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Best scotch under 100

13 Best Scotch Whiskies Under $100

There are a few misconceptions about Scotch, specifically single-malt whisky. First off, there’s an assumption that even if you’re a whisky fan, it won’t be for you. You assume that you don’t have the palate to embrace this whisky style. You’re used to bourbon, rye, and other types of whisky, and single malt Scotch seems like it’s just a little too fancy. It’s as if it’s a drink that mutton chop-wearing distinguished gentleman drink in tiny glasses while they muse about the affairs of the world. Well, we’re here to tell you that it really isn’t.

Another misconception is that single-malt Scotch whisky is really expensive. There’s an image of single malts and it revolves around having to spend a month’s salary to buy a bottle. This is also not true. And while you can definitely spend a small fortune on a long-aged expression, there are myriad award-winning, flavorful, notable single malt whiskies for less than $100.

RELATED: Best Scotch Whisky Brands

How Man of Many Chose this List of Best Scotch Under $100

This list of the best Scotch whiskies under $100 has been collated by Man of Many’s experienced teams of drinks writers and reviewers. In addition to tasting every Scotch on this list, we also turned to the wider public for their overall ratings. Our list takes into account three major perspectives to determine the overall rating. In addition to our own opinions, we take into account reviews via alcohol retailer Dan Murphys and the Australian drinks forums such as Master of Malt and The Whisky Wash. Each Scotch identified in the list was measured on:

  • Flavour profile
  • Value for money
  • Appearance

Similarly, while the one defining characteristic is that each drop is under $100, prices can fluctuate from time to time. For the most part, the Scotch whiskies on this list are under $100, however, some may rise to $110 maximum, so be wary of the price.

Best Value Scotch Options

Best Scotch Under $100

When it comes to finding the best Scotch for the money, there are a lot of options on the market. The vast majority included in this list are single malt releases, produced by some of the biggest and most revered distilleries in Scotland, however, you will find a few blended drops here. Take a look at the best Scotch under $100, according to us.

1 dewars 15 year old

Dewar’s 15-Year-Old | Image: Dan Murphy’s

1. Dewar’s 15-Year-Old

When it comes to blended Scotch whisky, there are few names bigger than Dewar’s. One of its best expressions is its 15-Year-Old blend. The first whisky created by master blender Stephanie Macleod, Dewar’s 15-Year-Old is also known lovingly as “The Monarch”. Made up of a blend of whiskies aged in ex-bourbon and sherry casks, it’s known for its flavours of toasted vanilla beans, candied orange peels, sticky toffee pudding, candied walnuts, and dried cherries.

While Dewar’s is best known for its outstanding Double Double 32-Year-Old, which was awarded the Whisky of the Year at the 2020 International Whisky Competition, the 15-Year-Old makes for a worthy and (most importantly) budget-friendly substitution. The blended release scored a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017, meaning it’s well worth the $72 you’ll have to fork out to get it.

Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 15-Years-Old
Closure: Cork stopper
Whisky Style: Blended
Price: from $72

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (BWS) Buy it here (Dewar’s)

2 cardhu 12 year old single malt

Cardhu 12-Year-Old Single Malt | Image: Dan Murphy’s

2. Cardhu 12-Year-Old Single Malt

If you’ve never heard of Cardhu, now is the time to get on the bandwagon. One of the distilleries often used in Johnnie Walker’s iconic blends, this 12-year-old expression is bargain-priced at well below $100. Carrying notable Speyside flavours like rich oak, buttery caramel, honey, candy apples, and gentle, slightly peat smoke abound in this masterful expression. Drink it neat or with a few drops of water to really open it up. Much like the Dear’s 15-Year-Old, this stunning and inexpensive drop scored a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017.

Size: 700mL
Region: Knockando
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 12-Years-Old
Closure: Cork stopper
Whisky Style: Blended
Price: from $87

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Master of Malt) Buy it here (First Choice)

3 ardbeg 10 year

Ardbeg 10 Year | Image: Dan Murphy’s

3. Ardbeg 10 Year

Ardbeg is known for its peat-smoked single malt whiskies and its flagship expression is the stunning 10-year-old. This non-chill filtered single malt is known for its salted caramel, candied orange peel, vanilla bean, charred oak, and peaty, campfire smoke swirling throughout. It’s robust, rich, and heavily smoky. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular peated whiskies in the world. One sip of Ardbeg 10 and you’ll strive to try every single expression this well-known distillery makes. Next stop? Ardbeg Corryvreckan.

While it’s far from the $28 million cask that sold earlier this year, the Ardberg 10-Year-Old makes a strong case for the most award Scotch under $100. The flagship drop was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020, to go along with Gold at the 2018 edition and a win at the World Whisky Award.

Size: 700mL
Region: Islay
Alcohol Volume: 46%
Age: 10 Year Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $94.95

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Master of Malt) Buy it here (Ardbeg)

4 laphroaig 10 year old

Laphroaig 10 Year Old | Image: Dan Murphy’s

4. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old

The Inner Hebrides island of Islay is home to nine different distilleries and a lot of sheep. One of the most popular is Laphroaig. One of the distilleries that makes nothing but award-winning expressions, its flagship whisky is its 10-year-old. Matured in ex-bourbon barrels for at least a decade, it’s known for its flavours of ocean brine, caramel, vanilla, oak, and robust, bold peat smoke. It’s definitely not a beginner-peated whisky. You have to work your way up to this one. But, when you do, you’ll want to add a few drops and wait for it to open up before you take your first sip. Let this one sink in.

Want to learn more about the smoky favourite Laphroaig? Check out our full guide to the Islay favourite here.

Size: 700mL
Region: Islay
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 10 Year Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $88

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Nicks)  Buy it here (Laphroaig)

5 caol ila 12 year old single malt

Caol Ila 12-Year-Old Single Malt | Image: Dan Murphy’s

5. Caol Ila 12-Year-Old Single Malt

One of the most popular entry-level peated single malt whiskies, Caol Ila 12 was first launched back in 2002. In the years since, it’s gained a cult following because of its price-to-value ratio. Aged for a minimum of twelve years, this beloved expression is known for its mix of mint, candied orange peels, pipe tobacco, caramel, vanilla beans, and campfire smoke. It’s more well-balanced and subtle than many of the other big-name Islay single malt whiskies and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Size: 700mL
Region: Islay
Alcohol Volume: 43%
Age: 12 Year Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $102

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Master of Malt)  Buy it here (Vintage Cellars)

6 the glenlivet 12 year old single malt

The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt | Image: Dan Murphy’s

6. The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt

Even if you’re not a single-malt Scotch whisky drinker, you’ve probably heard of The Glenlivet. This highly regarded Speyside single malt whisky is matured for at least twelve years in a combination of American and European oak barrels. This results in a memorable, flavorful whisky with notes of dried fruits, vanilla beans, butterscotch, orange peels, candied apples, light wintry spices, and rich oak at the very end. It’s best enjoyed neat or with a few drops of water, given the respect it deserves.

Best of all, you can regularly find this release in stores, so you don’t have to go hunting to find a bargain. The Glenlivet bills itself as the most awarded Single Malt whisky producer in Scotland and has managed to carve out a huge market in Australia and the United States. Flagship releases such as the 12-Year-Old are a big reason why. The drop has managed to nab Gold and Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, along with countless hordes of dedicated fans.

Want to know more about The Glenlivet 120Year-Old Single malt? Check out our full guide to the classic Scotch whisky.

Size: 700mL
Region: Speyside
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 12 Year Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $82

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (BWS) Buy it here (The Glen Livet)

7 talisker 10 year old single malt

Talisker 10-Year-Old Single Malt | Image: Dan Murphy’s

7. Talisker 10-Year-Old Single Malt

While Islay gets all the praise for its single malt whisky prowess, it’s not the only island that produces award-winning, value whiskies. Talisker is situated on The Isle of Sky. Its flagship, entry-level expression is its 10-year-old whisky. Aged for ten years in American oak casks, it’s known for its flavours of salted caramel, caramel apples, candied orange peels, dried fruits, cracked black pepper, and robust peat smoke.

As far as the whiskies on this list go, the Talisker 10-Year-Old is certainly one of the most awarded. The iconic release has scored Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Ultimate Spirits Challenge and Berlin International Spirits Competition, along with securing the title of Best Islands Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards in 2017. If you’ve tried all (or most) of the whiskies from Islay, it’s time to turn your attention to Talisker and the Isle of Sky. You’ll be happy you did.

Size: 700mL
Region: Carbost
Alcohol Volume: 45.8%
Age: 10 Year Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $109

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Master of Malt) Buy it here (First Choice)

8 bruichladdich the classic laddie

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie | Image: Dan Murphy’s

8. Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie

Bruichladdich (along with Bunnahabhain) stand out from the rest of the Islay distilleries because they produced unpeated whiskies (not counting Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte and Octomore lines). Matured in American oak barrels, this 100% Scottish barley-based whisky is known for its gentle, smooth flavour profile of candied apples, vanilla beans, brown sugar, butterscotch, and gentle, wintry spices. It’s a warming, sweet, spicy sipping well-suited for a cool evening.

Perhaps most interesting of all, The Classic Laddie is one of the most sustainable Scotch whiskies on the market. As one of only six distilleries worldwide to achieve B Corp Certification, Bruichladdich has carved out a seriously impressive drop that doesn’t impact the world around it.

Want to learn more about The Classic Laddie? Find out everything you need to know about the sustainable drop with our comprehensive guide. 

Size: 700mL
Region: Islay
Alcohol Volume: 50%
Closure: Stopper
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $109

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Master of Malt) Buy it here (Bruichladdich)

9 chivas regal xv old blended

Chivas Regal XV Old Blended | Image: Dan Murphy’s

9. Chivas Regal XV Old Blended

First launched in 2018, this blended Scotch whisky from revered label Chivas Regal is a blend of 15-year-old whiskies. It’s finished in Grand Champagne cognac barrels. This results in a whisky that begins with a fruity, sweet aroma. After that draws you in, you’ll be met with a flavour profile of buttery caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, candied apples, and sweet vanilla. It’s a complex, flavourful blend that you’ll go back to again and again. And not just because it’s surprisingly inexpensive. It’s just that great.

Size: 700mL
Region: Speyside
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 15-Years-Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Blended
Price: from $90

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (BWS) Buy it here (Chivas)

10 johnnie walker green label

Johnnie Walker Green Label | Image: Dan Murphy’s

10. Johnnie Walker Green Label

While Johnnie Walker Black Label usually gets a lot of praise for its value and Johnnie Walker Blue Label gets acclaim for its indulgent, high-quality nature, the less popular Johnnie Walker Green Label might be the best of the bench in terms of quality to value. Priced considerably less than Blue Label, this whisky is a blend of 15-year-old whiskies. It’s known for its nutty sweetness, chocolate, rich oak, light spices, vanilla beans, sweet honey, and gentle smoke. If you can find it, definitely grab a bottle (or three). You’ll be happy you did.

For everything you need to know about Johnnie Walker and its stellar range of blended whisky release, check out our full guide to the Lowland favourite. 

Size: 700mL
Region: Lowland
Alcohol Volume: 43%
Age: 15-Years-Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Blended
Price: from $94

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Costco) Buy it here (Johnnie Walker)

11 glenmorangie 10 year old the original

Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old The Original | Image: Dan Murphy’s

11. Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old The Original

If you were to poll bartenders and single malt whisky drinkers and ask them to name the best value, entry-level single malt Scotch whisky and you’d get a lot of people referencing Glenmorangie 10-year-old The Original. The brand’s flagship expression is matured for at least ten years in a combination of first-fill and second-fill American white oak barrels. It’s known for its creamy, mellow flavour profile consisting of sticky toffee pudding, candied orange peels, toasted vanilla beans, dried fruits, and rich oak.

For more information on The Glenmorangie and it’s awarded portfolio of Single Matl Scotch Whisky, check out our full guide. 

Size: 700mL
Region: Highland
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 10-Years-Old
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $90

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Master of Malt) Buy it here (Glenmorangie)

12 highland park 12 year old

Highland Park 12-Year-Old | Image: Dan Murphy’s

12. Highland Park 12-Year-Old

Also known as Viking Honour, Highland Park 12-year-old is a ‘can’t miss’ single malt whisky. Redesigned and repacked in 2018, this popular whisky from Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands is matured for twelve years in European and American sherry-season oak barrels. This results in a fruity, sweet, spicy, slightly smoky whisky with notes of candied orange peels, cinnamon sugar, heather, honey, dried fruits, vanilla, and light wood smoke. It’s a beloved bargain expression for a reason. It’s a well-balanced, smoky, sweet banger of a bottle.

Want to learn more about Highland Park’s incredible range of whiskies? Check out our guide to The Isles producer.

Size: 700mL
Region: The Isles
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 12-Years-Old
Closure: Cork stopper
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: from $96

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Liqour Land) Buy it here (Highland Park)

13 pure scot blended whisky

Pure Scot Blended Whisky | Image: Dan Murphy’s

13. Pure Scot Blended Whisky

Pure Scot is a blended whisky from Bladnoch Distillery’s master distiller Ian MacMillian. The base is single malt whisky from the popular Bladnoch Distiller as well as some from Speyside distilleries, Islay distilleries, and even some grain whisky. This award-winning blend is known for its flavour profile featuring notes of honey, cracked black pepper, orange zest, vanilla beans, and gentle, peaty smoke. It’s like taking a trip through every Scottish whisky region in every sip.

Size: 700mL
Region: Multi-regional blend
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 12-Years-Old
Closure: Cork stopper
Whisky Style: Blended
Price: from $71

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (First Choice) Buy it here (Pure Scot)

Things to Consider for Cheap Scotch

If you are new to whisky or you simply want to get the best bang for your buck, it’s important to put a few key considerations top of mind. While cheaper Scotch can often be relegated to inferior by the lamen, knowing what you are looking for can help you identify the best Scotch for the money. Here’s what you need to know.

Regions

One major element to consider is which region your whisky comes from. The characteristics of each area can greatly impact the overall flavour of the Scotch, so it can often be wise to identify your favourite region and go from there. Specifically, there are five official Scottish whisky regions and then one unofficial region. While we listed them below, you can read more in our full rundown of Scotland’s whisky regions.

  • Speyside – Located at the northeastern end of Scotland, the Speyside whisky region is truly abundant in rivers, glens, history, and whisky. This region is home to fabled distilleries such as The Macallan, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie.
  • Lowlands – In the simplest terms, any (land-bound) distillery that’s south of the Highlands and north of England classifies as a Lowlands distillery. This area is home to producers such as Bladnoch.
  • Isle of Islay – A coastal region, Islay is renowned for its strong, peated and smoky drops. You’ll recognise classic distilleries such as Laphroaig, Ardberg and Bowmore.
  • Campbeltown – A former bustling region that was home to over 30 distilleries, Campbeltown is currently down to just three.
  • Highlands – The largest whisky-producing region in Scotland, the Highlands is best known for its sweet and full-bodied single malts from labels such as Dalmore and Glenmorangie.

Types of Scotch Whisky

The second major consideration when it comes to choosing the best Scotch is identifying the type of whisky you are looking for. The way the dram is made, produced and matured can alter the way it tastes and make a big difference to your overall whisky experience. Scotch whisky breaks down according to the following types:

Types of Scotch Whisky
Single Malt To qualify as single malt, the Scotch must be made from a mash of 100% malted barley and distilled at a single distillery by way of a pot still distillation process.
Single Grain Despite the name, single grain Scotch can incorporate other whole cereal grains (malted or unmalted) into the mash. The whisky must be distilled at a single distillery and it can be distilled continuously in continuous stills or column stills.
Blended Malt A blend of single malt Scotch whiskies from at least two different distilleries.
Blended Grain A blend of single grain Scotch whiskies from at least two different distilleries.
Blended Scotch A blend of single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies.

Alternatives to Scotch Whisky Under $100

If you’re not quite aboard the Scotch whisky train or looking for something a little different in the drinking scene, why not check out our articles on some of the other great drams from across the world?

General FAQs

What is the number one Scotch whisky in the world?

Unsurprisingly to whisky drinkers, the most popular Scotch whisky brand in the world is Johnnie Walker. Specifically, Johnnie Walker Red is the best-selling Scotch whisky in the world. Surprisingly well-priced at around $15-20 it’s known for its mix of caramel sweetness and gentle spices. It’s just as popular as a mixer for your favourite cocktails as it is for a bargain sipper. It’s consistent, cheap, and always there for you.

What is the smoothest Scotch whisky under $100?

While there’s no debating the highest-selling Scotch whisky in the world, the smoothest whisky is definitely up for debate. If we were to take a poll, there’s a good chance Glenmorangie 10 The Original would get a ton of votes. It’s known for its creamy, smooth, gentle flavour profile. For the price, it’s very difficult to beat with notes of vanilla cream, butterscotch candy, and sticky toffee pudding.

CONTRIBUTOR

Christopher Osburn

Christopher Osburn is a pop culture, travel, food, and drinks writer located in New York. He's been writing professionally since 2006 when he got a job as a beer columnist at his local newspaper. Since then, the culture and drinks expert has written for Men's Journal, Thrillist, Esquire, Food & Wine, Uproxx, Matador, Maxim, and many more sites and magazines.