Amazing & Affordable Single Malt Scotch

With so many expensive whiskies coming to market these days, it's important to remember all of the delicious drams out there that won't put you in the poor house!
May 17, 2016
  • 10
    10 Benromach Peat Smoke 2005
    93
    Speyside single malts--generally honey- and floral-noted affairs--haven't ever made much of an effort to carry the peat torch, but every so often, an outlier will arrive and everyone wants in on it. To wit: Benromach, a quintessential Speyside whisky in terms of its complex yet approachable chocolate-laced profile, offers limited edition peat-smoked releases. This 2005 vintage, bottled in 2014, clocks in at 67ppm, an increase over 2004's 53ppm. It's aged in first-fill bourbon barrels and bottled at 46%.
  • 9
    9 The Glenrothes 1994
    93
    The very large majority (98%) of the whisky distilled at The Glenrothes is sent off to produce blends such as Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse. The Vintages are handpicked to show off certain characteristics. This was bottled in 2008 making this whisky 14 years old.
  • 8
    8 Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012
    93
    At 92 proof and comprised of a blend of their 3 year old (60%), 4 year old (35%), and 5 year old (5%) single malts all produced at Kilchoman, this whisky is an insanely unique bottling that is allowing drinkers to see what barrel aging does to whisky over time. The malt is rested in ex-bourbon barrels before being vatted and finished in Oloroso Sherry butts for an additional 2 months.
  • 7
    7 Ardbeg Uigeadail
    93
    First launched in 2003, Ardbeg Uigeadail [Oog-a-dal] is a marriage of some young and some very old oloroso sherry aged single malt along with Ardbeg aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The name Uigeadail means "a dark, mysterious place." Fun to say and even more fun to drink. It is also the name of the loch from which Ardbeg gets its water. Bottled at cask strength with no age statement.
  • 6
    6 Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength
    94
    The Cask Strength bottling will vary per batch, but will be somewhere in the 114-117 proof range. Aged in used barrels for 10 years, the whisky is barrier filtered, meaning just large chunks of char are removed leaving the whisky to shine on its own. As it is minimally filtered, adding water or changes in temperature will create a haze in the whisky.
  • 5
    5 Benromach Organic
    95
    One of the inherent beauties of independence is freedom. Benromach, one of the very few remaining single malt Scotch houses that’s free from the shackles of global conglomerates, reminds us of its independence every so often when it comes out with some kind of radical release—something so time- and resource-intensive. Something, for example, like an organic release. Benromach Organic, the first Soil Association-certified organic single malt, is made using organic Scottish barley and aged in virgin American oak. It’s non-chill-filtered and bottled at 43%.
  • 4
    4 Glengoyne 15 Year
    95
    Glengoyne distillery prides itself on its slow, meticulous process from barrel to bottle. All of their barley is air dried with no use of peat. This whisky was first aged in ex-bourbon and then given a hit of sherry cask aging at the end.
  • 3
    3 Talisker 10 Year
    96
    There was a time when up to seven registered (and several illicit) distilleries existed on the Isle of Skye -- now only Talisker remains. The peat level is a moderate 16-22 ppm (Phenol Parts per Million) and their 10 year old is aged primarily in ex-bourbon casks which they constructed to a larger hogshead size. Talisker 10 Year is bottled at a very appreciated 45.8% ABV.
  • 2
    2 Glenglassaugh Evolution
    96
    Speyside's Glenglassaugh distillery came under new ownership in 2013, overseen by Billy Walker and the BenRiach Whisky Company. Evolution is one of its premier expressions after this change. It was aged in first fill ex-George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey casks and non-chill filtered.
  • 1
    1 Laphroaig 10 Year
    96
    Far from a shrinking violet, Laphroaig 10 Year is loud and proud, get used to it. They have managed to produce a whisky showcasing the sights and aromas of the island. The peat, burned to dry the malt, is abundantly clear as is the seaweed found lapping the shores just steps from the distillery. That sweet salty sea air found on Islay is woven throughout their whiskies. NOTE: This is sold at 40% abv or 43% abv depending on your market.