Laphroaig Lore Islay Single Malt
The Whiskey: Islay Single MaltThe Distillery: Laphroaig DistilleryABV: 48%Price: $115.99
Laphroaig is such a sought-after brand, we couldnt avoid adding a second product to the list. With just the same, unique ABV level, the same affordable price, and the same award-winning tasting notes, the Laphroaig Lore is yet again and top Islay single malt Scotch you need to try.
Tasting Notes: As a complex blend of small-batch whiskies, the Laphroaig Lore boasts a rich, smokey taste with hints of chocolate and spicy chilli. As far as the aromatic aspect goes, expect a peaty, bitter understanding of whats to come. Warning: Not for the amateur Scotch drinker.
Best Single Malt Scotch Whiskies Under $100
Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Lydia Martin
If you are new to drinking Scotch whisky, there are countless options, from affordable to expensive selections. But did you know that the best single malt isnt only for people with money to spare?
In this post, we will give you the best single malt Scotch under $100 that you can enjoy without breaking the bank.
Best Under $: The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
Courtesy of Reserve Bar
Region: Speyside | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Apple, Citrus, Vanilla
The Glenlivets 12-year-old expression is extremely popular, and for good reason. Its priced affordably and has a really approachable palate, according to Chris Dempsey, bartender at Xaman in Dallas. Its not too peaty, and its really the best everyday drinking whisky for a great price, he says.
The whisky was matured in a combination of American and European oak and is a good entry-level bottle for those who dont want to spend too much but are looking for something with complexity of flavor.
Region: Highlands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Almond, Baking Spice
This is a classic Highlands whisky and is an interesting look at one of the whiskies that makes up the much better-known Dewars White Label.
A major malt component of the Dewars blend comes from Aberfeldy, a distillery that has been around since the beginning of the 20th century. The 12-year-old expression is a great value single malt, usually available for somewhere between $30 and $40. For that relatively low price, the discerning drinker is rewarded with flavor-rich, syrupy notes of honey punctuated by bursts of vanilla and paired with a gentle spice undercurrent.
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Best Peated: Highland Park 12 Year Old
Courtesy of ReserveBar
Region: Islands | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Dried Fruit, Smoke, Vanilla
“Highland Park is the nectar of the gods, raves Scott Baird, owner of Zeppelin Nashville. Hailing from Scotland’s most northern distiller, it is aged for 12 years and boasts citrus and green notes.”
This is a peated single malt thats not too smoky, with nice dried fruit notes from the sherry cask maturation. There are plenty of unpeated scotches for beginners, says California bartender Tom Levron. But if you want to ease into peated scotches, Highland Park 12 has a very nice organic smoke aroma that invokes the smells of roasted bacon, mushrooms, and bonfire potatoes and makes peated scotch much more approachable than more phenolic offerings.
Best Under $: Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
Region: Islay | ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Green Apple, Brown Sugar, Grass
Bruichladdich is known for releasing some intensely smoky whisky, a signature flavor profile of the Islay region of Scotland. This includes the Port Charlotte and annual Octomore releases, which at times reaches some of the highest levels of peat in any whisky out there. But the core bottling is actually this lovely unpeated whisky.
The Classic Laddie is a non-age statement single malt that is light and full of notes of citrus, sweet malted barley, vanilla and honey. This is a good value at under $100, a great whisky to sip neat, and elevates a simple highball cocktail.
The team at Bruichladdich has been hard at work establishing themselves in the field, and this rare unpeated whisky from Islay absolutely brings some modern, forward-thinking, and transparency to the region.” Stephen Kurpinsky, U.S. brand ambassador for Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
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The Balvenie Caribbean Cask
Balvenie is an excellent name in the world of single malt scotch. The Caribbean Cask line is a special bottle, even for Balvenie.
The Caribbean Cask is primarily known for its sweet oak and vanilla-tasting notes, making this scotch a smooth experience.
The soft and lasting finish makes Balvenie the perfect scotch to sip on some ice.
Alternative: John Crabbie 12
John Crabbie 12-Year-Old Single Malt bags our first alternative position because of their excellent grassy malty finish. Let us look at its cons and pros to understand this Island scotch even better.
- Type: Scotch Whisky
- Bottler: John Crabbie
- This single malt heavily relied on citrus notes with light and subtle hints of green grass on the nose.
- The palate is exceptionally buttery sweet with green tea and grassy orange notes occurring after sipping.
- The finish of this single malt scotch whisky is very long. The finish lingers of a spicy, peppery aftertaste kudos to the distillery for making it have a great and long finish.
- John Crabbie Single Malt Whisky is aged for 12 years to develop the most subtle yet prominent grassy, citrusy flavors.
- The whiskey does not have any artificial colors added to it, ensuring a more natural whiskey with pure flavors emulsified over 12 years.
- This whisky works excellent as good alcohol for mixers.
- It has a decent 43% alcohol level that quickly hits you right after one glass.
Few avid drinkers find it hard to believe that the whisky is 12 years old. This scotch tastes a little unripe and young compared to the rest of the scotches available with the same age.
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What Makes A Good Whisky
We asked whisky expert, Greg Dillon, from greatdrams.com what to look out for:Distilled on copper pot stills and matured for a legal minimum of three years, single malt is renowned for its depth of character and breadth of flavour across brands, products and ages.Flavour profiles span from the sweet and smooth , to the big peated Islay whiskies. In-between theres the fruity, citrus-soaked Speysiders, while the Highlanders & Islands offer up more robust malts. So there really is a single malt for everyone!If youre still unsure about what whisky to go for, read our helpful whisky guide.
Old Pulteney Navigator Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Origin: Wick, U.K.Price: $50 for 750 ml.ABV: 46%: Pulteney Distillery
The Navigator celebrates Old Pulteneys historic ties to the high seas.
Located in the remote northern town of Wick, Old Pulteney was only accessible by boat when it was founded in 1826. The seaside locale tends to imbue the whiskies with a salty character, and has resulted in the whisky being dubbed the maritime malt. The Navigator doesnt disappoint, offering up a briny finish. The Scotch also boasts nuanced notes of orange, apple, honey and chocolate. Aging in a combination of sherry and bourbon casks ensures further complexity. The Navigator was released in 2013 to commemorate the distillerys participation in the prestigious Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
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The Singleton Of Glendullan 18
This Speyside whisky rests mostly in ex-bourbon casks. The final product adds in a few barrels from Europe to mellow out the heavier bourbon barrel flavor notes. That blend is then cut down to a low 80 proof for bottling.
The nose opens with hints of cedar and winter spice underneath caramel candies, roasted almonds, and a hint of stewed orchard fruits. The palate primarily carries on those flavors with a subtle hint of bourbon vanilla and spicy tobacco warmth attached to the maltiness with an echo of dark chocolate-covered hazelnuts. The finish leans into the cedar and tobacco with a slightly mineral water base.
This isnt as washed out on the finish as a lot of other 40% ABV whiskies. Thats kind of a miracle. The overall vibe is very accessible, making this a very solid and easy sipper with a rock or two.
How Is Scotch Whisky Made
With more than 130 distilleries in Scotland, variation in the production process is key to Scotch’s appeal and there’s a near-limitless pool of options for drinkers to find what suits them best. Nevertheless, malt whisky distillation is a disarmingly straightforward formula, using only barley, pure Scottish water and yeast. Single malt Scotch is usually double distilled in a pot still, the shape of which contributes to the end flavour, hence distilleries are highly protective of their stills. The legal definition of Scotch includes a requirement that it undergoes a maturation period of at least three years. Of course, many single malt Scotch whiskies are treasured entries in the pantheon, but more than 90 per cent of Scotches are blended malts, combined by the masters from a curated selection of single malts.
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How We Test The Best Whisky
To find the best whisky, the Men’s Health Lab were given 27 different drams to try. Whether youre looking for something super-smooth to enjoy at home or a full-bodied bottle to gift, these are the ones worth forking out for
Aged in first fill bourbon barrels, Balvenies master distiller selects casks with a signature vanilla sweetness for its single barrel series. Each fills no more than 300 bottles look for the cask number on your bottle. Silky soft, theres toasted nuts, sultana, a little tropical fruit and that signature caramel and vanilla, with just a faint hint of peat.
The Glenrothes Whisky Makers Cut
The bulbous bottle from The Glenrothes is all about the sherry. The expression spends an undisclosed amount of years in first-fill sherry casks. When those barrels are just right, the whisky is then batched and vatted before being proofed down only slightly.
The nose bursts forth with butterscotch. Once that fades, hints of worn leather, orange peels, and nutmeg mix underneath that butterscotch nose. The palate is nutmeg-forward with a spicy orange zest kissed with dark chocolate and vanilla. The end feels a bit like eggnog laced with orange zest and vanilla with a spicy warmth.
This is a nice example of a bold sherry cask on a Speyside whisky. Those layers of orange zest and dark chocolate run deep with a decent sweetness from top to bottom. That said, I tend to use this for on the rocks or highballs with a dash of Angostura bitters .
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Highland Park 12 Year Old Viking Honour
Highland Park is the scotch for you if youre looking for a single malt scotch with earthy, warm notes that speak of some of the most traditional scotch.
Youll love the hints of orange, fruit, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the Highland Park 12. The flavor is so profound, and the aroma is exceptionally pleasant and unique.
What Is The Best Whisky In The Uk
In a place where whisky is so famous that its protected by law, Scotland is the biggest and best producer of whisky in the world, so undoubtedly our best whisky is going to come from Speyside, Scotland. The Macallan holds the best reputation for high standard malt whisky, which is why it is one of the most sought after whisky labels around. But as youd expect with such a reputation and its popularity, they do not come cheap. That is why at Hard to Find Whisky we pride ourselves on providing whisky lovers with the most competitive prices for both vintage and new whisky.
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The Best Single Malt Scotch Whiskies According To New York International Spirits Competition
Some of the Single Malt Whisky Medalists at the 2021 New York International Spirits Competition.
Each spring, the New York International Spirits Competition conducts an annual judging of spirits. The competition is unusual in that it is one of the few competitions that relies entirely on judges drawn exclusively from the beverage trade.
The NYISC is one of 10 different competitions that include, among others, the New York International Wine Competition, the Berlin International Spirits Competition and the Melbourne International Beer Competition.
The competition, as the name suggests, has a strong New York focus. Many of the spirits judged are already being distributed on the East Coast, although according to Levy, the competition has increasingly been used by beverage companies to evaluate the pricing, packaging and positioning of spirit expressions they are planning to introduce into the US market.
This year, there still was a total of 1,400 entrants judged.
The NYISC gives out awards for Distillery of the Year by Scotch producing region. It also gives out awards for best single malts across several age categories and awards medals to the top entrants. The highest medal given out is the Double Gold. This year there were four Scotch whiskies that won Double Gold: Ardbeg Uigeadail, Glenmorangie Signet, Oban 14 YO and Talisker 10 YO.
Ardbeg Uigeadail, NAS, 54% ABV, 750 ml, $79
The official tasting notes of the judging panel described the whisky as a,
Highland Park 15 Year
Region: Islay & Islands | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Peat, Citrus, Flowers
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Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
Glenfiddich 12 is one of the most popular entry-level single malt whiskies in the world. While it may lack the nuanced depth that some of the older Glenfiddich bottlings are known for, its not meant to be overly contemplative. Glenfiddich 12 Year is all about approachability, and that means its enjoyable to sip on its own, but it can also shine in a cocktail.
I love mixing with Glenfiddich 12 Year because it has the right body for stirred drinks, says Star, ideal for a cocktail like the Bobby Burns. Aged for a minimum of 12 years in both American and European oak, Glenfiddich 12 Year expresses notes of pear, caramel apple, malt, citrus and white flowers, with a subtly oily mouthfeel that adds a nice weight to the whisky. As far as single malts for mixing go, there are few brands that top this industry stalwart.
What Is Single Malt Whisky
There are some key requirements for a whiskey to be called a single malt, depending on where its produced. Scotland is the best known for its single malts, and here they must be made from 100 percent malted barley at one distillery and aged for a minimum of three years in barrels. Other countries follow suit for the most part, with the main difference being where they are distilled and agedIrish single malt must be made in Ireland, for example. In America, the category is getting close to being legally defined by the TTB, and will likely have similar rules as far as production and mashbill.
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Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley Taste 2
Bruichladdichs philosophy on whisky making is pretty unique. Each batch highlights local, unpeated Scottish barley thats fermented and distilled. That juice then goes into some combination of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and ex-wine casks for a varied amount of time. That means each batch is unique. Bruichladdich then provides a code on their bottles so that you can go to their website and find out what makes the bottle in your hand special.
This is a really nice, classic single malt. It feels like an easy on-the-rocks sipper that also would help make any Scotch cocktail pop.
Talisker 10 Year Old: Smoke Sea Air And Garden Fruit
Tilisker is an Island single malt Scotch whisky distillery situated in Carbost on the Isle of Skye. Originally founded in 1830 and built the following year, the distillery had to be rebuilt in 1960 after being destroyed by fire.
The nose for me is fresh and fragrant with plenty of sea air and garden fruit. The palate forms a very delicate balance between peaty smokiness and fruits. I also tasted pepper breaking through intermittently, then a long bonfire finish with toasted malt.
Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old. This classic single malt Scotch whisky is great for converting non-whisky drinkers in my experience, thanks in part to its long, sweet and spicy finish.
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Best Overall: Aberfeldy 12 Year Old
Courtesy of ReserveBar
Region: Highland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Honey, Vanilla, Pineapple
Aberfeldy 12 is an incredible starter scotch because it’s not too overpowering, says Austin bartender Aaron Kolitz. It introduces people to what a single malt tastes like versus an American or Irish whiskey, and has such a lovely dark honey sweetness that rounds out all the other secondary flavors.
Gabriel Urrutia of Miami also recommends this single malt for novices. I call it the people’s whisky because it is complex enough for a scotch connoisseur but approachable enough for a newbie, he says. The unique fermentation, along with the distillation and maturation process leads it to have honey notes which give beginners something to lean on without breaking the bank. I love this scotch in the summer or winter. And it’s also great in cocktails.