The Absolute Best Scotch Whiskies Between $150-$200, Ranked

Scotch whisky in the $150 to $200 is generally going to be pretty f*cking good. The key to finding the best bottles is less about the quality of the booze and more about knowing what you actually like at this price point. Not many Scotch whiskies that reach a $200 price tag — peated and smoky, unique malted barley mash bills, special oak cask finishes, old age statements, cask strength, you name it — aren’t going to be well made.

That’s not to say there aren’t misses at this price point either, there are (cough, cough, Tamdhu, cough, cough). The point is, I’m here to guide you in your journey to find the best expensive Scotch whisky that costs just under $200. Which I fully admit is a real investment when we’re talking whiskey prices.

Still, all of the bottles below are absolute killers. Each one has its own nuance and vibe that makes it unique and will thereby speak to different palates and desires from whiskey drinker to whiskey drinker. My advice stands as it always does. Read through my tasting notes and find the whisky that speaks to you or piques your interest and go for it. Click on the price link and see if you can get some. Let’s dive in!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Scotch Whisky Posts of The Last Six Months

20. The Singleton — Single Malt Scotch Whisky Glen Ord Aged 15 Years 2022 Special Release

Diageo Single Malts
Diageo

ABV: 54.2%

Average Price: $152

The Whisky:

This Highland whisky is a classic that you don’t always see on local shelves. The Singleton of Glen Ord is routed to the Asia-Pacific market almost exclusively. So this is a nice chance to actually get your hands on some of these bottles if you’re in the U.S. The actual whisky is aged in refill American and European oak (those are barrels that have already held scotch at least once before) initially and then finished in wine-seasoned casks that have a very light touch (think white wines, not red).

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose does pop with a dry white wine vibe with a sense of butter, woody spice, and tart red berries next to creamy vanilla with a toffee vibe.

Palate: The palate stays super creamy with a nice maltiness that’s attached to big bowls of fruit — grapes, melon, blood oranges, apples, pears, and more.

Finish: There’s a light sense of kosher salt in the mix late that leads to a slow build of peppery spices and sweet marzipan.

Bottom Line:

It’s great that we’re seeing more and more of this whisky on American shelves. Overall, this is a great landing whisky for someone who’s looking for a well-rounded sipper that doesn’t overdo or overwhelm. It’s just… nice, balanced, and very enjoyable.

19. Ardbeg — Ardcore The Ultimate Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Limited Edition

Ardcore
LVMH

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $154

The Whisky:

2022’s Ardbeg Day release is an outlier for the distillery. The juice is made with a mash of peated Islay barely mixed with heavily roasted barley in the mix. That dark barley imbues a layer of dark chocolate to the whisky that lasts through the aging process.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This is lighter on the nose with hints of wet charcoal meeting notes of raw cacao nibs with a sour edge, a touch of pepper, hints of grapefruit pith, and whispers of dried flowers and sweet herbs.

Palate: The palate meanders through notes of cigarette ash, anise, savory scones with dark chocolate drops, and cardamon with a small line of Band-Aid and pear sneaking in late.

Finish: The finish has a note of menthol/chocolate tobacco with a bit of dry asphalt.

Bottom Line:

Most peated Islay whiskies are acquired tastes and this limited edition Ardbeg is no different. If you’re a fan of the peated Islay brand, then this is a must-have for your collection. If you’re on the fence about heavily peated ashen whiskies, then this might be a little too advanced for you. Tread lightly.

18. The Macallan — Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky The Harmony Collection Rich Cacao

The Macallan Rich Cacao
The Edrington Group

ABV: 44%

Average Price: $171

The Whisky:

The Macallan Whisky Maker Polly Logan went to Spain to create this expression. The whisky is built from ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks to highlight cacao notes that formed in the whisky through maturation. Those barrels are then vatted and proofed down before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: There’s a nice line of almost sour dark cacao on the nose that leads to freshly peeled and blanched almonds with cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and creamy dark chocolate-covered plums.

Palate: The palate leans into the chocolate as well with a Lava cake vibe next to chocolate-covered raisins, fresh raspberry in chocolate sauce, and a hint of chocolate bars with peanuts.

Finish: The finish lets some spice sneak in with a hint of zesty orange and dried chili pepper next to a honeyed sweetness.

Bottom Line:

This is a phenomenal dessert whisky. The deep chocolate notes with a hint of sweet honey, salt, and spicy chili create a complex and fulfilling experience that’ll pair perfectly either any rich and cacao-driven dessert. Or go hard in the paint with the food pairing and pour this with a deep and rich mole de pollo. Either way, you’ll be in for a rich and lush whisky treat.

17. Craigellachie — Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 17 Years

Bacardi

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $172

The Whisky:

Craigellachie is the other 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 years and vatted to highlight the uniqueness of the brand.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: 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).

Palate: 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.

Finish: The end embraces the smoke through the filter of that pineapple pudding as it slowly fades out.

Bottom Line:

This comes with subtle bourbon vibes by way of classic malty scotch. That makes it a great candidate for bourbon lovers who want to stretch their palate into classic and well-appointed single malt.

16. Bowmore — Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 18 Years

Bowmore
Beam Suntory

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $184

The Whisky:

Islay’s Bowmore has one of the lowest peated levels of any whisky from the famed island. This whisky spends 18 long years maturing in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks before those barrels are blended, proofed down with Islay’s soft groundwater, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose is full of creamy toffee candies bespeckled with dried fruits — think cherry, grapes, plums, currants — that leads towards a light sense of bourbon vanilla next to an echo of smoked cherries and apricots with a hint of smoked candied almonds.

Palate: The palate luxuriates in soft and almost creamy milk chocolate malts that form a foundation for spicy oatmeal raisin cookies, a whisper of dried roses, and a touch of dry wicker.

Finish: The finish takes its time and cycles back through the chocolate and oatmeal cookie spice, leaving you with a sense of dried wicker that’s just been singed by flame.

Bottom Line:

This is great for two sets of whisky drinkers. One, it’s a great gateway into Islay malt for bourbon drinkers thanks to the dark cherry, bourbon vanilla, and soft and creamy toffee. Two, it’s a wonderful example of how subtle peated malt can be (even from Islay), making it a great whisky to use as an introduction to delicious and softly peated Islay malt. Whatever path leads you to this whisky, you’ll have a great pour in your hand.

15. The Glenrothes — Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 Years Old

The Glenrothes 18
The Edrington Group

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $154

The Whisky:

This Speyside whisky is often crowned the “Best Speyside” whisky at spirits competitions. The whisky in the bottle is a high portion of first-fill sherry casks, all of which spent 18 long years mellowing in The Glenrothes warehouses. Those barrels are then vatted and proofed down with local water before bottling without any coloring added.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose draws you in with a mix of toasted malts with a touch of pear candy next to small lines of winter spice, dry straw, and a hint of mint tobacco.

Palate: The palate sweetens with the malts before veering into crème brûlée with a little cinnamon sharpness and sweetness before leaning back on the savory fruit, think figs.

Finish: The end is full of rock candy and a dash of dried oak staves.

Bottom Line:

This feels and pours like a quintessential Speyside unpeated malt. The sherry cask comes through with a nice spice and fruitiness that helps the whisky shine and take on some serious depth. If you’re looking for an easy-going experience with some real depth, this is it.

14. Dewar’s — Blended Scotch Whisky Double Double 32 Years

Dewar's 32
Bacardi

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $175 (375ml bottle)

The Whisky:

Master Blender Stephanie MacLeod really hits it out of the park with this blend. The whisky is built with 32-year-old barrels of both single malt and single grain whiskies. Then all the single malts are blended and re-barreled in an “exhausted” barrel (meaning the barrel has aged its last whisky and would otherwise be repurposed). MacLeod does the same with the grain whiskies. Those grain and malt whiskies are then blended and put into another exhausted barrel for a spell. Finally, those barrels are blended and filled into an ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry barrel for a final maturation.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with a rich sticky toffee pudding full of black-tea-soaked dates, sharp cinnamon, nutmeg, buttery toffee sauce, and vanilla ice cream with hints of orange zest, wicker, and an old leather tobacco pouch.

Palate: The palate largely delivers on the nose’s profile with meaty dates, figs, and prunes countered by woody spice, dark fruit leather, and a touch of honey barrel staves.

Finish: The finish is shorter than expected with all that dark and dried fruit leaving you with a sweetened and wintry vibe.

Bottom Line:

I always feel like I have to explain why these are good. With this one, it’s just f*cking delicious. Go and drink it, especially if you’re looking for a sweet scotch experience that just doesn’t stop delivering beautiful flavor notes.

13. BenRiach — The Twenty One Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky Four Cask Matured

Brown-Forman

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $174

The Whisky:

This whisky from BenRiach is a combination of peated and unpeated malts. The whiskies are then aged for 21 years in ex-bourbon barrels, ex-sherry casks, virgin oak casks, and former Bordeaux red wine casks. Those are then blended after their two-decade rest and proofed with that soft Speyside water.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This bursts with fresh Band-Aids from afar. Those fresh and plasticky bandages are supported by cream soda, a hint of rum-raisin, slight nuttiness, and a dash of old potpourri.

Palate: The palate carries on through the drug store with that Band-Aid vibe as creamy vanilla and soft chocolate malts interact with spicy minced meat pies, walnut coffee cake, and a hint of floral candle wax.

Finish: The finish drops off pretty quickly, leaving you with old Band-Aids, burnt vanilla pods, and a touch more of that cream soda.

Bottom Line:

This is the one bottle of The BenRiach to add to your bar cart. It’s the highwater mark of the brand and a wonderfully built peated malt that just hints at the bigger peated notes that usually drive whisky drinkers away.

12. Arran — Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 Years Old

Isle of Arran Distillers, Ltd.

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $170

The Whisky:

This is classic, old-school whisky making from the Isle of Arran (right next to Islay). The hot juice is aged in a mix of sherry casks for 18 years before it’s vatted, proofed, and bottled without filtration or any other fussing.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Blueberry pancakes smothered in butter and maple syrup lead the way and are supported by apple cider and cinnamon sticks.

Palate: Overripe peaches and orange zest pop on the palate with a hint of dark yet creamy chocolate.

Finish: The mid-palate sweetness fades into a mulled-wine-soaked oak stave with stewed peaches next to slightly spiced dark chocolate bars.

Bottom Line:

This is another great after-dinner whisky thanks to all the dark stewed fruits and creamy chocolate. In fact, you can skip dessert and just pour yourself a big ol’ glass of this instead.

11. James Buchanan’s — Red Seal Blended Scotch Whisky

Buchanan's Red Seal
Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $194

The Whisky:

This blended whisky is an amalgamation of 21-year-old barrels of whisky from Diageo’s stable of distilleries. The recipe for this one goes back to the British Royal Family’s preferred recipe from the Victorian era. Basically, Diageo pulls the best “out of series” barrels (those barrels that don’t fit the brand’s primary flavor profiles) from their unpeated whiskies around the country for this expression.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with a lovely sense of a malting house with warm and sugar malts next to an almost sour distiller’s beer cut with warm and spicy apple cider next, rum-raisin, and a light note of fresh orange skins.

Palate: The palate dried out the apple toward salted chips, candied ginger, and lime leaves next to caramel malts and quark doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar.

Finish: The end has a hint of burnt orange that leads to mild sweet oak and apple tobacco cut with a thin line of dark chocolate.

Bottom Line:

This has a deep and fun flavor profile that feels a little like walking and eating along a boardwalk in a glass. It’s an easy-breezy whisky that goes down almost too easily.

10. Springbank — Aged 15 Years Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Springbank
J and A Mitchell and Company

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $159

The Whisky:

This is made with Springbank’s iconic mildly peated malts and then aged for 15 years in ex-sherry barrels on the tiny Kintyre Peninsula. The whisky is then blended and proofed down with local spring water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This is a funky and savory nose with hints of teriyaki beef jerky next to powdery stock cubes with a hint of smoked brisket fat next to hydrogen peroxide before turning sweet with stewed prunes with a hint of cinnamon and honey.

Palate: The palate is like a marriage between a nutty and spicy Christmas cake and a low-and-slow brisket with tons of sea salt and fat and a whisper of smoke.

Finish: The finish arrives with a walnut dark chocolate crumble with minor notes of old leather and fireplace ashes next to a thin line of a rocky beach after the rain.

Bottom Line:

This is going to be one of the harder bottles to find on this list (especially at a fair price in the U.S.). Still, if you do grab one, you’ll be in for a real treat that’s 100% unique. This whisky truly stands alone as an exceptional single malt whisky from a true whisky nerd’s distillery.

9. Aberlour — Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky Double Cask Matured 18 Years Old

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $153

The Whisky:

The expression from Speyside’s Aberlour uses ex-bourbon casks for its primary maturation and ex-sherry for its finishing maturation. Those barrels are batched after at least 18 years and proofed down with soft Speyside water and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: 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.

Palate: 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.

Finish: 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 lush and just plain delicious, especially if you’re coming from a high-end bourbon background/palate. This is the bottle you get when you want a deep and vibrant malt experience that feels nostalgic and dramatic but never overcooked.

8. The Balvenie — Single Malt Scotch Whisky French Oak Aged 16 Years

The Balvenie 16
William Grant & Sons

ABV: 47.6%

Average Price: $199

The Whisky:

The Balvenie just added a new release to its core lineup late last year. The whisky is a masterful blend from whisky legend David Stewart. After around 15 years of aging, the whisky is transferred to Pineau des Charentes casks (a French fortified wine) for a final maturation, which is The Balvenie’s first foray into French oak finishing. The whisky is then bottled with a touch of water but as-is otherwise.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Red geraniums and fresh honeycomb greet you on the nose with supporting characters of green grass, pear skins, apple cores, a hint of a cinnamon roll with vanilla frosting, and a dash of nutmeg.

Palate: The palate leans into a lemon curd with a hint of grapefruit pith before layering in floral honey, ginger beer, vanilla-heavy shortbread, oatmeal raisin cookies, and a good dose of orange zest with a pinch of dark chocolate powder mixed in.

Finish: The end is light and airy with a hint of savory fig next to ginger-infused rock candy dipped in creamy dark chocolate that’s just kissed with cinnamon spice.

Bottom Line:

This is a beautiful floral walk through the French countryside on a sunny day with a glass of great whisky in your hand. If that sounds like the life you want to live, then get this pour and enjoy that pour.

7. Clynelish — Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years 2022 Special Release

Diageo Single Malts
Diageo

ABV: 58.5%

Average Price: $199

The Whisky:

This iconic unpeated Highland malt is often used in higher-end Johnnie Walker blends. This expression from 2022 was mellowed in refill American oak barrels that held bourbon and then finished in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry-seasoned casks.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: There’s a subtle mix of mincemeat pies, syrupy pears from the can, floral honey, and a herbal note of maybe bay leaf or sage with a whisper of mint on the nose.

Palate: The palate has a waxy saltwater taffy vibe tied to vanilla with a soft pepperiness and woody winter spice warmth next to soft toffees.

Finish: The end is lightly spiced with dried chili pepper and peppercorns next to that soft and waxy vanilla saltwater taffy on the spicy finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a stone-cold classic unpeated single malt. It feels 100% like a trip through a Scottish distillery. It’s local yet somehow also universal. Get this bottle if you want really good Scotch whisky that’s all Scotland.

6. The Dalmore — Cigar Malt Reserve Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Dalmore Cigar Malt
Whyte & Mackay

ABV: 44%

Average Price: $199

The Whisky:

This Highland whisky is a no-age-statement version of The Dalmore. The whisky is made from Golden barley that grows on the island in rich and very coastal soils. The ground malted barley is mixed with pure water from the Cromarty Firth nearby during the mashing process. After a couple of times through pot stills, the hot whisky is loaded into ex-bourbon casks, 30-year-old Matusalem Oloroso Sherry butts, and former Cabernet Sauvignon from the Saint-Estèphe appellation of Bordeaux. After 10 to 15 years, those barrels are vatted, the whiskey is proofed, and it’s bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose is openly complex from the first inhalation with a matrix of sticky toffee pudding spices — cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg — next to dried red berries with a slight earthiness, a touch of salted toffee candies, and a whisper of vanilla wafers.

Palate: The palate opens with a chocolate maltiness next to a bowl of fresh and tropical fruits — pineapple, tart apples, sweet pears, plums, bruised bananas — with a mild nuttiness, sharp orange zest, and subtle winter spices.

Finish: There’s a light mustiness on the back end that leads to soft and moist pipe tobacco with a thin layer of orchard fruits and stewed figs.

Bottom Line:

This is one of my “I’m going to drink one great glass of whisky tonight” pours. It delivers on every level and should be on your bar cart right now.

5. Oban — Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 Years Old

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $172

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 an 18-year maturation. The best barrels are vatted and proofed down to a very sippable 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: 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).

Palate: 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.

Finish: 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 whisky ranks this high thanks to nuance. The peat is so well-integrated that it’s almost not there. Instead, it’s layered into the orchard fruits and spice barks with a subtly that’s unparalleled. If you’re thinking about getting into peated malt, this bottle will make you a true believer.

4. Lagavulin — Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillers Edition

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $188

The Whisky:

Last year’s Distiller’s Edition was another prime example of the heights Lagavulin can reach. The whisky was aged for 15 years in the core Lagavulin barrels (ex-bourbon and ex-sherry) and then finished for around six months in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks that were specifically made and held specific sherry before the whisky was loaded into the barrels.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: You’re drawn in with hints of honeyed smoke, salted caramel apples, mild hints of vanilla, and smoldering coffee grounds.

Palate: The taste ties the honey to a soft oakiness next to vanilla chocolate coffee, seaside salted taffy, and a touch of fish oil.

Finish: The end is very long and pure velvet on the tongue as the sweet oak fades towards a sweet smokiness, with a hint of salty roasted almonds and burnt vanilla husks.

Bottom Line:

This is succinct whisky that doesn’t shy away from anything but still offers a welcoming and soft profile that’s hard not to fall in love with. The exacting nature. this pour is so tight and beautiful. This is the bottle you get when you’re ready to graduate from mild peat to something a touch bolder.

3. Jura — Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 21 Years Tide Time

Jura 21 Year Tide Time
Alliance Global

ABV: 46.7%

Average Price: $169

The Whisky:

This expression from Jura (next door to Islay) is a classic unpeated malt that leans into a softer sweetness. The whisky is aged in ex-bourbon barrels for years. Once those barrels hit just the right point, they’re re-barreled into new American oak casks for a final rest before batching, proofing, and bottling as-is.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Creamy toffee with a hint of sour butter mingles with canned grapes and peaches next to fresh ginger coins, Almond Joy bars, and rich and soft marzipan on the nose.

Palate: That coconut and chocolate are cut with rum raisin on the taste next to macadamia nut cookies, almond cake dusted with powdered sugar, and a mild sense of stewed prunes and marmalade.

Finish: That stewed fruit melds with the almond nuttiness on the finish with a slight sense of vanilla oak and mild winter spice.

Bottom Line:

This is another great dessert pairing whisky. The coconut, almond, and stewed fruits feel very holiday-forward. That aside, this is another sipper that goes down almost too easily. If you add a rock or a little water, it gets super creamy, which adds to the overall dessert vibes.

2. The Glendronach — Allardice Aged 18 Years Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

GlenDronach 18 Alladrice
Brown-Forman

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $181

The Whisky:

This Highland whisky is a local tradition of sorts, dating back to the brand’s origins in the 1820s. The whisky in the bottle is hewn from barrels of at least 18-year-old whiskies. The maturation is done exclusively in hand-picked Olorosso sherry casks from Spain.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Old orchard wood, soft leather, dried orange peels, raspberry jam, and creamy dark chocolate gently mingle on the nose.

Palate: That jam leans into a spiced cherry compote as stewed plums with plenty of allspice and clove lead to soft walnut cake with a malty backbone.

Finish: The mid-palate takes that walnut and sweetness and moves the taste toward velvety malts and soft and sweet orchard wood, dusting more of that dark chocolate and dark berry silkiness.

Bottom Line:

Speaking of the holidays, this is an essential pour of deep and dark whisky. This is lush, silky, and perfect — not “pretty much perfect,” actually perfect. That said, the only reason it’s not #1 on this list is that it feels way better to drink during the holidays than on a hot summer day, but I’m really splitting hairs to rank these amazing whiskies at this point.

1. Talisker — Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 18 Years

Talisker 18
Diageo

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $194

The Whisky:

This is a classic single malt that also happens to hold the title of “Best Single Malt Whisky in the World” from the World Whiskies Awards. The iconic whisky is rendered in Talisker’s bespoke stills and then spends nearly two decades resting in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry barrels, like most of the true classic single malts.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose has a light yet clear sense of ripe plums, orange oils, buttery toffee, and an almost sour apple next to a distant whiff of briny campfire smoke from one beach over.

Palate: The orange oils remain on the palate as eggnog spices peek in gently, with hints of that butter toffee driving a rich silkiness.

Finish: The smoke remains in the distance as the spices warm your senses and the meaty fruit takes the edge off on the slow and satisfying fade.

Bottom Line:

The general consensus is that this is the “Best Single Malt Whisky in the World” and I have absolutely no desire to argue with that. This is my house pour. It should be yours too.

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