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The ‘Best Value’ Single Malt Scotch Whiskies Under $45

If you’re a fan of bourbon, there’s a pretty good chance you can find a bargain bottle at your local grocery store. We’re talking well-made, smooth-drinking whiskeys priced under $40. In fact, you can even find decent bottles for half that price. This isn’t the case with Scotch whisky. In general, to get a decent bottle of single malt whisky from Scotland, you have to shell out much more than that.

But don’t fear that there aren’t any values to be found in the world of Scotch. Not only are there high-value single malt Scotches on the market but many are also from some of the most well-known, highly-award distilleries. In our continued quest to get you the best whiskey on the market, we’ve listed eight of our favorite “value” single malts along with what price we’d gladly pay for them.

Because sipping good whisky is a joy. Feeling like you got a value only accentuates the buzz.

Aberfeldy 12

Aberfeldy

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $39.99
Would Gladly Pay: $50

The Story:

Dewar’s is more known for its blended Scotches. But in recent years, the brand has been releasing some of the single malts that previously were only used to make up their blends. Referred to by many as the “heart” of Dewar’s blends, Aberfeldy is an underrated Highland single malt. Aged for 12 years, this expression is rich, mellow, and a great gateway into the world of whisky.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be greeted with aromas of dried fruits, freshly brewed coffee, vanilla beans, and honey. The palate is swirling with notes of buttery caramel, brown sugar, sticky toffee, candied orange peels, and just a tiny hint of peat smoke at the very end. The finish is a nice mix of sweet and spice.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a Dewar’s drinker and you’ve never tried Aberfeldy, now is the time. Start with this 12-year-old and work your way up.

Tomatin 12

Tomatin

ABV: 43%
Average Price: $35
Would Gladly Pay: $55

The Story:

This award-winning whisky is a ridiculous value at under $40. This 12-year-old, sublimely smooth Scotch whisky is aged in a combination of white oak, ex-bourbon, and even Spanish sherry butts. The result is an expertly nuanced, flavorful whisky that requires multiple tastings.

Tasting Notes:

Give this whisky a proper nosing and your nostrils will be filled with almond butter, caramel, sweet honey, and orange peels. Sipping this whisky reveals flavors of toasted vanilla beans, charred oak, sherry sweetness, and just a hint of fresh, herbal flavor. It all ends with a mellow kick of dried fruits and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

Sherried Scotch whiskies are all the rage. But many are much pricier than Tomatin 12. Use this bargain bottle as a gateway into the world of sherry-aged (and rested) expressions.

The Glenlivet 12

The Glenlivet

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $39.99
Would Gladly Pay: $60

The Story:

Even if you’re new to Scotch, you’ve heard of Glenlivet. That’s because, when it comes to whisky, there are few names bigger. That might make you assume that it’s more expensive. But the brand’s 12-year-old expression that was aged in a combination of European and American oak barrels is surprisingly budget-friendly.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to breathe in the aromas of dried cherries, candied orange peels, vanilla beans, and buttercream frosting before taking a sip. On the palate, you’ll be treated to hints of buttery caramel, almond cookies, subtle fruity flavors, and sweet vanilla. The finish is long, warming, and subtly spicy.

Bottom Line:

If you’ve ever wanted to try Glenlivet, but you’ve assumed it’s too expensive, this is the bottle for you. It’s mellow and perfect for slow sipping without breaking the bank.

Jura 10

Jura

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $39.99
Would Gladly Pay: $55

The Story:

Launched along with a new core range of whiskies back in 2018 (to take the place of Jura Origin), this 10-year-old whisky from the Isle of Jura was made with both peated and unpeated barley. It first aged in American ex-bourbon barrels before finishing in Oloroso sherry butts. The result is a highly complex, rich whisky, way better than its listed price would dictate.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find scents of clover honey, toasted vanilla beans, subtle sherry, and robust campfire smoke. On the palate, you’ll notice hints of raisin, dried orange peels, vanilla cream, and a nice smoky backbone. The finish is a nice combination of sherry sweetness and rich wood smoke.

Bottom Line:

Not only is this a great gateway bottle in terms of price, but it’s also a perfect gateway into the world of smoky Scotch. You definitely want to sip Jura 10 before making your way to nearby Islay and its smoky, peaty offerings.

Glenmorangie The Original

Glenmorangie

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $35
Would Gladly Pay: $45

The Story:

If you ask any whisky expert to tell you the best beginner/budget Scotch whiskies, chances are they’ll mention Glenmorangie’s 10-year-old expression. It’s aged in both first and second-fill American white oak barrels. The result is a buttery, caramel, and vanilla-filled, easy to drink expression that will find a permanent home on your bar cart.

Tasting Notes:

Before sipping, take a few moments to nose this expression. If you do, your nostrils will be filled with aromas of dried fruits, mellow caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and subtle cooking spices. The palate is heavy with flavors of toasted vanilla beans, charred wood, candied orange peel, sticky toffee pudding. The long, warming, sweet, fruity finish is emblematic of this line’s trademark silky-sweetness.

Bottom Line:

Glenmorangie makes a lot of note-worthy expressions. To get to the likes of Signet and Nectar d’Or, you have to start with the basics first.

Glenfiddich 12

Glenfiddich

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $38
Would Gladly Pay: $50

The Story:

When it comes to value Scotch bottles, it’s not easy to beat Glenfiddich 12. This renowned Speyside single malt spent 12 years in a combination of American and European Oak barrels. The result is a perfectly aged, mellow, sipping whisky that has earned countless awards over the years.

Tasting Notes:

This whisky deserves a nosing before sipping. Take time to immerse yourself in the scents of wildflowers, clover honey, citrus zest, and vanilla on the nose. Sipping reveals buttery caramel, sweet treacle, vanilla beans, candied orange peels, and a subtly, oaky, fruity finish.

Bottom Line:

Glenfiddich is another distillery with countless expressions just waiting to be discovered. But like with many of the others, you’ll want to feel it out and see if it’s the whisky for you.

Luckily, this 12-year-old expression can be purchased for under $40. So if you don’t like it… you’re probably fine.

Old Pulteney 12

Old Pulteney

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $44
Would Gladly Pay: $65

The Story:

First released in 2018, this expression from Old Pulteney gets most of its flavor from an American source. It’s matured for 12 whole years in ex-bourbon casks. The result is unique whisky that bridges the gap between the US and Scotland.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of charred oak, caramel, sweet honey, and citrus zest. On the palate, you’ll be greeted with notes of salted caramel, almond butter, candied orange peels, and toasted vanilla beans. The finish is a nice combination of sea salt and vanilla — sounds like hipster ice cream, right?

Bottom Line:

For the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more unique, complex single malt. The aging of this coastally located whisky in bourbon barrels give this a nice briny-meets-sweet flavor profile.

Loch Lomond 12

Loch Lomond

ABV: 46%
Average Price: $35
Would Gladly Pay: $50

The Story:

Loch Lomond 12 is a really complicated whisky and that’s not such a bad thing. This expression was matured for 12 years in a combination of ex-bourbon, refill, and re-charred white oak barrels. The result is a fruit-filled, vanilla-centric, subtly smoky whisky that you won’t soon forget.

Tasting Notes:

Breathe in the aromas before your first sip. You find scents of vanilla beans, charred oak, caramel apples, and subtle smoke before taking a sip. Take a sip and you’ll be treated to flavors of rich raisins, caramelized sugar, and subtle spices, and a nice fruity, vanilla finish.

Bottom Line:

The use of three different types of barrels in the aging process gives this whisky pronounced flavors worthy of a much higher price point. Just don’t tell the folks at Loch Lomond.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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