I've been testing out different Scotches for the last few years and usually find a pretty strong correlation between price point and quality. When I pay more the Scotch almost always offers a better drinking experience up to a point.

That said, recently I bought an Aberlour 12 at about 65 cdn and found it to be very similar in character to a Dalmore 12 which I bought for a much higher price a few months ago. For that reason I'm characterizing the Aberlour as a high value Scotch. It's priced reasonably and is a bit better of a Scotch than it's price point would suggest.

So I wonder what examples of Scotches people would recommend that are superior than their price point would suggest.

  • 1
    That is true for most spirits IMO, unless it is hype driving up the price or it is vodka. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 13:34
  • 6
    The cost is related to effort, rarity, supply and demand. And the quality is almost entirely opinion based - there are some cheap 8yr old whiskies I prefer to some 20yr olds, but other folks disagree. Flagged for closure as opinion based
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented May 1, 2016 at 14:11
  • Thanks. I agree that this question is opinion based. I surfaced it because this stack community seems to be pretty casual and thought it might turn up some good ideas.
    – Cdn_Dev
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 20:35
  • Unfortunately, as well as being opinion based, this question may also be slightly hard to answer in terms of pricing due to regional distribution costs. Often I feel I pay a premium for Scotch simply due to lack of availability. This might skew any possible correlation between cost and quality.
    – Phil D.
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 13:45
  • Very opinion based: Laphroaig 10 Years Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 12:23

6 Answers 6


Glenmorangie is a 10-year highland single-malt scotch that outperforms its price point (currently $36 at Total Wine), in my opinion.


It depends if you like the smokier/peatier whiskies such as Talisker, or prefer the smoother whiskies. I find the former generally overpriced but that's me. A good example of the latter is Auchentoshan 12 year old. Easy drinking (is that a bad thing?), with no overpowering flavour but flavoursome all around and smooth bite (an oxymoron?) at the end. I saw this for $65 on a Canadian website so I believe it fits into your Aberlour category.

  • I liked the Auchentoshan 12... a bit hot, but had a quick vanilla note at the end. And I think I got it relatively cheaply as a special import at Total Wine (not exactly sure what the deal was, but it was bottled differently and packaged as a part of a series from different distileries). Commented May 24, 2016 at 17:39

I'll start by saying that what I'm suggesting isn't technically a scotch recommendation, but it is a good tip for whisky, rye, and similar spirits.

One of the more underrated genres of whiskey is "Bottled in Bond" type whiskey, bourbon, and rye. I've found that many of these spirits provide excellent value for the money.

For example:

  • Old Forester
  • Heaven Hill
  • Very Old Barton
  • Rittenhouse Rye

You can read more about what Bottled in Bond means, and its history, at Wikipedia's Bottled In Bond page.


I drink my Scotch neat -- too peaty/smokey and I gotta use an ice cube. Johnnie Walker Black is my go-to (~$74/1.75L at Costco in WA state).

Picked up some Kirkland Signature 16-year Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky this evening (~$62/750mL in WA state) and it is very nice. :)

The Balvenie Doublewood is probably my favorite, but it ain't cheap -- and they don't have it at Costco. :P

  • 1
    The current Costco varieties are far, far better than their price point. If you like bourbon, pick up their $25 bottle. I think it's from the Knob Creek distillery, but mixed to a different proof... very good for the price. Commented May 24, 2016 at 17:40

Not a very fair question. Not all scotches are equal in flavor profile so comparing Lagavulin to glenlivet at any price is meaningless!

Also, taste is personal. I cannot convince some folks that Lagavulin is worth drinking but to me it is man's greatest creation!

That said I was very disappointed in balvenie tun 1509 (don't recall the batch). For the price it was very 1-dimensional. At a similar price point I'd say Highland Park 30 yr was exquisite.

On the affordable end Auchentoshan 12 was so bad I poured some down the sink. But again, that is a matter of personal taste.

An example of cost, age, and quality correlating is Glenlivet 12 --> 18 yr. The taste is almost identical but the 18yr is much smoother and a little more complex.

An example of NO correlation at all is Glenfiddich 12 --> 15 --> 18. The reason they do not correlate is that the flavors are unrelated. 12yr is fruity (apples, pears, etc), 15 is like honey mead, 18 tastes like smoked oak. I love the 18yr at ~90$ USD, compared to the 12 at 40$ USD but I would not say the 12 yr is "worse". They don't compare.


Balvenie Doublewood is CHEAP and harsh, unless you get the 17 year but still harsh. If you want a REAL Single Malt Scotch that is not many 100's or 1000's of dollars try the Balvenie 21 Year Portwood. It is NOT harsh, it is 96 proof, smoothest stuff I have ever had!!! It is a lot more than the Doublewood though, about $150 for 750ml but if you can at least try it once!!! I wanna try the 25 year but it's too much $ even for me and I am a Single Malt Scotch connoisseur! It costs around $500 I believe. Or hell go for the 40 year at $4000 per 750ml! They even made a very limited few bottles of 50 year aged but they cost around $63,000 per 750ml!

  • This absolutely does not chime with my experience. In the UK, Balvenie is a moderately-priced scotch at about £35 a bottle. And if you look up reviews on whiskey sites, it's often praised for its smoothness, an opinion with which I concur.
    – Bob Tway
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 15:34

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