The Best Tasting Scotch Whiskies Under $40, Ranked SuperNayr

Cheap scotch doesn’t always mean “bad” scotch. There are some bangers on the shelf that won’t cost you a fortune when it comes to dabbling in the tipple from Scotland. Sure, you’re not going to be wowed by good cheap Scotch whisky (let’s be realistic), but you might be… pleasantly surprised. Sometimes that’s enough!

Below, I’m calling out 10 bottles of Scotch whisky that won’t break the bank. Each bottle offers something truly tasty, is generally available nationwide, and costs less than $40. To be clear, these prices are based on Total Wine and ReserveBar set to deliver in Kentucky. So local prices may vary slightly.

The best part is that there’s something for everyone below — even though these are ranked. Some of these whiskies are blends, some are young single malts (relatively), and some are peated, some not. The point is to go through and find the tasting notes that speak to you and then hit those price links to snag your own bottle. Let’s dive in!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Scotch Whisky Posts of The Last Six Months

10. Haig Club “Clubman” Single Grain Scotch Whisky

Haig Club "Clubman" Single Grain Scotch Whisky
Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $36

The Whisky:

Scotch isn’t only single malts. David Beckham’s signature whisky with Diageo is a single grain whisky made with a mix of mainly wheat with a touch of malted barley (“single grain” can feel like a bit of a misnomer, but it means that it’s a “grain” whisky made with various grains from a “single” source/distiller). This grain whisky hails from Cameronbridge Distillery. The whisky aged over seven years before vatting, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This has a very fruity nose with stewed apples mingling with banana bread, orange, and lemon with a touch of oak spice.

Palate: The palate adds an eggnog spice vibe to the mix with a nice vanilla depth and a touch of cedar before the citrus and stewed fruits take back over.

Finish: The spiciness peaks with a bit more banana bread and walnut at the end.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice and very easy pour of whisky. It’s fruity and a tad buttery with a touch of bourbon edge. Overall, you can pour this into a glass with some good mineral water, ice, and a citrus garnish and it’ll shine.

9. Buchanan’s DeLuxe Blended Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $33

The Whisky:

Buchanan’s is making a big comeback. Part of that is due to this expression snagging a Double Gold from the San Francisco World Spirit Competition in 2020. Another part is the quality of Diageo whiskies in the blend.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The whiskey opens with a real sense of dark chocolate married to bright orange zest on the nose.

Palate: The palate builds on that adding hints of vanilla pudding and dark spices next to a cedar woodiness and a little bit of spicy/ chewy tobacco.

Finish: A whisper of peat arrives late and far in the background as the chocolate orange throughline lasts the longest on the fade.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice and very easy introduction to peat in whisky. It’s so subtle but still there. The whisky feels fruity and spicy with a soft minerality. Overall, mix this into cocktails or highballs.

8. Old Parr Blended Scotch Whiskey Aged 12 Years

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $34

The Whisky:

This old-school blend is built around Cragganmore and Glendullan single malts. The whiskies mellow for 12 years before they’re vatted and proofed for this bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: There are cinnamon apple cookies on the nose with a touch of honey, nuts, and dry malt.

Palate: The taste is very malty with a touch of cedar, tobacco spice, and more honey/apple/cinnamon.

Finish: The end is warm, malty, and slightly sweet thanks to the honey.

Bottom Line:

This is a classic highball whisky through and through. Pour this over some rice with good mineral water and then add a dried apple or pear slice as garnish (with maybe a whisper of mint). It’ll sing.

7. Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years

Johnnie Walker Black Label
Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $33

The Whisky:

The classic Black Label is a blend of over 40 grain and single malt whiskies from three dozen distilleries in the Diageo stable, including powerhouses like Talisker and Lagavulin. The throughline is that all of the whiskies are at least 12 years old when married into this blend.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Citrus meets spicy Christmas cake and a bit of powdery white pepper that’s just kissed with soft orchard wood smoke on the nose.

Palate: Those wintery spices carry on through the taste as creamy maltiness, caramel sweetness, and dry herbs bounce on your tongue.

Finish: The oak comes in late with a dose of peaty smoke that’s cut by an orange zest flourish on the quick end.

Bottom Line:

This is a gateway Scotch whisky. The peat is there but very dialed back. Overall, this is meant for making a killer but simple highball with good mineral water and a floral or botanical garnish.

6. Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky Aged 15 Years

Dewar

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $34

The Whisky:

Dewar’s White Label and 12 get a lot of attention, and rightfully so. They’re fine bottles. But for the price, their 15-year-old expression is a winner. The extra three years this blend gets in the barrel adds a nice depth that speaks to how good blended scotch can be while still being affordable.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Apples covered in caramel and walnuts mix with a bit of sherry jamminess on the nose.

Palate: That nuttiness leads the way on the taste as a malty cracker mixes with toffee, vanilla, and dried fruits.

Finish: The end holds onto the sweetness of those fruits then fades quickly towards an earthy yet honeyed final note.

Bottom Line:

This is a good bridge between the highball whiskies above and the cocktail mixers below. This is just complex enough to hold up in a nice citrus-forward cocktail. That all said, you can also drink this over ice for an easy everyday sipper.

5. Aberfeldy Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old

Bacardi

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $34

The Whisky:

This Highland malt is the cornerstone of the much-beloved Dewar’s Blended Scotch. This whisky is a very accessible single malt that spends 12 years resting in various casks before it’s married, proofed down, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The heart of the nose is in the mingling of pear and honey with a hint of Christmas spice, especially nutmeg.

Palate: The palate expands on that with a lush maltiness, creamy vanilla, mild spice, and more of that honey and orchard fruit.

Finish: The end gets slightly nutty and bitter with a little water as the honey, fruit, and spice linger on the senses.

Bottom Line:

This is where we get into the good cocktail whiskies. This adds a nice depth to your favorite whiskey-forward cocktails, works wonders in a simple highball any time of year, and works as a table whisky for on-the-rocks sipping. That’s versatility.

4. Compass Box Artist Blend Scotch Whisky

Compass Box

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $37

The Whiskey:

The lion’s share of this blend — 45% — comes from a single-grain whisky aged in ex-bourbon from Cameronbridge Distillery. 22% is a single malt aged in ex-bourbon that comes from Linkwood Distillery. The rest is a mix of French oak and ex-bourbon single malts and blended malts from the Highlands, Clyneilish, Linkwood, and Balmenach. Those whiskies are vatted and then proofed down before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This opens with a very clear and concise note of apple candy with a hint of salted caramel ice cream cut with a touch of eggnog spices.

Palate: There’s a nice maltiness that leans into a creamy vanilla, soft holiday spice mix, butter toffee, and a hint of milk chocolate near the end.

Finish: The finish is warming with a whisper of tobacco next to a woody apple, spice candies (maybe ginger), and a final hint of cocoa and caramel.

Bottom Line:

This is a great choice if you’re looking to whip up some killer cocktails. It’s dynamic and has a twinge of bourbon that’ll feel familiar.

3. Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $33

The Whisky:

The Strathisla Distillery in the Scottish Highlands is where Chivas comes together. The whisky is well-rounded and designed to be a workhorse that’s an easy sipper but also works wonders in a cocktail.

The Taste:

Nose: The nose opens with a deep sense of dried apples and pears dipped in fresh honey and then rolled in roasted almonds and walnuts with a whisper of barrel spice sneaking in late.

Palate: The palate hints at dried florals before touching a buttery toffee, soft spiced tobacco leaf, and almost musty oak.

Finish: The end is a little chewy thanks to that spiced tobacco leaf with a nice hint of apple/pear cider cut with winter spices and honeycomb.

Bottom Line:

This is the quintessential on the rocks whisky. Add a dash of Angostura Bitters to the glass and you’ll have a great sipper in your hand.

2. Loch Lomond The Original Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $38

The Whisky:

This lightly peated single malt from the Highlands is a classic. The juice is a no-age-statement whisky that’s meant as an entry point to the wider brand. The malt is just kissed with peat while malting. The single malt blend is a mix of those barrels with an eye on highlighting the subtler aspects of the whisky. Once vatted, the whisky is proofed and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with a nice dose of honey wafer biscuits wrapped in an old leather sheet with a hint of dried grass, soft raisins, and mildly spicy malts.

Palate: The palate leans into those malts with a hint of malted vanilla next to oatmeal cookies with cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts next to a glass of heavy cream for dipping.

Finish: The end kicks in with a sharp orange/cinnamon before descending toward soft oak and more of that leather and honey wafer.

Bottom Line:

This is just a nice pour of whisky. You can use it however you like to drink everyday whisky and you won’t be disappointed.

1. Glenmorangie The Original Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 10 Years

Glenmorangie 10
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $34

The Whisky:

The Glenmorangie is a classic Highlands single malt. The juice is created on the tallest stills in Scotland, which allows more spirit creation along the way as it’s boiled. The whisky then spends ten years mellowing in ex-bourbon barrels. Finally, the whiskey is vatted, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with soft grains next to a rush of dried fruits and supple leather with a floral hint that leans toward dry hibiscus and fresh woodruff.

Palate: The palate is gentle with hints of wet malts next to powdered dark spices, fresh honeycombs, and a thin line of vanilla oils just touched with orange zest and maybe a twinge of grapefruit.

Finish: The end arrives with a soft honeyed sweetness that feels like it’s drizzled over an orange cake with a hint of malted cracker graininess next to an echo of old apple chips.

Bottom Line:

This is the most nuanced and deeply hewn single malt on the list. It works really well as an on-the-rocks sipper and it’ll make a cocktail shine. It’s just good stuff and amazingly approachable.

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