The Bartenders' Brand Awards, now in its fifth year, is our annual product testing - by bartenders, for bartenders. 

The BBAs follows a three-step process to mirror buying behaviour, with each product blind-tasted, judged on value for money and finally by design. For more on the methodology behind the BBAs, read more here.

Next up in our serialised results is the top-five products in the scotch whisky category.

You’d expect the single malts, exalted as they are among bartenders, to dominate our top-five scotch list. In the event, they did, but the Category Champion was a single grain.

Loch Lomand Single Grain to be exact. It took a silver in taste and design, and a gold in value for money. “The liquid is really good and the price is even better – I think it’s very stockable,” said one of our bartender judges.

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In second was another from Loch Lomond, with silvers across the board, and a marginally higher taste mark than its stablemate. “This is very well put together – my kind of whisky,” came one remark. 

In third was Benromach 15 Year Old, which scored second best on the taste assessment, taking 34/50 and a silver medal (“the subtle smokiness really balances it out”), which was joined by a bronze for value and a silver for design.

In fourth was Ardbeg Wee Beastie, which split the panel on taste but impressed most on the design and packaging front (“it’s modern but classic”), earning it a gold.  

Completing the top five was power malt Mortlach 20 Year Old, which was the best-tasting scotch in the BBAs, according to our panel. “It’s really rich without being too sweet and the woody notes are still there in the background,” said one judge.