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These are bartenders’ favorite value single malt Scotch whiskies (all under $100)

Bartenders tell us the best value single malt scotch whiskies

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If you don’t know much about single malt Scotch whisky (only the US and Ireland use the ‘e’ in whiskey), you might have some preconceived notions about its price. Like with any whisk(e)y, there are many uncomfortably expensive bottles of single malt whisky. There are also countless flavorful, reasonably-priced bottles. That’s what we’re most interested in today.

When we talk about value, we specifically talk about complex, rich, sippable single malt whiskies priced under $100. And these under $100 (and often much less) gems aren’t from lesser-known brands. They’re award-winning expressions from some of the most respected distilleries in Scotland.

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Why single malt Scotch?

What are you waiting for if you’re a whiskey drinker and you’ve never branched out into single-malt Scotch whisky? When it comes to Scotch whisky, there is something for every palate and price range. There’s something for everyone, from expressions featuring notes of honey, heather, vanilla, and candied orange peels to whiskies centered on robust, peaty smoke.

Alcohol bottles
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Bartender’s favorite value single malt Scotch whiskies

To find the best examples, we went to the professionals for help. We asked a handful of notable bartenders to tell us the best value single malt Scotch whiskies to drink right now. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Ledaig 10

Ledaig 10

“Ledaig 10 single malt scotch is one of the most balanced peated single malts. It has notes of sweet malt and balanced smoke at 35 ppm. A great bourbon drinker’s entry-level peated single malt Scotch whisky.” – Eron Plevan, USBG Bartender at Tartan House in Louisville

Talisker Storm

Talisker Storm

“My go-to single malt is Talisker Storm. It’s very smooth, hits all the peaty, briny notes that you’re looking for in a top-shelf single malt, but clocks in at under $40 a bottle.” – Mike Liay, Beverage Director of Jester Concepts in Minneapolis

The Macallan 12 Year Sherry Oak
The Macallan

The Macallan 12 Year Sherry Oak

“The Macallan 12-Year Sherry Oak Cask is probably the most popular single malt scotch in the world. It is beautifully balanced, with slight floral sweetness and shallow peat, making it approachable to most. Bold enough to sip and gentle enough to mix. Great price point.” – Brandon Spann, Head Bartender at Kimpton Gray in Chicago

The Balvenie 12-Year DoubleWood
The Balvenie

The Balvenie 12-Year DoubleWood

“I would suggest The Balvenie 12-Year DoubleWood. It has a smooth, mellow taste that pairs very well with dried fruit. I’m a big charcuterie girl, so I love a spirit to finish off the sweetness from the variations of the cheese Board; the cinnamons and nutty flavors make it stand out.” – Daniela Umunnakwe, USBG Bartender in Dallas

Glenfiddich 15

Glenfiddich 15

“Glenfiddich 15 is a great price for amazing flavor. It is golden with a red hue and silky smooth with layers of sherry oak, marzipan, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s full-bodied with an intriguingly complex aroma on the nose with sweet heather, honey, and vanilla fudge combined with rich dark fruits providing a rich lingering sweetness.” – Eric Smith, Assistant Director of R & B at The Kimpton Shane in Atlanta

Glenfarclas 12

Glenfarclas 12 Year

“I’m going with a slightly less mainstream answer here and choosing Glenfarclas 12 Year—one of my go-to wintertime drams. I am a huge fan of the use of sherry for complexity, and this scotch delivers just that: Sherry, dried fruits, molasses, and a little spice. For roughly $55, this is an everyday sipper,” said Tony Edgerton, beverage director for Breva in Minneapolis.

Highland Park 12
Highland Park

Highland Park 12

“I would say Highland Park 12 for its approachable qualities, making it an ideal product for regular scotch drinkers or first-timers. It offers honey and citrus notes and is well-balanced between sweet and spice with a light peat smoke. Again, pricing is attainable, and it’s perfect for a cocktail or simple sipping on its own.” – Victoria Foster, Bartender at Refinery 714 in Fort Worth, Texas

Oban 14

Oban 14

“This one is not particularly cheap, but compared to the super duper premium aged things on the market, I believe it over-delivers on its $80 price. I speak of Oban 14 Year. The unique terroir of Oban (it is a “West Highlands” Scotch, as opposed to the way more common Speyside or Islay options out there) gives it an incredible balance of the flavors we love in Scotch: It is smokey but not nearly as peated as most Islays. It is malty and has a bit of a toffee flavor, but it is not cloying at all.” – Jim Lunchick, Mixologist at Merriman’s Waimea in Waimea, Hawaii

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Picking the proper single malt whisky for you

You can take a gander at the above expressions and likely find something that suits your palate. You can definitely walk into a liquor store or peruse an online retailer and select the first bottle under $100. Not only might it not be the quality you desire, but it might also not have the flavor profile you prefer. Do a little more research before throwing down your hard-earned money. If you like a sweeter whisky, look for something sherry-matured. Is smoke your jam? Try something from Islay.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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