Whisky can be one of the most expensive spirit categories around. We’ve all seen the headlines and publicity that explode when a bottle of rare Macallan Scotch fetches hundreds of thousands of pounds at an auction. But as most whisky experts know, price doesn’t always mean value. Lots of expensive whiskies get bought up by investors, stored in a dusty collection, and don’t even get tasted! Here at The Dram Team, we think whisky is for drinking. That’s why our mission is to bring truly great, unique whiskies to our members every month so you can taste, explore and learn more about the drams inside. So, we’ve put together a shortlist of the best whiskies you can buy for under £50 that are great value for money.
Our members know that each month we select interesting, unusual whiskies that you’ll be unlikely to find in your local supermarket. Did you know that since we started, we’ve now sent out over 150 different whiskies to our club members (and tried a fair few more under the banner of “professional research”)?
Some of the whiskies on this list you might know already, but hopefully you’ll also discover some new favourites along the way as well. We’re also going to be doing a series of reviews, for the first time on the Dram Team blog, all dedicated to the best affordable whiskies under £50. By no means an exhaustive list, this is a great starting point to discover some new additions to your whisky shelf without breaking the bank, as with our monthly tasting boxes.
Speyside is not often known for peated whiskies, but BenRiach are one distillery bucking the trend in a delightful way. Their 10-year-old Curiositas is wonderfully fragrant, full of grassy, heathery flavours and ripe stone fruit, while the peat sneaks through in the background with a bright, mossy, woody aroma. If you’re on the fence about peated whiskies, we highly recommend you try this.
Another Speysider joins the list, this time along much more traditional lines. Tomintoul’s 12 Year Old is finished in Oloroso sherry casks, giving it wonderful palate of sweetened dried fruits, toasty spice and heady cereal. A lick of honey on the finish pulls it all together. It’s a refined, classy dram, and excellent value for money. Unlike other 12 year old Speysiders, this whisky offers full, rich flavours for under £50. If you want to know more about why so many great Scotch whiskies are aged in sherry casks, our recent blog post will tell you all you need to know.
For fans of subtle, sweet whiskies, Chivas Regal’s blends are sure to satisfy. Their Mizunara release retains the delicate fruitiness and caramel richness of their classic whisky flavour profile and adds just a hint of spice. Notes of black tea and barrel char come through here thanks to the addition of Japanese oak (Mizunara) in the maturation process. Mizunara is difficult to work with, so mizunara-aged whiskies are usually very expensive. Chivas Regal’s edition is one of the few that you can try for under £50.
Syndicate 58/6 was born when 10 casks of a rare blend of fine Scotch whiskies were discovered in a bonder’s warehouse in 1958. It took 6 people (all close friends) to bring this whisky back from the forgotten corner of the warehouse. Today this whisky is created by ageing 18 single malts and 4 grain whiskies in a solera system, so it should contain a drop of that original 1958 whisky too. The blended whisky is then further aged for one year in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. Besides having a really cool origin story involving lost whisky and good friends, it’s also delicious. Expect bright fresh fruits like mangoes, ripe apple and sweet orange marmalade.
One of the most well known of the Island malts, Highland Park 12 Year Old is notable for its use of Orcadian peat. The resulting whisky is full of briny, heathery smoke. It has a malty, honey-sweet backbone laden with fresh tropical fruits and juicy citrus. Highland Park’s whiskies offer a great value-for-money entry into the world of peated whisky.
We think these drams are a strong place to start if you’re looking for a good quality, affordable whisky. Watch out for the first full review in the “Whisky Under £50” series.
If you want to try more great whiskies without forking over loads of money to taste them, join our whisky tasting club today. Every month we curate out-of-the-ordinary whisky tastings and deliver them right to your door. That means you can taste and discover your new favourite whisky from the comfort of your own home.
Whether you’re a curious newcomer or a seasoned professional, we’re the best way to explore everything the world of whisky has to offer.
Or, you can give a gift to the whisky lover in your life.
We also write regular emails to our members, which is the best way to stay informed on upcoming subscription boxes, plus loads of other must-read whisky info. You can get on the list by signing up here.