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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.