The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies Under $60, Ranked

The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies Under $60, Ranked

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Scotch whisky between $50 and $60 is where things get pretty interesting. While there are still plenty of standard bottles at this price point, we’re starting to get into the better stuff. We’re looking at specially blended malts with big-name brands in the mix alongside single malts that are a little more niche.

Overall, finding a great bottle of Scotch whisky at this price isn’t too hard. There are plenty of bottles in this range on the shelves these days. Add in that the years of Trump-era tariffs have ended on Scotch whisky imports and you simply have more options at a better price. That’s a win-win for the average whisky drinker out there.

The ten bottles below are whiskies I vouch for. I’ve ranked them according to taste to give you a sense of where the prime cuts are in the $50 to $60 range. Hopefully, this will help you make a more informed decision the next time you’re looking to try something new from Scotland.

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

10. Laphroaig Select

Laphroaig

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $55

The Whisky:

Master Distiller John Campbell created this whisky to highlight the diversity of the casking process behind Laphroaig’s classic expressions. The juice is a blend of four casks. Their quarter, Pedro Ximénez, triple wood, and ten-year-old casks are married to create a deeply satisfying bottle of whisky.

Tasting Notes:

The whisky draws you in with hints of red fruit, plums, nuts, and a bit of peated maltiness. The fruit leads the way on the palate while the wood leans mildly spicy with a bit of alcohol warmth, Ace bandages, smoked salts, and more of that malt. The end lingers as the fruit and wood come together with an ever-so-distant wisp of smoke and Band-Aid.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a light and almost airy introduction to the world of medicinal peated malts, this is the bottle for you. I’d also argue that this is a mild and accessible introduction to the wider and heavier peated world of Laphroaig, especially if you pour it over a rock or two.

9. Glenrothes 12

The Glenrothes 12
The Edrington Group

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $58

The Whisky:

This Speyside whisky is all about Spanish wood and Scottish malts. The whisky is matured exclusively in sherry casks for 12 years before vatting and proofing without any additives or coloring.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a soft sense of blackened bananas next to vanilla beans, a hint of lemon oils, and a whisper of dried roses on the nose. The palate marries that lemon and banana into a banana bread with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of vanilla next to a savory melon vibe. That savory fruit drives the mid-palate towards a finish with almost a lemon cream pie feel to it next to a hint more spice and soft vanilla rounding things out.

Bottom Line:

This is a very easy-drinking sweet whisky. While I tend to reach for this when making highball, you can drink it on the rocks for a fruity change of pace.

8. Bunnahabhain 12

Bunnahabhain 12
Distell Group Limited

ABV: 46.3%

Average Price: $55

The Whisky:

Back on Islay, this peated malt is another great gateway to the Island’s smoke whiskies thanks to being extremely lightly peated. This expression is made from 12-year-old barrels that once held bourbon or sherry. Those barrels are vatted and the whisky is proofed down and bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this opens with mild notes of smoked cherry next to burnt candle wax, tart apples, and salted caramels laced with orange oils. The taste mellows with a creamy vanilla pudding base with notes of Black Forest Cake with plenty of brandied cherries and dark cacao and a faint hint of cherry wood smoke way back in the background. The finish leans into that dry and fruity wood and leaves you with a touch more vanilla silkiness and singed cherry wood.

Bottom Line:

This is so subtly “peated” that you’d be forgiven for not even noticing it. The fruitiness and softness are the stars of the show, making this a good candidate for on the rocks or cocktail applications.

7. Auchentoshan 12

Auchentoshan 12
Morrison Bowmore Distillers

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $55

The Whisky:

This Lowland malt is renowned for being triple distilled (much like Irish whiskey). That extra distillation allows the juice to go in the barrel with an extra layer of refinement. The whisky spends 12 years mellowing in mostly ex-bourbon casks with a few ex-sherry casks in the mix too.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a rich and creamy vanilla-pudding-with-burnt-sugars covered in ground almonds countered by a lemon-lime vibe with a touch of orange zest that leads towards fresh tea leaves and a touch of fresh mint. The palate lets that orange and lime really shine with a tartness and sweetness that leads back towards that soft vanilla pudding with a touch of Almond Joy and spiced malt. The finish lets that spice warm up your palate with cinnamon and clove as the almonds make a nutty and dry comeback.

Bottom Line:

This is a pretty big outlier in the broader Scotch whisky scene. This whisky is deeply hewn and unique while also being very drinkable — neat or on the rocks. I do like this one in a simple cocktail even though those ABVs are pretty low.

6. Arran Barrel Reserve

Arran Barrel Reserve
Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd.

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $55

The Whisky:

This Island’s whisky is all about reaching over the pond. The 100 percent malted barley juice is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels (for an undisclosed amount of time) before it’s vatted, proofed, and bottled as-is to highlight that barrel.

Tasting Notes:

This has a nose full of ripe apples and pears with stems and cores alongside soft and damp cedar and chewy vanilla-laced toffee. The palate counters with grapefruit pith, silken vanilla cream, and apple butter brimming with dark spice. The finish comes about with a singed cedar bark feel next to soft powdery spices, orange oils, and a very light vanilla ice cream scoop.

Bottom Line:

This feels both like a really approachable and fruity single malt and a subtle bourbon-infused whisky. It’s a great bridge between Kentucky and Scotland and perfect for anyone looking to check out something from Scotland.

5. Glengoyne 10

Glengoyne 10
Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd.

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $55

The Whisky:

Glengoyne uses unpeated Highland barley that they airdry themselves before fermentation. The uniqueness of this whisky doesn’t end there. They also season their own American and European oak barrels with sherry for six years before filling them with their juice. After ten years of maturation, those barrels are vatted, proofed, and bottled for this expression.

Tasting Notes:

This starts off fairly familiar for a sweet Highland malt with notes of apple candies, butter toffee, and a few chocolate-covered almonds. Then a note of buttered popcorn arrives on the nose, which is inexplicable for a non-corn-based whisky. The taste leans back into the apple but it’s more tart and juicy now as minor notes of anise and wet cedar bark lead to a little bit of warm cream sitting on top of a shot of espresso and hint more of those almonds. The finish lets the malts sweeten with a hint of orange marmalade on toast rounding things out.

Bottom Line:

This is a soft and somewhat wild ride for both a ten-year-old whisky and one this inexpensive. This is definitely a whisky to try on the rocks or with a few drops of water to let it bloom a bit.

4. Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie

Bruichladdich

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $56

The Whisky:

Bruichladdich’s philosophy on whisky making is pretty unique. Each batch highlights local, unpeated Scottish barley that’s fermented and distilled. That juice then goes into some combination of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and ex-wine casks for a varied amount of time. That means each batch is unique. Bruichladdich then provides a code on their bottles so that you can go to their website and find out what makes the bottle in your hand special.

Tasting Notes:

Though each batch has its own nuance, there will be a through-line on the taste. Expect a nose full of wildflowers, fresh mint, brine, and salted caramel wax paper with a touch of citrus oils. The taste will edge towards malts and sweet woods with hints of sea spray, tart apples, and dark syrups. The end is often very slow and has a well-balanced fade of sea salt, malt, and oak.

Bottom Line:

These are great to collect and sample to help build a palate for unpeated scotch. Overall, I’d still say this is more of an on the rocks sipper than anything else, but it definitely works well neat with a few drops of water too.

3. Compass Box Orchard House

Compass Box Orchard House
Compass Box

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $58

The Whisky:

The blended malt leans into apples as a predominant flavor note of sweet Scotch whisky. The juice in the bottle is a blend of 39 percent Linkwood single malt that aged in ex-bourbon barrels, 20 percent Clynelish single malt also aged in ex-bourbon barrels, Benrinnes single malt from ex-bourbon barrels. The next eight percent is a single malt from a distillery in the town of Aberlour (not the distillery) that aged in ex-sherry butts with two percent from a Highland malt blend that aged in custom-built and toasted French oak barrels, and the final two percent from a peated malt from Caol Ila that matured in ex-bourbon casks.

Tasting Notes:

Naturally, apples burst forth on the nose with tart, sweet, and juicy notes next to a soft pear vibe, lemon and lime zest, a touch of sweet pineapple, and a soft echo of dry but fragrant Earl Grey tea leaves. The palate leans into fresh ginger soaking in a pot of floral honey next to minor notes of fresh strawberry shortcake with a soft vanilla sponge cake, fresh berries, and a dollop of vanilla-laced whipped cream. The finish leans into a light white floral note while the pear and apple return with a ripeness that feels like they’re fresh off the vine and a final note of lightly spiced malts with a whisper of applewood smoke.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a complex fruit-bomb whisky, this is going to be the bottle for your bar cart. This is so well-built and complex while still being 100 percent approachable. It’s truly an easy-drinking whisky that really benefits from a little water or rock to let it bloom in your glass.

2. Johnnie Walker Green Label

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $55

The Whisky:

Johnnie Walker’s Green Label is a solidly crafted whisky that highlights Diageo’s fine stable of distilleries across Scotland. The juice is a pure malt or blended malt, meaning that only single malt whisky is in the mix (and no grain whisky). In this case, the primary whiskies are a minimum of 15-year-olds from Talisker, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, and Linkwood.

Tasting Notes:

Soft notes of cedar dance with hints of black pepper, vanilla pods, and bright fruit with a wisp of green grass in the background. The palate really delivers on that soft cedar woodiness while edging towards a spice-laden tropical fruit brightness. The finish is dialed-in with hints of cedar, spice, and fruit leading towards a briny billow of smoke at the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the best blended malts on the market for an amazing price. A 15-year-old Caol Ila costs three times as much as this bottle alone. That aside, this is the perfect whisky for mixing cocktails or highballs or simply sipping on the rocks after a long day.

1. Mortlach 12

Diageo

ABV: 43.4%

Average Price: $58

The Whisky:

This single malt hails from a tiny yet beloved Speyside distillery. The actual whisky is also made on their smallest still, nicknamed “Wee Witchie.” That juice then goes into ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for 12 years. Finally, those whiskies are married, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

This is subtle yet engaging, with a nose of almost burnt toffee next to bright red berries, mild spice, hints of oak, and a bit of cedar. The palate leans into the berries by becoming jammy with more of that toffee and a mild sense of spicy tobacco arriving late. The end is long-ish with a plummy chew next to that tobacco and malty spice.

Bottom Line:

Mortlach is the whisky lovers’ whisky. While it is becoming more known in the U.S., it’s still pretty niche. That’s changing fast though, as can be seen here — a stellar bottle of whisky at this price point. Just make sure to add a little water to your dram to really let this one shine in your glass.

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