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Twelve Blended Whiskeys Under $40 For Summer Mixing And Sipping

Blended whisk(e)y is a loaded designation. All whiskeys are a blend in one way or another unless it’s labeled as “single cask” or “single barrel.” In Scotland, “blended whisky” varies from whiskies made with single malt and single grain whiskies to blended malts made only with single malt whiskies (from different distilleries). In Ireland, almost all the whiskey is a blend of grain and malt whiskeys that were aged in ex-bourbon and/or ex-sherry (usually from the same distillery). Canada tends to blend their whiskeys in a similar way that sort of bridges both Scotland and Ireland. Then, there’s “American blended whiskey” which is often a blend of whiskey or bourbon with a neutral grain spirit (think a cheap vodka) that distilleries make to get out a cheap product.

All of that makes defining a “blended whisk(e)y” very broad and understandably confusing. Depending on where you’re buying your “blended whisk(e)y” from, you’re going to find vastly different quality in that bottle. After all, some of the best and most expensive whiskies in the world have the “blended” on the label.

To help steer you towards the many highly mixable and often surprisingly sippable blends we went to the pros for advice. We asked a handful of bartenders to tell us the best blended whiskeys for under $40. If any of these bottles sounds enticing to you, make sure to click on the prices to try them yourself!

Crown Royal Blended Canadian Whisky

Crown Royal

Jared Staples, general manager of Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano in Pensacola, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $40 for a liter

Why This Whisky:

Crown Royal is easy to drink. It’s also a brand that a lot of people who don’t know a lot about whiskey seem familiar with. It’s easy to make a cocktail with it as well. Whether it’s a complex cocktail or just a simple “Crown and Sprite,” Crown Royal is a pretty good bang for your buck blended whisky.

The Busker Blend Irish Whiskey

The Busker

Andy Seymour, owner of Liquid Productions in New York City

ABV: 44.3%

Average Price: $26.99

Why This Whiskey:

There are so many wonderful blended whiskeys that can be purchased for a reasonable price. The one I’ve been loving lately is The Busker Blend Irish Whiskey. The Busker has beautiful honey and grain notes in the nose and wonderfully integrated alcohol. Bright flavors of green apple and orange rind linger in the mouth and the whiskey carries a long finish of confection notes — chocolate and light spice. It has the complexity of a whiskey I’d certainly be happy to spend more on but am happy that I don’t have to.

Johnnie Walker Black

Johnnie Walker

Chris Stevens, general manager at Five Sisters Blues Cafe in Pensacola, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $39

Why This Whisky:

Johnnie Walker Black – a tier up from its little brother Johnnie Walker Red — surely fits this description. The appearance of the caramel, burnt sugars, medium legs, and the charred oak, peat smoke, toffee candy, pecan rolls, and over-ripened grapes on the nose makes its flavors great.

Grand Old Parr Blended Scotch

Old Parr

Andres Rairan, lead bartender at High Tide Beach Bar & Grill in Miami

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $33

Why This Whisky:

Grand Old Parr is a great bargain blended whisky. It’s a great, easy-to-drink scotch with tons of sweet honey and vanilla flavors that go down easy. A lot of times with blended scotch, you get too much bite and not enough flavor. With Old Parr, it’s the opposite. There are lots of flavors, not too much bite, and it’s exactly what I’m looking for if I’m going to be drinking your everyday scotch under $40.

The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch

The Famous Grouse

Jeremy Williams, mixologist at MDRD at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $24

Why This Whisky:

I always try and keep Famous Grouse around for whisky highballs. It’s just under thirty dollars but its flavors of roasted barley, wood, and dry fruit are all well pronounced and can still be detected after some Topo Chico and lemon peel. Very refreshing, I might add.

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Tullamore D.E.W.

Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $28

Why This Whiskey:

For the price point, Tullamore D.E.W. is my favorite blended whiskey. Aged in both ex-bourbon as well as ex-sherry casks, this blend comes off sturdy and subtle at the same time. The nose is barley and apricot with maybe a touch of citrus. On the palate, there’s more apricot, toffee, and dank barrel. The finish is dry and bright with a bit of vanilla.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch

Monkey Shoulder

Nikole Calvo, bar manager at SIX in Tampa, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $29

Why This Whisky:

Monkey Shoulder is the best blended whisky. It has notes of caramel, molasses, brown sugar, and honey. It’s easy on the palate for first-time drinkers and the aroma gives off a zesty citrus flavor with a hint of spice. You can mix this Scotch whisky into a cocktail or you can drink it on the rocks. It’s a beautiful blend.

Canadian Club 12 Year Canadian Whisky

Canadian Club

Bobby Gleason, USBG bartender in Las Vegas

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $22

Why This Whisky:

Canadian Club 12 Year is full-bodied with a rich creaminess and luxurious honey on the palate. The finish is long, warming, and glorious.

Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch

Johnnie Walker

Frantjesko Leonora, lead mixologist at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort in Curaçao

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $35 for a liter

Why This Whisky:

Johnnie Walker Red Label is a great bargain blend. Fresh citrus fruitiness, a burst of black pepper and cinnamon, with a long, lingering smoky finish.

Shieldaig The Classic Blended Scotch

Shieldaig

Pascal Pinault, food and beverage general manager at Ambersweet at The Confidante in Miami

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $14

Why This Whisky:

The best cheap blended whisky is Shieldaig Blended Scotch Whisky “The Classic” Aged 12 Years. It’s a premium blend for a reasonable price. Ian MacLeod made this blend with grain and malt whiskies from multiple distilleries across the Highlands. Flavor-wise, it focuses on honey, vanilla, sweet spices, and a touch of smoke. My favorite way to enjoy this whisky is with a few drops of water, which allows the oak flavors to lead.

Writer’s Picks:

Dewar’s White Label Blended Scotch

Dewar

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $34 for a liter

Why This Whisky:

No blended whisk(e)y list is complete without Dewar’s. Its classic White Label is a bargain at under $30 and filled with flavors like creamy vanilla, sweet honey, and charred oak. It’s perfect for mixing or sipping.

Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition

Cutty Sark

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $29

Why This Whisky:

There might be no better bargain blended whisky than Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition. It’s 100 proof, but still highly drinkable with hints of rich toffee, buttery caramel, and a nice kick of peppery spice.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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