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Sweet Scotch

Updated on January 15, 2013

The Best 'Sweet' Single Malt Scotch

Still on that quest to find your perfect Single Malt? This page should be a good guide for anyone who enjoys a 'sweet', 'floral', 'fruity' or 'chocolatey' dram. It may be a surprise but, increasingly, there are a number of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies which could be described as Dessert Scotch or Digestif drops. This page is a good guide for those who enjoy any wine or liqueur.

So what makes a Single Malt 'sweet'? Well, Scotch whisky is usually aged in used casks, which has a considerable effect on the character and flavour of the final product. The most common are American whiskey casks as most American whiskey is aged in new oak casks. Bourbon casks are quite common for aging Scotch and give a vanilla flavour to the whisky. A more expensive method, though also common is to Spanish sherry casks, which give the Single Malt a heavier body and deep amber colour. However, more and more, Scotch Whisky producers are experimenting with casks previously used for wines and other liquors, such as port wine, madeira, red wine, rum and cognac. A notable innovator in this field is the Glenmorangie Company.

Highland Park 12 Year Old

Islands (Non Islay)

Price - 25GBP

40% ABV

Highland Park 12yo remains one of the gold standard malts for other distillery bottlings to aspire to. With a delicious sweetness (heather-honey is their preferred description), a trace of smoke and a warming, silky mouthfeel, this is a whisky that never lets you down.

Glenmorangie 10 Year Old - Original


Price - 27GBP

Glenmorangie's 10yo sets a high standard for Highland whisky, and has gone from strength to strength as 'The Original' since its slightly controversial packaging redesign a few years ago. Medium-bodied and gently warming, with plasant spicy notes.

Aberlour 10 Year Old / Sherry Finish


Price - 30GBP


A delicious sherry-finished Aberlour, with just the right amount of sherry to enhance the profile of the standard 10yo, without letting the wine take over. Previously only available in France, we think this will be a hit.

Macallan 12 Year Old / Sherry Oak


Price - 35GBP


Deliciously smooth, with rich dried fruits and sherry, balanced with wood smoke and spice. Described by Paul Pacult, the renowned international whisky writer, in his book Kindred Spirits as: "simply the best 12 Year Old single malt around".

Oban 14 Years Old


Price - 35GBP

43% ABV

The Western Highland representative in Diageo's 'Classic Malt' series, Oban 14yo is a superb, full-blooded fruity malt with a whiff of heather and more than a hint of smoke.

Glenmorangie 12 Year Old / Nectar D'Or / Sauternes Finish


Price - 43GBP

46% abv

Relaunched in 2011, Glenmorangie's sauternes-finished Nectar d'Or is now proudly boasting a prominent age statement that wasn't there before, proclaiming it to be 12 years old. Give it a couple of years and it'll be growing a weedy moustache on its top lip.

Glenkinchie 1995 / Distillers Edition


Price - 44GBP

40% ABV

This Glenkinchie has been finished in Amontillado sherry casks for an extra burst of rounded flavour. Part of the Distillers Edition range of Classic Malts from Diageo.

Cragganmore 1988 / Distillers Edition


Price - 46GBP

40% ABV

An old bottling of the Distillers Edition double-matured Cragganmore finished in port wood pipes for extra complexity and depth. Highly unusual and extremely pleasant drinking whisky. This 1988 vintage was bottled in 2002.

Glengoyne 17 Year Old


Price - 50GBP

43% ABV

Multi award winning dram. One of the greats. Possibly the best pound for pound dram on the market.

Glengoyne 17yo is a smooth, sophisticated medium-bodied unpeated malt with delicate flavours. A very good match for a mild or medium cigar.

Scapa 16 Year Old

Islands (Non Islay)

Price - 53GBP

40% ABV

Elegant and unpeated, this is lighter in style than many other Island malts. Honeyed and floral with a smooth, gentle finish, this may be subtle, but it's not shy of flavour, bringing in the complexity of this unique island with sweet smells of wild heather that drift over the palate, as they do the rugged landscape.

Balvenie 21 Year Old / Port Wood Finish


Price - 82GBP


An additional period of maturation in 30 year-old Port pipes has given this aged Balvenie an extra level of depth and concentration of flavour, adding potent fruit and smoke notes to the silky-smooth full-bodied palate. Rich, indulgent, after-dinner Speyside at it's best.

At the 2005 International Spirits Challenge, The Balvenie PortWood 21 Year Old was awarded a prestigious Gold Medal.

Spiegelau Soiree On The Rocks Glass, Set of 6
Spiegelau Soiree On The Rocks Glass, Set of 6

These Spiegelau Festival On the Rocks glasses, designed to marry with the Festival series of stemware, feature simple, classic lines, and versatility. Perfect for DOFs, H2O, or juice, these glasses are packed in a set of 6 and will mix or match with any stemware collection. The factory is nestled in a small Bavarian town bearing the company's name, Spiegelau has been making glassware for nearly 500 years.


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    • singlemaltdram profile image

      singlemaltdram 6 years ago

      @gypsyman27 lm: Thanks GM, I've tried to list these in order of cheapest to most expensive (beginning with the absolute cheapest Sweet scotch I could find and the list is by no means exhaustive. I have two other pages, linkable from here, which list more expensive expressions. I'll think about expanding this page though with more tags and options to link out. Thanks.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      The Scotch listed here is rather low end except Balvenie 21 yo. This is only my opinion, but the companies you list make high end Scotch (15 yo+) but you fail to list them. See you around the galaxy...

    • filmic profile image

      filmic 6 years ago

      Nice Lens!