Old Enough to Drink: The Best 21 Year Old Whiskies to Try

Whether you are celebrating a birthday or another special occasion, you can’t go wrong with any of these 21 year old whiskies, all of which scored 90 points or more in our Buying Guide. This list offers a wide array of styles, including single malt scotch, blended scotch, blended malt, blended grain, Irish single malt, single pot still, and Japanese whisky. Aged with care and sometimes with multiple cask types, all of these whiskies make for a toast-worthy pour.

Our picks for the best 21 year old whiskies to drink now

Bushmills 21 year old Madeira Finish Irish Single Malt
96 points, 40%, $250

This whiskey underwent its final two years of maturation in madeira casks, which bring incredible depth of flavor to this exceptional triple distilled Irish single malt. Chocolate, sultana, dates, forest honey, nuts, and banana bread.

Dewar’s Double Double 21 year old Blended Scotch
94 points, 46%, $40/375 ml

Dewar’s blends parcels of aged malt and grain, blends and ages the parcels, then blends them, ages the blend, and finishes the blend in oloroso casks. Chocolate, vanilla, black cherry, coffee grounds, gingersnaps, smoke, and spice.

Knappogue Castle 21 year old Irish Single Malt
94 points, 46%, $200

Two vintages of triple distilled single malt Irish whiskey matured in bourbon casks were married together for this limited release. Honey, floral, vanilla pod, wood spices, orange, kumquat, and lime.

Glenfiddich 21 year old Reserva Rum Cask Finish Single Malt Scotch
93 points, 40%, $210

William Grant & Sons is a rum-finished whisky specialist, and this expression represents the pinnacle of their expertise. Lime zest, vanilla, meringue, pepper, and soft oak.

Jura 21 year old Tide Single Malt Scotch
93 points, 46.7%, $200

Jura matures this whisky in bourbon barrels, then finishes it in new American oak casks which accentuate the notes of ginger and spice. Baked apple, chocolate chip cookies, woodsmoke, ginger, honey, and clove.

GlenDronach 21 year old Parliament Single Malt Scotch
93 points, 48%, $252

Matured in oloroso and PX casks, this is named after the parliament of rooks that nest in the trees beside the distillery. Sweet sherry, leather, nuts, peach, clove, ginger, licorice, and chocolate.

Redbreast 21 year old Irish Single Pot Still
93 points, 46%, $290

A remarkable single pot still whiskey from Ireland’s Midleton Distillery, matured in a mixture of sherry and bourbon casks. Honey, vanilla, orange, apple, banana, creaminess, and pot still spices.

Hibiki 21 year old Japanese Blend
93 points, 43%, $350

Designed to show the art of blending, this fine whisky from the House of Suntory draws on rare stocks from across the company’s distilleries. Vanilla, dried fruits, incense, mizunara oak, citrus, honey, and ginger.

Benromach 21 year old Single Malt Scotch
92 points, 43%, $200

Gordon & MacPhail reopened Benromach Distillery in 1998, so this expression, matured in first-fill sherry and bourbon casks, contains some of the oldest whisky made under the family’s ownership. Cinnamon, orange, and black coffee.

Glenlivet 21 year old Archive Single Malt Scotch
92 points, 43%, $240

This one is composed of whiskies from bourbon and sherry casks drawn from the Glenlivet warehouses. Sherry, fruitcake, maple syrup, Brazil nuts, old leather, oily, toffee, raisin, and oak.

Glengoyne 21 year old Single Malt Scotch
92 points, 43%, $235

A bottling that has long been regarded as a classic among sherry cask matured expressions. Red apple, dates, dried fig, baking spices, toffee, red currant, sultana, and cinnamon.

MacNair’s Lum Reek 21 year old Blended Scotch
92 points, 48%, $220

A blend of Islay and Speyside whiskies. The name comes from the traditional Scottish toast to a long and prosperous life: “Lang may yer lum reek.” Bold smoke, zesty citrus, vanilla, marmalade, caramel, spice, and chocolate.

Glencadam 21 year old Scotch Single Malt
91 points, 46%, $215

This whisky from Glencadam Distillery, which will celebrate its bicentenary in 2025, is an unsung marvel. Marshmallow, coconut, apple, apricot, almond, lemon curd, ginger, and tobacco.

Royal Salute 21 year old Snow Polo Edition Blended Grain Scotch
91 points, 46.5%, $155

This is Royal Salute’s first blended grain. Its ABV matches the latitude of St. Moritz, where snow polo was first played. Caramel, vanilla, pepper, stewed fruits, orange, chocolate, honeycomb, and marzipan.

Balvenie Port Wood 21 year old Single Malt Scotch
91 points, 40%, $225

While Balvenie has flirted with other versions of 21 year olds, this expression is the definitive bottling and an exemplar of port pipe maturation. Red grape, vanilla, milk chocolate, nuts, plum, and subtle smoke.

Arran 21 year old Single Malt Scotch
91 points, 46%, $250

Currently the oldest expression in Arran’s core range, this whisky was fully matured in sherry butts. Toffee, baked apple, tropical fruit, sweet spice, peaches in syrup, and milk chocolate.

Aberfeldy 21 year old Single Malt Scotch
91 points, 40%, $190

A luxurious dram matured in bourbon and sherry casks from Dewar’s flagship distillery. Heather honey, granola, vanilla, ground almond, waxy, pepper, citrus, and dried fruit.

Glenfarclas 21 year old Single Malt Scotch
91 points, 43%, $130

Few whiskies offer better value for money than age statement Glenfarclas, and this lively, expressive whisky also delivers on the palate. Just don’t expect a sherry bomb. Honey, pear, cinnamon, toffee, apricot, and spice.

Benriach The Twenty One Single Malt Scotch
91 points, 46%, $200

Peated and unpeated whisky matured in four different cask types—bourbon, sherry, virgin oak, and Bordeaux red wine. Sweet smokiness, mint, vanilla, red berries, dark chocolate, and licorice.

Glen Moray 21 year old Elgin Heritage Portwood Finish Single Malt Scotch
90 points, 46.3%, $180

The two-year port finish adds layers of dark chocolate and fruit to the aged stocks initially matured in American oak. Raspberry, ginger, vanilla custard, sultana, honey, coconut, chocolate, and oak.

More From Whisky List

5 Great Irish Whiskeys to Try Now

Sample single pot still or some of Ireland’s inventive finishing techniques with one of these selections from the Fall 2022 Buying Guide.