Food & Drink

The best Scotch for every tax bracket

scotch and tax form
Lee Breslouer

Americans can all agree on three things today: paying your taxes is painful, getting a refund is great, and having a tax shelter in the Cayman Islands where you're protected from the IRS and can hang out with Tom Cruise from The Firm is the best. OK, maybe only millionaires can agree on that third thing. Either way, today, we're acknowledging the fact that, when you make a celebratory purchase with your refund, there's not a one-size-fits-all bottle of Scotch that everyone can reasonably afford.

To help you choose the best bottle of Scotch for your tax bracket, we've enlisted the help of Bill Thomas, whiskey expert and co-owner of one of the best damn bars in the country, Jack Rose Dining Saloon.

Your tax bracket: 10% (if you earn less than $9,075)
Your Scotch: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond (BIB)
Approximate bottle price: $15
Why you should buy it: "Switch to bourbon. Unfortunately, at this price point, it's hard to find a good Scotch. Grab a bottle of Old Fitzgerald's instead, and drink up."

Your tax bracket: 15% (if you earn between $9,075-$36,900)
Your Scotch: Auchentoshan Classic
Approximate bottle price: $30
Why you should buy it: "This triple-distilled Lowland whiskey is extremely approachable. It's a younger malt. It has a nose of sweet oak and vanilla, and a fruity palate."

Your tax bracket: 25% (if you earn between $36,900-$89,350)
Your Scotch: Talisker 10 Year
Approximate bottle price: $50
Why you should buy it: "Hailing from the Isle of Skye, it's on almost everyone's 'favorite' list. This whiskey is beautifully complex with seaweed, fruit, and smokiness on the nose, and it has enough peat on the palate to satisfy an Islay drinker."

Your tax bracket: 28% (if you earn between $89,350-$186,350)
Your Scotch: GlenDronach 15 Year Revival
Approximate bottle price: $80
Why you should buy it: "At a time when the iconic Macallan 18 is ever-increasing in price, this Speyside whiskey, which matures in Oloroso sherry casks, comes to the rescue to fill the space left on your home bar, while leaving dollars in your pocket for a nice cigar."

Your tax bracket: 33% (if you earn between $186,350-$405,100)
Your Scotch: Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Approximate bottle price: $100
Why you should buy it: "Released in 2009, this Islay whiskey is a permanent bottling in the Ardbeg line. It's a go-to whiskey for enthusiasts of the cask-strength variety (aka whiskey that goes directly from barrel to bottle without being diluted or chill-filtered) who love a peaty, coastal whiskey."

Your tax bracket: 35% (if you earn between $405,100-$406,750)
Your Scotch: Springbank 18 Year
Approximate bottle price: $130
Why you should buy it: "Campbeltown distilleries are few, but devotees to its Springbank Distillery are many. It's often counted among people's favorites in all of Scotland's distilleries. Their 18yr-old offering has a nose of berries, bananas, caramel, pepper, and cocoa. The palate is just as complex -- you'll need two glasses of this whiskey: one to nose and one to drink."

Your tax bracket: 39.6% (if you earn more than $406,750/are Scrooge McDuck)
Your Scotch: Auchroisk 30 Year Old
Approximate bottle price: $360
Why you should buy it: "The oldest release from this distillery is bottled at cask strength (without being diluted) and aged in both ex-bourbon and sherry casks. It's a whiskey to have patience with. Time in the glass will reveal its complexity, both on the nose and on the palate."

Lee Breslouer writes about food and drink for Thrillist, and likes bourbon more than Scotch, but don't tell anyone. Follow him at @LeeBreslouer, because you can't make up a name that good.