Liquor Laboratory

10 Smoothest Single Malt Scotch Whiskies: Full Guide (2023)

Smoothest Single Malt Scotch

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Single malt Scotch is often regarded as being an essence of the distillery. It should be crafted from grain to bottle inside a distillery to be labeled as a single malt whisky.

There is a wide selection of single malt Scotch, so to save you from hassle, we did a dedicated blind tasting of the smoothest single malt Scotch whiskies that deserve a slot on your bar shelf.

Top 10 Smoothest Single Malt Scotch To Sip 

1. Balvenie 12 Doublewood

Balvenie 12 Doublewood  Bottle on a wooden board

Average Price: Roughly $74.99

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Rich honey, dried fruits, vanilla, spicy oak, and a hint of nuttiness.

Palate: Sweet caramel, toffee, baking spices, oak spice, and subtle orchard fruit notes.

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It:

Balvenie 12 Doublewood has been gracing the single malt whisky community since 1993, and it has spent 12 years in traditional whisky casks, ex-bourbon barrels, Spanish oak, and ex-oloroso casks. 

On my first sip, I noticed the whisky had a distinctive character. Each stage of whisky production lends different qualities to the award-winning single malt whisky. 

The single malt whisky greeted us with layered vanilla, honey, sweet fruit, and sherry notes.

It is the smoothest Scotch whisky, boasting cinnamon spices, nutty sweetness, a sherry flavor profile, and a long finish. 

2. Glenlivet 12

Bottle of Glenlivet 12 and a glass

Average Price: Roughly $54.87 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Fresh orchard fruits, citrus zest, honey, floral hints, and vanilla.

Palate: Crisp green apples, pears, honey sweetness, gentle spices, and a subtle nuttiness.

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It:

Unlike other smooth Scotch whiskies, Glenlivet 12 is an old single malt Scotch whisky that is first aged in a traditional oak barrel before spending time in American oak barrels for distinctive smoothness and excellent flavor. 

The single malt Scotch whisky has a delicate, versatile, but complex profile, so you can enjoy it on the rocks, as a cocktail, or sip it neat. 

Like other single malts above, we like the smooth, balanced fruitiness, rich pineapple notes, and long, creamy finish. 

3. Glenmorangie 10

Glenmorangie 10 Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Bottle and a Glass

Average Price: Roughly $44.47 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Citrus zest, floral notes, vanilla, honey, and a hint of almond.

Palate: Creamy vanilla, ripe peaches, citrus, malted barley, and a touch of oak spice.

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It:

Glenmorangie 10 is a double-distilled single malt Scotch whisky matured for ten years in first and second-fill ex-bourbon casks for deeper and more flavorful tasting notes. 

It is one of the smoothest Scotch whiskies that offers affordability and versatility.

It is the best whisky to drink neatly, but it also blends easily in various mixers for cocktails like other blended Scotch.

4. Highland Park 18-Year-Old

Bottle of Highland Park 18 Viking Pride and a Glass

Average Price: Roughly $159.99

Alcohol Content: 43%

Nose: Rich dried fruits, chocolate, heather honey, aromatic spices, and subtle peat smoke.

Palate: Oranges, plums, toffee, cloves, oak, and a delicate wisp of smoky peat.

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It:

Highland Park 18-Year-Old is a superb single malt whisky, and it is well-lauded for its smoothness and excellent flavor profile. 

The Highland Park 18-year-old boasts aromatic peat smoke, dark chocolate, cherries, toffee, marzipan, and heather honey. 

The Highland Park 18-year-old has a long and luxurious finish that you can enjoy neat and on the rocks.

In addition, it pairs well with meaty fish, cold meats, and citrus fruit puddings. 

5. Glenallachie 12

CLOSE UP SHOT OF GLENALLACHIE 12

Average Price: Roughly $71.49

Alcohol Content: 46%

Nose: Orchard fruits, honey, vanilla, almonds, and a hint of cinnamon.

Palate: Green apples, butterscotch, baking spice, oak, and dried apricot.

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It:

Glenallachie 12 is one of the smoothest Scotches in the whisky tasting, and it is made from the best casks selected under the supervision of Master Distiller Billy Walker. 

“The key is to capture the sweet point; the length should be in a certain style of cask…You need to understand how the whisky interacts and behaves with certain kinds of wood,” – Billy Walker, Master Distiller. 

Glenallachie 12-year-old is a non-chill filtered whisky, so that you can expect a better mouthfeel with layers of mocha, cinnamon, honey, and butterscotch.

6. Springbank 10

Bottle of Springbank 10 on a wooden table

Average Price: Roughly $78.94 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 46%

Nose: Citrus zest, sea salt, gentle peat smoke, vanilla

Palate: Honey, toffee, hints of tropical fruits

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It:

Springbank 10 is a ten-year-old single malt Scotch whisky with delectable flavors and balanced sweetness and peat.

The single malt is matured in a combination of sherry (40%) and bourbon cask (60%). 

On the first sip, you will be greeted with fresh orchard fruit, honey, and orange zest combined with malt and vanilla notes. 

We like the equal measures of robustness, oily mouthfeel, and plenty of spice of the Scotch whisky. The Springbank 10 has a drying peat, sweet salted caramel, and toffee finish. 

7. Aberlour 16 Yr

BOTTLE OF ABERLOUR 16 DOUBLE CASK

Average Price: Roughly $114.99 

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Rich dried fruits, warm spices, honey, dark chocolate, and a hint of oak.

Palate: Raisins, toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, oak, and sherry sweetness.

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It:

Aberlour 16 is a double-cask single malt Scotch whisky with a complex and deep flavor profile. The expression contains fruity notes enriched with spicy sweetness and an overly smooth profile.

Aberlour 16 features a beautiful golden amber hue with rich scented floral, spicy nuttiness, and sweet raisin aroma. It boasts full and smooth-tasting notes with gentle oak and a spicy finish. 

8. The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky 

close up shot of The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve bottle

Average Price: Roughly $44.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Bright citrus, fresh apples, vanilla, floral hints

Palate: Sweet pears, zesty oranges, toffee, subtle spice

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It:

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a single-malt Scotch whisky from a single distillery [1].

The whisky boasts the classic flavor of The Glenlivet and its creamy and smooth texture. It was distilled multiple times to achieve smoothness.

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a tribute to George Smith, and while it does not bear an age statement, they select smooth whisky from a variety of traditional aged oak casks. 

9. Auchentoshan 12

Auchentoshan 12 Year Scotch Whisky Bottle

Average Price: Roughly $50.30 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Fresh citrus, vanilla, honey, malted barley, and a subtle herbal note.

Palate: Orchard fruits, toffee, almonds, gentle spices, and a hint of oak.

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It:

Auchentoshan is a lowland single malt whisky with a tempting aroma of caramelized toffee, toasted almonds, and a signature smooth Auchentoshan taste. 

Auchentoshan is aged 12 years in oak barrels to develop the color and palate profile of the Scotch whisky [2]. 

On the nose, we like the distinctive aroma of creme brulee and bursting citrus with the signature nuttiness of the whisky.

It is smooth with sweet notes and hints of lime and tangerine on the tongue. 

10. Glenfiddich 12

Bottle of Glenfiddich 12 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Average Price: Roughly $52.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Fresh pear, green apple, floral notes, honey, and a touch of oak.

Palate: Orchard fruits, vanilla, honey sweetness, subtle spice, and a hint of oak.

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It:

Glenfiddich 12 is one of the world’s best-selling single malt Scotch whisky because of its affordable price and signature smoothness. 

The best Scotch whisky features distinctive fruity and fresh-tasting notes with a hint of pear.

“The flavors of Scotch whisky dance on the palate, creating a harmonious and unforgettable experience.” -Liquor Laboratory

Due to its aging, it features malt, butterscotch, cream, and oak flavors. Also, it has a smooth and mellow finish. 

FAQs 

What’s the smoothest single malt scotch for beginners?

Glenlivet 12 is the smoothest single malt scotch for beginners.

Aside from its reasonable price point, the whisky’s balanced yet elegant flavor profile makes it a great entry-level whisky. 

Is single malt Scotch smoother than bourbon?

Yes, single-malt Scotch is smoother than bourbon. While bourbon lends a sweeter flavor profile, the smoothness of single-malt Scotch is superior. 

Single malt Scotch features a distinctive smoothness and rich flavor profile, making it more enjoyable, smoother, and easier to drink. 

Final Say 

Single malt Scotch whisky [3] is highly appreciated by many because it comes from a single distillery. 

After meticulous consideration and a series of blind tastings, Balvenie 12 Doublewood is the smoothest single malt Scotch you can drink neat or in cocktails [4].

Unlike other single malt whiskies, it is exceptionally smooth and offers a taste experience and impressive tasting notes that belies its price point.

References:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/effect-of-aging-on-liquor-759921 

  2. https://www.seriouseats.com/what-is-single-malt-scotch-what-is-blended-whisky 

  3. https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/single-malt

  4. https://www.foodandwine.com/cocktails 

    Lumint ad Side Bar
    Flex Ad Side Bar