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Scotch Whiskies Under $75 That Are Perfect For Sipping On The Rocks

Ordering a “scotch on the rocks” is one of the most classic bar orders in the history of time. But that order is a bit like someone ordering a “beer” from a bar on TV or in a movie. What beer? No one orders just “beer” or just “scotch.” They order a specific brand — a PBR or Guinness or Chivas or Jack Daniel’s.

To give your next “on the rocks” order a little clarity, we’re calling out ten Scotch whiskies we dig served that way. Drams that, in our opinion, legitimately benefit from a few cubes of ice.

There’s really no right or wrong answer when ordering a scotch on the rocks. A lot of the juice out there is built specifically to be taken that way. That being said, you don’t need to go too wild with the prices here. A solid mid-range scotch (think in the $50 range) will get the job done nicely. Especially now that prices are sure to start dropping after the trade tariffs that jacked up prices of scotch in the U.S. have finally ended.

The ten bottles below aren’t really ranked. They’re simply bottles we like to drink with a rock or two. Prices are all under $75, so today it’s all about the taste — let’s dive in!

Click the prices to order the expressions that look best to you!

Johnnie Walker Green Label

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $65

The Whisky:

The blend is a “pure malt” blended whisky, meaning that it’s made only with single malts (usually blended scotch is made with both grain and malt whisky). In this case, the juice is pulled from all over Scotland with a focus on Speyside, Highland, Lowland, and Island malts, including a minimum of 15-year-old Talisker, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, and Linkwood.

Tasting Notes:

This sip draws you in with the smells of an old, soft cedar box that’s held black pepper, sweet fruits, and oily vanilla pods next to a hint of green grass. The taste really holds onto the cedar as the fruits lean tropical, with a hint of dried roses pinging in the background. The end builds on that by adding a note of spicy tobacco, a splash of sea spray, and a distant billow of campfire smoke.

On The Rocks:

This is one of Johnnie Walker’s best blends, by far. The whisky really opens up on the rocks and takes on a slight creaminess that pairs well with the spice and cedar.

Old Pulteney 12

InterBev

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $45

The Whisky:

Old Pulteney is all about sea vibes. Their entry-point spirit is aged for 12 years in second-fill bourbon casks before it’s batched, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of creamed honey with a touch of sea spray on the nose. The taste really holds onto that creamy honey while notes of wildflowers and oaky spice mingle with malts. The end is fairly short and leaves you with a sense of that creamed honey and a touch of spicy warmth.

On The Rocks:

This becomes more floral as the ice releases water and cools the dram down. Next, a touch of espresso bean bitterness arrives, providing a nice counterpoint to the velvet honey sweetness.

The Balvenie 12 DoubleWood

William Grant & Sons

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $70

The Whisky:

The Balvenie 12 is a classic bottle of whisky. The juice is aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon and then finished in old Olorosso sherry casks for nine months before it’s vatted, proofed with soft Speyside water, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Clear notes of sherry plumminess and nuttiness mix with a touch of honey and vanilla on the greeting. The taste holds onto those notes while adding in hints of marzipan, cinnamon sticks, and an almost chewy-sherry sweetness next to oak. The finish is very long, fills you with warmth, and has a soft and sweet edge.

On The Rocks:

This is already remarkably well-rounded. With ice, there’s an amping up of the nuttiness and plummy nature of the dram to the point of a berry jam that’s been hit with eggnog spices.

Glenfiddich 12

William Grant & Sons

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $50

The Whisky:

This is an entry whisky not only to Speyside but to single malts in general. The juice is aged in a combination of used American and European oak before it’s married, rested, proofed with Speyside’s iconic water, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

This dram is creamy like a vanilla pudding with a bright pear orchard and some mild toffee. That leads towards a very easy and soft woodiness with a touch of candied pear and more vanilla cream. It’s also very light and approachable while still feeling like a solid whisky.

On The Rocks:

This is a really solid choice for an “on the rocks” order. The ice brings about this almost … warm and creamy oatmeal filled with raisins, vanilla beans, brown sugar, dried pear, and cinnamon. It’s super comforting while also being very crushable.

Chivas Regal 12

Chivas Brothers

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $35

The Whisky:

This Highland whisky is built around the famed Strathisla Distillery. The whisky is crafted to work as a sipper or mixer, with real complexity built-in. It really shines in both respects.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a matrix of oak, nuts, malts, and fruit up top. The fruitiness leans into orchards in full bloom as a minerality drives the taste towards spicy tobacco with a hint of creamy vanilla. The oak peeks back in with a little more maltiness, as the end slowly fades alongside a mild chewiness.

On The Rocks:

This is the classic on the rocks whisky. The ice really mellows down the maltiness and warmth while highlighting a slightly savory edge with plenty of vanilla tobacco chew and a dry nuttiness.

Ardbeg 10

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $50

The Whisky:

This is a classic bottle of peated malt. The Islay whisky is made with locally peated smoky malts and then primarily matured in ex-sherry casks for the years. Those casks are married and then cut with local lake water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of stonefruit, orange oils, and earthen peaty smoke that greets you. The palate leans into the iodine and earthiness with plenty of campfire smoke next to black pepper, vanilla, and an underlying nuttiness. With a little water, a coffee bitterness arises next to a hint of black licorice. The end really embraces the smoke, adding fattiness like an old meat smoker as the fruit and nuts make a final appearance on the very slow fade.

On The Rocks:

This is a peaty whisky but really mellows nicely with a rock or two, making it a bit more accessible to the non-peat lovers out there (myself included). The licorice and anise amp up a tad with this preparation, while the citrus shines a bit brighter and the smoke is tempered down.

The Dalmore 12

Whyte & Mackay

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $67

The Whisky:

This Highland whisky is a standard that feels like a classic. The juice is aged in ex-bourbon for nearly a decade. The whisky is then transferred to former sherry casks for that crucial finishing touch of maturation for around three years. It’s then proofed down with that soft Highland water to a very accessible 80 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Oranges studded with cloves mingle with a deep dark chocolate foundation and a hint of eggnog creaminess and spiciness. The palate goes even deeper on the orange and spice as heavy vanilla arrives — the husk, seeds, oils are all present. The end is fairly succinct and touches back on the chocolate with a bitter mocha-coffee vibe and more of the vanilla.

On The Rocks:

Ice really amps up the bitterness of this dram by highlight the dark chocolate bar that’s bespeckled with crushed coffee beans and orange rinds. That vanilla also stays in the mix as the taste leans into the oiliness, kind of like chewing on a vanilla husk.

Aberfeldy 12

Bacardi

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $45

The Whisky:

This Highland malt is the cornerstone of the much-beloved Dewar’s Blended Scotch. This whisky is a very accessible single malt that spends 12 years resting before it’s married and proofed with that soft Highland water and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

The heart of the nose is in the mingling of pear and honey with a hint of Christmas spice, especially nutmeg. The palate expands on that with a lush maltiness, creamy vanilla, mild spice, and more of that honey and orchard fruit. The end gets slightly nutty and bitter with a little water as the honey, fruit, and spice linger on the senses.

On The Rocks:

There’s a real sense of that honey when ice is in the mix. It becomes creamy and velvety. The spice mellows a bit but zeroes in on nutmeg and clove even more so.

Shackleton Blended Malt

Mackinlay

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $35

The Whisky:

This whisky is a bit of a conversation starter that also delivers a solid taste. The whisky is a retread of the actual whisky Sir Ernest Shackleton took with him on his voyage to Antarctica in the early 1900s. The juice offers a recreation of that exact dram — with a few of the rougher edges taken off to make it a little more palatable to today’s drinker.

Tasting Notes:

Malty crackers dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon greet you. The taste builds on those notes, with plenty of orange zest and caramel-dipped apples next to a whisper of oak. The orange drives the sip towards its short yet malty finish.

On The Rocks:

This sort of gets dusty with those spices when iced — kind of like an old wooden box that once held spices left in a cellar. The cinnamon is the real highlight, but you’re also met with a touch of bitter orange and coffee beans next to a warm malty note.

Glenfarclas 12

J. & G. Grant

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $60

The Whisky:

Glenfarclas is a bit of an outlier from the Highlands. The whisky is distilled with old-school fire-heated stills (most stills use steam) to this day. The juice is then aged exclusively in ex-sherry casks for 12 long years.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a rumminess to the nose that touches on molasses, prunes, nuts, and jam. The taste holds onto that vibe to the point of having an almost spiced rum sweetness and spice with clear notes of holiday spices, plenty of dried fruit, and a roasted almond element. The end long and spicy, leaving you with a Highland hug.

On The Rocks:

Ice definitely calms down the spiciness a bit but amps up the jamminess and adds some serious vanilla roundness. The nuttiness gets a bit drier as well, veering into nutshell territory.


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