Scotch is known as a drink for gentlemen and ladies. It’s for discerning tastes, sophisticated palates, and liquor connoisseurs. Right?
Actually, this stereotype doesn’t really hold up, what with all of the great Scotch options on the market today that are under the $100 mark. They run the gamut from great, middle of the road choices to surprisingly full-flavored yet cheap whiskies.
Don’t turn up your nose, because you can absolutely get a great bottle of Scotch for less than a full tank of gas in an SUV. Buy a dram for less than it costs to get a car wash.
Our Take: Best Scotch Under 100
For the best single malt scotch under 100, these brands and varieties can’t be beat. Order one of these at the bar, or take a bottle home with you, and you won’t regret it. We aren't going to pretend that most are close to the $100 mark. But, lets be honest...YOU want good scotch or you wouldn't be here. Plus any premium scotch under $100 is nice on the wallet.
Highland Park Magnus
To start off let's start with a award winner that is under $100. That's right! Highland Park's Magnus got first prize at the World Whisky 2010 Awards. This scotch has a interesting history and the distillery's location is very cool. Highland Park is the north most distillery in Scotland and has developed a 15 year single malt that is a trend setter. Price: $75
This well-loved Scotch brand has a great 12-year-old that doesn’t break the bank. It will cost you only $79 to taste a superior offering from one of the most well-loved distilleries in the world. The body is light with a tangy, fresh, spicy taste.
Bowmore Small Batch
Another well-respected distillery, Bowmore has a small batch whiskey matured in bourbon casks. This is the best single malt Scotch under $100 that is from Islay.
PEYBURN SCOTCH SINGLE MALT BRADAN ORACH
Speyburn Distillery has a really cool history and they have been around since 1897. Much of the original distillery is still being used today, and this is a great gateway scotch. Price $69.
PEYBURN SCOTCH SINGLE MALT BRADAN ORACH
This single malt is both award-winning and easy to drink. The smoothness is rounded out by the flavors of fruit. At a price of $89, this one won’t hurt your wallet. It’s a good one to keep on hand for guests who are whiskey amateurs.
The Balvenie Caribbean Cask
As the name implies, this Scotch was aged in a rum cask. The resulting liquid has hints of brown sugar, apple, and cherry. Ok, so maybe it's not under $100, but it's so worth it! Price: $109.
For a strong, robust Scotch $105, Ledaig 10-Year is a great option. It’s heavily peated, which means it has that smoke that some Scotch enthusiasts absolutely love. It is a little harsh for the uninitiated, with notes of pepper and leather.
Glenmorangie Original Single Malt Scotch
Now this is a treat! The Glenmorangie Original is a great scotch whisky. It has the aroma of citrus and vanilla. It's has the taste of citrus and floral "fruitiness." Price: $95
DEANSTON SCOTCH SINGLE MALT
This is a great scotch that begins its journey with old bourbon casks. Deanston then completes the process with new oak barrels. It has a very earthy taste including coconut, granola, raisin, and warm brown spice. Price: $75.
How Do Casks Make a Difference?
You have probably noticed that many whiskies are described in relation to the type of cask in which they were matured. This is because wood is one of the defining factors that imparts flavor into the end product that’s bottled. In fact, the wood that the cask is made of accounts for almost all of it.
There is even a term for people whose profession is making whiskey casks: coopers. Their task, naturally, is called coopering.
To make a cask, trees are cut down at full maturity, then taken to a sawmill to be cut into planks. The planks are cut down again into staves, or curved pieces that will fit together to form the customary barrel shape.
For aging bourbon, the inside of casks is charred so the liquid can get into the wood, and so the flavors of the wood can permeate the spirits. Oak is the only wood used to make casks for maturing whiskey.
In general, a whiskey’s price on the market depends on many intertwining factors. These include the cost of the grain, the amount of labor involved with production, taxes for shipping overseas, and the alcohol content in the liquor, among others.