It’s been a heady few years for Scotch makers, thanks in no small part to the trend of micro-distilleries whipping up artisanal whiskies and marketing them with design schemes of yore. But don’t forget the nation of Scotland from whence this fine brown liquor derived its name. Nor the actual, recently revised statutes (gotta love the UK) ensuring that any bottle produced across one of its islands bearing the words “Scotch Whisky” adhere to strict standards of production and release. It’s all meant to preserve the ritual of mashing up malted barley at a single distillery and aging the fermented yield in oak casks, while distinguishing that tradition from the Western world’s newfangled interpretations.
None of that would mean a hill of grain if the stuff didn’t sooth the palate and warm one’s tummy. Only hurdle for many curious cocktail lovers is the perception that a typical 750-ml bottle of fine Scotch Whisky retails for upwards of $100. In some cases, sure, but we’re here to lift your spirits with the intoxicating news that plenty of tried-and-true iterations from Islay, Speyside, Aberdeenshire and even Glasgow alike can be yours (especially if you know where to look) for around $50 or less.