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The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $100-$125

While we’re well into the good stuff in our Scotch-whisky-by-price-point odyssey, we’re not near the peak of what scotch can offer. In the $100 to $125 range we won’t hit the 20-year and above bracket yet; much less the really special one-offs. While we’re very close to topping out with bourbon, we’ve got a long way to go with scotch.

Below you’ll find some unique bottles featuring single barrel and special finishing expressions, alongside a good mix of 15 to 18-year-old masterpieces. The only parameter besides price? They taste good.

As for the prices, these are market averages. Transportation costs, local taxes, and trade wars can have a pretty big effect on how much you pay for a scotch expression at your local shop. Good luck out there. Click the prices to order the expressions that look best to you!

Compass Box Hedonism

Compass Box

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $106

The Whisky:

Compass Box is one of the best blenderies working the whisky game today. The London-based shingle created their Hedonism expression as a bit of an outlier. The juice is 100 percent grain whisky from North British Distillery and Cameronbridge Distillery, with a focus on first-fill bourbon barrels and re-charred American oak. Those barrels are married into this masterful blend.

It’s then proofed down to a very accessible 86 proof and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of bourbon vanilla and caramel that draws you in (especially if you’re a bourbon drinker). The taste holds onto those notes while adding in soft orchard fruits and a buttery, rich toffee silkiness and sweetness. The end smooths out the vanilla into a pudding, with a mild spiciness next to a final note of salted caramels covered in toasted coconut surfacing on the slow finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a great bridge between bourbon and sweet scotch. It’s best to give this one a taste neat to get a sense of it. Then try it with a rock or two to let it open up and really embrace the bourbon-forward notes.

The GlenDronach Revival 15

Brown-Forman

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $110

The Whisky:

This Highland malt has made a roaring comeback (the expression went on hiatus from 2015 to 2018). Revival 15 takes its sherried nature very seriously. The juice is aged in a combination of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks for 15 long years. Those casks are married and this whisky is brought down to a very easy-drinking 92 proof with that soft Highland water.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with notes of blackberries and blackberry bushes (stems, leaves, thorns, and all) next to a hint of a cherry pie cut with a good dose of walnuts covered in dark chocolate and orange zest. The taste leans into the fruit more by adding savory figs and over-ripe apricot to the cherries while a mildly spicy dark chocolate lurks in the background. The end is full of honey sweetness, that dark chocolate and walnut base, and plenty of fruit, leaving you with a warmed and sweetened feeling.

Bottom Line:

This is a dram that really blooms in the glass with a little water. You’ll get an almost smoky burnt coffee bitterness to cut through all the fruit, marrying together with that walnut and chocolate note. It’ll also bring about a fresh mint whisper, making this is a really interesting whisky for subtle cocktails.

Glenfiddich 18

Willam Grant & Sons

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $113

The Whisky:

Glenfiddich tends to wow, even in their entry point expressions. Their 18-year-old carries on that tradition. The juice is aged in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for 18 long years. The whisky is then married and brought all the way down to 80 proof with Speyside water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real journey just on the nose from the apple orchard to a stewing pot with tart apples and spices to a buttery-crusted apple pie with spices, nuts, and vanilla. That fruit holds on as cedar arrives with notes of salted caramel wax paper wrappers, mild malts, and sweet dates with a hint of nuttiness. In the end, it all combines towards a hybrid sticky toffee pudding/Christmas cake vibe of dried fruits, spices, malts, and cedar as it slowly fades away.

Bottom Line:

This really feels like the holidays in a glass (if that’s what you’re looking for). The sip is super velvety and goes down too easily without any water or rocks.

Tomatin 18

Takara Shuzo Corp.

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $115

The Whisky:

This expression’s neck hangs heavy with gold and double gold medals. The juice is aged in ex-bourbon barrels before its transferred to sherry casks for a finishing maturation. That balances the body of the whisky towards bourbon while allowing the sherry to highlight the brighter edges of the expression.

Tasting Notes:

This sip opens on the nose with an earthiness that’s slightly dry next to a bowl of mixed nuts with hints of plum jam and vanilla pudding. The palate embraces a bright apricot sweetness with a rich and creamy nougat base that leans into the nutty nature of the nose. The end holds onto the fruit brightness and adds in a bit of citrus, cedar, and mild dark spices while slowly fading out towards a final wisp of dry smoke.

Bottom Line:

There’s an easiness to this dram that’s hard to ignore. It’ll draw you in and demand your attention as the flavors bloom and expand across your senses. It’s also a great candidate for bridging smoky and sweet, since the smoke note here is way back in the background.

The Glenlivet Nàdurra

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 61.3% (varies)

Average Price: $121

The Whisky:

Speyside’s Glenlivet always hits it out of the park. Their Nàdurra expression (“natural” in Gaelic) takes an unfussed-with approach to whisky. The juice is aged for 16 years in ex-sherry barrels. Then it’s bottled as is in small batches — no filtration and no cutting down to proof with water.

Tasting Notes:

Expect a nose full of raisins, nuts, cinnamon, and stone fruit with a hint of anise and maybe black licorice. The taste will dance between svelte vanilla cream, robust orange marmalade on buttered toast, and nutty dark chocolate that’s more smooth than bitter. The end is long and touches on notes of dry cedar with a real sense of orange oils, spice, and chocolate-covered salted nuts.

Bottom Line:

It’s not rare per se to get a cask strength single malt. But it’s not that typical either. That makes this a solid expression to try out. It’s a good palate expander and will give you a look into how amazingly smooth and mild high-proof scotch can be, especially when compared to similarly high-proof bourbons or ryes.

Lagavulin 16

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $120

The Whisky:

This is an “essential” scotch for any whisk(e)y drinker. The Islay expression harnesses local Port Ellen peated malts to create their smoky whisky. But it’s more than that. Aging on the sea and masterful barreling and blending brings about an Islay whisky that’s about much more than just smoke.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with a clear billow of smoke similar to an alder-fueled smoker (placed on a beach), dripping with brisket and salmon fats as it smokes those meats along with all the brown sugars, salts, and spices those meats were brined in. The palate holds onto those notes while drying out, a touch — with mild vanilla and fruit in the background. In the end, the sea salt, fatty smoked beef and salmon, and soft dry woods dominate the palate as this one fades slowly away.

Bottom Line:

This is the perfect barbecue or smoked fish pairing whisky. Yes, it’s peaty and smoky but those billows ride along with the richer notes of all that brown sugar, sea salt, and fat. They never overpower the whisky or everything else that’s going on.

Aberfeldy 16

Bacardi

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $120

The Whisky:

Aberfeldy is at the heart of Dewar’s scotch. The juice here is a classic Highland whisky aged in American oak and finished in sherry casks. That whisky is then cut down to proof with water from Pitilie Burn, a bubbling stream with gold deposits next to the distillery.

Tasting Notes:

Aberfeldy is renowned for its honeyed nature and this shines through on the nose with hints of clove-studded oranges and a touch of that sherried wood. The palate holds onto the wet sherry wood while going full holiday cake with spices, nuts, dried and candied fruits, and a sweet maltiness. The end reveals a mild note of bitter dark chocolate next to the honey and spices as it fades fairly quickly.

Bottom Line:

This is a great sweet scotch to have on the shelf. It’s amazingly silken while being very drinkable neat (or with a drop of water to let it bloom more). Also, that honey nature really makes this a solid candidate for citrusy whisky cocktails.

The Balvenie Single Barrel 15

William Grant & Sons

ABV: 47.8% (varies)

Average Price: $120

The Whisky:

As with the cask strength selection above, a single barrel single malt isn’t rare per se. But it’s in no way the norm in the world of single malt whisky. The whisky is pulled from a single sherry butt (which yields about 800 bottles — a standard barrel yields around 250). The whisky is then just proofed and bottled as is.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with dried fruit and fat nuts but in the subtlest of ways. The dried fruit vascilates between dried apricot and sultanas while the nuts are like dry hazelnuts and toasted walnuts. The taste brings about a dry woodiness that’s more akin to nutshells as a mild eggnog spiciness arrives on the silken palate. The end is long and touches on that soft sherry sweetness, plumminess, spiciness, and nuttiness evenly and, again, subtly.

Bottom Line:

This is a definite, “Oh, wow…” dram from The Balvenie. Everything is so dialed while also being wholly accessible and kind of … nourishing. If you ever call a dram “smooth,” let it be this one.

Balblair 15

InterBev

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $122

The Whisky:

This is a classic Highland single malt with a modern twist. These bottles were just relaunched in 2019 with age statements. Their 15-year was aged in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry before marrying, proofing, and bottling in nice, squat bottles.

Tasting Notes:

You’re met with an initial nose of high-end Niedderegger marzipan covered in dark chocolate (yes, that brand specifically) next to touches of powdered ginger, honeyed malts, and a touch of citrus. That marzipan note leans more into the dark chocolate as the taste amps up the spices and gets fruity while holding onto the malty nature of the sip. The end is medium-length and leaves you with creamy vanilla, damp wood, and plummy sweetness.

Bottom Line:

This is a great whisky from an old distillery. It’s hard not to fall in love with this dram. It’s unique, accessible, and fully feels like it’s a classic scotch — not playing at anything else (like trying to grab a bourbon drinker’s attention, for example).

Glenmorangie 18

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $124.99

The Whisky:

Glenmorangie has a wide range of whiskies to choose from. While we dig on their more entry-point versions, their 18-year is a hell of a bottle. The juice is aged for 15 years in ex-bourbon casks. Then a portion of those casks is re-barreled into sherry casks for three years. That whisky is then batched back with the rest of the bourbon barrels to create this dram.

Tasting Notes:

Honey dominates the nose with mixed nut and dried fruits, kind of like a homemade trail mix without the M&Ms. The taste holds onto those rich honey notes and adds in a late-fall sense of wet, falling leaves with a soft nuttiness and almost savory fruitiness (not quite a squash but not as sweet as a fig either). A very, very small whisper of cherry or applewood smoke arrives to usher in a slow finish of salted caramel, more of that bespoke trail mix, and a final note of sherried malt.

Bottom Line:

The word “classic” has been thrown around a lot in this post. Sorry, not sorry — it’s often apt in these drams. These are some classic whiskies and this is one of them. It’s just such a winner all around — velvety, full of defined yet balanced flavors, satisfying.

And, again, you feel like you’re drinking a scotch that’s meant to be a touchstone of the style and nothing else. If you appreciate that, you’ll appreciate this.


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