The most underrated Scotch whiskies you need to try today
As with just about any product, a lot of quality Scotch whiskies get overlooked from time to time in lieu of the more mainstream and popular names. Barring a few adventurous whiskyheads, most people stick to a handful of safe choices, treating new releases with scepticism and disdain.
But the world of whisky is an ever-shifting terrain where thousands of experienced people are plying their trade, working round-the-clock to produce new marvels and future classics. Now more than ever, iconic whisky houses and brands, are pouring in their resources in order to push the envelope with new techniques and approaches.
Whether it’s employing new techniques of blending whiskies, or using new kinds of barrels to mature them, the modern whisky drinker is spoilt with choice like no other. Now as one understands, that with an abundant choice comes confusion. It cannot be too difficult to miss out on some stellar releases over the years and expressions that have missed the eye.
Take your relationship with whisky to the next level with our top five recommendations of the most underrated Scotch whisky brands in the market today. Not only are they an experience unto themselves, these would make some exceptional inclusions into your personal home bar too
Aberlour 12 Year Old Whisky
The light, fruity goodness from the Speyside that mingles flawlessly with the rich depth of flavour drawn from Sherry barrels make the Aberlour 12 Year Old one of our top picks. This is a prestigious single malt Scotch whisky, a serial winner of Gold and Silver medals at The Scotch Whisky Masters, the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the International Spirits Challenge.
Best described as ‘a top shelf whisky’, the bottle you place at the top of your prestigious whisky collection for all to see, yet only ever seek to open on a special occasion. Surprisingly, this is a premium single malt Scotch priced unlike one, allowing you to enjoy it even on moderately joyous occasions. The Aberlour 12 is a revered single malt Scotch in the serious circles, populated with aficionados, but hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. The Aberlour 12 is available in India for around 5500-6000 INR.
Chivas Regal Extra Whisky
Released not long ago, this is a fantastic no-age-statement blend from the Chivas Regal stable. Excellently finished in handpicked and rare Oloroso Sherry butts that have lent the perfect balance of sweet and spicy to a complex blend, courtesy to legendary Master Blender, Colin Scott’s experience.
It has only been five years since this blend was released, managing to impress one and all with its quality. Supple, smooth yet without an iota of loss in flavour and mouthfeel, the Chivas Regal Extra is something seasoned Scotch lovers will truly appreciate. The Chivas Regal Extra has a price in the region of 6000-6500 INR in India.
Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Whisky
As far as underrated whiskies are concerned, this is absolutely not one of them. The Ballantine’s 17 Year Old is in fact one of the most revered and highly awarded blended Scotch whisky in its category, so why include it in our list of the most underrated Scotch whiskies?
The answer is quite simple because the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old deserves more recognition than it gets! It’s easy to say such a thing for a blended Scotch that was awarded the Whisky Of The Year by none other than Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible. This is a luxury blend, a bottle fit for special occasions, the closest family members and the best of friends because just like them, there is nothing like the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old.
The Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Year Old Whisky
The Glenlivet is considered by many to be the Holy Grail among Speyside single malts, and for good reason. The core range from the iconic distillery is a neatly arranged line-up of triumphs, but it was the Nadurra series, recently released range of cask-strength whiskies that stole the limelight, particularly The Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Year Old.
Not just an extremely well-made cask-strength single malt Scotch, this is a non-chill filtered delight that is only released in small batches each year. Those are a lot of positive attributes to present to prove just how good the Nadurra 16 Year Old is, or one could simply pour a dram to find out. If there are whiskies that can immediately be crowned collectors’ items, The Glenlivet Nadurra is 16 Year Old is definitely one of them.
Monkey Shoulder Smokey Monkey Whisky
Most Scotch whisky brands go as far back as the 1800s, but Monkey Shoulder is one of the freshest faces in the market. Having been released in 2005, it has managed to generate a tremendous amount of buzz with the brand’s standard variation, the Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt.
The expression that makes our list of the most underrated Scotch whiskies is the Monkey Shoulder Smokey Monkey. While the standard Monkey Shoulder is a blend of three single malts from Kininvie, Glenfiddich and Balvenie, the Smokey Monkey has a peated Highland single malt thrown into the mix. This combination of flavour profiles in indeed interesting, and makes it a very good base for whisky cocktails and mixers.
That’s it folks! That is our list of the top five underrated Scotch whiskies you need to try today.