Food & Drink

The 6 Best Single Malt Scotches Under $100

Scotch inspires a fervent fandom that is unparalleled in the spirits world. As such, people are willing to pay a premium for their favorite bottlings—especially single malts. While you could drop more than a few Benjamins on a bottle, it is possible to find superior single malts for under $100. Hovering around 15 or 16 years-old and aged in everything from madeira to sherry barrels, these are not scotches for beginners, but rather for those who have a true appreciation for the stuff. Here are six single malt scotches under $100 to add to your collection.

The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask Aged 15 Years, $70

It’s a fact: Most whiskies finished in sherry barrels are good—and The Balvenie’s 15-year-old bottle is no exception. It’s rich with holiday-like baking spices and dried fruits, while its time in sherry casks adds nutty flavors.

Talisker 18 Years Old, $75   

One of the older offerings on this list, this extremely reasonably priced 18-year-old bottling from Talisker is incredibly balanced, towing the line between smoky, sweet and spicy. It has a silky, viscous texture that coats your tongue. If you’re going to pick up one bottle from this list, make it this one.

Aberlour A’bunadh, $85

If you’re looking for particularly special bottling, consider this scotch finished in oloroso sherry barrels. You’ll reckon with a mighty force on the first sip, but the scotch soon opens up to show raisiny dried fruit and nut flavors, along with plenty of wood.

Laphroaig Cairdeas, $75

Laphroaig is known as a master of Islay smoke, and this madeira-finished expression only reinforces that reputation. It’s big and smoky like you’d expect from the distillery, but it also has a lovely finish that’s at once sweet and peppery with a bit of bright citrus mixed in. Cairdeas translates to “friendship” in Gaelic, but we wouldn’t blame you if you kept this bottle all for yourself.

Highland Park Aged 15 Years, $90

This scotch’s price may be on the higher end of the spectrum, but it’s worth every penny. The Orkney Island scotch starts off malty with a bit of spice, but it develops lovely honeyed notes at the end. It’s a wonderful example of Highland Park’s scotch-producing prowess.  

Lagavulin 16 Year Old, $95

Peat-heads need look no further than this whisky from Ron Swanson’s favorite Islay distillery. It’s a super-peated and complex scotch with notes of tobacco, citrusy sweetness and brine. If you’re looking for something that will keep your palate interested, this is the winner.