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Bargain Blended Scotch Whiskies That Are Still Worth Sipping, Ranked

When it comes to Scotch whisky, blended whisky reigns supreme worldwide. Casual whisky drinkers and collectors alike are drawn to names like Johnnie Walker and Ballantine’s in numbers that boggle the mind. But there’s more to blended scotch than the “best-selling” brand names. There’s a whole world of blended whisky (a blend of malt and grain whiskies) and blended malt (a blend of malt whiskies) out there worth diving into.

Blended Scotch whisky might be the biggest game in the business but that doesn’t mean it’s resting on its laurels. Blended whiskies are expanding and evolving just like every other sector of the whisk(e)y industry. That means there are plenty of new and exciting blended whiskies dropping all the time — many of which we like.

Below, we’ve listed eight well-priced blended whiskies that are flavorful enough to be used as a value sipper, ranked. Let’s dive in!

8) Monkey Shoulder

Monkey Shoulder
Monkey Shoulder

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $35

The Whisky:

One of the most well-known blended Scotch whiskies, Monkey Shoulder is comprised of a blend of whiskies from well-known distilleries under the William Grant name. A popular choice among bartenders and drinkers alike, it’s known for being both a great base for a cocktail as well as a value sipper.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is a combination of candied orange peels, toasted vanilla beans, and a smattering of wintry spices. The palate is surprisingly malt-forward with notes of brown sugar, caramel, dried fruits, and honey. It’s fairly sweet and fruity and that might turn off some drinkers.

Bottom Line:

Monkey Shoulder isn’t the most exciting blended Scotch ever made. It’s a decent base, low-priced base for a cocktail, and a fruitier-than-normal, sweet sipper. It gets more praise from name recognition than it likely deserves. Still… pretty solid.

7) The Famous Grouse

The Famous Grouse
The Famous Grouse

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $21

The Whisky:

It’s safe to say, you can trust Scottish people when they decide they like a whisky. It comes from their country, after all. The Famous Grouse is the best-selling Scotch whisky in Scotland for a reason. This always bargain-priced blend even includes the likes of Highland Park and The Macallan.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lot of malt on the nose and it quickly reminds you that you’re about to drink a blended whisky. There’s also a slight butterscotch and vanilla aroma, but not much else. Sipping it reveals hints of orange marmalade, more vanilla, clover honey, and just a hint of smoke at the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is an easy-to-drink, very malt-driven blend. It’s not remarkably complex and won’t break the bank. It serves its purpose if that purpose is to drink something for around $20.

6) Sheep Dip Blended Malt Whisky

Sheep Dip Blended Malt Whisky
Sheep Dip

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $38

The Whisky:

The name references a term that farmers used to call whisky. This whisky is a blend of more than twelve single malt Scotch whiskies. Each has aged a minimum of five years in a combination of sherry, ex-bourbon, and refill oak barrels. It’s known for its complex flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:

Sticky toffee, clover honey, and a ton of malt. That’s the nose on this blended whisky. The palate continues this trend with a ton of sweet malt flavor paired with butterscotch, vanilla, cinnamon, and some other cooking spices. All in all, it’s a bit watery and muted but solid overall.

Bottom Line:

For the fact that it’s a blend of more than a dozen whiskies and some are matured in ex-sherry and former bourbon barrels, you’d expect a little more from this blend. It’s not a bad whisky, just a little underwhelming.

5) Chivas Regal 12 Year

Chivas Regal 12 Year
Chivas Regal

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $29

The Whisky:

Chivas is a big name in the blended Scotch whisky world. Its Chivas Regal 12 is a blend of single malt and grain whiskies. This includes Strathisla single malt and Strathclyde single grain whiskies among others. It’s known for its nuanced, well-rounded, mellow flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:

This blended Scotch whisky carries expected aromas of butterscotch, candied orange peels, vanilla, and slight, oaky wood. The palate is heavy on malted barley flavor with some vanilla, almond cookies, and slight, peppery spice at the very end. Overall, it’s a little muted in the flavor department for my palate.

Bottom Line:

For a blend of 12-year-old whiskies, you’d expect a little more excitement in the flavor profile. For the price, it’s an okay sipping dram, but nothing to write home about.

4) Johnnie Walker Black

Johnnie Walker Black
Johnnie Walker

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $28

The Whisky:

You’d have a difficult time finding a blended Scotch whisky more well-known than Johnnie Walker. Its black label whisky is a blend of forty or so whiskies that are aged a minimum of twelve years. This results in a slightly smoky, sippable blend.

Tasting Notes:

For a blend, this nose is surprisingly spicy and smoky. There are also notes of dried fruits, sweet malts, and candied orange peels. There’s an oaky, woody quality that intermingles with notes of butterscotch, vanilla beans, barley, and gentle smoke. The finish is warming and sweet.

Bottom Line:

You can do much worse than Johnnie Walker Black. For the price, it’s a good sipping whisky. That being said, the slight smoke and spices might turn off some drinkers.

3) Dewar’s 12 Year

Dewar’s 12 Year
Dewar

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $29

The Whisky:

Like Johnnie Walker Black, Dewar’s 12 is a blend of whiskies aged for a minimum of twelve years. It’s comprised of around forty different single malt and grain whiskies blended before finishing for an additional six months to solidify the flavor.

Tasting Notes:

Complex aromas of dried fruits, butterscotch, toasted marshmallows, toasted barley, almond cookies, and a gentle floral background greet your nose. The palate is loaded with flavors like clover honey, sweet grains, caramel malts, dried fruits, candied orange peel, and almond butter. It all ends with a malty, sweet, slightly smoky finish.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of Johnnie Walker Black, we suggest trying Dewar’s 12 instead. Even though they are around the same price and have a similar recipe (with different whiskies included), we believe Dewar’s 12 is actually the more refined and flavorful of the two.

2) Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition

Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition
Cutty Sark

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $28

The Whisky:

Even if you don’t know much about blended whisky, you’ve probably heard the name Cutty Sark. While its original blend is around $20 and will get the job done, we think you should step it up to the slightly more expensive Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition. This blend of single malt and grain whiskies is 100 proof and known for its bold flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:

Spicy hints of cinnamon, cloves, orange zest, butterscotch, and vanilla cream meet your nostrils when you nose this complex whisky. Sipping it brings forth notes of cocoa powder, sweet malts, sticky toffee pudding, candied orange peels, and a gentle, nutty sweetness. The finish is sweet, warming, and memorable.

Bottom Line:

If you’re the type of drinker who prefers to sip on higher-proof whiskies, this is a blend for you. Even at 50% ABV, it’s a great mix of spicy, sweet, and nutty that will leave you craving more.

1) Compass Box Artist Blend

Compass Box Artist Blend
Compass Box

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $33

The Whisky:

Compass Box has become the go-to for approachable, high-quality blends in the last few decades. Its Artist Blend is named to pay tribute to the street performers and artists in Edinburgh. It’s a blend of single malt and grain whiskies and is known for its nuanced, mellow flavor.

Tasting Notes:

Right away, you know this is a special blended whisky. The nose has aromas of lemon curd, dried fruits, vanilla beans, and honey. On the palate, you’ll find cinnamon, cloves, caramel apples, candied orange peels, vanilla beans, and sweet treacle. The finish is long, warming, and pleasantly sweet and spicy.

Bottom Line:

For the price, there is no better-blended whisky than Compass Box Artists Blend. It’s smooth, sweet, spicy, and tastes like it should be way more expensive.

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