A wall of whisky is impressive to behold, but it’s not necessary. The truth is, no whisky collection can ever be comprehensive. As long as you have a bottle from each of these representative styles, you’ll be well prepared to satisfy almost any whisky drinker, and perhaps create some new ones as well. Even with splurging on a trophy whisky, the average price to complete this impressive lineup is under $500.
1. A Trophy Whisky
Every collection needs a crown jewel and whether you display it prominently or keep it under lock and key, you’ll know precisely when the time is right to bring it out.
Glenmorangie Signet—94 points, $220
Johnnie Walker Blue Label—97 points, $225
Midleton Very Rare 2018—94 points, $200
Old Fitzgerald 13 year old Bottled in Bond—93 points, $130
Yamazaki 12 year old—93 points, $85
2. Barrel-Proof Bourbon
If strength is in numbers, then the ABV here says it all. By starting with full proof, these whiskeys are fine sipped neat, yet also adapt well to ice and cocktails, making them supremely versatile.
Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve—92 points, $60
Booker’s 2019-02 Shiny Barrel Batch—93 points, $80
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A119—94 points, $60
Maker’s Mark Cask Strength—93 points, $50
Wild Turkey Rare Breed—90 points, $45
3. A Non-Smoky Single Malt
Single malts are the pinnacle of whisky for many. While Scotland may be the obvious place to start your search, other countries are adding diversity. You should too.
Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year old—88 points, $55
Macallan 12 year old Sherry Oak—87 points, $70
Miyagikyo Single Malt—88 points, $80
Tyrconnell 16 year old—91 points, $100
Westland Garryana (Batch 3|1)—90 points, $150
4. Heavily Peated Scotch
For peat lovers, there is no substitute for these Islay classics. Recognizable in both name and flavor, no whisky bar is complete without packing at least one peaty punch.
Ardbeg Corryvreckan—95 points, $90
Kilchoman 100% Islay 8th Edition—91 points, $110
Lagavulin 16 year old—92 points, $85
Laphroaig 10 year old Cask Strength—93 points, $70
Port Charlotte 10 year old—93 points, $65
5. A Smooth Blend
For the guest who isn’t quite sure which whisky they like—if any. These high-quality blends satisfy whisky lovers, yet are approachable enough to win over new fans.
6. Something Completely Different
Make a personal statement that will pique the interest of even fervent whiskey fans. Think conversation starter, a singular whisky with an unusual origin or groundbreaking approach.