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7 Best Scotch Whiskies for Rob Roy

Discover the 7 Best Scotch Whiskies for a Rob Roy cocktail that you can buy today without breaking the bank!

Johnnie Walker High Rye

NoseRipe fruit, mint, rye spice
PalateCaramel, honey, apple, spice
FinishMedium, mint, spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, Cocktails
Similar toChivas 13, Black Label

Rob Roys and Manhattans share the same recipe. The difference lies in the Rob Roy using Scotch instead of Rye Whiskey or Bourbon.

If you want the best of two worlds the Johnnie Walker High Rye provides the best answer as this release is made from a mash high in rye.

As usual, this whisky is a blend of malts coming from Cardhu, Glenkinchie, and Caol Ila and grain whiskies from Cameronbridge and Teaninich.

There is some alcohol on the nose that rapidly fades into a ripe fruit note, followed by mint and a spicy touch.

On the palate, the higher proof provides a good body with hints of caramel and honey hitting first, followed by apple and moderate rye spice.

The finish has a decent length, with a note of mint, rye spice and just a bit of oak spice.

Not a bad whisky, moderate on the spice with very little heat and a good option for folks outside the United States with limited access to this type of whisky that makes good cocktails.

Dewar’s White Label

NoseApple, peach, oak
PalateHoney, cereal, vanilla, smoke, oak
FinishCaramel, vanilla, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toJack Daniel’s, Cutty Sark

The nose is subtle and pleasant bringing notes of apple, peach, a bit of barley and oak.

On the palate, the Dewar’s White Label is super smooth and sweet, with notes of honey and caramel at first, followed by vanilla, toasted barley, a bit of smoke and just a tad of oak.

The finish is short-lived, with very little to no warmth, leaving an aftertaste of caramel, vanilla and oak spice.

Dewar’s is a surprisingly smooth and sweet dram. “surprisingly” because whiskies at this price range tend to be not that good, TBH.

Now you know why Dewar’s is so popular in the United States where it is frequently used as a whiskey mixer to make cocktails.

Monkey Shoulder

NoseMarmalade, vanilla, baking spice
PalateMalt, vanilla, orange, honey, oak
FinishShort, caramel, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toChivas Regal 12, Famous Grouse

The nose brings a marmalade aroma, with hints of vanilla, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon.

On the palate, the Monkey Shoulder feels smooth and creamy with very little heat on the first sip. Hints of vanilla, orange and honey pop-up, followed by a bit of oak spice bitterness.

The finish is short, with a tad of caramel and more oak spice bitterness to it.

The Monkey Shoulder becomes better when adding a drop of water as it becomes sweeter, while subduing the oak spice note.

Monkey Shoulder is an easy whiskey, good choice for those new to whisky looking for something approachable and affordable and makes one of the best Scotch Whiskies for new drinkers.

Where this whisky shines is in cocktails as its flavor profiles mixes incredibly well in any cocktail.

Chivas Regal 12

NoseApple, vanilla, lemon curd
PalateApple, malt, oak, caramel, pepper
FinishShort, pepper
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkHighball
Similar toCrown Royal, Dewar’s

The nose is full of apple juice aroma, along notes of vanilla and lemon curd.

On the palate Chivas Regal is quite light with not much body, it has oak notes with a touch of caramel and hints of green apple, cinnamon and black pepper.

Finish is short and light with peppery notes and a bit of heat to it, but not harsh.

Nothing special or remarkable about the Chivas 12 but nothing terrible.

I would not drink it neat as I feel it somewhat peppery and bitter but it makes a decent dram to mix with soda making an enjoyable highball.

The taste is not bright, but everything that is needed from a Scotch whisky is present and its price makes it appealing.

Not the easiest whisky but in a Rob Roy or highball it becomes quite competent.

Famous Grouse

NoseApple, caramel, barley
PalateCaramel, citrus, honey, smoke
FinishMalt, citrus
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toRed Label, Cutty Sark

The Famous Grouse has been the best-selling whisky in Scotland since 1980.

It is superior to most Scotch blends in this price range. A simple whisky but it is smooth and lacks the overpowering bitterness that is found in other budget blends and makes a great whisky for new drinkers.

Nose is faint, with subtle notes of apple, caramel and barley.

On the palate, the Famous Grouse provides caramel sweetness up-front, with notes of honey and sherry, followed by a hint of orange.

It has a mineral note and a tiny tad of smoke bringing balance to the sweetness.

The finish is short-lived, leaving a malty aftertaste behind, with a bit of oak spice, orange and caramel.

Nothing spectacular or remarkable, yet nothing bad about it. Just a serviceable whisky that drinks nicely with a dash of water as the Scots been drinking whisky for the ages.

This an affordable whisky making an easy everyday drinker with no challenging notes. Now you know why is it so popular in Scotland.

Copper Dog

NoseApple, pear, honey, ethanol
PalateHoney, apple, orange, oak spice
FinishShort, caramel, coffee, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toMonkey Shoulder

The Copper Dog is a good value option when looking for a Scotch for mixed drinks.

The nose hits with apple and pear at first followed by honey and just a whiff of ethanol.

On the palate, the Copper Dog tastes like honey and apple, followed by bitter orange and a bit of oak spice.

The finish is short and somewhat warm, with a bit of caramel, a touch of coffee and oak spice.

It lacks a bit in body and burns on the way down but becomes quite competent in cocktails.

Kirkland 12 Year Blended Scotch

NoseOak, fruit, vanilla
PalateSmoke, vanilla, citrus
FinishPepper, oak
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toKirkland Canadian Whisky

This is something you can only buy in Costco but its well worth giving a shot as it has a decent taste and is super affordable.

This whisky is a blend of single malt and grain whiskies aged for a minimum of 12 years.

The Kirkland blended Scotch is an alternative to the Black Label as it has some of its notes.

The nose brings oak at first, followed by a fruity note and a touch of vanilla.

On the palate, it feels somewhat thin lacking in body. It hits with gentle smoke up-front, followed by vanilla, a tad of orange zest and a subtle peppery note.

The finish is sort, it becomes a bit peppery and bitter but with very little warmth to it.

Definitely not a sipping whisky as it lets you down on the finish but quite competent when looking for a Scotch to make cocktails.

Best Scotch Whiskies for Rob Roy: Buying Guide

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Johnnie Walker High Rye$26750ml
Monkey Shoulder$30750ml
Chivas Regal 12$26750ml
Famous Grouse$20750ml
Copper Dog$29750ml
Kirkland 12 Year Blended Scotch$271.75L

Rob Roy recipe

Foolproof recipe


  • 2 ounces of Scotch Whisky
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: brandied cherries

Preparation method

  1. Add the Scotch, sweet vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Keep it in the freezer for about an hour).
  3. Garnish with speared brandied cherries.