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7 Best Scotches Under $50

You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality. It’s a list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary state to state.


1. Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend ($39)

“This is a great blend from the enfant terrible of the scotch world. Hints of sherry and smoke. A full-bodied and meaty blend.”—Abigail Gullo, head bartender at Compère Lapin

2. The Famous Grouse ($23)

“Back in my days at Amor y Amargo, this was our only scotch, and it really makes a fantastic stirred drink, from the Rob Roy to esoteric Negroni variations, like my bitter, savory, chocolatey Casualty cocktail (The Famous Grouse blended scotch, Byrrh, Amaro Montenegro, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters.)”—Chris Elford, bartender at Rob Roy and co-owner of No Anchor and soon-to-open Navy Strength

3. Monkey Shoulder ($40)

“It is a very easy scotch for anyone to sip on and also is amazing for making cocktails.”—Bob Peters, head mixologist at The Punch Room in The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

4. Old Pulteney 12 Year ($40)

“One cannot beat the value of this single-malt. Usually complexities and richness are compromised with the lower-priced whisky, but not with this pour.”—Gary Patrick Crunkleton, bartender and owner at The Crunkleton

5. Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blend ($38)

“It’s blended scotch for malt-heads. A variety of singles make up half the blend. Vanilla, cream, a touch of smoke.”—David Moo, owner of Quarter Bar

6. Auchentoshan American Oak ($41)

“A great triple-distilled single-malt priced for cocktail making, this expression aged in ex-bourbon barrels gives this a really silky mouthfeel.”—Keli Rivers, bartender at The Devil’s Acre and Whitechapel

7. Bowmore 12 Year ($50)

“It has fantastic bright fruit tucked away under smoldering peat and brine.”—Joaquín Simó, partner and bartender at Pouring Ribbons

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