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The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $150-$200

If you’re spending around $200 for an expensive bottle of scotch whisky, you pretty much know you’re getting the good stuff. That being said, a $200 bottle of smoky, peat-driven scotch is not going to taste anything like a fruity, honeyed, sweeter scotch. They’re very different beasts and you could pay a lot just to end up with something you really didn’t want.

That’s where we come in. To help you navigate those nuances.

But before we get kicking, it’s worth mentioning that there’s absolutely no point in comparing the prices of these bottles with bourbon. It’s a very different class of whisky with a vastly different cost structure thanks to factors that we don’t have control over (trade wars, state taxes, retailer markups). Sure, you can get a whole case of very solid bourbon for the same price as one of these bottles. But that’s pretty much besides the point.

The ten bottles below are Scotch whiskies we think are worth their price tag. Our litmus is simple — they have to taste good and offer something special. All of these do that. If any of our featured expressions pique your interest, click on the price to give them a try yourself.

The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old

Edrington Group

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $150

The Whisky:

The Macallan dropped this expression last summer. The “Double Cask” in this case is a sherry-seasoned American oak cask and a sherry-seasoned European oak cask. Both casks mature the whisky for 15 long years before they’re married and that batch is brought down to a very drinkable 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a smooth vanilla that feels a bit like it’s cut with honey, a touch of butter toffee, and a hint of stewed apple on the nose. The palate, on the other hand, has a deep dried fruit sweetness and dryness (think sultanas and prunes) next to a bit more of that honey, a whisper of dry cedar, and a spritz of orange oils. The end holds onto that orange and brings the vanilla cream back as it slowly fades away, leaving you with an almost caramel maltiness.

Bottom Line:

There’s a definite nod to bourbon at play on the nose. The sip is all sweet scotch that then circles back to that bourbon note. In the end, this really feels like it’d make a great cocktail mixer (price point be damned) but also works wonders on the rocks.

The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 17 Years

William Grant & Sons

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $155

The Whisky:

The Balvenie continually hits it out of the park with their lineup. This expression spends 17 long years maturing in old American oak before it’s transferred to old sherry casks for about a year more of maturation. The results are then proofed with that soft Speyside water and bottled in the brand’s iconic stubby bottle.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with a clear sense of Granny Smith apple peels that are still fresh, next to oily vanilla, fresh honey, and a slight touch of cedar. The taste indulges in the vanilla, creating a creaminess, while a deep Christmas cake vibe of dried and candied fruits, almonds, dark spice, and orange arrives. The end is long and luxurious with more of that spicy, nutty, and fruity holiday cake dancing through your senses on the slow fade.

Bottom Line:

This is a crazy easy sipper (as with most of The Balvenie’s roster). Add in an ice cube and really take your time letting this bloom in your nose and on your tongue. It’s the sort of bottle that feels like a celebration dram that we wish could be our everyday dram.

Aberlour 18 Years Old

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $168

The Whisky:

This is where things get interesting. The expression from Speyside’s Aberlour also uses old bourbon for its primary maturation and ex-sherry for its finishing maturation (for basically the same amount of time as the bottle above). It’s proofed down with soft Speyside water to the same ABV.

And that’s where the similarities end. This expression truly stands on its own as a classic whisky.

Tasting Notes:

You’re drawn in with a note of hard butterscotch candies next to a touch of chinotto (bittersweet Italian orange), butter toffee, and the slightest wisp of peach pits. The taste builds out from that peach pit layer with a note of ripe peach flesh and fuzzy skin while jammy blackberry leads towards a soft cedar. The finish really takes its time and leaves you with a silken texture next to a honeyed sweetness and a final roundness of vanilla cream.

Bottom Line:

This is shockingly smooth, making it almost too easy to drink (even neat). This is the sort of advanced bottle that you bust out at a tasting to really grab the room’s attention.

Ardbeg Blaaack

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $168

The Whisky:

This limited release from Islay’s Ardbeg was created to celebrate 20 years of the Ardbeg Committee, or “black sheep” fans of the brand. The juice is a no-age-statement release that utilized Pinot Noir barrels from New Zealand in the maturation process. The public release was then cut with local water to a very approachable 92 proof and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

The nose dances between a chunky jam made with smoked cherries, a smoky cedar, and a note of earthy moss. The taste veers towards smoked almonds, stewed pears, dried apricots, and more of those smoked cherries leading towards cedar, smoky pipe tobacco, and a bitter espresso bean note. The end is long and that espresso bean bitterness becomes smoldering, burnt coffee grounds next to overripe stone fruit, pipe tobacco ash, and a final hint of orange zest.

Bottom Line:

If you love peaty smoke and fruit, this might be your jam. I appreciate it for what it is, but you really have to be dialed into the subtly of where peat can go — like from mossy to jammy to ashen in one sip — to really get into this.

Still, this does feel very much geared towards enticing sweet scotch fans towards the smoky side of things.

Oban 18

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $175

The Whisky:

Oban is a tiny distillery that makes some of the world’s best whisky. This expression starts off like all Oban by going through their small, lantern-shaped stills twice before the juice is filled into used oak for a long, 18-year maturation. The best barrels are vatted and proofed down to a very sippable 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a mild whiff of beach campfire smoke that leads towards a fruit salad full of pear, peach, plum, and something more tropical (not quite a banana, not quite a pineapple). The palate embraces the fruit to the point where it feels like a smoked fruit saltwater taffy next to a hint of mild eggnog spices. The end stays light as those spices kick up alongside a smoked salted caramel sweetness leading towards a final billow of that beach campfire smoldering a few camps down the beach.

Bottom Line:

This is the perfect dram for anyone who’s not so sure about “smoky” whisky. It’s fruit and sweet/savory candy-forward with the smoke adding to those notes and not the other way around. Add an ice cube and take your time enjoying this one — you might find a slight salted white fish note with a hint of bitter orange and licorice under all that smoky and savory candy.

Mortlach Aged 15 Years Six Kingdoms

Diageo

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $179

The Whisky:

This Game of Thrones release from Dufftown’s Mortlach finished off a nine-bottle series released from various Diageo distilleries around Scotland. This expression flips the script a bit with aging by primarily maturing the juice for 15 years in ex-sherry casks before sending that whisky into ex-bourbon casks for the finishing maturation.

Tasting Notes:

The sip opens with full apple pie vibes (stewed and spicy tart apples, buttery crust, toasted sugars) that lead towards a bright red berry burst. The taste holds onto those bright berries and covers them in rich vanilla cream and honey with the warmth of a cinnamon stick lingering throughout, leading towards an echo of cedar and tobacco. The end is long-ish and really holds onto the berry and cinnamon as it fades away, leaving you with a vanilla cream texture at the end.

Bottom Line:

While the label is certainly a gimmick (or at the very least a tie-in ploy), the juice in this bottle is a stellar example of what Mortlach can do. It’s a great gift bottle that also works as a conversation starter as a whisky tasting.

Craigellachie Aged 17 Years

Bacardi

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $179

The Whisky:

Craigellachie is the other main whisky that helps make Dewar’s (the other main base spirit being Aberfeldy). This expression is made with old-school stills and stored in old-school warehouses. The juice is aged in ex-bourbon casks for 17 long years and vatted to highlight the uniqueness of the brand.

Tasting Notes:

You’re drawn in by that familiar and deep vanilla note with some apple pie in there next to a dried and salted pineapple candy, a touch of smoked oats, and a savory fruit (almost a honeydew melon). That pineapple note holds on and intensifies to a pineapple and vanilla pudding on the palate as dry and woody spices arrive next to a hint of dry tobacco, cedar, and a billow of dry smoke. The end embraces the smoke through the filter of that pineapple pudding as it slowly fades out.

Bottom Line:

If you like snacking on dried smoked fruit (apricots, cherries, plums, pineapple, etc.), this is going to feel really familiar and comforting. This bottle feels like the perfect bridge between smoke and sweet scotch while giving a balanced nod to each.

The Glenrothes 18 Years Old

Edrington Group

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $185

The Whisky:

This Speyside Single Malt takes its time. The expression is aged in sherry only, both first-fill and refill sherry casks from Spain. The barrels are then vatted to highlight that sherry/whisky vibe and the juice is proofed down to a very drinkable 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

You’re met with a flourish of marzipan and rose water next to plums, pears stewed in vanilla and saffron, and a touch of orange oil. That marzipan and rose water vibe carried on into the taste with more of that stewed saffron pear next to a hint of spicy ginger juice working as a counterpoint. That spice darkens towards a black pepper as the sip slowly fades away, leaving you with the savoriness of the saffron and the sweetness of the marzipan on the svelte end.

Bottom Line:

This is just an interesting sip all around. It’s a palate expander and will keep you going back for more on the nose and in the taste. A little water brings out a bit more of the savory and spicy notes, which I find incredibly interesting.

Aberfeldy Aged 20 Years Exceptional Cask

Bacardi

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $190

The Whisky:

This whisky is all about the finish. The Aberfeldy juice was aged for 20 long years in ex-sherry casks. Then that whisky was transferred to Sauternes wines casks — a dry dessert wine from Bordeaux — for a final maturation. Finally, the whisky is cut down with that iconic, gold-imbued Pitilie Burn river water to 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

That signature honeyed velvetiness Aberfeldy is known for is evident even on the nose as this one draws you in with marzipan, honey, and sultanas. The palate delivers on that velvety honey mouthfeel as hints of ripe pear mingle with maple syrup, salted almonds, and orange zest. The end isn’t too long and leaves you with a silken texture next to honeyed pears and savory almonds.

Bottom Line:

This feels like the perfect post-meal sipper. Get it in a proper Glencairn. Let it bloom with a rock or a few drops of water. Then really let this one settle in your senses.

Glenfiddich Aged 21 Years Old Gran Reserva

William Grant & Sons

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $196

The Whisky:

This expression from Glenfiddich is the mountaintop of rum-cask-finished scotch. The juice is aged for 21 years in ex-bourbon barrels before it’s transferred to hand-selected Caribbean rum casks for a final touch of aging (around four additional months). Once ready, the whisky is cut all the way down to 80 proof for bottling.

Tasting Notes:

You’re beckoned in with a burst of vanilla (husk, beans, oils, and all) next to a subtle balance of sweet banana, almond-covered toffees, and a touch of old and dry cedar. The taste has an immediate peppery and old tobacco chew buzzing on the tip of the tongue that leads towards bright citrus and peppery notes with a touch of smoked lime on the very end of the taste. The end holds onto that pepperiness, dry cedar, and tobacco, leaving you with a bourbon-esque buzz next to a silken mouthfeel.

Bottom Line:

This is as complex as any bourbon with 100+ proof without carrying the sting of those whiskeys. It’s almost baffling this has as much definable depth at only 80 proof. It’s crazily smooth and will bring rum, bourbon, and scotch drinkers together around one bottle.


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

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