What problem plagues single malt Scotch lovers who don’t want to throw down a lot of cash? That’s right: whisky prices.
Almost every top shelf Scotch has a price high enough to make you think twice. Hell, those Scotches are even hard to find for reasonable prices at a bar! $18 for a dram of Highland Park? No, thanks.
It’s hard to imagine being able to buy more than one bottle for less than $100, but there are answers out there. We enlisted the help of a few spirits bloggers with insight into the wide world of Scotch to help us navigate the choices. The best part? Each bottle they’ve picked costs less than $40.
While each blogger had his own unique picks, there were two Scotches that stood out as the clear winners. First is this classic decade-old expression from Glenmorangie, which hails from the Scottish Highlands and is aged in ex-bourbon casks. The Whiskey Wash describes it as “an elegant, floral creature” and Cocktail Enthusiast notes that it’s “flush with ripe fruit—apples, lemons, peaches—and is accented by sweet vanilla and creamy malts.”
The second clear-cut winner was this slightly older whisky, recommended by both Scotch Cinema and The Whiskey Wash.
“I've never had a less than stellar dram and if I only had $40 in my pocket to purchase a can't-miss single malt, it would be an easy choice,” says Curtis MacEachern of Scotch Cinema.
Curious about the taste? The Whiskey Wash says it is “a golden-colored Scotch that offers hints of butterscotch and oak on the palate.”
Rounding out Scotch Cinema’s list of the best Scotches under $40 is the lesser-known Tomatin Legacy ($37), Johnnie Walker Black Label ($40), Bowmore Legend ($40) and his number one pick is AnCnoc 12-Year-Old ($40). The Canadian blogger says, “...whenever I'm in the good ol' USA I make it a priority to track down a bottle of this delicious Highland single malt and make it last. This is my ‘special occasion’ dram and an easy choice to top this list.”
A special occasion dram for a cool $40? Count us in.
Feeling inspired to bust out $40 for a perfectly quality bottle of Scotch yet? Perhaps the final four picks from Cocktail Enthusiast will convince you. The list is topped off with Bowmore Small Batch ($37), Speyburn 10-Year-Old ($30), Laphroaig 10-Year-Old ($40) and Aberlour 10-Year-Old ($40)—apparently 10 years of aging is the sweet spot for whisky at a lower price range.
As the blog’s author Kevin Gray says, “Buy them for yourself or give them as gifts. Drink them neat or mix them with soda. Have at it.”