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The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $80-$90

It’s kind of amazing how much bourbon whiskey and Scotch whisky start to vary at these higher price points. Whereas bourbon is zeroed in on one-off barrel picks, one-off limited editions, and proprietary blends at this point, scotch is only just now getting into limited editions with unique finishings and slightly older agings. Quality-wise, we’re starting to hit a long road of nothing but greats — depending, of course, on whether you like the sweeter or the smokier side of Scotland’s signature tipple.

The ten bottles featured below are generally found in the $80 to $90 price range here in the United States. As always, these prices are going to vary. It really just depends on where you’re standing when you buy the bottle. Plus, prices are about to go into flux again with the canceling of trade tariffs which increased prices across the U.S. for the juice coming in from Scotland.

With everything priced close to the same, it opens the door for us to focus solely on the taste of each of these expressions. There’s no other metric or ranking. We’re simply talking about the best-tasting whisky at this dollar amount and giving you the bottom line for why it made the cut. Click the prices to order the expressions that look best to you!

Auchentoshan Three Wood

Morrison Bowmore Distillers

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $80

The Whisky:

Auchentoshan is a great example of a Lowland malt that harkens back to the old days of varied oak aging. In this case, the triple-distilled whisky is aged in ex-bourbon oak for around 12 years and then is finished in ex-Olorosso and ex- Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a fruitiness on the nose that speaks to blue and blackberries with slight tartness next to orange oils and a hint of prune. The taste has a toffee-covered-in-almond vibe, next to more of that dark fruit with an almost “maple syrup spiked with woody cinnamon sticks” note (hello, bourbon barrel). The end is surprisingly light, a little woody, and full of plenty of fruit as it slowly fades out.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice change-up to the usual sweet scotches from further north. It’s got a touch of bourbon deep in the body of the drink (that maple) but still feels like a bright and very drinkable single malt.

Chivas Regal 18

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $83

The Whisky:

Chivas 18 is the brand’s signature high-end blend. The juice is built around a specially made Strathisla 18 single malt. That juice is supported by 20 other single malts from around Scotland with various casking processes.

Tasting Notes:

Imagine a bar of bespoke dark chocolate from a really fancy-schmancy shop that’s been bespeckled with dried berries — blackberry, blueberry, raspberry — on the nose, plus a rich and very buttery toffee that draws you in closer. The palate holds onto that chocolate bar while adding in dry rose pedals with a slight singe, creating a whisper of sweet and fragrant smoke. The end builds on that floral and bitter chocolate note as it very slowly fades away while warming your soul.

Bottom Line:

This is a classic “on the rocks” scotch, full stop. That being said, don’t sleep on mixing this into some killer scotch-based cocktails.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Beam Suntory

ABV: 48%

Average Price: $83

The Whisky:

Born a stone’s throw from the sea on Islay, Laphroaig is the peat-lover’s whisky. This expression is a very unique dram in that it’s aged for five to eleven years in an old bourbon barrel and then transferred to one-quarter-sized casks, also made of used American oak. The small format oak allows the whisky to interact with the wood in a more concentrated manner, speeding up the whole process.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a rush of red charcoal burning in a firepit and spitting earthy smoke into the air with a hint of toasted coconut and butter fried bananas cutting through the pall. That banana sweetness and butteriness manage to hold on as hints of fresh Band-Aids sit next to the billows of smoke and ashy embers dominating the palate, along with hints of brown spices popping in from time to time. The end is extremely slow and will build and fall with notes of the banana, spice, smoky ash, and earthy peat.

Bottom Line:

Speaking personally, this is not my thing. But I can still absolutely appreciate the craft and understand how it could totally be someone’s beloved dram. If you’re looking for a peat-monster, it’s our pick at this price point.

Ardbeg Uigeadail

Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 54.2%

Average Price: $84

The Whisky:

Oog-a-dal!” This dram, also from Islay, is a blend of old and young single malts aged in ex-sherry casks with ones aged in ex-bourbon casks. The final product is a single malt that’s deeply flavored yet still approachable.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a definite peat smoke on the nose but it’s kissed with sea brine and counterpointed by notes of holiday cake stuffed with candied orange, fatty nuts, dried fruit, and plenty of dark spice. Those spices marry to the smoke as the palate sweetens with toffee and becomes almost like silk with a rich choco-tobacco chew arriving late, bringing a buzz to the tongue. The end really embraces that chew as notes of toffee, dried fruit, and spice lurk behind the billows of briny smoke.

Bottom Line:

Peat aficionados who need more balance than a pure peat bomb can offer will appreciate the touch of sea brine alongside the smoke. Still, this is a bold smoky whisky that’s simply not for everyone.

Cragganmore Distiller’s Edition

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $85

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:

Fennel leads to some dried fruits and fresh apples on the nose. The taste, on the other hand, leans into sweet oak, figs, pear candies, and a softness that’s almost hard to believe. The end is full of sweet fruits and has just the right touches of oak, vanilla, and savory greens as it fades at a good clip.

Bottom Line:

This is a personal favorite single malt at the moment. It’s also a great candidate for drinking neat. It really doesn’t need any cooling down as it’s already perfectly well-rounded and pure silk. Still, get a few drops of water in there to really let it bloom and take your time enjoying it.

Aberlour 16

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $85

The Whisky:

This small Speyside distillery has been producing quality whisky for over 200 years. This expression is aged 16 years in both ex-bourbon and ex-Olorosso sherry casks. It’s then married and proofed with soft Speyside water from the Highlands and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a matrix of dried dark fruits next to powdery dark spices with hints of walnuts and dried florals that draw you in on the nose. The taste delivers on those notes while adding a deep plummy jam cut with clove and slightly sweet wood. The end really holds onto that jammy fruit and spice as it slowly fades across your senses, leaving a velvet texture in your mouth.

Bottom Line:

Aberlour 16 is always one of those, “Oh, shit!” drams because it’s so refined, deeply flavored, and easy-drinking. While water does help it bloom, this is a super easy whisky to drink neat.

Johnnie Walker 18

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $86

The Whisky:

This blend used to be called Johnnie Walker Platinum, which was aged for 18 years. You might still see some of those bottles on shelves where scotch sells slowly. This is the same juice, which is comprised of 18 whiskies all of which are a minimum of 18 years old. The primary distilleries in the bottle are Blair Athol, Cardhu, Glen Elgin, and Auchroisk.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a rich and buttery toffee that’s counterpointed by a bowl of ripe and sweet fruit that really draws you in. The caramel malts mix with marzipan, creamy vanilla pudding, and a nice rush of juicy winter tangerines that have just been peeled. Adding a little water, those orange oils marry to a deep, dark chocolate nature, which leads towards a velvety and ever-so-lightly smoky close.

Bottom Line:

This expression just beat out Johnnie Blue in our ranking of the brand. It’s one of the tastiest blended scotches there is. It’s also pretty cheap for what it is, making it great whisky to sip neat, on the rocks, or even try in a highball.

Jura Seven Wood

Whyte & Mackay

ABV: 42%

Average Price: $86

The Whisky:

This whisky from the Isle of Jura is a one-of-a-kind that highlights both expert barrel work and blending. The juice is aged in ex-bourbon for an undisclosed amount of years. The whisky is then re-casked in seven barrels: first-fill ex-bourbon from the U.S. and Vosges, Bertranges, Jupilles, Allier, Tronçais, and Limousin barrels from France.

The ripple here is that all of those French barrels were new (never held wine) when the whisky went in.

Tasting Notes:

This is shockingly un-woody. Instead, you get a burnt coffee note next to a dark chocolate bar cut with candied ginger and, maybe, a hint of strawberry. Black licorice arrives with a note of burnt orange peels and grilled peaches with a drop of honey next to a wisp of beach campfire smoke. The end lingers for just the right amount of time as the distant smoke fades, leaving a hint of sea spray, cacao, and burnt fruit.

Bottom Line:

There’s a softness to this dram that makes it very approachable. The minor note of smoke is more a briny accent than a dry billow to the senses, which is easy to dig. You’ll definitely need to take your time though and add a bit of water, nose multiple times, and really let it settle on your senses to get the deeper notes.

Buchanan’s 18 Year Special Reserve

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $88

The Whisky:

This is an interesting blend that made its way to the U.S. via South American migration. The Scotch blend is a mix of Diageo single malt and single grains that are all at least 18-years-old. Those whiskies are aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks before their married into this well-crafted expression.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of malt next to hints of orange zest, honey, and bright cherry. The palate really delivers on the cherry as the orange zest becomes candied and a nutty edge arrives, ushering in a subtle and almost sweet smoke. The smoke dries a bit as a note of pine arrives late, supported by the orange, cherry, and honey with a touch of warm spice.

Bottom Line:

This is another classic “on the rocks” whisky that also works really well as a cocktail mixer, especially if you’re looking for a very mild smoky vibe.

Talisker Distiller’s Edition

Diageo

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $89

The Whisky:

This Distiller’s Edition from the seaside Talisker Distillery is all about that sea and the finishing barrel. The whisky spends a final maturation in Amoroso sherry casks, which is more of a dry sherry than a classic sweet one, giving the final product a unique depth.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a dried fruit edge that leads towards a bit of sea spray with hints of Christmas cake spices, vanilla, and toffee. The taste has a vibe that’s kind of like the wax paper wrapping of saltwater taffy or salted caramels with bright berry notes, a bit more of that spice, and the distant wisp of campfire smoke from way down the beach. The end has this choco-peppery buzz with vanilla roundness and another whisper of that briny campfire smoke.

Bottom Line:

This has the perfect balance of very distant and briny smoke with beautifully rendered vanilla, spices, and fruit. It’s so subtle and almost unbelievably soft, making this a fantastic sipper any time.


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