Christopher Osburn
13 Best Scotch Whiskies Under $100 | Man of Many
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:
How Man of Many Chose this List of 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.
Best Scotch Under $100
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.
1. Dewar’s 15-Year-Old
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.
2. Cardhu 12-Year-Old Single Malt
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.
3. Ardbeg 10 Year
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.
4. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old
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.
5. Caol Ila 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.
6. The Glenlivet 12-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.
7. Talisker 10-Year-Old Single Malt
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.
8. Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
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.
9. Chivas Regal XV Old Blended
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.
10. Johnnie Walker Green Label
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.
11. Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old The Original
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.
12. Highland Park 12-Year-Old
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.
13. Pure Scot Blended Whisky
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.
Things to Consider for Cheap Scotch
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.
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
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?
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