The 11 Best Scotch Whiskeys
Under $50

“There is no bad whiskey. There are just some that aren’t as good as others.”
-Raymond Chandler

As you can likely decipher from its name, Scotch whiskey, or Scotch as most refer to it as, is a type of whiskey spirit produced, matured, and bottled in Scotland and Scotland exclusively. 

What is Scotch Whiskey & What Makes it Different?

Its taste, though sought-after by many, is an acquired one, to say the least. Unlike Irish whiskey, for example, which happens to be much more light on the palate resulting in it being a more common choice amongst those just getting introduced to the world of whiskey, Scotch tends to be amongst only the most experienced of whiskey drinkers. 

Nevertheless, Scotch is one of, if not the most popular type of whiskey in the world, boasting a long history dating back to the 1400s and still going strong to this day.

Related: Guide to Scotch Whiskey

As for what makes it different, ignoring the obvious origin story, of course, Scotch differs from the rest largely due to its distillation and maturation process. Required by law to mature for a minimum of three years in aged oak barrels to be considered a Scotch, that alone sets it apart from the rest. Other key differences include the taste and peaty-like flavour resulting from its distillation process, among other factors. 

As all whiskeys do, Scotch has three distinct types: 

The distinctive types of Scotch boast similar differences as Scotch as a whole does with other whiskey types, however, the primary distinction between the three is where it’s produced. In summary, Scotch is produced in 5 regions of its homeland; Campbeltown, the Isles, The Highlands and Lowlands, and Speyside.

While the debate of what type of whiskey is best will continue for centuries to come, there’s no debate that Scotch sits amongst the top.

The 11 Best Scotch Whiskey Under $50

In modern times, Scotch is now accessible and available throughout the world, offered in all different sizes as well as price points. In fact, some of the best Scotch products on the market are quite affordable, and you can find quality scotch whiskey under the $50 price point. 

Related: Best Whiskey Cocktails

With that said, if you’re looking to get into the world of Scotch but aren’t prepared to spend the big bucks, this list of the 11 best scotch whiskeys under $50 is for you! 

Below are the Top 11 Scotch Whiskey’s Under $50

  • Glenlivet 12-Year 
  • Highland Park 12-Year
  • Bowmore 12-Year
  • Laphroaig 10-Year
  • Aberfeldy 12-Year 
  • Aberlour 12-Year 
  • The Singleton Single Malt 12-Year
  • Johnnie Walker Green Label 
  • GlenDronach 12-Year
  • The Macallan 12-Year
  • Glenfiddich 12-Year

 

Glenlivet 12-Year 

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: The Glenlivet Distillery
ABV: 40%
Price: $35.99

This Speyside Single Malt Scotch is a staple amongst whiskey drinkers. Not only is it affordable, but it upholds the utmost quality within the Scotch world. Glenlivet is a well-respected brand for many reasons, and its 12-year is a great example of that. If the bright gold color doesn’t draw you in, it’s likely the name that will; Glenlivet, you can’t go wrong.

Tasting Notes:
With a fruity nose, a well-balanced palate, and a flavour of pineapple and oak, you’ll enjoy the epitome of a smooth scotch. Pour it up in the company of some good seafood and you’ve got yourself a 5-star dining experience.

Highland Park 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: Highland Park Distillery
ABV: 40%
Price: $49.99

Highland Park is another iconic brand, and its flagship product is the Highland Park 12-year Viking Honour. As an award-winning brand offering award-winning products since 1798, you can sip in trust, knowing that you enjoying a true, authentic Scotch.

Tasting Notes:
Pour it up alongside a medium-rare steak and you’ll never have steak without it again. Not a steak fan? Sushi and biscuits will suffice…With flavors of honey, rich fruits, and smokey oak, you’ll be taken on an exploration of depth, character, and balance. 

Bowmore 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: Bowmore Distillery
ABV: 40%
Price: $44.99

A complex yet perfectly balanced Scotch, the Bowmore 12-year is as authentic as they come. Offering its trademark peaty smoke aroma and its decadent dark chocolate taste, enjoy a long, smooth, mellow finish. 

Tasting Notes:
As a warm amber whiskey, Bowmore 12 elicits a smokey, yet citrus-like smell. That, paired with a dark chocolate taste and you’ve got yourself an adults-only dessert!

Laphroaig 10-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt

The Distillery: Laphroaig Distillery 

ABV: 43%

Price: $47.99

Another award-winning Scotch on the list is the Laphroaig 10-year. Following its 200+ year tradition passed down from generations, Laphroaig has developed a truly classic Scotch whiskey. 

Tasting Notes:
Particularly rich in flavour, smokey in aroma, and smooth with the finish, this full-bodied, full-character Scotch is one of peat, sweet, and best sipped neat.

Aberfeldy 12-Year 

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery
ABV: 40%
Price: $40.99

A clean and polished Highland Single Malt Scotch from Dewar’s Distillery, the Aberfeldy 12-year features a delicate, subtle body great for those looking to enter the Scotch world without the initial shock of peat. If I could suggest one entry-level Scotch, this might just be the one!

Tasting Notes:
a more subtle-tasting palate, a great entry-level scotch; one with a smooth and creamy finish. Hints of vanilla invite you in, while the peaches and cream keep you coming back for more.

Aberlour 12-Year 

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: Aberlour Distillery
ABV: 40%
Price: $44.99

A double cask, Speyside single malt Scotch, the 12-year Aberlour is a popular choice amongst many; a great expression of real Scotch whiskey. While its richness may spur some initial shock, the balanced body you’ll experience once it hits the palate will be one of familiarity. It’s the perfect combination and mellow and maturity.

Tasting Notes:
a golden ruby color that invites you in, a soft and subtle nose that doesn’t scare you away, a fruity familiar palate, and a warm and spicy finish that heats the soul.

The Singleton of Dufftown 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: The Singleton of Glen Old
ABV: 40%
Price: $39.99

An often overlooked Scotch due to its straightforwardness, the Singleton 12-year is that bottle you purchase when you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill, no-frills, can’t-go-wrong Scotch. Whether you want to drink it neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, the Singleton is a versatile choice.

Tasting Notes:
The nose is quite woody, offering smells of barley, malt, toast, wood, and oak. Its palate is quite the opposite, providing a zesty, citrus-like kick. As for the finish, expect a mix of both the oaky wood and zesty citrus. Smooth and well-bodied, nonetheless. 

Johnnie Walker Green Label 

The Whiskey: Blended Malt
The Distillery: Cardhu Distillery by Diageo
ABV: 43%
Price: $46.99

Ah yes, Johnnie Walker; arguably the most well-known, certainly most widely purchased Scotch whiskey in the world. If you’re looking to give ol’ Johnnie a shot but don’t want to break the bank doing it, give the Green Label a chance! As the only blended Scotch on the list, you’d be remiss not to try it…

Tasting Notes:
A perfectly blended, perfectly balanced 15-year scotch. With intense aromas, a more moderate palate, and an even smoother, deep vanilla finish, Johnnie Walker Green Label hits all the notes you could ask for.

GlenDronach 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: GlenDronach Distillery
ABV: 43%
Price: $49.99+

Aged in two distinct sherry casks for 12 years, the Glendronach 12 is one of superiority, richness, and prestige. For those willing to spend the extra dollar over budget, GlenDronach is worth the expense. 

Tasting Notes:
Sweet, creamy, and decadent, this full-bodied, slightly nutty, deep amber scotch is one for the ages. Key takeaways are hints of vanilla and honey, and subtlety spiced with ginger and mulled pear.

The Macallan 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: The Macallan Distillery
ABV: 43%
Price: $49.99+

Another Highland Single Malt, the Macallan 12-year is yet again a prestigious Scotch that sits atop the $50 budget. It’s a fully-rounded balance of sweetness complied of classic Macallan style American oak notes. Looking for a New Year’s gift? A pop of celebration? The Macallan 12-year is it.

Tasting Notes: Boasting a unique harvest sun colour, a creamy butterscotch nose, a palate so delicious, and a lingering finish bot warm and sweet, the Macallan will take you on an experience like no other. 

Glenfiddich 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: Glenfiddich Distillery
ABV: 40%
Price: $39.99

Last but certainly not least is the ever-affordable, commonly sought-after Glenfiddich 12-year; the perfect gift for a standard spirits lover (and scotch lover in particular). As one of the world’s best-selling Scotches, you can rest assured it’s satisfactory both for the rookie and the vet of the group. 

Tasting Notes: Light and easily drinkable, adored by all, and offering a spectrum of flavourful notes such as pear, honey, floral, and spice. Elegant and endearing, smooth and sweet, classic and contemporary. The adjectives to describe this original Single Malt goes on…

I hope you enjoyed my highly opinionated yet researched list of the 11 best Scotch whiskeys under $50.

While I haven’t tried all of them, I’ve certainly tried most… So, do you agree with the list?

How many on this list of the best Scotch whiskeys under $50 have you had? If so, I’d love to know what bottle is your favorite and which one you’d like to try next. 

Related: Best Rye Whiskey Under $50

If you haven’t tried all of them yet, well, what are you waiting for?

Stay Gold & Cheers.

About Todd Smidt

Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.

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