If you aren’t careful, your whisky budget can quickly get out of control. The good news is, it’s entirely possible to find an excellent whisky that doesn’t need to break the bank. In the end, it was hard for us to choose, but here are our picks for ten excellent Scotch whiskies for under $100 a bottle.
1. Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12
We love the great flavour depth of this fruity port cask-finished whisky. Aged for 12 years in port casks, this reasonably priced Scottish whisky is well-crafted with a smooth, velvety warmth we really appreciated. The port finish adds the touch of fruitiness that appears first on the nose and returns on the finish.
2. Ardbeg 10
Probably the best value in this category, Ardbeg 10 (46%) is a fine single malt whisky from Islay. The smoky peat is unmistakable and if you’re sensitive you’ll catch the whiff of sea spray as well. The first from the distillery not to be chill-filtered, in 2008 Jim Murray named Ardbeg the World Whisky of the Year. Yes, it’s that good.
3. GlenDronach 12
This is a rich, sherried offering from the Scottish highlands. Batting above its class, you’re getting excellent value for money in a dram of this excellent single malt. Aged in a combination of Spanish Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks, the result is a complex and delightful blend of aromas and flavours you won’t want to miss.
4. Benromach 10
Aged in both sherry and bourbon casks, you’ll quickly notice how well balanced this whisky is. Yes, there’s a hint of peat there, but not enough to be overpowering. Smooth with a pleasant lingering aftertaste, Benromach 10 offers terrific value for money.
5. Compass Box Spice Tree
This amazing fruity blended malt Scotch whisky is truly impressive. Making good use of sherry-cask aged malt whisky, Spice Tree is a rich, flavourful, complex dram with depth and a long, satisfying finish. Perfect for a special occasion toast, we’re pleased to see the release of this Limited Edition bottling.
6. Compass Box Hedonism
Also from Compass Box, Hedonism is so named because it’s a grain-only whisky. Scottish grain whiskies are special indeed and a dram of Hedonism is an affordable way to experience a Scotch grain profile on a budget. Aged in American oak barrels in small batches (only two each year), Hedonism is a “sweet” whisky with deep aromas of vanilla and toffee.
7. GlenScotia 15
It’s hard to find an affordable Campbeltown whisky, but GlenScotia 15 fits the bill. This rich blend offers us fruit and spice with the unmistakable undertone of salty Campeltown peat. A rich blend aged in American oak bourbon casks, add a little water to bring out the caramelized elements.
8. Dalwhinnie 15
This single malt highland whisky suggests heather-style peat and misty mornings. Smooth with a medium body and a light finish, there’s a touch of floral here along with the brightness of fruit and a dash of cinnamon. Don’t miss the chance to try this fine dram from the highest distillery in Scotland.
9. Kilchoman Manchir Bay
Aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in sherry butts, Kilchoman Manchir Bay is a must-try Scotch whisky that’s a little lighter and more refined than some of its burlier cousins. An Islay single malt, you can’t miss the peat and the sea spray, but there’s a sweetness here, too - apples, lemons and honey. With such a lovely long, slow finish, this is a Scotch to be savoured.
10. Bunnahabhain 12
Not all Islay whiskies are heavy on the peat. Look no further if you’re trying to find one of those! Aged in old sherry casks, there’s no chill filtration and no added colouring in Bunnahabhain 12. What you will find is a light dram with a delightfully complex flavour profile. Try this if you want a gentle, pleasing dram without the overt smokiness so typical of Islay whiskies.
If our list of affordable whiskies isn’t enough to get you going, this Good Food article has several more to add to your ‘Try This Whisky’ list. We’d love to hear from you. Have you tried any of these whiskies? What did you think? Did we miss any reasonably-priced whiskies that you think are particularly good? Leave us a message in the comments below and share your recommendations!
One of the best ways to sample a wide range of different whiskies without worrying about over-spending is to sign up for Whisky Loot’s subscription program. Each month we’ll send you a carefully curated selection of whiskies for you to taste. That way, you only need to invest in larger bottles of those whiskies you really love.