The 10 Best $90-$100 Scotch Whisky Bottles, Ranked

Finding the best Scotch whisky under $100 is no easy task. There’s just so much of it out there. $100 is a sort of bifurcation point between “affordable” and findable; between the bottles that are going to cost you and ones you might have to jump on a flight to track down. The bottles of scotch that linger in the $90 to $100 price point are still accessible, sure, but they’re also getting into the releases you might only see once a year or once ever.

The point is, we’re getting into the fun stuff.

For this collection of ten Scotch whiskies (both single malt and blended whiskies), I’m pulling from my own tasting notes and calling out bottles I think you should try. I’m then ranking those bottles based on what I’d reach for more often than not. While I tend to lean more towards the higher ABV briny, fruity, and mildly-peated scotches, those are only one small corner of scotch.

To that end, the ten bottles of whisky below range from ashen peat monsters to low ABV sweet fruit bombs, and a lot in between. Hopefully, there’ll be something that’ll spark your interest.

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

10. The Singleton of Glendullan 18

Singleton 18
Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $90

The Whisky:

This Speyside whisky rests mostly in ex-bourbon casks. The final product adds in a few barrels from Europe to mellow out the heavier bourbon barrels. That blend is then cut down to a low 80 proof for bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with hints of cedar and winter spice underneath caramel candies, roasted almonds, and a hint of stewed orchard fruits. The palate largely carries on those flavors with a subtle hint of bourbon vanilla and spicy tobacco warmth attached to the maltiness, with an echo of dark chocolate-covered hazelnuts. The finish leans into the cedar and tobacco with a slightly mineral water base.

Bottom Line:

This is complex and very easy to drink overall. The only real downside is the low ABVs bringing a slightly watery finish. Still, this rules on the rocks.

9. Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate Batch #2

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $99

The Whisky:

Glenmorangie has finally made this a regular drop on the North American market. The juice is made from Highland barley grown exclusively on the 440-acre Cadboll Estate, which surrounds the distillery. The juice is then filled into French casks which held Muscat and Sémillon wines. It’s then left alone for 15 years to mature. Finally, those barrels are batched and brought down to a low 86 proof with local highland spring water.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of buttered scones with lemon curd next to a good dose of vanilla and a touch of savory herbs on the nose. The palate really holds onto that biscuity nature while adding in a caramel candy note next to a bit of butter with a white sugar cube vibe. That lemon comes back on the short finish with hints of old straw and strawberry jam.

Bottom Line:

This has a nice balance of fruit and malts that are very subtle. The ABVs aren’t bottomed out, but you do feel that spring water in the sip. Still, this is a great option for anyone looking to dip their toes into sweeter and fruiter malts without blowing out the palate.

8. anCnoc Rascan

Inver House

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $95

The Whisky:

Hailing from the famed Knockdhu Distillery, this single malt (pronounced “uh-KNOCK”) is named after the rake-like tool that breaks up the sod so harvesters can dig out some peat. The whisky is made from malt that’s barely been kissed with the smoke from a peat fire, keeping the phenols (that’s the smoke compound in the barley) very low. The juice is loaded into ex-bourbon barrels where it’s allowed to rest for “nearly” 10 years before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a rush of fresh Granny Smith apples on the nose next to Honey Nut Cheerios with the smallest spritz of orange oils. The fresh honey sweetness builds, as a slight and almost woody bourbon vanilla sneaks onto the palate with a sharp edge of eggnog spice. The sip slowly fades towards smoked dried apple tobacco with a touch of old, soft leather and dried heather.

Bottom Line:

This really marries light smoke and fruit well in every sip. I dig this on the rocks but it’s also an easy neat sipper thanks to those low ABVs.

7. John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend

Johnnie Walker
Diageo

ABV: 51%

Average Price: $90

The Whisky:

This special blend was released to help celebrate Johnnie Walker’s 200th anniversary in 2020. The juice in the bottle is a blend that dates back to 1860 and includes (modern) whiskies from distilleries that actually went into Johnnie Walker back then — when it was known as “Old Highland Whisky.” Finally, the whisky is proofed down only slightly, allowing the casks to shine through.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of Christmas cakes full of wintry spices, dried fruits, and nuts next to a slight hint of singed vanilla husks, dried apricot, and marzipan. The palate builds on those notes by amping up the dried fruits and layering in roasted almonds with a hint of burnt marshmallow lucking in the background with a thin line of campfire smoke. The finish brings a little bit of heat with a black pepper tied to the malts as the dried fruit, nuts, and marshmallow slowly fade away with a final, earthy hint of peat rounding the sip out.

Bottom Line:

These are worth seeking out in that they’ll give you an idea of why Johnnie Walker blew up worldwide back in the 19th century. This is a good sipping whisky, yes, even for a blend. I prefer it over a few rocks or in a highball (with good fizzy water). It also makes one hell of an old fashioned.

6. Lagavulin 11-Year Old Offerman Edition Finished in Guinness Casks

Lagavulin 11 Offerman Edition
Diageo

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $90

The Whisky:

This release from 2021 is the second Nick Offerman collaboration with Lagavulin. This is an eleven-year-old single malt that’s then finished in Guinness stout casks for a four-month final maturation. That whisky is then cut down to 92 proof with Lagavulin’s own Islay spring water.

Tasting Notes:

The briny, peated malts come through on the nose with hints of black coffee beans, slightly waxy cacao nibs, and a hint of creamy mint-chocolate ice cream. The palate is one part beach campfire from a mile down the beach and one part Milk Duds and drip coffee with hints of vanilla and pine resin lurking in the background. The finish leans into the dark cacao with a smoky edge (smoked dark chocolate?) while the wood stays dry and resinous and the briny peat gently supports the bitter yet creamy mocha espresso and mild malts.

Bottom Line:

This is a dream to sip, especially if you’re looking for a milder Lagavulin that still feels like a classic Islay briny peaty whisky. Pour this one as a sidecar to your next pint of Guinness and have a great time.

5. Ardbeg Corryvreckan

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 57.1%

Average Price: $99

The Whisky:

This whisky is named after the world’s second-largest whirlpool, which spins in the inky seas between the isles of Islay and Jura off the coast of Scotland. The juice is classic Ardbeg distillate that is aged exclusively in fresh French Limousin casks. That juice is then married to the 10-year-old Ardbeg and bottled at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

This is a big whisky with hints of pine resin, smoked bacon fat, blue and blackberries, dark spices, and a hint of minty dark chocolate on the nose. The palate is straight-up chewy, with black pepper-coated bacon fat next to heavily roasted coffee beans and salted almonds all while still holding onto those dark berries as a sweet counterpoint. The end is a mix of dark berries, bitter coffee or chocolate, and that fatty and peppery smoked meat with a sea spray edge that lasts a very long time.

Bottom Line:

This sort of flips the script on the bottle above. Here, the brine, smoke, and fatty elements are the star of the show and the bitter, creamy, and chocolate elements are the supporting cast. In the end, it all comes down to taste. But, for a peaty whisky, this is so nuanced and beautifully layered that it’s hard not to fall in love with it. Just take your time and let this bloom with some water or a rock to really dig deep.

4. Highland Park Cask Strength

Edrington Group

ABV: 63.3%

Average Price: $96

The Whisky:

These drop every fall and are part of a new line from the Orkney Island’s distillery. The juice is a blend of single malts that are aged exclusively in old American oak that held sherry. The barrels are married and bottled as is to assure you’re getting all the nuance and flavor of their malts meeting that oak.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a light sense of wildflowers on the nose with a rich vanilla husk that leads towards a touch of peat. The taste is surprisingly silken (for a cask strength) with rich and buttery toffee next to honeysuckle, eggnog spices and creaminess, and a small dose of orange zest as a counterpoint. The end holds onto the creaminess and spices as the peat just edges in with a whisper of resinous pine smoke.

Bottom Line:

While this does have a bit of a kick, it’s also very subtle. That spice, florals, and peat all sing together on the palate while the vanilla and orange add a nice counterbalance. Again, pour this over some rocks or add a little water to really let it open up in the glass.

3. Bowmore 15

Bowmore 15
Beam Suntory

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $99

The Whisky:

This bottle from Islay’s Bowmore is a 15-year-old whisky that’s a blend of American and European oak. For the first 12 years, this whisky rests in ex-bourbon barrels. For the last three years, the whisky is transferred to Oloroso sherry casks. The whisky is then finished with local spring water, bringing it down to a very approachable 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Bowmore’s low peatiness shines through on the nose with a hint of smoked chocolate malts next to raisins, dates, and plums with a hint of smoked fig next to mild sourdough scones. The palate leans into a cedar box full of spicy tobacco that’s dipped in Karo syrup with more of those dried fruits lurking in the background of the sip. Those sweet and dried fruits move the mid-palate towards oat cakes touched with cinnamon and a dry yet sweet tobacco vibe on the end.

Bottom Line:

You’d be forgiven for missing the “peat” on this sip of subtle Islay whisky. This feels like a bridge between the bourbon wood and sherry wood with the sweet yet smoked barley malts flowing beneath that bridge. While this shines neat, I like this one the rocks at the end of the day. You can’t beat it, especially if you’re looking to gently dip your toes into the bigger world of Islay peat.

2. Aberlour A’bunadh

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 56.2% (varies)

Average Price: $95

The Whisky:

A’bunadh (ah-boon-arh) means “the original” in Gaelic and the juice in this Highland bottle represents that for Aberlour. The whisky is matured in old Oloroso sherry casks exclusively. The juice then goes into the bottle at cask strength, unfussed with.

Tasting Notes:

That sherry plumminess is evident right up top, with hints of bright orange oils, clumps of dark chocolate, honey, and nuts, and a hint of oak. The taste shines with notes of dark, ripe cherries, prunes, more bright orange zest, dark chocolate, and a good measure of svelte vanilla. The slow finish leaves you with a creamy mouthfeel next to bitter chocolate next to sweet cherries and plums, all of which lead towards a warming spice on the tongue at the end.

Bottom Line:

This is magic in a glass. It’s so rich and chewy while adding layer after layer of bitter, soft, and fruity. It’s damn near perfect, especially if you’re looking for an unpeated malt whisky. You really can’t go wrong with this one — on the rocks, neat, in an awesome Manhattan…

1. Talisker Distillers Edition

Diageo

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $96

The Whisky:

The 2021 Distillers Edition is a classic Talisker, aged by the sea, that’s finished for six months in Amoroso sherry casks. The whisky was distilled in 2011 and bottled at 10 years old. It was then finished in another Amoroso sherry cask, making it “double” matured.

Tasting Notes:

The nose runs deep on this whisky with mild hints of beachside campfire smoke whispering in the background as hints of red fruit, wet driftwood, and green peppercorns draw you in. The palate embraces the red berries with a slight tartness next to the sweetness as the peat remains dry and distant and tied to the brine of the sea with an almost oyster liquor softness. The finish lingers for just the right amount of time as sweet berries and dry peat lead towards soft dark cacao powder with a tiny note of vanilla and one last spray from the sea.

Bottom Line:

Nuanced is the name of the game with this whisky. Not a single note of this overshadows another. It’s balanced and beautiful from top to bottom. I highly recommend adding a little water or a rock to really dig deep into the depths of this one.

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