Scotch whisky is a big category that includes single malts, blended malts, grain whiskies and more. Spirits in general are quite subjective–we’ve always found the best scotch to be the one in our hand–but we’ve certainly got our favorites. And while it’s often easiest to recommend bottles based on personal taste preferences, readers typically just ask for “the best scotch” in a certain price range. In this case, $40.
So below, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite scotches that you can regularly find priced at or under $40. Buy them for yourself or give them as gifts. Drink them neat or mix them with soda. Have at it.
Bowmore Small Batch
A delicious whisky at any price range, Bowmore Small Batch is the latest release from the Islay distillery. It’s a flavorful dram full of fruit, peat and bourbon sweetness. Find it online for about $37.
Speyburn 10 Year
Speyburn 10 is light and easy on the palate, with notes of fruit, citrus and spice. It’s a great candidate for a daily dram–something flavorful and easy to drink that’s light on the budget. In most cases, you can find Speyburn 10 for under $30.
Laphroaig 10 Year
Laphroaig 10 is one of our favorite whiskies, period. It’s smoky, briny and unabashedly Islay, with a range of flavors that’s deep and complex but always in balance. Then consider the price tag–which often hits just under the $40 mark–and you’ve got yourself one of the best value buys on the market.
Aberlour 10 year Old
Aged in ex-bourbon and sherry casks, Aberlour 10 is full of sherried fruit, caramel and toffee. It’s a luxurious dram that drinks richer than it’s sub-$40 price tag.
Glenmorangie The Original
Glenmorangie is known for its wine barrel-finished whiskies, but don’t sleep on the Original. This 10 year old expression (10 years seems to be a real sweet spot on this list) is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. It’s flush with ripe fruit–apples, lemons, peaches–and is accented by sweet vanilla and creamy malts. Find it online for about $35.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you’ve got a favorite under the $40 mark, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And keep reading for the best scotch whisky under $50.