The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $125-$150, Ranked

“That scotch cost how much?!”

For the average whisk(e)y drinker, that might be the reaction when learning a bottle of whisky cost around $150. It’s a lot and we’re not going to pretend that it’s not. We’re also not going to pretend that spending $150 or so on a bottle of Scotch whisky is anywhere near the high-end. On this price point journey through Scotch whisky, we haven’t even cracked into the 20-year-old bottles yet, much less the very rare stuff.

Scotch is just a lot more expensive and expansive than casual drinkers realize. But for us, that’s all part of the fun.

For this list of ten great Scotch whiskies between $125 and $150, I pulled bottles from my own tasting notes and ranked them. Look at it this way, I like each bottle on this list a little more than last. That’s my personal taste. Still, we’re starting off with number ten setting a very high bar when it comes to a flavor profile — that means these are all bangers. I also made sure to include peated and unpeated malt to give you a chance to pick and choose what you might dig.

Let’s get into it.

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

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

Lagavulin 11 Offerman Edition
Diageo

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $129

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 pretty nice but a little bit of a departure from classic Lagavulin. That said, if you vibe on the whole Offerman persona, Guinness, and lightly peated whisky, then this is definitely going to be your jam.

9. The Arran 18

Isle of Arran Distillers, Ltd.

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $116

The Whisky:

This is classic, old-school whisky making from the Isle of Arran (right next to Islay). The 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:

There’s a nice mix of maple syrup with blueberries that almost feels like blueberry pancakes with a mug of cinnamon-spiked apple cider to wash it down. The palate holds onto that warmth with spicy grilled peaches dripping in more syrup with notes of orange zest brightening things up. That’s paired with a touch of wet oak. The end really holds onto the cooked peaches, spice, and orange as it fades out fairly slowly towards a mild yet dry tobacco chewiness.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those whiskies that makes you say “ahhhh…” when you take the first sip. It’s fruity with a nice spicy balance that works really well over some rocks. It also makes a great Manhattan.

8. Highland Park 18

Edrington Group

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $148

The Whisky:

This Viking whisky from high up in the Orkneys takes barreling one step further. Their 18-year expression is matured in casks made from American and European oak specifically for Highland. Those bespoke vessels are sent to Jerez, Spain to age sherry for three years. The same barrels are then sent back to Orkney to age this whisky for 18 years.

Tasting Notes:

This really feels like a classic scotch at every step. You’re greeted with notes of marzipan, dark berries, honey, and light lines of smoke on the nose. Those notes hold on as buttery toffee arrives with a dark chocolate counterpoint, leading towards ripe red cherries and floral honey. The end embraces distant billows of sweet smoke with a dry and earthy undertow on the slow, sweet, and berry-filled fade.

Bottom Line:

We’re already getting into splitting hairs territory with this ranking. This is really spectacular with a damn near-perfect balance of sweeter fruits and mild smokiness that might just hook you on peated malt. You’ll want to add a little water to let it bloom in the glass.

7. Jura 18

Whyte & Mackay

ABV: 44%

Average Price: $130

The Whisky:

This whisky from Jura (also right next to Islay) is a fairly new expression from the old-school distillery. The juice is matured for 18 years in ex-bourbon casks. It’s then vatted and finished in Premier Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux barrels for a finishing touch. As a final touch, it’s proofed down with spring water to a very sippable 88 proof.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a mix of cinnamon, clove, pineapple, and citrus on the nose that reminds you of a tropical cocktail you can’t quite put your finger on. The bourbon comes through with a rich vanilla underbelly, supporting very distant sprays from the sea next to dried red berries covered in bitter dark chocolate. The end holds onto the bitter, edging towards coffee beans while the fruit gets drier with a final briny note arriving late.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a bourbon drinker, you will find some continuity in this whisky’s flavor profile, which will help you fall in love with it. Overall, this is a really solid sipper that also shines in any simple whisky cocktail.

6. Aberfeldy 18

Bacardi

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $135

The Whisky:

This release is a masterclass in finishing a whisky. The juice is first aged for 18 years in refill bourbon and sherry casks. Then the whisky is transferred to first-fill red wine casks from Pauillac, Bordeaux. The whisky is then proofed with the soft water from a local, gold-flecked river to a very accessible 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

That beautiful creamy honey and vanilla of Aberfeldy greets you with notes of blackberries, soft cedar, and a hint of marzipan and rose water. The palate creates this bowl of vanilla sauce poured over ripe red berries (blackberry and raspberry especially) that are drizzled with fresh honey next to soft and dry cedar leading to dry grass. The end embraces the fruit and takes on a fermented apricot (not quite a schnapps) vibe, as the honeyed sweetness and nuttiness slowly fade out.

Bottom Line:

This is quintessential whisky and a prime example of “the good stuff.” It’s so easy drinking while still offering interesting and deeply hewn flavors. You cannot go wrong pouring a dram of this and taking your time with it.

5. Cragganmore Distillers Edition

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $145

The Whisky:

Cragganmore is an iconic Scottish distillery. The whisky is matured in sherry casks for 12 years. It’s then transferred into American oak casks that held port for a final maturation phase before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This is like a fresh herb garden with dill and fennel leading the way on the nose next to fresh bushels of green apples and soft and supple vanilla. The palate has a savory fruit note that’s part fig and part squash next to fancy pear candies and an orchard in full bloom. The finish marries those florals, orchard fruits, and vanilla and then circles back around to a bundle of fresh, green, sharp, and slightly savory herbs.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the most unique whiskies on the list, which is why it’s right in the middle. I love it for all that green apple and savory herbal brightness. Others might not. Either way, pour this over a single rock and enjoy something unique and very tasty.

4. Talisker Aged 8 The Rogue Seafury

Talisker 8
Diageo

ABV: 59.7%

Average Price: $142

The Whisky:

This year’s Talisker sticks with the classic age statement of 8-years while leaning into the smokier side of the Island whisky. The build on this expression is a marrying of the “Smokiest Reserves” from the Talisker warehouse. That juice is vatted and bottled at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

You get this medley of smoked fruits on the nose — think smoked plum and apricot — that leads towards a rush of sea spray, iodine, and nori that braces your senses for this billow of wet forest and granite on fire like a mountain overlooking the ocean that’s been set ablaze. The palate calms down only slightly with a pink sea salt that’s been accented with dried roses while that smoke puffs through your sense with a green pepper spiciness and an almost sweet, wet fir tree bark with an earthy edge that almost feels like damp black dirt. That earthiness imparts a soft peatiness to the malt on the end with a slight tobacco chewiness followed by a final kick of spicy smoke.

Bottom Line:

This bottle has been growing on me over the last six months. It’s so complex and, well, deep. I find something new in the nose and palate every time I dive back in, and that makes this a must-have whisky.

3. The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 17 Years

William Grant & Sons

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $145

The Whisky:

The Balvenie continually hits it out of the park with their lineup. This expression spends 17 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 whisky feels like it needs to be enjoyed next to an open fireplace with your dog curled up at your feet. It’s dark and spicy with a velvet texture that feels like it never ends, and you don’t want it to. Add a rock or a few drops of water to really open it up in the glass.

2. Mortlach 16

Diageo

ABV: 43.4%

Average Price: $135

The Whisky:

This tiny and iconic Dufftown distillery is the whisky aficionado’s distillery. The whisky in this bottle is distilled almost three times (2.81 times to be exact) through various types of pot stills. The juice is then aged for 16 years in sherry casks before it’s, vatted, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

You’re met with a bowl full of stewed plums with anise, clove, and cinnamon in the mix, next to a slight sense of dry moss. The taste has a faint vanilla edge next to velvety honey, sharp spice, old leather-bound books, and a touch of bruised apricot. The end is very long, holds onto the spice and fruit, and leaves you with a sense of creamy vanilla honey.

Bottom Line:

Mortlach tends to almost universally be perfect with every expression they release. Their whisky is well-rounded, unique, yet still 100 percent accessible. The flavor profile is smaller but so distinct and dialed. It’s a hell of a dram that deserves your focus as you drink it.

1. Oban Aged 12 The Tale of Twin Foxes

Oban 12
Diageo

ABV: 56.2%

Average Price: $135

The Whisky:

Oban’s location on the Scottish coast, next to both the Inner Hebrides and Highlands, allows it to harness the best of both regions when making its whisky. This year’s 12-year release is built on the backs of both ex-bourbon casks and refill bourbon casks, allowing the stronger notes of those new bourbon casks to get a light mellowing from the refill wood. The results are bottled at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

Briny — that’s the draw here. The nose has this mellow mix of spicy nori crackers that lead towards an old wooden cutting board that’s slick with olive juice, fish oils, salt, and black pepper that you then take a heel of bread to mop up while a slight note of smoked haddock or cod lingers on the very backend. On the palate, a burst of citrus oils arrives to cut through all that umami, oil, and brine as a light malty fruitiness adds a little tart and sweet to the mix, with a sense of cedar chips soaked in mild chili oil driving a sense of warmth. The finish lets that spice build towards a dry pepperiness thanks to the wood as the fruit ties itself to a very mild tobacco leaf and another note of that smoked fish sneaks in on the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is a perfect pour of scotch. You get the warmth of Scottish botany next to the depth of the murky seas. It’s complex, sure. But it’s also somehow comforting and familiar (especially for my Pacific Northwest palate). In the end, it’s rare and worth tracking down, as this one isn’t ever coming back.

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