Scotch whiskies in cocktail bars are increasingly skewed towards single malts, but would that play out in the BBAs scotch tasting?

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that our bartender panel took to a whisky that is made for mixing – X by Glenmorangie is our Scotch Category Champion 2023.

The panel found the Moët Hennessy Highland whisky was “powerful on the nose but gentle on the palate” and said it was a whisky with “good balance”. That added up to a silver medal for taste, while the panel enjoyed X by Glenmorangie’s looks, giving it a gold. This, against a £30 rrp, made it a high-scoring silver medal for value for money.

In second and third were expressions from Brown-Forman’s Benriach. Benriach The Twelve, which is three-cask matured for 12 years in sherry casks, bourbon barrels and port casks, took 36/50 for taste, while the Speyside whisky’s The Smoky Ten is a combination of bourbon barrels, Jamaican rum casks and toasted virgin oak, taking 34/50 in the blind tasting. These silver medals were matched in the design and value for money assessments.

Two more peated whiskies complete our top five – Smokehead Unfiltered was the best-tasting scotch at the BBAs this year, receiving a score of 39/50. Ardbeg Wee Beastie, a five-year-old from Islay, performed with distinction too, taking silver medals across our three measures. So three peated whiskies among the top five – all single malts. That tells you a lot about bartenders.

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