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Best single malt scotches under 150

12 Best Single Malt Scotches Under $150


While there are obvious bargains to be found in the bourbon, rye, Irish whiskey, and even Australian whisky worlds, it sometimes feels like you need to spend an uncomfortable amount of money to purchase a great bottle of single-malt Scotch whisky. This is only partially true. While it’s obvious that you can spend a month’s salary (and way more) for a long-aged, nuanced bottle that you’ll treasure until the very last sip, there are myriad younger, complex single malt whiskies just waiting to be discovered. We’re talking bottles in the ten to even sixteen-year range. Surprised?

If you pay closer attention to the single malt Scotch world, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear this. When we talk about these reasonably long-aged, well-priced bottles, we’re talking about great single-malt Scotch whiskies under $150. That’s right, you can grab a bottle you’ll be proud to display on your home bar or bar cart for much less than you probably spend on a single item of clothing in your wardrobe.

The best part? These surprisingly value-priced expressions aren’t from no-name less-than-desirable brands that you and your friends have never heard of. These well-priced, high-quality single malt Scotch whiskies come from big names like Bruichladdich, Ardbeg, The Balvenie, and others. Keep scrolling to see ten of our favourite single malt Scotch whiskies that can be yours for less than $150.

Best Single Malt Scotch Under $150

RELATED: Want to know everything there is to know about whisky? Check out our comprehensive guide to the classic spirit in all its forms.

1 highland park viking honour 12 year
Highland Park Viking Honour 12 Year | Image: Dan Murphys

1. Highland Park Viking Honour 12 Year

Brand: Highland Park
Release: Viking Honour 12 Year
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 40%
Age: 12-Year-Old
Region: The Isles
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
AUD$99.99

With a name like Viking Honour, you better bet this popular expression is big, bold, and highly complex. Distilled at the Highland Park Distillery in Kirkwall, Orkney, this whisky is matured for at least twelve years in a combination of European and American sherry-seasoned oak barrels. The result is a well-balanced whisky with notes of candied orange peels, dried cherries, wintry spices, clover honey, and robust, peaty smoked. You don’t need to be a Viking to appreciate this well-made dram.

Coming in at bang on AUD$99.99 at Dan Murphys, this release just slides in under the $100 mark, which is good value when you consider its rich heritage. The Viking Honour 12 Year managed to nab a Gold Medal at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, proving that it has some serious flavour despite its affordability. We can attest that this aged Scotch has an impressive finish and smooth mouthfeel, and while it’s not quite as flavoursome as the recently promoted 15-year-old, it does have value on its side.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (Highland Park)Buy it here (The Whisky Exchange)

Springbank 10-Year | Image: Dan Murphys
Springbank 10-Year | Image: Dan Murphys

2. Springbank 10-Year

Brand: Springbank
Release: 10-Year
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 46%
Age: 10-Year-Old
Region: Campbeltown
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
From AUD$80

If you’ve never tried Springbank’s single malt whiskies, you’re really missing out. Distilled since 1828, its flagship Springbank 10-Year (like all its whiskies) is subtly peated and distilled over two times. This 10-year-old whisky is matured for more than a decade in a combination of ex-bourbon and sherry casks. It’s known for its mix of spices and sweetness with flavours of caramel, dried cherries, sweet sherry, spicy cinnamon, and wintry spices.

Be wary, while Springbank is a delicious drop enjoyed by many, it can often be rather difficult to source. As such, the price tends to fluctuate quite dramatically. At the time of writing, you could score a bottle for as little as AUD$80, but on certain other online retailers, the price swelled to as much as AUD$170. Best to keep that in mind.

Buy it here (Master of Malt)Buy it here (Springbank)

Port Charlotte 10 Heavily Peated | Image: Dan Murphys
Port Charlotte 10 Heavily Peated | Image: Dan Murphys

3. Port Charlotte 10 Heavily Peated

Brand: Bruichladdich
Release: 10-Year
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 50%
Region: Islay
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
AUD$110

We understand that peat-smoked single malt whisky isn’t for everyone, but those who love it would rather not drink anything else. A great example of a value peat monster of a whisky is Port Charlotte 10 Heavily Peated from the Bruichladdich Distillery. Made with a mash bill of 100 per cent Scottish barley, this Islay-produced whisky is matured in a combination of first-fill American oak barrels, second-fill American oak barrels, French oak barrels. It carries flavours of heather, honey, candied orange peels, vanilla beans, salted caramel, and campfire smoke.

Best of all, the Port Charlotte 10 Heavily Peated comes from the legendary team at Bruichladdich, best known for producing The Classic Laddie. The unique distillery produces some of the best single malt drops in Scotland, and in our eyes, this heavily peated release is certainly one of them. Be wary, however, this one slightly overshoots the $100 mark, with general pricing at around AUD$110. That said, if you find a release on special, you’ll be well under that three-digit figure.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (Bruichladdich)Buy it here (Nicks)

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year | Image: Dan Murphys
The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year | Image: Dan Murphys

4. The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year

Brand: The Balvenie
Release: Caribbean Cask 14 Year
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 43%
Age: 14-Year-Old
Region: Speyside
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
From AUD$140

If you were to take a poll of bartenders and whisky drinkers, asking them to tell you their favourite value single malt, you’d notice a lot of people mentioning The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14. The name is a reference to the fact that this expression is aged first in traditional oak barrels before finishing in casks that formerly held Caribbean rum. It’s known for its flavours of rum raisins, oaky wood, buttery caramel, and vanilla beans. It’s warming, sweet, and highly decadent.

We’ve long been fans of The Balvenie, with the Speyside icon serving up some of our favourite single malt Scotch whiskies over the past few years. While there are a number of great limited-run releases that help to carry in the esteemed legacy of the distillery, the Carribean Cask is arguably its best-loved export.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (The Balvenie)Buy it here (Nicks)

Glenmorangie Nectar D'or | Image: Dan Murphys
Glenmorangie Nectar D’or | Image: Dan Murphys

5. Glenmorangie Nectar D’or

Brand: Glenmorangie
Release: Nectar D’or
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 46%
Region: Highland
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
From AUD$120

If you were only going to look to one distillery for multiple value expressions, you’d have a hard time finding a better option than Glenmorangie. You really can’t go wrong with its gateway Glenmorangie 10, but if you really want to step it up, you’ll grab a bottle of Glenmorangie Nectar D’or. This indulgent after-dinner dram was matured in both American oak ex-bourbon barrels as well as casks that formerly held Sauternes sweet white wine. It’s sweet, rich, and filled with notes of orange peels, sticky toffee pudding, almond cookies, dried fruits, and rich oak. Finish a heavy meal with this sipper or drink it to wind down after an eventful evening.

We recently caught up with Dr Bill Lumsden, the man behind the revered label to discuss the delicious whisky-making process (not for the first time) and he explained that whisky “isn’t just a drink on its own, it’s part of an overall lifestyle”.

I’ve taken inspiration from the late, great Nino Cerruti of the eponymous haute couture house ‘Cerruti’ who talked about his fashion as not being a clothing brand, but much more a holistic overarching lifestyle. People who appreciate fine single-malt scotch whisky also appreciate fashion, travel, cigars, watches, cars and luxury pursuits. They all go together hand in hand.”

You can check out our full interview with Dr Bill Lumsden, the director of Distilling, Whisky Creation and Whisky Stocks for both Glenmorangie and Ardbeg here.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (The Glenmorangie)Buy it here (First Choice Liquor)

Oban Little Bay | Image: Dan Murphys
Oban Little Bay | Image: Dan Murphys

6. Oban Little Bay

Brand: Oban
Release: Little Bay
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 46%
Region: Oban
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
From AUD$115

One of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, Oban is known for its masterful, highly-awarded expressions. If you’re not afraid of a no age statement whisky, we suggest opting for its popular Oban Little Bay. The name is actually sort of redundant as Oban actually translates to “little bay”. It’s matured in a combination of refill American oak hogsheads, European sherry casks, and refill casks. This results in a bold, complex sipper with notes of salted caramel, chocolate, dried cherries, orange peels, and cinnamon sugar. If you’ve ever wanted to try any expressions from this popular distillery, start with this one first.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (Oban)Buy it here (Master of Malt)

The Macallan 12-Year Double Oak | Image: Dan Murphys
The Macallan 12-Year Double Oak | Image: Dan Murphys

7. The Macallan 12-Year Double Oak

Brand: The Macallan
Release: 12-Year Double Oak
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 46%
Age: 12-Year-Old
Region: Speyside
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
From AUD$120

There are few Scotch whisky producers more well-known than The Macallan. It’s a brand that makes a ton of ridiculously expensive (not to mention enormous) expressions, but also has a few surprisingly well-priced, high-quality bottles. The Macallan 12-Year Double Oak falls into the latter category. Aged in both American and European sherry oak for at least twelve years (hence the name), it’s popular not only for its price but for its rich, sweet flavour profile featuring candied orange peels, butterscotch, vanilla beans, sherry sweetness, and light spices. Sip it neat or on the rocks for a warming mix of sweetness and spice that you’ll crave again and again.

While it might be on the cheaper side for a bottle of Macallan, the 12-Year Double Oak shares its stablemates’ pedigree for success. Back in 2017, the single malt Scotch score a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, making it one of the world’s best-value whisky expressions.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (The Macallan)Buy it here (Master of Malt)

Aberlour 12-Year Double Cask | Image: Dan Murphys
Aberlour 12-Year Double Cask | Image: Dan Murphys

8. Aberlour 12-Year Double Cask

Brand: Aberlour
Release: 12-Year Double Cask
Size: 700mL
Alcohol Volume: 46%
Age: 12-Year-Old
Region: Speyside
Closure: Cork stopper
Price:
From AUD$109

This popular single malt Scotch whisky gets its name because it’s matured for a minimum of twelve years in a combination of traditional oak barrels as well as sherry casks. The result is a sweet, rich, well-balanced whisky with a nose of dried fruits and candied apples. The palate is loaded with sweet sherry, dried cherries, chocolate, toffee, and wintry spices. It’s a great sweet, spicy expression you’ll want to make a permanent addition to your home bar cart. Wait until an unseasonably cool evening to crack this one open. It’s sweet and spicy and is sure to warm you from the inside out.

Buy it here (Dan Murphys)Buy it here (Aberlour)Buy it here (Nicks)

Ardbeg uigeadail
Ardbeg Uigeadail | Image: Dan Mruphy’s

9. Ardbeg Uigeadail

Brand: Ardbeg
Release: Uigeadail
ABV: 54.2%
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: AUD$100

You might have trouble spelling its name (and that’s okay), but you definitely won’t have any difficulty drinking Ardbeg Uigeadail. This cask strength, no age statement single malt is made by vatting Ardbeg that was matured in ex-bourbon casks as well as Ardbeg that was aged in sherry butts. It’s smoky, robust, sweet, and filled with flavours of dried fruits, honey, sherry sweetness, caramel, vanilla, and bold peat smoke. This smoky dram deserves a few drops of water to open it up. Sip it slowly and enjoy all the nuanced, smoky, warming flavours.

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

Lagavulin 16 year old
Lagavulin 16-Year-Old | Image: Dan Murphy’s

10. Lagavulin 16-Year

Brand: Lagavulin
Release: 16-Year-Old
ABV: 46%
Age: 16-Year-Old
Region: Islay
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: AUD$120

Most single malt Scotch producers like to have a ten-year-old or even twelve-year-old gateway flagship expression in their lineup, but Lagavulin (like the rest of the peat-smoke engulfed distilleries of Islay) does everything big and bold. This is especially true with its flagship whisky, its 16-year-old expression. One of the most popular peat-smoked single malt whiskies ever made, this staple of Lagavulin’s lineup has been bringing drinkers to the smokier side of whisky since its inception in the 1990s. It’s well-known for its mix of salted caramel, dried fruits, vanilla, sticky toffee, and bold, robust peat smoke. If you only purchase one peat-smoked single malt whisky, make it this one. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

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

The GlenDronach 12-Year-Old | Image: Dan Murphys
The GlenDronach 12-Year-Old | Image: Dan Murphys

11. The GlenDronach 12 Year Old

Brand: The GlenDronach
Release: 12-Year-Old
ABV: 43%
Age: 12-Year-Old
Region: Highland
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: AUD$100

As one of the most awarded single malt Scotch whiskies in existence, no list would be complete without The GlenDronach‘s budget-friendly favourite 12-Year-Old. Taking out a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2019, along with a string of Golds at the World Whisky Awards and – International Wine & Spirit Competition, this single malt is seriously well-reviewed. It arrives after being matured for at least 12 years in a combination of the finest Spanish Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks. Non-chill filtered and bottled at 43%, The GlenDronach 12-Year-Old delivers all the sweet creamy flavours we’ve come to expect from the heritage icon.

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

Benriach The Twelve | Image: Dan Murphy's
Benriach The Twelve | Image: Dan Murphy’s

12. Benriach The Twelve

Brand: Benriach
Release: The Twelve
ABV: 46%
Age: 12-Year-Old
Region: Speyside
Closure: Cork
Whisky Style: Single Malt
Price: AUD$98

It’s no secret we love Benriach, but it’s not just because we’re fans of the finer things. The Speyside distillery is revered for its smooth and ultra-palatable releases, but you may be surprised to find out just how affordable the Scotch whisky label is. While you can regularly find the Original 10 for about $80 in bottle shops, our top pick is the Benraich 12-Year-Old. Matured in a sherry-rich profile with a little bit of bourbon and port cask influence thrown in, the Scottish single malt is laden with baked fruit, maple honey sweetness and lingering oak spice. In this instance, we’ve opted for the non-peated release, however, you can also find the Benriach Smoky 12 for a similarly affordable price point.

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

What is Single Malt Whisky?

In the simplest terms, whisky is a spirit made from distilling fermented mash from grains. In single malts, that’s usually barley, but when talking about all whisky, it can be corn, rye, wheat, and various other grains. Importantly, there are distinctions that separate some drams from others and these can often be attributed to geographical constraints.

As we explained in our list of single malts not from Scotland, the United Kingdom’s Scotch Whisky Regulations – The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, these liquids must be made exclusively from malted barley, be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres. Outside of Scotland and the UK, however, there is no definition of the term “single malt” with relation to whisky. In the United States, for example, some American whiskey advertised as “single malt whisky” is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.

Scotch Rules

For single malt whisky in Scotland, the rules around production begin even more strict. In this region, where whisky is seen as a birthright rather than a tasty beverage, a single malt must be produced with 100% malted barley at only one distillery. As a result of the strict requirements of the production process, the Scotch Whisky Association has confirmed that there are only five recognised whisky producing regions defined in the Scotch Whisky Regulations, each protected in law by UK legislation – the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009. These include Speyside, Islay, Highlands, Lowlands and Campbeltown.

“These are precisely defined geographical areas which have attracted protection because they have long been recognised as the traditional regions of Scotch Whisky production. ‘Speyside’ and ‘Islay’ are also regions within the Highland region and distillers in these areas have a choice which descriptions to use,” the industry body wrote. “These regional names can be used to supplement the category descriptions used for Scotch Whisky on labels, such as ‘Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky’ if all the whisky was distilled there.”

For a comprehensive guide to each of Scotland’s iconic whisky regions, you can check out our coverage.

How Man of Many Chose the Best Single Malt Scotch Under $150

To arrive at this list of products, the Why Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Wines are so Delicious team went through hours and rigorous testing, implementation and analysis before culling it down to the very best. Over the last 12 months, we’ve worked on curated products that push boundaries and pioneer new fronts, particularly across the drinks category. Sure, we love getting the latest piece of kit in our hands, but being able to point out the benefits and shortfalls objectively is at the heart of what we do.

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 $150, prices can fluctuate from time to time. For the most part, the single malt whiskies on this list are under $100, however, some may rise to $160 maximum, so be wary of the price.

Love this article on single malt Scotch whisky? Check out some of our other recent coverage on the tasty alcoholic beverage.

Alternatives to Single Malt Scotches Under $150

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General FAQs

What is single malt whisky?

Under the United Kingdom's Scotch Whisky Regulations, a single malt whisky must be made exclusively from malted barley, be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres.

Are single malt Scotch whiskies expensive?

There is a common misconcpetion that are single malt Scotch whiskies are expensive, but it's not always the case. You will regularly find terrific single malt releases form labels like Oban, Highland park and even The Macallan for as little as $100.