A few decades ago, the rising popularity (and limited availability) of single-malt scotch meant that buying a few test bottles was a pricey experiment few of us could afford. It was nearly impossible to take home a good one for less than $200, placing bottles of scotch in the upper echelons of salary-bonus options and truly rare holiday treats. Fortunate for us brown-spirit lovers, a splintered artisanal whiskey world – which includes everything from bourbon and rye to Irish and Japanese whisky – has brought prices back down where they belong, so you can afford to be choosy and have a few on rotation. Behold: Our favorite single malts for less than $100.
Highland Park 15-year single malt
Region: Islands, Orkney
In a way, Highland Park is in a category of its own. It's produced on Orkney island, which means it falls under scotch whisky's Islands rubric, but, really, this is a misnomer for the 15-year, since it's more akin to a Lowland: peaty but fresh, clean and easy to drink. [$77; highlandpark.co.uk]
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco