12 Best Speyside Scotch Whiskey

Abbey Miller
Last Updated on
by Abbey Miller

Whiskey is one of the most popular liquors worldwide because each one is a little different, and whiskey lovers admire the variety of styles. Speyside is one of the most sought-after styles worldwide.

12 Best Speyside Scotch Whiskey

Speyside whiskey comes from Scotland’s Highland region, where there are about 50 distilleries that make up more than half of all Scotch whiskey in the world. Whether you’re a Scotch whiskey drinker or looking for the perfect gift for the whiskey lover in your life, there are dozens of Speyside Scotch whiskeys to choose from.

1: Cragganmore Distillers Edition

Cragganmore Distillers Edition

First on our list is the Cragganmore Distillers Edition. This whiskey is aged for 12 years in sherry casks before transferring to American oak casks. They’re held in the American oak casks until they’re ready for bottling.

The thing about Speyside Scotch whiskeys is that they bring intense and many flavors to your mouth. This one features fennel, dried fruits like prunes and figs, and apples and has a tart aftertaste that’s supposed to be there.

The best part is the end notes that taste like green tomatoes, star fruit, and pears. You’ll want to sip this whiskey on the rocks rather than mix it into a cocktail.

2: The Balvenie DoubleWood, Aged 12 Years

 The Balvenie DoubleWood, Aged 12 Years

Every whiskey drinker knows about double-aged whiskey, but did you know that the Balvenie DoubleWood that’s aged for 12 years is the whiskey that started the double-aging trend in 1982? Well, it did, and that fact alone should make it one you want to try.

This single malt whiskey spends 12 years aging in bourbon casks before moving to sherry casks for the final aging process of nine months. Something that makes it unique is that after the sherry casks, it moves to a tun for three to four months before bottling.

As for the flavors, you’ll taste a hint of vanilla, red berries, honey, and oak soaked in wine. It’s a very easy-to-sip Scotch whiskey that will open your palate to the Speyside region. 

3: Glenfiddich 12

Glenfiddich 12

For those who are looking for a whiskey to introduce themselves to Speyside, Glenfiddich 12 is an excellent choice. The whiskey is aged in barrels combining European and American oak before being proofed with Speyside’s water.

Glenfiddich 12 is an approachable whiskey with notes of vanilla cream, pear, and a mild spice that lingers on your tongue. These are popular flavors in the region, but the unique combination of using American and European barrels makes it different from others.

Whether you prefer your whiskey on the rocks or in a cocktail like a whiskey sour, Glenfiddich 12 is a great choice.

4: Mortlach 12

Mortlach 12

Mortlach is one of the smaller distilleries in Speyside, but their whiskeys are ones to be reckoned with, especially their Mortlach 12. They make this particular whiskey on their smallest still, called Wee Witchie.

Like other Speyside whiskeys, they age the liquor in bourbon barrels and then in sherry casks for 12 years. When you sniff the whiskey before trying it, you’ll get toffee notes and a subtle spice resembling cedar and oak.

When you taste the whiskey, you’ll taste red berries, tobacco, and a malt spice that lingers in your mouth far after you’ve swallowed your sip. The versatility of this Scotch whiskey is excellent. You can enjoy it on the rocks or in your favorite whiskey cocktail.

5: Macallan 12 Year Old

 Macallan 12 Year Old

Do you know how there are those Scotches that are just better served at the end of the night? Well, the Macallan 12-year-old Scotch is that drink. It’s the perfect single malt Scotch to enjoy as a nightcap.

The distillers are so particular about the barrels and casks they use that they have a position solely dedicated to these decisions known as the Master of Wood. The flavor notes in Macallan 12 are raisins, warm bread, fruitcake, and an aftertaste of warm cloves.

There are subtle hints of a cigar, so if you partake in smoking cigars, you should light one up with this Scotch. While you can use the whiskey to make a cocktail, we highly recommend enjoying it on the rocks so you can truly appreciate everything there is to love about this Scotch.

6: Aberlour A’bunadh

Aberlour A'bunadh

Aberlour A’bunadh is aged in Oloroso sherry casks only, and they never deviate from this recipe. From the moment the whiskey hits your lips, you’ll be able to taste that sherry plumminess.

Tasting notes of Aberlour A’bunadh include bitter chocolate, plums, cherries, and oak. Some people love pairing whiskey with dark chocolate because the flavors complement each other well.

While it’s a delicious whiskey, it’s not the most unique of the Speyside Scotch whiskeys, but it’s still worth trying and sharing with other whiskey drinkers.

7: GlenAllachie Aged 15 Years — Taste 4

GlenAllachie Aged 15 Years — Taste 4

For those who love a well-aged whiskey, the GlenAllachie taste four has been aged for 15 years. They age this single malt Scotch whiskey in two sherry casks. They use Pedro Ximenez and ex-Oloroso sherry casks.

They chose those two sherry casks because they provide the unique flavor associated with this Scotch whiskey. Now for what this whiskey tastes like. The flavor profile is unique and tastes like apples that have been boiled with cinnamon.

As you sip, you’ll get an aroma of firewood. It warms your body as you sip on it, and the end of the whiskey has a warm spice flavor.

8: Speyburn Arranta Casks

Speyburn Arranta Casks

Speyburn Arranta Casks is a bold whiskey that has aged for a long time. The distillers only know the precise time. It’s in bourbon casks where they’re vatted, proofed, and bottled without filtration.

This whiskey is delicious on the rocks. As you sip the flavor, you’ll taste honey, pear, and woody spices that dance on the tongue. The flavors you’ll experience in each sip include vanilla, nutmeg, and allspice, but the ending taste leans into the pear and honey flavors.

While it’s excellent on the rocks, people love this Scotch whiskey because you can make fantastic cocktails with it if you don’t want it on the rocks.

9: Benromach 10 Year Old

Benromach 10 Year Old

The Benromach Distillery was a famous Speyside distillery but underwent a tough time in the 1980s, and its doors closed in 1983. Luckily, in 1998 the distillery was saved and has been one of the most prominent distilleries since.

Benromach’s ten-year-old Scotch whiskey is one of the best ways to introduce someone to Speyside whiskey. They make this whiskey by aging it primarily in bourbon barrels before moving them to sherry casks for the final aging process.

Benromach’s ten-year-old whiskey-tasting notes are wood and fruity, which is ideal for most people’s tastes.

10: Aultmore 12

 Aultmore 12

Aultmore 12 is part of Dewar’s Last Great Malts line of whiskey. It’s a rare whiskey from the distillery that only comes about every few years, so if you manage to get your hands on it, you’re lucky.

When you sip on Aultmore 12, you’ll taste pears, apples, and a hint of vanilla. Other tasting notes in the whiskey include a cedar bark and orange blossom. As you sip on the whiskey, the more it moves towards the mid-palate, and you’ll taste it becoming drier.

Aultmore 12 is a good option for those who love Dewar’s whiskeys, especially their blended whiskeys. While you can’t get it all the time since it only releases every few years, it’s the perfect unique occasion whiskey if you manage to get your hands on it.

11: The Singleton of Glendullan 18

The Singleton of Glendullan 18

The Singleton of Glendullan 18 is a Speyside whiskey they put mostly in retired bourbon casks. They use European barrels to adjust the bourbon flavor to be more subtle than it initially would.

The flavor has a heavy bourbon taste, but you’ll find a lot of the notes to be more winter spice, cedar, caramel, orchard fruits, and roasted almonds. Some who drink this Speyside whiskey even taste small notes of spicy tobacco and vanilla. 

Something many people love about the Singleton of Glendullan 18 is how easy it is to sip on. You’ll love how easy it is to enjoy it on the rocks, even if you’re not a huge whiskey drinker.

12: Glenfarclas 12

Glenfarclas 12

Lastly, we have Glenfarclas 12. If you ask people who’ve tried this Scotch whiskey, they either love it or could go without it. While opinions on Glenfarclas 12 are polarizing, it’s worth trying at least once to see how you like it.

Glenfarclas 12 spends most of the maturation process of the whiskey in sherry casks which is why the sherry flavor is very intense. You’ll see other single-malts aged in sherry, but when you taste this whiskey, you’ll be able to identify the sherry flavor distinctively.

This is a medium-bodied Scotch that is ideal for drinking on the rocks. It even won the Single Malt World Cup in 2007.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing quite like a high-quality Scotch whiskey on the rocks, and when you want the best, you can’t go wrong with Speyside whiskey.

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Abbey Miller
Abbey Miller
Abbey grew up in a family with an appreciation for great beers, fine wines, and nuanced Scotch whiskeys. It's no surprise that she studied Hospitality Management and is now a professional working on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
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