Distilleries by Rank

Judging scotch whisky is a subjective thing but most agree that the more complex malts are higher quality malts. As an example, an excellent malt from the Lowlands would not be over-powering but still complex with an emphasis on grassy, heathery and salty notes. On the other hand, malts from Islay are usually more robust with varying degrees of peat and smoke. Both can be complex and excellent but very different in style.


Consistency from expression to expression and over time is another hallmark of quality. The 10, 12, 15, and 21 year old Balvenies are all excellent. Similarly, the taster knows that every dram of the 12 year old, no matter when it is purchased and poured will be a joyous experience.


This table shows the range of scores given to scotches produced from a single distillery. A wider range between the minimum and maximum score may indicate one of several things. A larger range may be indicative of a larger product line. Younger malts are usually not often rated excellent. Macallan and Glenmorangie, for example, have extremely large product lines. Talisker and Lagavulin, on the other hand do not. It could also indicate a wiliness to innovate. Neither of these reasons are negatives.


The average score is meant to signal the overall quality of the product distilled. Our view is that any malt from a distillery with an average score above 70 is very much worth trying. After all trial and error is an essential part of the quest.

Distilleries with average whisky scores of 90 – 95%

Distillery Maximum Minimum Average
Lagavulin 95 89 92
The Macallan 95 81 90
Talisker 90 89 89.50

Distilleries with average whisky scores of 85 – 89%

Distillery Maximum Minimum Average
Cragganmore 90 88 89
Springbank 93 84 88.86
Ardbeg 91 85 88.50
Glenfarclas 89 86 87.75
Highland Park 93 84 87.67
Glen Scotia 87 87 87
Longmorn 89 85 87
Glenlivet 88 85 86.75
The Balvenie 87 85 86
Bowmore 90 80 85.89
Laphroaig 89 81 85.75
Bladnoch 86 85 85.25

Distilleries with average whisky scores of 80 – 85%

Distillery Maximum Minimum Average
Aberlour 85 83 84
Auchentoshan 86 79 83.33
Littlemill 83 83 83
Linkwood 84 82 83
Glenmorangie 87 80 82.83
Edradour 85 80 82
Clynelish 82 81 81.50
Royal Lochnagar 83 80 81.50
Glenturret 91 75 81.44
Glenrothes 82 80 81
Mortlach 81 81 81
Brora 81 81 81

Distilleries with average whisky scores of 75 – 80%

Distillery Maximum Minimum Average
Dallas Dhu 80 80 80
Port Ellen 80 79 79.50
The Singleton 79 79 79
Benrinnes 79 78 78.67
Glenfiddich 86 75 78.57
Caol Ila 80 77 78.33
Strathisla 81 75 78.22
Glen Garioch 80 67 78
Bruichladdich 79 77 77.80
Oban 79 76 77.50
Scapa 79 76 77.50
Knockando 79 76 77.33
Glen Moray 79 75 77.17
Benromach 77 77 77
Old Pulteney 77 77 77
Old Fettercairn 77 77 77
Balmenach 77 77 77
The Dalmore 79 75 77
Bunnahabhain 77 77 77
Aberfeldy 77 77 77
Glendronach 79 75 76.75
Rosebank 77 76 76.67
Glengoyne 79 74 76.67
Dalwhinnie 76 76 76
Glenlossie 76 76 76

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