NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character in Anchorman famously says, "I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch." While Ferrell's line won't be confused with MLK's "I Have a Dream" or FDR's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Burgundy certainly made his point.
Humans have been producing scotch since the 1400s, making the drink purely from malt barley until distilleries began using wheat and rye. Today, scotch varieties fall into five categories: single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain and blended.
With so many different varieties and brands from which to choose, which are the best of the best? What would Ron Burgundy drink?
We've highlighted some of the winners of the 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition, selecting those that earned the IWSC's "Gold Outstanding" ranking. So click through for our list of The 10 Best Bottles of Scotch on the Planet (in no particular order):
Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey 12YO
The Deanston distillery in Scotland sits eight miles from historic Stirling on the banks of the River Teith. The site served as a mill for much of its history until its conversion into a whiskey distillery in 1965.
IWSC Commentary: Very attractive nose with honey dominating followed by barley sugar and vanilla. All held in great oak cradle. Some light cereal notes with orange marmalade come into play along with toasty nuts, soft caramel and some short bread. Rich and full in the mouth where lots more oak and vanilla show. Ultra smooth yet fairly short, soft, clean finish.
Chivas Regal Scotch Whiskey Deluxe Blend 18YO
Chivas Brothers produces this winner, and the company's origins date back to a small grocery store in 1801 that sold coffee, spices and other higher-end fare to wealthy customers. James Chivas decided to answer his clientele's demands for better whiskey and began to create his own in the 1850's.
IWSC Commentary: Stone fruits lead in very attractive nose with peach being most dominant. Nutmeg, cinnamon and sherry follow. Wonderfully warming in the mouth. Rich in sherry characters with raisins and plum. Vanilla is prominent in long, well sustained finish. Delightful.