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The Best Scotch Whisky Between $60-$70, Ranked

Spending $60 on a single bottle of Scotch whisky might seem like a pretty big ask. You can easily get three solid bottles of bourbon for that price. But that’s apples and oranges. Scotch isn’t bourbon and carries with it a wholly different flavor vibe. It’s also an import — which implies a whole different cost structure.

The best Scotch whisky at this price point is accessible and, most importantly, very tasty. While we’re still in a somewhat “entry-level” range — think 12-year-old bottles and the beginnings of special releases — there’s a lot of great juice to be had. This is the price point where you can get into scotch, maybe for the first time, and start to really understand it better. This is where peated and unpeated whiskies start to shine without the hefty price tags that are soon to come.

The ten bottles of Scotch whisky below are ranked according to taste (from my own tasting notes). I tried to keep this a good mix of peated and sweet Scotch whiskies to offer variety for those looking to get into something new. Let’s dive in!

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

10. Benriach The Twelve Speyside Single Malt

Brown-Forman

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $61

The Whisky:

Dr. Rachel Barrie’s reimaging of BenRiach has been a stellar success. This dram is a marrying of 12-year-old malts that matured in ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and ex-port casks before vatting, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This has a bold nose full of apple and pear candy, plenty of blooming heather scrub, and blueberry juice and stems with a hint of dark orange chocolate balls. The taste boils everything down to a silken palate of stewed pears with cinnamon sticks, sherry-soaked prunes, freshly milled oats, orange-infused marzipan with dark chocolate frosting, and a slight espresso bean oily bitterness. The finish creates a creamy espresso macchiato vibe that’s spiked with that dark orange chocolate note and a final hit of those stewed fruits.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those “ah-ha!” whiskies. It’s super svelte while packing a pretty solid flavor punch. Pour this over some rocks or use it in your next Scotch cocktail to really amp those flavor notes up.

9. Compass Box Peat Monster

Compass Box

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $68

The Whisky:

Compass Box is one of the most interesting blender/bottlers working today. This expression is the perfect example of the craft of whisky blending, with six masterfully married peaty barrels coming together, focusing on Caol Ila and Laphroaig. A touch of Highland malt is added to bring in hints of dark spice to balance all that Islay peat.

Tasting Notes:

This is peaty but not ridiculously so, thanks to the subtlety of the Caol Ila in the mix. There’s a really rich and sweet apple/pear vibe that cuts through the earthy peat while a vanilla cream brings about a velvet mouthfeel. The smoke returns but is tied to the fruit — like a bushel of smoked apples, pears, and apricots next to a touch of ashy smoke — on the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a great starter peated whisky. There’s plenty of fruitiness and sweetness layered into the dram that’ll help temper the heavier aspects of the peat. I prefer this in smoky cocktails but wouldn’t turn it down over the rocks any day.

8. Aultmore 12

Aultmore 12
Bacardi

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $61

The Whisky:

This tiny whisky is part of their Last Great Malts range from Dewar’s. The juice is a rare release from a distillery that releases bottles every few years (this bottle dropped back in 2014).

Tasting Notes:

The nose bursts forth with notes of ripe apples and pears next to a seriously creamy vanilla base with touches of orange blossoms and soft cedar bark. The palate wraps those apples and pears into a soft and buttery puff pastry with plenty of soft spice and brown sugars as the vanilla thickens into a pudding with the florals becoming slightly more dried towards the mid-palate. The finish hoists those stewed apples and pears to center stage as the mild spice gently fades away.

The Bottom Line:

This is a pretty special whisky, especially if you’re looking for a rare-ish bottle. The fruity/spicy vibe of this one makes it a great candidate for highballs or cocktails.

7. Glenfarclas 12

J. & G. Grant

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $60

The Whisky:

Glenfarclas is a bit of an outlier. 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 clear notes of holiday spices, plenty of dried fruit, and a roasted almond element. The end is long and spicy, leaving you with a warming Speyside hug.

Bottom Line:

This just feels classic. There’s no pretension anywhere in this sip. I really dig using this in a simple highball or cocktail (think three or fewer ingredients).

6. Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10

Rémy Cointreau

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $69

The Whisky:

Bruichladdich really has fun with peated whisky. This expression keeps the peat phenols in the mid-range, leaning high. The casking is a mix of first and second-fill bourbon barrels and second-fill French wine barrels. That utilization of second-fill oak means there’s a very light touch of wood on this peated whisky.

Tasting Notes:

Imagine a dark chocolate orange drizzled in salted caramel and served on a wet leaf of seaweed on the nose. The smoke kicks in on the palate with those wet seaweed leaves thrown on a smoldering pile of pine to create a massive billow of smoke everywhere, as hints of buttery white wine and strawberry jam-covered scones linger in the background. The finish leans into the bready nature of the scones with a dry straw edge that’s followed by a mouthful of the seaweed heavy grey smoke.

Bottom Line:

This really is a peat lover’s whisky. You’d be forgiven for not digging this one or finding it hard to enjoy if you’re put off by smoke bombs. Still, there’s enough layered fruit and creaminess below that smoke to find something to enjoy, especially on the rocks.

5. Ardbeg An Oa

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 46.6%

Average Price: $65

The Whisky:

This is a quintessential Islay peaty whisky. The juice is aged in a combination of Pedro Ximénez, charred virgin oak, and ex-bourbon casks before being married and rested again in Ardbeg’s bespoke oak “Gathering Vat,” allowing the whiskies to really meld into a cohesive dram.

Tasting Notes:

Slow-smoked peaches, soft cherrywood on fire, and singed sage mingle on the nose. That profile leads towards buttery but almost burnt toffee with hints of egg nog spices, savory leafy green vegetables with a bit of dirt, walnut shells, black tea, and a little bit of pancake syrup (the high fructose corn syrup kind). The finish is long, has hits of black licorice, and really brings the soft yet sweet smoke with an almost meat smoker edge.

Bottom Line:

Where the previous whisky was unabashed about its peatiness, this Islay malt really feels like a delicate balance of sweet and smoke that might just hook you into peated whiskies once and for all. Try this one with a few drops of water to let it bloom then on the rocks before mixing your favorite cocktail with it.

4. GlenDronach 12

GlenDronach 12
Brown-Forman

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $63

The Whisky:

This Highland malt is blended by Scotch icon Dr. Rachel Barrie to highlight the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. The juice is a blend of whiskies aged for 12 years in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks before vatting, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with spicy berries next to tart apples with a hint of lemon/lime and old leather. The sip leans into a honey sweetness with vanilla beans, dark plums, and spicy malts. The finish smooths out with a mineral water softness as old cedar boards mingle with a raisin tobacco chewy spice on the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is just freaking nice and also feels pretty classic. I tend to pour this over some rocks mostly but have used it to make some great cocktails.

3. The Macallan 12

Edrington Group

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $62

The Whisky:

Where many scotches spend time in ex-bourbon and then ex-sherry casks or some combination therein, this expression spends all 12 years of its maturation just in sherry casks. The barrels are imported from Jerez, Spain, and hand-selected for their excellence to mature this much-beloved whisky.

Tasting Notes:

Apple cider with a cut of cinnamon and clove in the juice greets you with a clear sense of vanilla, nuts, and plums on the nose. On the taste, those plums turn into prunes as orange peels mingle with sweet oak and a hint of tobacco spice. The end is long, full of that sherry, dried fruit, and sweetness, and returns back to the chewy tobacco spice.

Bottom Line:

This is a testament to less is more. The taste on this is so dialed in and luscious. It’s kind of shocking it’s only 12 years old (which is young by Scotch standards). Pour some of this over some good rocks and you’ll be all set.

2. Oban 14

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $69

The Whisky:

This is a great gateway to both Oban and scotch to have on hand. The juice is classically made and then matured in the Oban storehouses for 14 long years — all within a stone’s throw of the sea.

Tasting Notes:

Citrus, salt, and a billow of peat smoke open this one up in classic fashion on the nose. That citrus carries on as a foundation for mild spices on the palate as a note of honey, hints of pears, and plummy dried fruits mingle on the tongue. The oak spice and extremely mild peat smoke meet on the end with a slight malty sweetness as the sip fades.

Bottom Line:

Oban 14 is one of the subtlest peated malts out there. The beauty of his pour is layers of fruit, citrus, salt, and peat that compliment each other with none of them ever overpowering the taste. It’s great on the rocks or in your favorite Scotch cocktail.

1. Talisker 10

Talisker 10
Diageo

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $64

The Whisky:

This is one of the most awarded single malts ever. The juice is matured in ex-bourbon casks in Talisker’s warehouse which is literally feet away from the sea. The subtly peated malts take on a real seaside feel as those years tick past, creating a whisky that will not disappoint.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a distance to Talisker that draws you in on the nose — I’ve often described it as campfire smoke from a few hundred yards down a rainy beach. The sea spray mellows the smoky peat to a fine point as oyster shells dance with almost dry pears, dried apricot, and rich malt. The end doesn’t overstay its welcome and reminds you of oyster liquor and that smoldering campfire somewhere far down a rainy beach.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those whiskies that hooks people into scotch for the rest of their lives (it was that whisky for me). It’s so beautifully built and easy-drinking while offering a serious flavor profile that’s truly elevated. But it’s also fully accessible, mixable, and very sippable.

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