Speyside: Balvenie 12 DoubleWood
The small northeastern region could be swallowed up by the surrounding Highlands, but it deserves its own designation if only for the fact that Speyside is home to nearly half of all distilleries in Scotland. On the whole, the area produces sweeter, fuller-bodied Scotches often characterized by subtly nutty, fruity flavors. Balvenie's signature DoubleWood is no exception, with a special richness from a second maturation in sherry casks that follows aging in bourbon barrels (hence the name). For the money, Scotch doesn't get any deeper or more complex than this, with plush layers of honey, orange, vanilla, and caramel unfolding in each new sip.