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The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $70-$80

While our bourbon-by-price project is deeeeeep into the good stuff at this same price point, Scotch whisky is notably different. Because of importing, tariffs, and increased costs across the supply chain, the bottles we’re looking at today put us right in the middle of really high-end blends, special finishes, and the classic (but still fairly young) single malt whiskies. It’s a good place to be if you like the juice from Scotland, but not near the heights that we’re headed.

For this list, we’re only looking at price point and taste. These are bottles that generally fall between $70 and $80. Of course, those prices will vary (sometimes drastically) depending on both where you are in the country and what establishment you buy your booze from (if you’re not in the US, all bets are off).

While they aren’t all straight sippers yet, we vouch for all of these expressions for anyone who wants to spend less than a C-note but still wants something a little more exciting and complicated than a typical blend. Click on the prices if the bottle feels like the one for you. Let’s get to it!

Compass Box The Spice Tree

Compass Box

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $70

The Whisky:

London’s Compass Box is one of the most interesting (and lauded) blenders in the game. Their Spice Tree is a masterful marrying of six parcels of whisky mostly from the Highlands with a focus on French wine cask finishings. There’s also some Highland Clynelish aged in ex-bourbon in there too, which adds a unique dimension to this particular mix.

Tasting Notes:

This honestly edges more towards a rye-heavy bourbon than your classic Scotch blend on the nose, with Christmas spices, light orchard fruit, and vanilla popping off. The taste is a velvet mouthful of slightly malty whisky that leans towards those holiday spices with clear notes of caramel apple candies and a touch more vanilla. The end sharpens the spice to cloves and cinnamon as the roundness of the vanilla and malts fade pretty quickly.

Bottom Line:

If you’re into bourbon and curious about blended scotch, this is the perfect bottle to take that leap. It’s truly an accessible whisky all-around and kind of feels like going home again. You don’t even really need a rock or water to mellow it out but a little water will help it bloom.

Glenfiddich 15 Old Solera Reserve

Willam Grant & Sons

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $74

The Whisky:

This Speyside whisky is a special bottle. The juice is aged in three barrels — ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and new virgin American oak — for 15 long years. Those whiskies are then vatted into a massive tun (tank) made of Oregon pine. The other ripple is that the tun is never more than 50 percent empty, creating a sort of lineage going back to 1998 to the new juice going in with each new batch.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of sunny wildflowers next to smooth and rich honey with hints at nougat and dried red berries on the nose. The taste holds onto some of that, with hints of marzipan, rose water, plummy sherry, and a light dusting of cinnamon. The finish is mild and silken and really touches on honey-soaked berries and an almost jammy chewiness.

Bottom Line:

This bottle is crazy crushable. If you wanted to give someone an example of what “smooth” means in whisky, this is the bottle. It also makes for a great gift bottle, given the unique nature of the finishing.

The Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask

Willam Grant & Sons

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $75

The Whisky:

The Balvenie is renowned for doing everything in-house from grain-to-glass and for being the distillery that spearheaded the whole “finishing whisky in a different cask” movement. In this case, the juice spends 14 years maturing in ex-bourbon barrels. The whisky is then batched and transferred to barrels that The Balvenie aged their own blend of West Indies rum in.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a welcoming rush of buttery toffee up top with hints at brown spices, bright red berries, and a touch of sweet malts. The palate brings around creamy vanilla dotted with those sweet and slightly tart red berries next to a very soft and sweet oakiness. The finish is medium-length, full of soft wood and vanilla cream, and a touch of that spice.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those drams that may have you saying, “Oh, shit! That’s good!” We like to drink this one neat because it’s so easy, then try it with a little water to find more depth and nuance.

Dewar’s 18

Bacardi

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $76

The Whisky:

The heart of Dewar’s is Aberfeldy whisky. This blend is a testament to Master Blender Stephanie MacLeod’s prowess in bringing good whisky together to make great whisky. The juices are aged for 18 long years in American oak before they’re vatted into a large oak tun and allowed to rest before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s that signature Aberfeldy honey on the nose with hints of almonds, stone fruits, and red berries. The palate dials all of this in with a marzipan vibe next to more honey, bruised apricot skins, and dark chocolate-covered red berries. The end is soft, silky, and brings a final bite of sweet oak with a slight tobacco chew.

Bottom Line:

While this rules as a sipper on the rocks, it really shines as a killer cocktail base. And if we learned anything from our highball experiments, it will also make for a hell of a highball.

The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut

The Edrington Group

ABV: 48.8%

Average Price: $77

The Whisky:

The bulbous offering from The Glenrothes is all about the sherry. The expression spends an undisclosed amount of years in first-fill sherry casks (first-fill as in this whisky was the first thing to go into the barrels after the sherry came out of them). The whisky is then batched and vatted before being proofed down only slightly.

Tasting Notes:

You’re met with candied orange peel spiked with hints of eggnog spices and a touch of gooey pine resin. The taste holds on tightly to that candied orange, while adding in a velvety vanilla cream generously dusted with those eggnog spices and a softer touch of almost sweet wood. The finish zeroes in on the orange and nutmeg as the vanilla and oak fade away on the slow end.

Bottom Line:

This is a great brunch whisky, especially if you’re pairing it with French toast. It’s also just a super easy-sipping dram to have around. And we’d argue that the cool bottle makes it a solid gift too.

Caol Ila 12

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $77

The Whisky:

This dram from Islay is a stonecold classic and at the heart of many a great blend from Johnnie Walker to Compass Box. The juice harnesses Islay’s signature peated malts and ocean-adjacent barrel warehouses to create a 12-year-old single malt whisky that stands as one of the greats while remaining accessible to the peat curious.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a matrix of dried roses soaked in water touched by orange oils, almonds, and a trace of classic Listerine buzziness. The sip has a savoriness that feels like olive oil speckled with coarse sea salt next to a distant billow of briny smoke, all counterpointed by sweet malts and fruits. The finish sweetens the smokiness with a fruity-yet-spicy tobacco edge while the end fades towards an almost sour hint of citrus.

Bottom Line:

This is a definite, “Holy Shit!” whisky. It’s peated and smoky, sure. But that smoke is so subtle and refined in the build of this dram that it’ll draw you in more than push you away. Add some water or a rock to really let this one bloom in the ol’ Glencairn.

Tamdhu 12

Ian MacLeod Distillers

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $78

The Whisky:

Speyside’s Tamdhu upped their game a few years back by replacing their 10-year expression with this masterful whisky. The juice is aged for 12 years in a combination of American and European oak that held sherry first. They use both first-fill and re-filled barrels in the aging process before vatting the results, proofing with Speyside’s rich water, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bit of a Christmas cake vibe with candied orange, plenty of dark spice (especially cinnamon sticks), a maltiness that feels bread-y, a touch of sweet oak, and maybe a hint of peppermint candy. The taste veers more into the ripe and red berries with that cinnamon still in play but the breadiness is more like a buttery sugar cake with sherry/plummy depth. The end offers an interesting fade — with everything dialed in, creating shortbread and raspberry jam that’s just touched by the faintest wisp of fruity smoke.

Bottom Line:

This is really f*cking tasty for a 12-year-old. It’s silken enough to drink neat, but if you really want to dive deep into those flavors, you’ll need to nose and water this dram and take your time exploring its depths.

Oban Little Bay

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $78

The Whisky:

This expression from the tiny-yet-legendary Oban distillery is a highwater mark in whisky-making. The single malt is a blend of whisky matured in American and European oak barrels touched by sherry. The juice is then batched and instead of being of vatted in a big tun, it’s re-barreled in small-format barrels for a final maturation before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with a spicy, fruity, and nutty Christmas cake next to bright pops of red berries, pear, and apricot. The candied orange from the Christmas cake rises to the surface on the taste, next to ripe pears and the feel and taste of salted dark chocolate just touched by mint. The finish is slow and so mild — with that salted chocolate vibe carrying on towards a final touch of that Christmas cake in all its glory.

Bottom Line:

We’re pretty big fans of Oban around these parts and this dram is a great example of why. It’s smooth with a capital “S” and only gets better and more unique as you take your time nosing and tasting over and over again (just don’t forget the drops of water).

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $79.99

The Whisky:

This no-age-statement blend leans into that signature Walker marriage of Highland and Speyside whiskies with a small dose of Western Scottish juice for good measure. The lion’s share of the whisky involved in this bottle is Clynelish, a Highland whisky that adds a dash of peat to the mix.

Tasting Notes:

Honey and oak greet you with a distant fruity nature and a little warmth. The fruit kicks up on the palate and becomes slightly tropical as a counterpoint of rich vanilla creaminess arrives. The end is subtle and long with the fruit and honey standing tall against a very distant echo of earthy peat.

Bottom Line:

This is a masterfully blended scotch. There’s an openness to Johnnie Walker when you get into its higher echelons and this bottle really does go down easy. While it shines on the rocks for sure, it really can be sipped neat — maybe after a big meal, next to a roaring fire.

Highland Park Valknut

The Edrington Group

ABV: 46.8%

Average Price: $79.99

The Whisky:

High up on the Orkney Islands, Highland Park is making whisky for the Vikings. Valknut (a knot of three triangles honoring those who fell in battle) uses locally grown “Tartan barley” that’s malted with a bit of peat. That whisky spends an undisclosed amount of time aging in American oak that held sherry. The juice is vatted, proofed with Orkney’s soft water, and bottled in a bespoke Viking-inspired bottle.

Tasting Notes:

Imagine vanilla pods warming up in a pan and just starting to release their oils and smoke next to a hint of black pepper and cedar. The palate holds onto that vanilla while adding a touch of black licorice and clove next to more cedar and maybe … fennel crusted rye bread. The finish holds onto the spice with a chewy tobacco vibe next to an almost fatty smoke from a backyard salmon smoker and a touch of orange oils.

Bottom Line:

This is a truly interesting dram that bridges malted smokiness with what could be a ten-year-or-older Texas bourbon vibe. It’s really unique while also being very tasty and subtle. You’ll definitely want to add a little water or a rock to really dig into the depths on this one, though — rather than sipping neat.


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