Whisky Advocate

The leading single malt scotch brands in the U.S. (I think #5 might surprise you!)

May 20th, 2011

Here they are, according to IMPACT DATABANK

US – Leading Single Malt Scotch Whisky Brands
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)
  Percent Change
Rank Brand Importer 2008 2009 2010 2008-2009 2009-2010
1 The Glenlivet Pernod Ricard USA 285 286 309 0.4% 8.0%
2 The Macallan Rémy Cointreau USA 125 125 134 0.0% 7.2%
3 Glenfiddich William Grant & Sons USA 102 100 107 -2.0% 7.0%
4 The Balvenie William Grant & Sons USA 47 50 55 6.4% 10.0%
5 McClelland’s White Rock Distilleries 49 52 54 6.1% 3.8%
6 Glenmorangie Moët-Hennessy USA 37 43 52 16.2% 20.9%
  Total Top Six 645 656 711 1.7% 8.4%


McClellands? That certainly surprised me! Anything surprise you?

83 Responses to “The leading single malt scotch brands in the U.S. (I think #5 might surprise you!)”

  1. Keith Brooks says:

    McLelland’s really, the others no surprise although would love to see this broken out by age 🙂
    But age doesn’t matter when you enjoy what you are drinking.
    Bet the Nadurra is part of why they are leading. The cask strength is supreme.

  2. Texas says:

    I know McClelland’s is roundly criticized by reviewers but the three have had have been pretty darn OK for the price. The Islay is an even younger Bowmore that I think is better than Bowmore Legend..I think the Highland was/is Glen Garioch and I really like it. The Speyside was not bad either, although my least favorite.

    If this doesn’t prove my point that the high-end/professionals aren’t the driving force behind the success of whisk(e)y I don’t know what does.

    • Royal says:

      This is insane. I’m sorry, I’m not about being negative on comment posts but McClelland’s Islay expression is absolutely horrid. I’ve purchased it purely out of curiosity b/c I love Islay whisky and now I have to drown it in soda with lemon to get rid of it. For $25 I felt ripped off. It does smell of peat, but then tastes like rubbing alcohol.

      • Texas says:

        ..I can certainly see where the Islay version would be polarizing like any Islay whisky. I would still give the other regions a shot..

      • lawschooldrunk says:

        For $25, I can understand why your pissed. I get it for around $12. At that price, it’s a great buy, as are the other mclellands.

    • Shelly says:

      I enjoy scotch cocktails, especially with peated whisky. McClelland’s may not have much to recommend it as a sipping dram, but it adds a wonderful kick to my Blood & Sands. Still, I’m astonished to find it so high in the sales rankings. BTW, I noticed 1.75 ml. bottles ($40) in my liquor store last week. Someone’s buying those big uns.

  3. two-bit cowboy says:

    The only thing not surprising about # 5’s position is its price.

    Can’t believe The Macallan made the list. Guess it’s all about marketing.

    It’s logged in 1,000s of 9-liter cases; does that mean they don’t consider whiskies that come in 4.5-liter cases?

    Finally: where are the peaties? Thought they were all the rage.

    • Texas says:

      That’s my point..the peaty rage comes from all the upper-end of the market, and the bloggers and professionals. The average Joe that is really fueling the sales isn’t scrounging around for Pappy or BTAC and isn’t waiting to pay $80 for 3-year old Kilchoman.

      I think everyone here should give the McClelland’s line a go, after getting rid of any biases or predispositions.

    • whiskymonique says:

      I think that your point about 4.5 L cases is really valid, we went through alot of single malt at the Dell, but most came in 6btl/750 mL cases or less. As far as the McClellands goes, once you know what’s in the bottle, they’re actually pretty good for the price, especially the Glen Garioch.

      • sam k says:

        I’m willing to bet that those numbers represent “case equivalents” for the entire brand. For example, two 4.5 liter cases are considered one 9 liter case. The beer industry uses case equivalents in the same way… a half-barrel of draft is considered to be about seven case equivalents.

        As go the theories on the lack of peat, I’m all in with Texas. The beer blogs are all about how many hops (or how much alcohol) can be crammed into a bottle of something “Imperial,” while the overall craft market is mostly about less in-your-face products.

        The enthusiast does not represent the mainstream.

        P.S. Hi, Monique!

        • Texas says:

          On the basis of a review at another site I bought Dale’s Pales Ale ( I am a Guinness, Shiner Bock, Boddington’s guy) as I had never had a hoppy ale. Now I see why some Scotch drinkers gag with peat (I like peat myself). It took me 3 months to finish the 6 cans of that stuff. It was nasty. Guess I am not a fan of hops to that extreme.

          • desigooner says:

            If you think Dale’s Pale Ale was extra hoppy, wait till you get your hands on something like GandhiBot / Founders Devil Dancer / DogFish Head 90 or 120 🙂

            Dale’s Pale ale is actually not that hopped and pretty refreshing for a hot summer day. Guess I like my hops as much as my peaty whiskys

        • Lew Bryson says:

          Hey! Not EVERY beer blog is like that!

      • Texas says:

        I agree, the Highland is the best. I am definitely going to try an older version of Glen Garioch at some point.

  4. ps says:

    Every hole-in-the-wall liquor store stocks McClellands, often to the exclusion of all other single malts (except for maybe Glenlivet or Glenfiddich). I assume the stores want to stock a handful of single malts but not spend too much, so they go for the cheapest available.

  5. Rick Duff says:

    Just proves people like value for their money.
    Also, most people don’t like to drink something that tastes like an old ash tray.

    • Murrell Kinkade says:

      Rick, do not mean to sound rude, but your comment seems based on lack of information as to what a good single malt tastes like. Do you by any chance drink mass market beer, ie Bud-Miller-Coors?

      • Rick Duff says:

        No, I only drink full bodied hoppy beers. I find Bud-Miller-Coors repugnant flavoured water.

        I don’t drink smoky scotch though… just don’t care for it.. and I don’t smoke either. I’ve tasted some I appreciate.. and own a few.. but I prefer smoke not covering up the taste of my whisky.
        I have a hard enough time getting my friends that are bourbon drinkers to even like Scotch.. and they can’t stand a smoky one. Any of these in the top 5 though are great places for them to start.
        I know a LOT of people on here love smoky scotch and I’m glad they do…to each their own…Just quit having an attitude that a serious scotch has to be a smoky scotch.

        I do love excellent scotch and bourbon. I also love excellent value for the dollar (being a good person of Scottish heritage.) I refuse to pay crazy prices for excellent scotch and bourbon though. I seek out good value. I personally rarely drink any of the top 5.. preferring something a bit better… but they are generally good single malts, especially for the money.

        I have stopped buying any Glenmorangie though, I don’t like where they are headed with higher price points, marketing, and perfumey looking bottles. (and I’m even a stock holder of their owner.)

        I am so sick and tired of hype for overpriced whisky!! A lot of whisky companies have lost touch.
        People have to remember what drives this business… and it’s the people buying those top 5.

        • Scott says:

          True. But, as others have said, I think The Macallan is overpriced…but, then, the fact they sell as much as they do would suggest they know what they’re doing.

          Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of any of the Top 5 (at least so far as flagship expressions go). I do buy McClelland’s because of the price. As for the others, there are price competitive ones I like better.

        • Lew Bryson says:

          “Just quit having an attitude that a serious scotch has to be a smoky scotch.”

          Yes, and that a serious bourbon has to be 12 years old, or a serious beer has to be over 8% and hopped to the bejeezus. I’m really tired of people who know one thing about one type of drink and think they know everything.

          • Michael says:

            I find it actually quite simple: most people prefer to drink whisky (or wine) that is more unique. In contrast to many, I am not afraid to admit aversion to “simple, everyday things”.

      • Texas says:

        Nothing wrong with Bud or Coors in it’s place..with food. I have even seen some fancy-schmancy restaurants that have 50 beers available, yet on their menu they suggest beer and wine pairings and they suggest Bud many times as the recommended beer over the more expensive brands.

        After a long hot, humid day down here in the South there are few things as refreshing as an ice cold Budweiser. It is clean, not heavy, refreshing.

  6. Red_Arremer says:

    Would’ve expected to see Laphroaig up there.

    • Mark Davis says:

      I think one of the reasons we don;t see islay whisky there is those who drink it drink less.

  7. Louis says:

    I have seen McClellands served at catered affairs where it is the only single malt. Often a 1.75 liter jug. No doubt because they had to have ‘something’, and it is dirt cheap. I would say that this is just another indication of how little most of the general public knows or cares about scotch, and by extension, all types of whisk(e)y. The other five brands are heavily advertised in mainstream publications, so no surprise there.

  8. Scott says:

    I am actually more shocked that they were #4 in the previous 2 years. Only a huge surge by The Balvenie dropped them.

  9. John Hansell says:

    I understand the value play–especially given the economy over the past couple of years. BUT, I don’t see a not fully matured Islay whisky (Bowmore to be exact) appealing to the masses. Maybe the Lowlands and Highlands versions are leading the sales?

    • The Bitter Fig says:

      The hottest beers on the craft market today are super-hoppy IPA-style beers, so it really wouldn’t surprise me to see folks trying to get their peat fix from McClellands. Half the price of a Laphroiag or Ardbeg is hard to beat, and it’s been recommended to me a few times from other under-30 whisky drinkers.

      • Royal says:

        Half the price?? In Chicago the McLelland’s is $24.99 and within 5 feet is Laphroaig 10yr for $39.99. That extra $15 is so incredibly worth it. I’m almost pulling out my hair over the very fact that I even have to be making this argument.

        • Murrell Kinkade says:

          I agree wholeheartedly.

        • Matt J. says:

          I can *almost* see the cost argument with the Islay. But why would you buy their NAS Speyside (can somebody remind me where it’s distilled) when for the same price you could get Tomatin 12 y/o? Granted it’s not a world beater but it’s got a much better reputation.

          I see on the McClellands website that they now have a 12 y/o Speyside. I wonder what that retails for? You’d think it would be hard to compete in a category where Glenfiddich and Glenlivet are already very well established.

        • Mary says:

          I was at my favorite liquor store tonight & noticed the McClelland’s – selling for $18.99. That is a normal price – not on sale. There was a guy picking up a bottle while I was there.

      • Scott says:

        But the super-hoppy craft beers account for only a subset of 4.9 percent of the domestic beer market. Probably about 2 percent of the total market by volume. Peaty malts could outperform hoppy craft beer’s market share by an order of magnitude and still not crack the top five.

    • Scott says:

      My stockist has a hard time keeping the McClelland’s Islay on her shelf. She told me I’m one of 7 or 8 regular buyers of it…and most get the 1.75L (which she sells for 39.99).

      Needless to say, I strongly disagree with Royal on this. It’s not that I like it more than Laphroaig 10 — I don’t. But when I can get 1750ml of McClelland’s for the same price as 750ml of Laphroaig…it makes it an easy decision for me.

      I still keep Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Caol Ila in the cabinet. But it’s not feasible for me to have those as everyday drams.

  10. mongo says:

    the most surprising thing about this to me is the huge drop from #1 to #2. in fact, glenlivet’s sales are more than those of the next three combined! i guess we have the mainstream market to thank for the subsidizing of the nadurra.

  11. Matt J. says:

    As far as McClelland’s goes, I’ve only had the Islay. It’s not as bad as has been reported… if you like young Bowmores, anyway. If I memory serves, it was flinty, vegetal, some campfire smoke, cardboard. Oh and wet dog, quite a bit of that. I didn’t care for the wet dog/cardboard notes so much. Would I purchase it again? Probably not, there are good age stated blends available for only a few bucks more, and good NAS blends at the same price that are better. But I was able to finish the bottle without pouring it down the drain.

    I’d be curious to see how the McClelland line breaks out– given that 4 out of the other 5 are Speysiders and Glenmorangie might as well be, I wonder which McClelland is driving the brand’s sales.

  12. The Bitter Fig says:

    I’m not really surprised to see McClellands there, it’s widely available and cheap. Probably a lot of folks go for it as an upgrade from blends into single malts. My problem with it is that it isn’t really an upgrade. Had some Highlands a month ago, and it was too yeasty and bready for my taste. Not too long after, I picked up some Cutty Sark (working my way through a bunch of classic blends, largely due to the major history behind them), and it felt somewhat similar, but also a bit better. In the low $20s, I’d rather just stick with blends, or bourbons for that matter.

  13. I said it before in a thread related to an introduction to Single Malts, The McClelland line is an awesome introduction to a complete novice!! You get to see a general charater of the ‘terrior’ of Scotland. Most of the people who enjoy McClelland are not the minority of Scotch Drinkers who enjoy this Blog. I am not surprised at all.

    • Aaron says:

      I have to agree, Jason. McClelland’s Speyside was my first single malt purchase and it turned out to be a good entry point into scotch and whisky in general. The range provides some basic regional signifiers that would be new to non-whisky drinkers. I know I picked up on the sweet and floral qualities of Speyside moving onto Glenlivet for my next bottle.

  14. Murrell Kinkade says:

    I guess I am a poor judge of good single malt. Balvenie is the only one there that would be in my top six. Where is Ardbeg? Laphroaig? Highland Park? and others? I guess marketing really is the most important thing.

  15. Mary says:

    Most people are not anoraks…& I remember myself getting interested in single malts. I balked at the price (still do w/some of the crazy pricing happening) but now I’m “accustomed” to paying $50+ for them but do the research before buying. Most people just pick something up – they may have been introduced to a blend & now want to try something more “upscale” ie. single malt. I know friends who are at that point right now – I’ve served them good single malts (they didn’t realize the price) so they go to the liquor store to buy a SM themselves & SHOCK at the price! I know many people who enjoy SM scotch but will absolutely not pay those prices – bourbon is such a great deal in comparison.

    And Laphroaig, Ardbeg, etc. are not typical for beginners. I have poured an Ardbeg for friends who were completely turned off by it – had to convince them SM scotch is good by pouring a more approachable malt; then they were sold.

    • Murrell Kinkade says:

      Thank you Mary, I forget that when I started on SMs, I started on Balvenie, which I still love and Aberlour. Have branched out a lot since, but it did take a while to really appreciate a Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Good comments.

    • Scribe says:

      Mary, you make a great point. Dalwhinnie was one of my first once my interest in single malts was piqued, and I thought it was terrific…over ice, couldn’t be beat! Today, I’m heavy into Ardbeg, Laphroaig and others mentioned here…neat. The more peat, the better! Your post made me realize, though, that I had to work my way to those…starting them at the outset may have turned me off to what today is a wonderful passion!

  16. Mary says:

    The thing I find really interesting about these sales figures is how much bigger the sales have been for 2010 compared to 2008 – hopefully, that means the recession is easing. Or people are just drinking more. I’m an optimist so I’m going w/recession easing & people celebrating!

    • Morgan Steele says:

      This is an interesting point that I would like addressed by those in the know. I read recently that beer domestic premiums and subpremiums track US unemployment but higher premiums track GDP. I would like to know what data exists tracking single malts (or blends for that matter) against economic indicators.

  17. EricH says:

    Since no one’s mentioned it, McClelland Lowlands is Auchentoshan.

    Now I wonder what the age difference between the McClelland version and the Auchentoshan Classic?

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Hey Eric. I have fond memories of the last time I had the classic. I’m interested– How does the McLowland compare tastewise?

  18. David says:

    Nice growth by Glenmorangie!

  19. Michael says:

    I am much more surprised that very expensive Macallan is so high. Everybody is emphasizing how price sensitive new SM drinkers are and one of the most expensive single malts is at the top of popularity list 😉
    I do buy 30YO Port Ellen or Brora but I cannot justify the price of Macallan 18YO that is a whopping C$250 in Ontario, Canada (I could have bought 7 bottles of Kilchoman for the same amount) .

    I know, it is about US market ! 🙂

    • Morgan Steele says:

      Good grief, that’s extortion. I live in the US and get the Macallan 18 YO shipped to me for C$130. I hope you live close to the border.

  20. Erik M says:

    I’m surprised by how much the Glenlivet crushed everyone else, and that Macallan ranked 2nd. I thought Glenfiddich was the top seller in the world and US.

    • Ryan says:

      US Single Malt Scotch volume numbers are a reflection of the greater wholesale spirits market’s business with major national supermarket chains, major discount department stores, major discount department-supermarket stores, and major membership warehouse clubs. So yeah, outside of the US things shift around a bit.

    • Richard says:

      I was of the same thought

  21. mongo says:

    the macallan 12 is not so overpriced, and the fine oak series is reasonably priced. my guess would be that it is in those lines that macallan is making the majority of its sales.

  22. Steve Anderson says:

    Anyone care to comment on Finlaggan? I find it is a good end-of-the-paycheck Islay, when I can’t find or afford Laphroaigh 10yr-old.

  23. two-bit cowboy says:


    In “searching” for more of the Impact Databank list all I could find were Diageo’s press releases that say their brands top the Impact Databank’s Top100. Do you know of a link to the data so I might see the rest of their list? Thanks.


  24. Danny Maguire says:

    I live in the U.K. rather than the U.S.A. and my first thought was who the blankety blank are McClellands? Then I remembered I had a mini in my collection. All the label says is T & R McClelland, Glasgow. No mention of where it’s distilled or what age it is. The others are no real surprise, shall we call them the usual suspects. Glenfiddich has the largest marketing budget of any Malt Whisky so it’s no surprise its up there. Pernod Ricard are putting a lot of effort and money into promoting Glen Livet trying to make it the market leader world wide, hence the recent doubling of capacity at the distillery. It’s going to be interesting to watch the competition between them.
    Danny Maguire

  25. Eric says:

    The only one that surprised me was the McCelland’s. To be fair, the only one I’ve tasted is the Islay expression… and I don’t find it to very good, even at it’s price point.

    • Scott says:

      I think it depends on one’s opinion of Bowmore. Granted, it’s not my favorite Islay distillery. But it’s not my least favorite, either. And, of course at ~5 years it’s well before its prime.

      But I think it’s a marvelous value. I think Murray gave it an 88 in the Bible — which ain’t too shabby for a $25 youngun.

      That said, most Islayphiles tend to have high standards…as they should!

  26. portwood says:

    McClelland’s is owned by Morrison Bowmore (owned by Suntory) who also own:
    Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch …

  27. Keith Sexton says:

    I think the McClelland’s really works for the regular scotch drinker who can’t afford to be a regular scotch drinker. McClelland’s provides a way to keep drinking scotch on regular basis.

  28. Gal says:

    McCelland’s ??
    Never had that one. it’s a big surprise.

    as for Livet we all know it’s big in the US, the Macallan is also very impressive.

  29. Timothy says:

    I am pretty suprised that McCelland is 5th but I assume that has to do with their price point and wide range. I almost bought a bottle a little while back because I am pretty new to the whole whisky world, and the fact they were $15-20 is a big deal for the average consumer. I guess now I should get a bottle and at least have some reference on them.

    Glenlivet produces some fine product, and it is a very accessible whisky, appealing to just about everybody as an “everyday scotch” (same goes for glenfiddich) . It also seems to be the whisky I find in most bars ect so I think a lot of their sales are from the familiarity.

  30. Ricardo says:

    What exactly is a McClelland? I see McClelland Highland, McClelland Lowland and McClelland Islay. There may be others, I don’t know.
    My point is the other names on the list are distilleries. Is there a McClelland distillery? If not, who’s making their whisky?
    Another point that I find curious, I’ve never found a Glenfiddich, Glenlivet or Glenmorangie that I’ve liked.
    So that leaves only Macallan and Balvenie. Oh well, 2 out of 6 ain’t bad but obviously I’m not singing the same tune as the rest of America!

    • Scott says:

      It’s a brand owned by Morrison Bowmore (which is a subsidiary of Suntory). The whisky is believed to hail from distilleries they own: Bowmore (Islay), Glen Garioch (Highland), and Auchentoshan (Lowland). They come from young stocks — 5-6 years or so.

      As far as I know, MB doesn’t own a Speyside distillery. So they buy that from somebody else — who, I have no idea. Maybe somebody else does.

      So, no, there is no McClelland’s distillery.

  31. Ricardo says:

    PS: Sadly, I think Glenlivet, Glefiddich and Glenmorangie have name recognition achieved through great marketing, and that more than the quality of their whisky accounts for their sales. Just my opinion of course, not trying to ruffle any feathers.
    It’s always remarkable to me what great marketing can accomplish!

    • mongo says:

      no doubt they have marketing and name-recognition on their side, but it is silly to suggest that glenlivet. glenmorangie and glenfiddich don’t make good whiskies. just because they’re well-known to non-aficionados doesn’t mean their whiskies are bad. have you ever had the glenlivet nadurra, for instance?

    • Michael says:

      Some of them (Glenfiddich comes immediately to mind) achieved this recognition by being on a market with single malt whisky from the 60s. They also have some very old expressions that the newer players can only dream about,.

  32. Scott says:

    I like McClelland’s Islay…for my money, it’s one of the best bargains in the whisky market.

    Granted, it’s not Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig QC…but for a peat freak on a budget (me) it was a great find. A single malt priced like a blend. More distillers should follow suit, IMO.

  33. Joe says:

    I used to have a customer who told me, in no uncertain terms, that he “Really, REALLY liked”, McClellands, though I don’t remember which expression. He was a Russian gentleman, and I don’t think that it hurt sales that it (they) were around $20/bottle.

    I’m in accord with the poster who opined that some consumers might be confusing McClellands with The Macallan. Hardly a stretch. Caveat emptor[, indeed.

    I’ve never tasted any of the McClellands expressions personally, so I cannot comment on their taste or usefulness in whisky-[based cocktails, but in this economy, never underestimate the appeal of lower-priced goods.

    The other five leading single malt brands don’t surprise me in the slightest; I could have named them myself, off the top of my head,, though not necessarily in order of their sales.

  34. Ricardo says:

    Mongo, Yes I recently sampled the Nadurra, probably one of the better Glenlivets I’ve had. And again, these are only my opinions, everyone is entitled their own. Fortunately we don’t like/hate the same things.

    PS: I’m not sure why they bother to make Glenfiddich!
    Does it work as a cleaning solvent for auto parts?

    • mongo says:

      yes, everyone’s entitled to their opinions; but not to have their opinions agreed with. i do agree with you that the reputations of these three distilleries among non-aficionados has a lot to do with their ubiquity and their marketing. but i think you should try some of their whiskies in a blind tasting and see if you might not have a different kind of bias operating.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Nice comment mongo. There are plenty of good things in and out of the mainstream. On the other hand it’s often *subtley* impossible not to let our views about the integrity of a producer influence our opinion of the quality of their products. Some people are more interested in consuming the felt integrity of the producers than the product itself– You get people talking about Dylan’s music in reverential tones, but you can tell that what they really want to possess is the authenticity and integrity they feel he had.

  35. Ricardo says:

    Unfortunately I have tasted my share of the whiskies under discussion and that is exactly where my opinion and bias stems. In other words I do not like them., end of story.
    Fortunately, size of ad budget does not equal quality of whisky.

  36. Ricardo says:

    BTW: You are entitled to consume and enjoy all the Glenfiddich you like. I really have no objection. As I said earlier these are only my opinions, I never asked you to agree with them. II was merely stating my feelings on the “LIST”.

  37. bj reed says:

    Back from the UK after two weeks – Interesting discussion – Only McClellands I have really tried is the Islay and its not bad certainly for the price. Speyburn is my “relatively” inexpensive Speyside Highlands although I see Sam’s Club has stopped selling the giant bottle.

    Macallan 12 is not overpriced but I find the rest of the range too high compared to a distillery like Glenfarclas.

    Glenlivet surprised me but Pernod/Chivas must be doing something right – Much as I like Nadurra this doesn’t explain the disparity.

    Balvanie surprises me compared with others I would expect to be on the list (e.g. Highland Park) – Islays are a hard sell to casual drinker so the fact the list is dominated by highland whiskies is what I would expect.

    Glenmo is doing well and will continue to be competitive because they have good leadership –

  38. Michael says:

    The girlfriend/significant other just returned from a week of business in Scotland. She was thoughtful enough to bring me a bottle of Clynelish 12 and GlenDronach Single Cask 1990. As well as a copy of Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion and a copy of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011. This girl should go on more business trips!

    Anyway, upon return she poured two unmarked glasses of single malt: [1] McClelland’s and [2] Dalwhinnie 15. That followed with the question: which one? Fortunately for my ego I selected the Dalwhinnie as my favorite. But I have to say that the McClelland’s is not bad and would make an excellent base for a scotch cocktail. I can see where there are many other single malts or blends that I would prefer to the McClelland’s but I think is has it’s place. Not surprised that it is a top seller. The problem with the “aficionados” and their selections is that they are usually not what the mass market is buying. We enjoy all of the other top sellers and a number of the obscure ones that will never be top sellers. I wholeheartedly support the idea of blind tasting of any and all whiskey. If you don’t do it blind you let your bias show through. Tonight we will be blind tasting the GlenDronach against a couple of sherry cask highlands.

  39. […] Hansell, from Malt Advocate, post about the six best selling brands of whisky in the US: Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, McClelland and Glenmorangie. He does a review of […]

  40. Since I work on The Glenlivet I noticed quite a few comments wondering why The Glenlivet has such a strong share of market in the USA. One factor, alluded to earlier, is that The Glenlivet was probably one of the first single malts to focus on the US market. Bill Smith-Grant decided in the early 30’s to set up direct distribution agreements for The Glenlivet and the US, specifically with a distributor in Illinois. This led to the first distillery bottlings with our own label and packaging – interestingly Bill Smith-Grant preferred to call The Glenlivet an unblended scotch whisky. Being one of the first pioneers is always a key factor in establishing a strong market position but it cannot be maintained by marketing alone and ultimately your product quality has to be consistently excellent too!

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