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Best Budget Whisky

by BestBudgetAdmin
best budget whisky

Whisky is enjoyed all over the World, and every whisky drinker has their favourite blend or flavour. It’s sometimes not easy picking out a whisky, whether it’s for you or as a gift, so we’re taking a look at just some of the best available.

There are some very expensive bottles for those who truly appreciate it, but there are also many fine blends which you can buy at a price you an afford.

Best Budget Whisky: Our Top 10 Recommendations

1. Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Whisky

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Glenfiddich is a well-known whisky producer and it has won many awards over the years, including the gold medal in the 2015 International Wine & Spirits competition.

This single malt has been aged for 12 years in American Bourbon and Spanish sherry oak casks, to give it its distinctive flavour. The fruity flavours are mellow and they blend in to butterscotch, cream, malt and oak for a smooth and pleasant taste.

The bottle comes in the stylish Glenfiddich tube, so it makes a lovely gift if you don’t want to try it for yourself. This is a wonderful drink on its own or with ice, or if you want to add to the experience, you can try it with a mixer.

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Single malt
  • Matured for 12 years
  • Multi Award winning whisky

Verdict

This timeless Scotch has a true abundance of different flavours and is perfect for anyone who has a taste for fine spirits. The packaging is a nice addition so it makes a perfect gift for any special occasion.

2. Glenfiddich 15 year old Scotch Whisky

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Another wonderful whisky from Glenfiddich. This distillery has been winning awards for many years and has been family run since 1887.

The distillation process and recipes have been handed down to each generation to keep producing the best quality Scotch.

Glenfiddich use American and Spanish oak casks to age their whisky, and this one has been maturing for 15 years. It has a smoky flavour, but with a little water added you will pick up a softer fruitier flavour come through.

Packed in its distinctive tube, anyone would appreciate this as a gift, or why not enjoy it yourself?

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Single malt
  • Matured for 15 years
  • Multi Award winning whisky

Verdict

Another award winning Single Malt from Glenfiddich, it has been matured for 15 years in oak casks. With a smoky, spicy flavour, serve it neat or with ice for a rich taste experience.

3. Laphroaig 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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From the Isle of Islay comes this Single Malt from Laphroaig.

The process for distilling this whisky has not changed for over 75 years, so it is guaranteed to have the same smooth flavour it has always had.

The barley is malted over a peat fire, giving it a wonderful rich flavour, which is associated with the Isle of Islay, before being aged for 10 years.

The flavours mix together, starting with a smoky flavour and blending to a rich sweetness. It’s no surprise that this whisky won Gold in the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Award and also the 2019 SIP Awards silver.

In an elegant presentation box, this makes a great gift for yourself, or why not give it to someone for a birthday or thank you?

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Single malt
  • Matured for 10 years
  • Brewed using traditional methods

Verdict

Laphroaig have been making whisky since 1815 and they still use traditional methods to make the best whisky. The combination of smoky flavour and sweet taste will appeal to anyone.

4. Balvenie Double Wood 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky

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Balvenie are another long-established whisky distiller, and they were founded in 1892. They still use many old, traditional methods to age and flavour the whisky.

The journey for this 12 year old malt starts in the Balvenie farm. They grow their own barley which is then malted over peat. When the whisky has been distilled it is first placed in an oak whisky cask, and then transferred to a European oak sherry cask.

The first brings out a wonderful taste of spicy vanilla, while the second cask gives it a fruity, honey flavour.

The distillation process and the combination of flavours gives this whisky a lovely, warming feel. Served on its own or with a little mineral water, it will prove a firm favourite to any lover of fine malt.

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Single malt
  • Matured for 12 years

Verdict

This is a smooth, rich malt whisky for those who already enjoy malts, or anyone who wishes to try one. The distillation process uses only the best barley and the 2 barrel aging process gives it a distinctive taste.

5. Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky

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Chivas Regal use some of the same methods which were used in the 19th century when the Chivas brothers first started making whisky. It’s no surprise that this has won several awards.

This Scotch is a blended whisky with a mix of malt and other grains and it is then matured for 12 years. The resulting flavour is a wonderful mix of apples, vanilla, hazelnut and butterscotch.

The aroma is just as enticing, with tones of herbs, honey, heather and fruits of the orchard.

With such a mix of aroma and taste, why give this away? Just add some ice and soda and sit back and relax.

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Blended whisky
  • Matured for 12 years

Verdict

Chivas Regal know how to create the taste of Scotland and this blended Scotch is no exception. In both taste and aroma, it will give your senses the best mix possible for a smooth and refreshing drink.

6. Bell’s Blended Scotch Whisky

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Bell’s is another name synonymous with Scotch whisky. Arthur Bell first began making whisky in 1825, and the company still distill to his same high standards.

This blend gets its rich flavour from the Blair Athol, which is the home of the Bell’s distillery. It has a mix of herbs, heathers, honey and a smokiness only found in good Scotch. Matured in oak casks, this blend is finished to perfection.

This is a slightly larger bottle and it can be enjoyed on its own with a little ice, or why not try it with cola and lemon to bring out its true flavour?

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 1L
  • Blended whisky
  • Matured in oak casks

Verdict

Bell’s is a well-known and popular brand of whisky. Like many other distillers of Scotch, it has a long history and this shows in the perfect mix of flavours and aromas found in this blend.

7. Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve

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This is another multi award winning whisky from a name renowned for good Scotch. Glenlivet has almost 200 years of experience, so they know how to get the perfect blend for every bottle.

This Reserve Single Malt has been created using many of the methods which were used when the distillery was first built. Everything about this whisky screams quality and that starts with the mountain streams of Speyside, which provide the water.

The casks used for aging are carefully selected from traditionally aged casks to American first-fill oak casks. The combination is a delightful mix which teases the nose with a citrus aroma and pleases the palate with a fruity mix of oranges, pears and toffee apples. The result is a long, pleasing blend of smoothness.

We can’t imagine why you’d want to give this away, but if you do, it has it’s own presentation box.

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Single Malt
  • Matured in oak casks

Verdict

This Founder’s Reserve is everything you would expect from a name like Glenlivet: perfectly aged to bring out all the taste and aromas of Scotland, to give you a refreshing drink every time.

8. Jameson Irish Whiskey

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Our next recommendation takes us to Ireland for this Jameson Irish Whiskey. This whiskey was distilled using a process first introduced by John Jameson in 1780. It is triple distilled which gives it a smoother flavour.

It combines pot still and fine grain whiskies and it is aged in oak casks for at least 4 years. The result is pleasing on the nose, with a floral aroma, which has hints of spicy wood. The taste is spicy and nutty with a hint of vanilla.

Jamesons is a perfect gift, and can be enjoyed with ice, or try it with ginger and lime to appreciate the true flavour.

Key Features
  • Irish whiskey
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Triple distilled
  • Matured in oak casks for at least 4 years

Verdict

Triple distilled and aged in oak casks, this whiskey from Jamesons is smooth and tasty. With a long tradition of making excellent Irish whiskey, this is a bottle you can keep to enjoy, or drink with a friend as a gift.

9. Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky

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Johnnie Walker have created this Blue Label whisky to stand out from all the rest. They have been distilling whisky since 1820 and they use their wealth of experience to create this award winning Master Blend.

They take the best whiskies from all over Scotland and select only those which they know will blend to create this perfect whisky for any connoisseur.

It combines over 30 different malt and grain Scotch whiskies, so you can enjoy the ultimate taste experience. The resulting blend is then aged for 12 years.

As you would expect, the result is rich and warming with smoky overtones, with a touch of fruit and vanilla.

Key Features
  • Scotch Whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Blended Scotch
  • Matured for 12 years

Verdict

This is a wonderful choice for anyone who truly appreciates fine whisky. The blend of different whiskies is perfectly combined to create a taste which is smooth, and a joy to drink.

10. Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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There are so many great whiskies to choose from and our final recommendation is from Glenmorangie. Another distiller with a long history of perfecting Scotch, Glenmorangie has also won awards for their whiskies.

This single malt encapsulates the Highlands of Scotland, and is matured for 12 years in the best bourbon oak casks. The result is a tempting aroma of mandarin, lemon, apple, pear and peaches, with a hint of vanilla ice cream, herbs and wild mint. If that isn’t enough, the taste matches the fragrance and gives you a fruity blend like silk.

Glenmorangie is enjoyed all over the World and you can either treat yourself, or treat someone else.

Key Features
  • Scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV
  • 70cl
  • Single Malt
  • Matured for 10 years

Verdict

With a smooth, fruity taste and aroma, this whisky is one which will be appreciated by anyone. One sip of this and you’ll understand why Glenmorangie is a favourite all over the World.

Buyers Guide: What To Look For

Whisky connoisseurs will already know about the different blends and flavours, but if you’re not sure, or looking for something new, here are the things you should consider.

Grain

Not all whisky uses the same grains and for those who appreciate it, the grain will be one of the deciding factors in trying a new brand. The most commonly used grains are barley, rye and corn, but some use wheat or oats.

Whisky classifications

The first thing to look at is where it’s made, and so how it is classified. There are a few major whisky producing countries in the world and they all have subtle differences. There are also laws about what can be called ‘whisky’ and this is how they are classified.

  • Scotch. This whisky is only made in Scotland, and this type of whisky will have regional variations. There are many islands which are known for their whisky distilleries, such as Islay and Talisker. It is distilled only using malted barley, which is often given its smoky flavour by being malted over peat fires. The whisky is distilled once and then aged in oak casks for at least 3 years.
  • Irish. Irish whisky is distilled in Ireland. It also uses barley but unlike Scotch, it does not have to use barley which has been malted. Malted barley is usually malted over coal and the whisky is distilled 3 times. When it comes to the aging process, the whisky is often moved to different casks as it ages.
  • American Whisky. Many other whiskies come from America and these include rye whisky, which has at least 51% rye and corn whisky, which has at least 80% corn. Corn whisky does not need to be aged, but many distillers leave it in uncharred barrels for 6 months or more.
  • Bourbon originates in Kentucky, and is now produced in other areas of the US. It must be made using at least 51% corn, and straight Bourbon must be aged for at least 2 years in charred white oak barrels
  • Tennessee whisky: Many people think this is the same as Bourbon, but there is a difference. Tennessee whisky uses the same mix as Bourbon, but it gets its different flavour from being filtered through sugar maple charcoal and it is then casked for 4 years or over. This can only be brewed in Tennessee.
  • Canadian whisky. This is not the most popular classification, and it is also known as rye whisky, even though it may not contain any rye. It is often made using multi-grains and then aged in wooden barrels for 3 years.
  • While still not a big name in whisky, Japanese whisky is starting to become more popular. It is often distilled using the same process as Scotch, but there the similarities end. Japanese whisky includes a range of blends, using different stills and mash bills.

There are many other countries who produce whisky, but these are the most common.

Single malt or blend

One of the choices you’ll have is between a single malt or a blended whisky.

  • Single malt: Many whisky drinkers swear you can’t beat a single malt. This is made using 100% malted barley, although it may be from different casks in the same distillery. You may come across a bottle marked as ‘single cask’, and this means it all came from the same cask. These bottles tend to be rare and expensive.
  • Single Grain: Just like a single malt, this comes from one distillery, but instead of using one grain, as the name suggests, it can be made with more then one grain.
  • Blended: Blended whisky also has its fans, and this contains whiskies with a different grain content but usually with 2-3 grains. It also comes from different distilleries.
  • Blended Malt: If you find a ‘blended malt’, then this uses single malts but they won’t come from the same distillery. This is also called a vatted malt or pure malt.

Age

The age of a whisky denotes the length of time it was stored in casks. If the whisky contains whiskies from different casks, then the age is noted as the youngest in the blend.

If the whisky is marked as vintage, this is the year in which the whisky was first put in to a cask.

FAQs

Is there any difference between whisky and whiskey?

There is no difference, other than in the spelling, and where it comes from. To the Scots, it’s whisky, but to the Irish and American it’s whiskey.

The difference comes from the Scottish and Irish translations, but if you see it without an ‘e’, then it’s probably Scotch

What is cask strength whisky?

This is whisky which packs a punch. It is bottled from the barrel, without the addition of water. This means it has a higher ABV, but it also has a much richer flavour. If you try this, it’s best to add some water to it.

What is the ABV of whisky?

By law, Scotch must be a minimum of 40% ABV. Other whiskies usually start at this level, and they can go up to over 70% proof.

Why does the flavour vary?

There are many things which affect the flavour of your whisky.

  • A whisky made with barley will have a different taste to one made with corn or multiple grains.
  • The distiller itself plays a part in flavouring the whisky, including the experience of the distillers and the recipe they use.
  • Where it is situated plays a big part in how casks are weathered and this can add a lot of flavour to your whisky. As the liquid ages in the casks, it absorbs some of the flavours.
  • The malting process also influences the taste. Where the barley is malted over coals, it will have a different taste to barley which is malted over peat.

Is it suitable for vegetarians?

Most whiskies are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Just check the mix carefully to make sure there are no added creams if you’re a vegan.

Is whisky gluten free?

With the use of grains, the assumption would be that no, it’s not, but in fact the opposite is true. The distillation process of the grains removes any gluten from them, so it is safe for anyone who is gluten intolerant.

Conclusion

Many whisky drinkers will tell you not to buy cheaper whiskies, but there are many quality blends at good prices. When you first start to drink whisky, you may find what you want changes as you develop a taste for it, and you start to look for something different.

While the basic distillation process is very similar for many whiskies, look for the subtle difference between them, such as which type of casks they are aged in and how many times they are distilled. You might find you have to try a few bottles before you find your favourite choice, but that’s no bad think is it?

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