The 16 Best Scotch Whiskies Under $50

The best scotch whisky for the drinker on a budget

  • 16 Drink
  • Updated: Nov 22, 2016

Scotch Whisky Gift Ideas

Scotch whisky doesn't exactly have a reputation for being cheap. Good single malts (especially older ones) have a tendency to run into the hundreds of dollars, and one look at the $35,000 Balvenie 50 Year Old is enough to make anyone flinch. But not all great scotches have to break the bank, and some of the very best are actually relatively affordable. We've put together this list of the best scotch whiskies under $50 to make it easy for you to find gift ideas, make a wishlist of your own, and to prove to the skeptics that it's possible to get an affordable dram that doesn't suck.

These scotches are, despite their relatively low price, among the best in their respective classes. We've included both single malt and blended scotch, and some of the deals out there are truly astounding (looking at you, Bank Note). So next time you're in need of a Fathers Day or Mothers Day present, birthday gift, graduation sendoff, or something to stand out at your friend's wedding, look no further than this list. Trust us, your friends and family will thank you.

  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Aberlour 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is an excellent Speyside scotch (the region famous for a massive number of distilleries, like The Balvenie, The Glenlivet, and The Macallan), double-aged in standard oak and sherry casks. It's very affordable for its quality, making it one of the better values out there when it comes to single malts. It's r…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Ardbeg 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a relatively young offering, but it holds its own among the distillery's line of extraordinarily peaty Islay scotch. It's produced on the Scottish island of Islay (pronounced eye-lah) alongside other legends like Lagavulin and Laphroaig, a region whose whiskies tend to be heavily peated, meaning the malt is roa…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a relatively new offering from the Lowland distillery, this scotch was launched as a replacement for their standard 10 year old bottle following a major rebranding. Tannic and exhibiting hints of vanilla, Auchentoshan 12 is a good-value single malt for sipping neat or with a single ice cube.
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Balvenie DoubleWood is a 12-year-old single malt scotch, so named because it's aged in two types of wooden casks: first in ex-bourbon barrels, and then in European sherry casks. The distillers don't specify how much time it spends in each, as it likely varies depending on the batch, but this doesn't seem to be a "sherry-finish," as the split seems much m…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Bowmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one of a few iconic Islay scotches (Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg come to mind as its slightly more famous neighbors). Its peaty notes are subtle and subdued compared to some others in the Islay style, making it approachable and easy to sip neat. It's smoky, a bit fruity, and certainly worth a try as a…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Dalmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky was rebranded and reformulated in 2008, and is a complex and interesting scotch that demands a second look. Notes of freshly-roasted coffee are apparent on the nose, and citrus comes in to balance it out on the finish. Made in the Highland style, Dalmore 12's distinctive profile (and bottle) make it a great whisk…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is an aromatic, fruity, slightly floral scotch made in the Highland style. Slightly smoky and nutty on the finish, this is a very enjoyable whisky at a relatively reasonable price. It's certainly not cheap, but for its quality Dalwhinnie 15 is an excellent mid-range choice for sipping neat or on the rocks…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is an astonishingly affordable single malt scotch, which makes it a popular choice for house bottles in both professional establishments and home bars all over the world. Produced in Speyside, the Northeastern region of Scotland famous for distilleries like The Macallan, The Balvenie, and The Glenlivet, it's …
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Glenlivet 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a very affordable scotch that punches above its price point in terms of complexity and drinkability. Produced in the Speyside region of Northeastern Scotland (home of some of the most iconic distilleries in the world, including The Macallan, Glenfiddich, and The Balvenie), it's a mainstay in bars all ov…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky may be one of the best deals in the world of scotch. It's not exactly cheap, but it's the youngest product from a distillery that's known for what many declare as the best scotch currently available, Highland Park 18 Year Old. Produced on the Isle of Orkney, Highland Park is the northernmost distillery in S…
  • Blended Scotch Whisky
    Johnnie Walker Double Black is a blend of Lowland scotch that is one of the better products in the brand's iconic range. Its profile is malty with hints of peat and wood smoke that elevate it above many other blends. The Double Black is still very affordable, though, especially compared to the Blue Label, making it an excellent choice for those loo…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one of the best-known Islay single malts, produced on the Scottish island of Islay (pronounced eye-lah) alongside other legends like Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Islay scotch whiskies tend to be heavily peated, meaning the malt is roasted over peat smoke prior to fermentation. Laphroaig 10 Year Old is their younges…
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Macallan 10 Year Old Fine Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky (that's a mouthful, huh?) is the youngest expression of the distillery's Fine Oak range, a line of whiskies that are aged in a combination of ex-bourbon, Spanish sherry, and American sherry barrels. Complex and perhaps most compelling in a side-by-side comparison with The Macallan 12 Year Old, this …
  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    The Macallan 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one of the most iconic Highland single malts in the world. The Macallan range is defined by its distinctive use of sherry casks instead of the standard American oak (though the Macallan Fine Oak line does stick to that tradition to a certain degree), and while their 12 year old offering is entry-level by …
  • Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
    Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is a rising star in the world of blended malt scotch whiskies, and is a mix of three different single malts - Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie. It is well known for playing a role in elevating whiskey cocktails. That said, this product of Dufftown (in Speyside) is also excellently balanced and perfect to sip…
  • Blended Scotch
    Bank Note Blended Scotch Whisky is, above all else, an extraordinary bargain. Averaging just about $20 per liter, it's often regarded as the best deal for your money in the world of scotch. Bank Note doesn't quite hold up to the subtleties of its more expensive cousins, single malt or otherwise, but it's perfect for use in cocktails like the Rob Roy or Rusty…

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