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Hailing from the great green lands of Scotland, Scotch whiskies have been a favorite libation for generations. The golden amber hue; the sweet, smoky notes; that lingering spice – it’s the perfect combination for a warming sip or as a compliment to a mix of beverages.
When it comes to Scotch whiskies, the difficult part is finding a brand and bottle that won’t disappoint, and sometimes that means spending a little more. For under $200, you can get a premium bottle of whiskey that will not only look great on your shelf but also taste great when the occasion to pop it open arises. So you’re not throwing money around without knowing that you’re getting something good, we’ve compiled this list of ten of the top Scotch whiskies you can find for under $200.
Bunnahabhain 18 In many states, being 18-years-old means you’re old enough to drive. For Bunnahabhain, 18-years-old means the whiskey contained within the darkened bottle is the perfect age for bottling and consumption.
This aged whiskey isn’t colored and gives off a caramel scent accompanied by a coastal salty taste and roasted chestnuts. Woodspice finishes off this thicker, Islay whiskey. Tomintoul 21 This lighter hued Scotch whiskey hails from the Speyside region and is aged for 21 glorious years. The moment you pop the top, you’re met with a hint of tobacco, solidifying this as the quintessential “man’s drink.” Butterscotch is accented by creamy malt and white pepper while a pleasant aroma of oak and vanilla waft from the long-necked bottle.
Glenfarclas 25 This 25-year-old single malt whiskey from the Speyside region may look dark and harsh but the first taste that hits the palate is smooth and light, a tangy but creamy barley touched with hints of chocolate and nuttiness. Smoke and buttery cocoa finish off this classic Scottish beverage, which has become a favorite of whiskey connoisseurs.
Arran 20 An Island Whiskey from the Highlands of Scotland, Aaron’s 20-year-old single malt will make you hungry just by its scent. The nose is one of chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, plums, lavender, and a touch of rye bread while its flavor boasts chocolate oranges, tropical fruit, and Christmas spices. The sweet, spiced flavor is distilled in a single cask and has a finish of raisins and treacle. GlenDronach 21-Year-Old From the Highlands of Scotland, GlenDronach’s 21-year-old distilled malt is a light, golden whiskey with touches of smoke and lemon juice that are heightened by apple peel, date and walnuts, espresso, and cedar wood.
Beneath those odorous delights is an earthiness that dissipates with the syrup and raisin notes. Your palate may also pick up oak, cherry blossom, cocoa, and honeydew melon. Balvenie 21 Portwood Finish This amber whiskey may be 21-years-old, but it was finished in 30-year-old port pipes that give it an elegant flare. Pop the top and enjoy a white peach aroma kissed with a hint of smoke.
Once it hits your palate, you’ll be privy to a delicate hint of fruit, raisins, and honey, finished off with a bitter and sweet cocoa. If the multiple awards aren’t enough to sell Balvenie’s 21-year-old Portwood Finish, then the flavor profile will. Glenlivet Archive 21 The golden amber 21-year-old Glenlivet not only looks appealing, but its three-time International Wine & Spirit Competition award-winning flavor is its most notable trait.
Hints of pine and sandalwood fill your nose while walnuts, fruitcake, spice, and syrup delight your palate. At tShe end of this Speyside whiskey is a finish of oaky sweetness. Dalmore King Alexander III The fancy bottle of the Dalmore King Alexander isn’t its only appealing facet. Once the bottle is popped, a scent of malty, orange zest, malty cereal, and barley fills the air.
Distilled in the Highlands of Scotland, Alexander III boasts a winter berry and orange zest rounded off by a noticeable spice. Finishing each sip is a peppered hint with oak and claret that lingers. Port Charlotte PC12 Oilenach Furachail If you’re for a citrus-infused peated malt, Port Charlotte’s 12-year-old Islay whiskey is an absolute must.
A nose of smoke, blueberry, and honeycomb accompany the citrus while your palate is bound to pick up smoked dates, lemon curd, porridge, and poached pear. Lingering behind is a touch of plum wine and malt loaf that rounds off the delicious flavors of Bruichladdich’s distillery.
Macallan 18 Year Fine Oak The very light, golden color of Macallan’s 18-year Scotch whiskey certainly isn’t indicative of its flavor profile.
The Sherried notes are rounded off with toffee, chocolate orange, fresh ginger while your nose will pick up hints of dried fruit and crushed hazelnut. At the end of each sip is a finish of oak and dried grass
best dating at 40 what to dollars scotch under 200 - The Best Bottle of Whiskey for Every Budget
Walking down the long fluorescently lite hallways of your local liquor store you feel like a kid in a candy store. The bottles of Scotch all lined up in a row with colorful labels and old regal sounding names like ‘Braes of Glenlivet’ and ‘Old Pulteney’ you cannot help but feel sudden palpations in your throat as your pulse begins to quicken.
What should I have for my after dinner dram? You might ask. Or, which bottle will impress my father in-law? You see the well-known labels, Macallen, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie and Johnny Walker, but you want something different, something unexpected. You start to branch out to the other labels but there seem to be too many. You find yourself confronted with a row of colorful tins labled Glenfarclas 10, 12, 15, 17 and 21. You can’t help but notice the price tag increase with the age.
You want something off the beaten path but not something that will beat up your wallet. Forty-five dollars for a ten-year-old scotch seems a little steep. Through the confusion you either give up and go with what you know, a solid Glenfiddich 12, or you splurge and risk it all on an unknown expression that sounds good with a big age statement on the front and a big dent in your wallet.
If you’re a rookie to the world of scotch or even if you’ve been here a while you’ve found yourself in this dilemma once or twice. When you leave the store you wonder was that bottle really worth eighty dollars. You might even consider sticking with beer or something less confusing for awhile. I encourage you, fellow whisky lover, not to give up and to read on. This article will aid you in your quest to find a scotch that will fit your needs with local flavor and most importantly one that will not require you to auction off your liver.
After all we need our livers for the imbibing of scotch and other whiskies. Scotch is not only for the super rich, James Bond villains or old Republicans. It is the ‘water of life’ and can be sampled and enjoyed by all. In fact, several of my favorite scotches can be found for less than forty dollars.
Yes, we are all drooling for a wee dram of Macallen Ruby but at over $200 a bottle can the average scotch lover afford it? And yes I am a big fan of Glenfiddich 40 but really, $2,700 a bottle.
This article will explore eight unique and radically different expressions of Scotch for less than forty dollars that you probably haven’t heard of or at least haven’t tried. While the ageing process is an important aspect in the development of fine Scotch whisky it is not everything. Older doesn’t always mean better, but it almost always means more expensive. If you’re new to the wonderful world of Scotch or even if you’ve been know to sip on a dram or two there are three easy rules you can follow to find an expression that will rarely disappoint you.
First, new is always better. For me, its simple, if I see a scotch I’ve never had I need to try it, I must try it, I will have it. This has gotten me into trouble a few times… The lovely bartender at the Kennedy Room forget to tell me that their new bottle of Braes of Glenlivet 15 was $50 a dram, such is life. Well worth the $200 bar tab. If you are new to scotch this maxim will be easy to follow. Start with the weirdest names you can find and go from there.
Second, explore and record. Take no shame in keeping a written record of what you’ve tried and why you liked it. There are three easy ways to explore, by distillery, by age and by region. When I host private tastings I’m interested in how the group would like to experience Scotland.
Is the group interested in a progressive sampling of Talisker or a grouping of scotches from the Inner Hebrides?
As you record your exploration give carful attention to what you enjoyed about the expression and more importantly what you disliked.
Did you like the fruity notes, the hints of floral and spice? Did you dislike the peat and the lingering finish? Finally, set a price and forget the age. Often times you will find yourself staring at two bottles asking do I take the no-age statement Ardmore or the AnConc 12?
If you set a price range you are comfortable with and disregard the age statement you will find your attention drawn to the description of the expression. Recalling from your notes you might remember that you enjoyed the soft honey notes of the Cardu 12 and that the description of the Tomatin 12 is not far off.
Where as the Ardmore may be a tad too peaty with a long lingering finish, something you may want to put off for a few months. As you take the time to read the list of eight scotches below be sure to remember the three maxims for expanding your scotch portfolio. Try something new, explore and record and remember to set a price and forget the age. Scotch truly is an acquired taste. Too often I meet people who say they don’t like scotch because it tastes like gasoline.
The problem is not with the scotch but that they haven’t given it the chance it deserves. Don’t start off with a Lagavulin neat and if you do keep going, there are many more beautifully aged expressions to be had. Crafting scotch is an art form as is experiencing scotch. The following eight expressions will help you to expand your knowledge of the ‘Water of Life’ and give you a good starting point for your future explorations. There are many bottles under $40 but these eight were found by visiting the local Scotch mongers of Dallas, Texas.
The actual cost of each expression may vary depending on your location. This list is meant to be a jumping off point for the expanse of the appreciation of Scotch and is not meant to be comprehensive. There is simply too much good whisky. Slåinte and enjoy. 8. AnConc 12. Coming in at number eight is this mild yet untamed Highland scotch whisky.
Formally known as Knockdhu, AnConc, pronuced a-nock, is 43% ABV and is distilled at the Knockdhu distillery in Aberdeenshire. The name AnConc essentially means ‘the hill’ and is an ode to their traditional production methods. Tasting Notes: Soft and mild on the nose. Mild sweetness, notes of pear with a slight warmth on the palate, opens well with water. Harsh, wild finish. Untamed, perfect for a cold fall and winter night.
7. Glen Grant 10. Our number seven spot goes to the boys at Glen Grant one of the three distilleries nestled around the town of Rothes in the Speyside region. Recently purchased by Gruppo Campari Glen Grant is the number one selling scotch in Italy.
This dram sites nicely at 40% ABV and is a very fine dram indeed. Tasting Notes: Water opens the nose up nicely with soft hints of fruit. Warm oily flavors fill the palate. More fruit with a light soft finish. 6. Auchentoshan 12. Gealic for ‘the field of the corner’ this triple distilled lowland scotch finds its way to number six.
The 40% ABV is hard to believe with the soft character of this expression. The triple distillation process, more common in Irish whiskey, is what makes this scotch a good find and a great drink. Tasting Notes: Soft on the nose, hint of pine. Smooth with the hint of toasted almonds on the end. A slight metallic finish follows nicely. 5. Ardmore. The golden eagle of Ardmore marks our number five seat.
Using a quarter cask finish with non-chill filtering this scotch is peated to 14 part per million. The 46% ABV is prevalent making this dram perfect for the cool fall air. A true highland malt perfect for the scotch drinker wanting to explore the smoky spectrum of peat.
Tasting Notes: Fruit on the nose, soft Spice on the palate, smooth. Peat on the finish, which lingers on and on. 4. The Torran 12.
Yet another fine Highland malt for the books. Coming in at number four you have to love the sweet clean flavor of this beautiful expression. With a light 40% ABV this scotch is perfect for relaxing after a long day. If the name doesn’t give it away it truly is a chiefly expression. Tasting Notes: Upon opening it has a sweat floral nose. On the pallet you will find strong notes of berry, fruits and oak with a touch of nuts and butterscotch. Balanced throughout. Soft clean finish.
3. Old Pulteney 12. Starting off the final three is Old Pulteney 12. The most northern distillery on mainland Scotland it is no wonder that this scotch captures the core essence of what it means to be a Highland single malt.
Exposed to sea air through out the distillation process this expression remains true to its Gaelic origins. Tasting Notes: Mild, opens nicely with just a drop of water. The palate is clean yet rich and delicate. Floral and citrus notes come alive. Light sea air with a hint of sherry on the tongue finishes this dram perfectly. 2. Tomatin 12. Nestled in the Monadhliath Mountains and our number two scotch the Tomatin distillery is the largest in the Highlands producing just over 5 million litters per year.
The 12 year old expression is finished in ex-sherry casks with 43% ABV. Tasting Notes: Rich floral notes on the nose with a soft hint of fruit. Vanilla and oats fill the palate. Rich hints of fruit from the sherry cask yield a smooth and pleasant finish. The sherry wood is a heavy influence throughout. 1. Cardhu 12. Hailing from the Speyside region our number one scotch and the best expression for under $40 is Cardhu 12.
Founded by John Cummings this distillery remains true to its roots by producing vibrant, balanced and well-rounded expressions. Gealic for ‘Black Rock’ Diageo has kept this tradition alive despite the ever-shifting scotch market. At 40% ABV this dram is perfect for a night at home or a night out on the town. If you walk by this bottle and don’t pick it up you deserve to be left out in the cold. Tasting Notes: Floral and honey on the nose, sweet. Light on the palate, gentle and delicate. Honey and vanilla oats are predominant throughout.
A light fruity finish rounds out this perfectly balanced expression. Follow us on twitter for more liquid knowledge @whiskytalks Send us an email if you feel the need to write us something
Getting a decent bottle of scotch under $50 isn’t actually as tough as you might think. There’s a lot of false idols wandering around out there, peddling their gas station spirits, but you can usually duck away from the cheap paint thinners and find something worthy of your glass.
You will need to temper your expectations if you’re a serious scotch sipper, since there’s no budget bottle that’s going to emulate the rich complexity of an 18-year barrel-aged. There’s good, and then there’s . The focus when choosing an inexpensive scotch is on clarity more than anything. Muddled, intricate tastes usually don’t mature properly at this price point, which can make an excellent $100 bottle of scotch into a terrible $45 bottle.
Most distillers keep their tastes in small boxes in the under $50 range, and that kind of focus is what you’re seeking. There’s exceptions, but the cornerstone ideology of economical booze is KISS – Keep It Simple and put it in my glass this very moment! Highland Park 12 Year by Michael Njunge via whiskyintelligence.com A that has proliferated because it’s buckwheat honey flavor behind mass of floral scents make it springtime in a jug.
The finish is dry, complementing the full, savory mouthfeel of the spirit. Bits of smoke and fruit hang around the fields of heather to put some grit into this aromatic little doer.
Monkey Shoulder via drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com When you’re going for whiskey, typically it’s best to stick to names like Chivas or Johnnie Walker to avoid any quicksand. is the exception that destroys the rule, using a mix of Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie. Named for a condition that affects malters who spend too much time working on the mixing floor, you should have stopped reading already and gotten a bottle.
Lemon and caramel with malt make it pure poetry at a price that would make frugal drunks weep. The Black Grouse via allthingswhisky.com The peated cousin to all sweetness and malt, with smokehouse notes appearing throughout.
A standalone that can also mix in with teas or other scotch choices, smoothness and flow are its stock in trade. Never one to ruin a party, but a mellow comfort tonic in a world gone mad. Johnnie Walker Double Black via a4alcohol.blogspot.com Johnnie is forever the safeguard name. Blue, red, black, purple, orange, teal, cyan, chartreuse, pearl, or mauve, you might never be cracking the code of scotch to , but you’ll be getting enough peat, wood, and smoke to appease all but the serious snobs.
Double Black is a notch or two above standard Black Label in being a darker, more serious tipple. Like nighttime in the world’s tastiest swamp. Only, you know, good. Bowmore 12 Year via whiskymate.net Let it be known that this is a true Islay. Fans of peat and earth can savor, with sea salt singing backup.
What is nice about is it doesn’t have the same heavy hand with brine and ground flavors as some Islays, which appeals to those of us who think the highlands can be overrated. Iodine is cut with sweet flowers to take the acrid sting off the lower keys.
Laphroaig 10 Year via gentlemanstumbler.com Here’s where the Islay devotees should spend their money. This is all salt and peat like a slap to the puss with a shoe full of…well, salt and peat. Smoke, salt and pepper, the only sweetness here hides in the background. Beaten. Afraid. Only showing up to offer some succor in this .
Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition via historias-de-un-bartender.slowbarcelona.es There’s several kinds of liquor that proudly tout itself as being part of the . That’s not really good news, as the alcohol from that era was caustic, lethal at times, and left plenty of people without eyesight.
All that grimness aside, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at Prohibition, as it’s an oily, 100 proof monster. There’s citrus and fruit, but at this kick it’s mostly for quick lobotomies via ingestion. Aberfeldy 12 via foodwhiskeycoffee.com Scotch’s sweetheart, the 12 year choice is so achingly sweet with its highland honey taste that you’ll want to water it down to save yourself from toothache. Smooth and pert, with enough smoke to be serious, but not enough to be trouble, this is everything a cheap scotch should be.
Uncluttered and approachable. Ardbeg 10 Year via whiskyshop.com Complex Islay with a on the front, ramping up into charcoal, black pepper, your dad’s belt, and then cocoa and melon just to confuse, you may have to break the $50 price tag, but only by a buck or two.
Dewar’s Scratched Cask via cnbc.com Barrels used to make this mix of more than are scored and scratched prior to injection of the mixture for distillation. The cutting releases more of the natural flavors hidden in the barrels, allowing for a greater taste to seep in over a shorter period of time. The outcome is chocolatey, with fruit highlights. Glenlivet via caskdreams.wordpress.com Make this your never-fail cheap scotch. Instead of honey or peat, the way most go, this has the amber waves of grain associated with a Speyside whisky.
Single malt with a taste of the orchard, the kitchen, the pantry, and the butter churn, is the home you never knew you wanted. Macallan 10 Year Fine Oak via whiskypedia.ro A young buck out to make a name for itself, this is one of the few exceptions to complicated scotches being ruined at the inexpensive end of the spectrum. Aged in barrels that formerly held bourbon, Spanish and American sherry, it’s hard to pin down. Spend the money yourself, if only to see if you can crack it.
Auchentoshan American Oak via thegourmetbachelor.com Auchentoshan is cagey about adding products to their permanent stable. The is their most recent fixture, and it’s easy to see how it got the job. The triple-distillation and use of American Oak fills the taste with cinnamon, coconut, and vanilla, all of which are as rare as unicorns on this list. Another that requires the attempt, even if you loathe it, odds are you’ll find a devotee among your fellow scotch friends.
Speyburn Arranta via talkingimage.net Gaelic for “Bold” uses nothing but first-fill bourbon casks to make it. What comes out is oozing butterscotch candy with enough smoke to feel like arson at Willy Wonka’s factory.
Then, it hops to apples and caramel, with chocolate to finish it off. Each quaff is a miniature visit to your grandmother’s house. thecoolist.com is an up-and-coming community of people specialized in high-quality and on-trend cool projects and tutorials in home design, fashion, and crafts.
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$50 VS $500 WHISKEY