Life

The Best Bottles Of Blended Scotch For Under $30 To Have Delivered This Weekend

Blended scotch — and by that, we mean “good blended scotch” — is a unique, engaging whisky to get into. It’s basically the opposite of single malt. Whereas those whiskies are made with a single malt (barley) from a single distillery, blended scotch is a blend of multiple grain-based or malted barley-based whiskies from multiple distilleries across Scotland. Sometimes blended scotch is a mix of three or four whiskies from three or four distilleries. Sometimes it’s a blend of 20, 30, or even 40 whiskies from a wide range of sources. There’s endless room for variation and the art is in the blending itself.

Stocking up on some blended scotch during the quarantine doldrums has some advantages. First, you’re most-likely home, with time to study and savor a good dram. Second, you’ll get a chance to dive into a style of whisky that exists outside of the mega-popular American bourbons or ryes, thereby widening your whiskey worldview. Third, these expressions offer a gateway to the ecosystem of Scotch whisky — each bottle is dialed and blended to create a flavor profile that can broaden your palate while also being deeply enjoyable in its own right.

The ten bottles below are excellent entry points into the world of blended scotch. They’re also fairly affordable, easily mixable, and available for delivery right now.

Sir Edward’s Blended Scotch Whisky

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $12.98

The Whisky:

Sir Edward’s is largely made for the export market. Which means, ironically, you won’t find it much in Scotland. Regardless, the expression is a blend of both grain and malted barley whisky that’s then finished in St. Edward’s own oak. There’s no age statement, no fuss, no muss. This is just good, standard mixing whisky for your highball.

Tasting Notes:

The grains from the field shine through first with a slight crusty bread edge and a hint of orange marmalade. A note of banana leads towards mild cinnamon on the palate and an echo of licorice. The spice turns peppery as the banana wanes on the short-yet-sharp finish.

Teacher’s Highland Cream Blended Scotch Whisky

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $18.99

The Whisky:

This blend is widely-considered one of the best at this price point. Legendary whisky reviewer Jim Murray awarded this dram 90 points (out of 100) in his Whisky Bible. The touchstone whisky in this blend is a peat smoked single malt from The Ardmore Distillery up in the Highlands. That whisky is supported by 30 more whiskies in the blend.

Tasting Notes:

Clear notes of spring fruit mingle with a manageable nose of peaty smoke next to toffee. The malt really is the star of the show with a fresh bread base topped with fresh butter and even fresher honey notes. A slight spiciness comes into play as the smoke whispers its way through the warm finish.

Duncan Taylor Scottish Glory Blended Scotch Whiskey

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $19.99

The Whisky:

Scottish Glory is a blend from blender and bottler Duncan Taylor from Speyside. The whisky is dailed-in to be served on the rocks or in a highball with some quality bubbly water, allowing it to open up. This particular expression is a blend of at least three-year-old whiskies sourced from Speyside.

Tasting Notes:

Summer florals mix with caramel apples, light hints of spice, and a sense of wet malts. That malt carries on through the palate and brings about a grain-sugar sweetness. That sweetness, in turn, starts to lean towards honey as more florals deliver a dry finish.

Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $20.99

The Whisky:

This blend from Speyside (primarily) was named after the famed tea clipper from the poem Tam o’ Shanter. The blend has had a stronghold on the American market for decades and was the cornerstone of the old-school “scotch on the rocks” in bars from sea to shining sea.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a welcome grassiness at play here alongside an orchard fruit essence and a hint of florals. Malts underpin a note of creamy vanilla with a touch of citrus rinds. The malt sweetness carries through to a warming, subtle end.

Shieldaig Blended Scotch Whisky “The Classic” Aged 12 Years

View this post on Instagram

A little #shieldaigscotch to end this Thursday evening

A post shared by Wilson Brothers (@bourbonandbooze) on

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $21.99

The Whisky:

This award-winning Highland blend comes from the independent blender and bottler Ian MacLeod. The bottle is a blend of both grain and malt whisky from undisclosed distilleries around the Highlands.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a chew to this whiskey, with a matrix of fresh honey, sharp spice, and rich vanilla. Billows of peat ring through the dram as oak and dried tobacco linger alongside those spices and honey. Finally, the oaky spice and smoky peat fade into a satisfying final note.

Dewar’s White Label Blended Scotch Whisky

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $24.99

The Whisky:

This very popular scotch has been a casual whisky-drinker’s favorite for a long time now. The expression is a blend of over 40 grain and single malts from across Scotland. This really is Scotland in a bottle, if you dig on that sort of thing.

Tasting Notes:

Wildflowers and honey lead the way with a hint of fresh vanilla pods. There’s an echo of oak that edges into smokiness but never overpowers the florals, honey, and vanilla baseline. Finally, the smoke, wildflowers, and honey come together on a slightly dry and short finish.

Johnnie Walker Red Label

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $25.99

The Whisky:

You can’t discount the massive popularity of this expression. This bottle represents ten percent of all whisk(e)y sold worldwide. Johnnie Walker Red is specifically designed to be a mixing whiskey for highballs (or scotch and sodas if you will). If you want a sipping whisky from Johnnie Walker, you need to go Black Label and above. This bottle is a blend of 40 different single malts from the heaviest hitters in the game.

Tasting Notes:

The nose here is tart apples covered in rich toffee, the hint of vanilla, and a note of dried herbs. That apple carries through to the palate as a crusty bread comes into play with spices leaning into pepper and hints of vanilla popping off. There’s a hint of florals near the end while the fruity sweetness tries to temper a slightly hot finish.

John Barr Reserve Blend

ABV: 43%
Average Price: $25.99

The Whisky:

Interestingly, John Barr came to prominence when Johnnie Red was pulled from shelves in the U.K. back in the 1970s. Today, the whisky is a smoky blend of 40 malted barley and grain whiskies from both the Highlands and Speyside that have been aged up to 15 years.

Tasting Notes:

Fresh loaves of sourdough bread meet milk chocolate and stewed apple upfront. The dram then leans into a fatty hazelnut counterpointed by a sense of dried stone fruits and powdered ginger. Finally, a rush of wood and caramel sweetness arrives, bringing about a finish that lingers gently on the senses.

Grant’s Family Reserve

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $26.59

The Whisky:

This blend utilizes expressions from Dufftown and Speyside. The ripple here is that the whisky is aged in three different barrels: virgin oak, new American oak, and ex-bourbon barrels. So you might find this expression re-labeled “Triple Wood” is some markets. But know — it’s the exact same bottle as this.

Tasting Notes:

Orange zest, Christmas spices, and a whisper of a smoky campfire lead the way. There’s a clear sense of butterscotch followed by dried grass, cinnamon, and sweet caramel malts. Those malts bring about an almost buttery feel as the sweetness and spice end the sip on a high note.

The Famous Grouse Bourbon Cask Blended Scotch Whiskey

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $26.99

The Whisky:

This expression from The Famous Grouse launched its “Cask Series” in 2018. While the final whisky isn’t finished in ex-bourbon barrels, the majority of the blend is from American oak and ex-bourbon barrel-aged whiskies. That majority share in the blend helps this sip lean into those flavor profiles.

Tasting Notes:

Classic bourbon hints of caramel, vanilla, and oak shine through immediately. The caramel fades into more classic scotch honey as the vanilla becomes creamy to the point of feeling like ice cream cut with lemon zest. The oakiness and a whisper of spice come in late to help the sweet finish on the way to a quick finish.

×