rich aroma with oak, leather, spice, caramel, and burnt sugar. Notes of dried and orchard fruits combine with homey, toffee sauce, and nuttiness on the palate, which has a mouth-coating texture. Culminates in a long, gently drying finish.

Ballantine’s 30 Year Old

Here is another bottle from one of the icons of the scotch industry, Ballantine’s. Founded in 1827 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the brand has grown to be the second-largest Scotch whisky in the world. Their product, Ballantine’s 30 Year Old, was named the World’s Best Blended Whisky. Made from a unique blend of Ballentine’s Finest, 12 YO, 17 YO, and 21 YO blended scotch, it is a perennial award winner that only seems to get better each year.

Rich and sweet, it only seems to open with each sip. It highlights the skill and expertise that its distillers bring to the table using their unique blend of Miltonduff and Glenburgie single malt grains. It bested ten other bottles to take home the top prize. Here is what the judges had to say about it.

Aromas of warm meadow and hay, evolving into cereal notes with a hint of licorice. The palate is subtly sweet and creamy, reminiscent of cream soda with demerara sugar and well-balanced grain and oak flavors. Lingering finish.

The Octave Premium

Made by Duncan Taylor, a family-owned spirits company in Huntly, Scotland, on the edges of the Speyside region, The Octave lineup of scotch is designed to showcase the brands’ ability to craft exceptional matured whiskies focused on specific areas. Aged in casks that are much smaller than normal ones, these whiskies have a greater wood-to-liquid interaction that they say results in an enhanced flavor profile. It must work since The Octave Premium was named the World’s Best Single Cask Single Grain whisky.

Distilled at Strathclyde Distillery in 1990, the award winner spent 32 years in oak casks before being bottled in 2023. It is brimming with deep, smoky flavors and bested two other bottles to earn its title. Here is what the judges had to say about it.

Peaty aromas, porridge with golden syrup, honey and dry driftwood. Viscous oily mouthfeel. Palate has grassy and herbal notes, peppery spice, and tobacco and ash hints. Lingering smoke on the finish.

Glen Scotia, Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Cask 637, Refill Bourbon Barrel

Hailing from Campbeltown, the smallest whisky region in Scotland, Glen Scotia is renowned for its exceptional scotch worldwide. It was founded in 1832 and named Scotland’s Whiskey Distiller of the Year in 2021. Working solely on the single malt style so beloved by fans, the distiller focuses on producing its whisky following traditional methods, eschewing the modernization others have embraced. By taking home the trophy for Best Single Cask Single Malt, they have added another accolade to an already crowded trophy room.

It might be tough to lay your hands on this bottle; only a limited number were made. But worry not—they have several fantastic single malts on the market. If you track down one of the award-winning bottles, scoop it up, and you won’t be disappointed. It bested 19 others to come out on top. Here is what the judges had to say about it.

Aromas of caramel, creamy porridge, candied lemon and honeysuckle. The palate is rich and has a great texture with woody spice, butterscotch cream, citrus peels, notably orange, and honey. Water softens the heat and enhances the citrus and spice notes.

The English Sherry Cask

Ok, this entry is a stretch since the winner is technically not a Scotch since it wasn’t made in Scotland but was crafted in England. Yes, you read that right. The English Distillery, founded in 2006 in Norfolk, England, did the impossible. It took home the highly coveted title of World’s Best Single Malt Whisky, besting 25 other bottles, including six scotches from Scotland. So, if you are looking for the best, here it is. If you are a purist, grab a bottle of Glen Moray, Phoenix Rising; it was named the best Scotch Single Malt.

Back to the champ. The English Sherry Cask Matured is a seventeen-year-old whisky that won the award on its inaugural release. A smooth sipper, it exhibits a wide range of flavors. Here is what the judges had to say about it.

Aromas of ripe banana, pear, apricot, marshmallow, the mellow sweetness of honeysuckle, and wisps of smoke and ground cinnamon. Palate has notes of ripe stone fruit, cinnamon, buttery toffee, polished oak, green grass, and smoky hints. Medium body, with oily texture. The finish has notes of nutmeg and peppery spice, balanced with creamy vanilla. Water reveals notes of custard.

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