Top 10 Bang For The Buck Whiskies

After posting hundreds of ratings for all kinds of whisky I thought it would be a good idea to sum up the whiskies that in my opinion have the best ratio between price and value.

In my ratings I already give hints about the value for your money using a line of dollar signs. To create this Bang for the Buck ranking I picked some widely available whiskies that please your palate without hurting your wallet too much. Ranks 7 to 10 are basically on par, their order is random.

Of course your local retail prices may differ which can lead to a shift in ranking. But as this list is entirely subjective anyway, I don’t see a problem with this.

1. Bruichladdich Laddie Ten

Price: ~€35 – Rating: 90

The first 10 yo single malt entirely produced by the new owners of the distillery, a damn good straightforward whisky of the unpeated kind.

 

2. Readbreast 12

Price: ~€35 – Rating: 89

A very high quality Irish pure potstill whiskey. Rich, creamy, fruity, sweet and utterly delightful – about the best that Ireland has to offer.

3. Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Price: ~€40 – Rating: 90

The best value you can get for a peated Islay whisky. The final maturation in small quarter casks gives it an unrivaled complexity.

4. Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength

Price: ~€45 – Rating: 91

Laphroag has managed to secure another top position. And with its uncompromising character the CS really is an Islay whisky par excellence!

5. Elijah Craig 12 yo

Price: ~€30 – Rating: 85

An excellent bourbon whiskey for a very attractive price. Not always easy to find in Europe but not impossible.

6. Glendronach Revival 15 yo

Price: ~€50 – Rating: 89

A full-bodied sherry monster of a whisky that revives the old tradition of Glendronach distillery. Very dry and very complex.

7. Glenfarclas 17 yo

Price: ~€50 – Rating: 88

A premium sherried whisky with a strong fruity aroma. It might by a bit difficult to find in shops because it is mostly restricted to Duty Free / Travel value.

8. Springbank 10 yo

Price: ~€40 – Rating: 86

The glory of Campbeltown lives on in this standard bottling. Maritime, complex and highly enjoyable.

9. Connemara Cask Strength

Price: ~€40 – Rating: 86

The unusual peated Irish single malt from Cooley is sold at a very competitive price. It is quite different from its Islay cousins but very fine nonetheless.

10. Bowmore Enigma 12 yo

Price: ~€40 – Rating: 86

My favourite malt at the lower end of the Bowmore product range. Some sherry influence makes this a very complex and enjoyable Islay whisky.

Price: ~€40 – Rating: 86

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan August 22, 2011 at 2:15 am

It’s fascinating the price differences that people pay in different regions. What stands out to me most of all is the price difference of bourbon between the USA and Europe. In the US, we pay approximately the same prices for most single malts as Europeans (for example, if I go onto a UK based whisky dealer’s website, and convert Pounds to US dollars), yet we pay significantly less for bourbon than you do. We get Elijah Craig 12 year for less than half the price of Laphroaig Quarter Cask ($20 vs. $50). Do you think that you would have more bourbons in the list if you payed US prices for them? I think it’s a trade-off because there is less range of flavor across bourbons than there is across single malt whisky, so you may not have too many new spaces for bourbon.

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Oliver Klimek August 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Of course my value assessments are based on European prices. I frankly don’t know enough about the US prices to take this into account.

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Michael May 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Where is Glenfarclas 15? :-)
Better than the 17-yo imho…

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Oliver Klimek May 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I preferred the 17. Your mileage may vary of course

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William Gemmell October 28, 2012 at 6:06 am

Great “Bang for the Buck” list. Glendronach 15 Year Revival is getting to be a little pricey here in America, so that one tends to slip off of my BFB list, but only due to cost; it’s definitely a great Whisky!
The Laddie 10, Glenfarclas 17, and Laphroaig QC are great for the price as well. I would probably have to throw in Ardbeg Uigeadail to the list, maybe in replace of the Glenfarclas, but again, only due to price.
Cheers!
Wm

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politicalidiot December 11, 2012 at 5:57 am

Nice list, but I’ll add one…I get to buy Lagavulin 16 YO for €41 in my part of the world. For that price there is no question is is a top value.

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Johnny Berggreen February 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

Great list you’ve compiled there. tasted almost all of them, and agree with you, that there is a lot of fantastic whisky to be had for decent prices there.

been looking to branch out into bourbons, so I’m gonna give that Elijah Craig 12 a spin, along with a Blanton Gold I think.

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Emmett Hossack May 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Great list. One that has recently moved up on my top 10 list is Glen Garioch Founders Reserve. Can buy it in Ontario for $52.

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David June 28, 2013 at 12:18 am

what about Bladnoch. with the new owner creating a 10 year old product, craft-bottling at 55% with no caramel and no chill-filtration, and selling it for 40 GBP, that’s a BIG BANG for your buck.

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Luke August 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Nice list Oliver. Elijah Craig is one of my favourite bourbons, it’s great value for the price. I’m also a big fan of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask – one of their best whiskies in my opinion.

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Stuart McLaughlin November 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Very pleased to see Bowmore Enigma on this list.

Picked it up at the airport on a whim and love it – very good value. Need to try some of the others in the list too.

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Yori February 22, 2014 at 11:22 am

The Bowmore Enigma is a surprise entry for me, but an excellent one – much better than the Legend and the Surf, both similarly priced at TR shops. I second the motion for Uigeadail at $55 in some US shops.

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Martyn June 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I’m surprised that there is no Aberlour A’bunadh on the list..it will Knockout half of the pretenders on the list.

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Yori June 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm

The Connemara surprizes me – I think there should be a BenRiach there instead – many under €40!
I recently tried the Aromaticus Fumosis (Rum finish) and it was very special. Recently got the 15yo Dark Rum Finish which I expect to be even better for $65 (under €50). The have so many (almost every release is a limited edition…), but it is becoming a distillery I really like and would get to know better over the upcoming years (it’s a long journey…).
Thanks for the interesting post!

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Emmett Hossack June 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Is it time for a revised list? Was able last September to buy a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail in New Hampshire for $65.

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Oliver Klimek June 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

Things may well have changed a bit over the years, so I might need to give this list a thorough look. But $65 for an Uigedail is a price that is difficult to find anywhere else.

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Yori June 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

In the US Uigeadail for as low as $55, making it excellent value, but the list neads an update because some are discontinued (though still available) such as Laddie 10 and Bowmore Enigma. For the highest value I believe you should be under $80/€60, as above that, although ultimate quality rises, VPM decreases (IMHO). I would consider looking at BenRiach, Glenmorangie, Highland Park to enter the list, or make a list of top 5-8 and another 10-15 that are close behind… At the end of the day its personal. For me, the current ruler of this list is Laphroaig CS, followed closely by QC…

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Dave November 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Ardbeg Uigeadail is $125 in AUD in Australia, which is approx $106USD.

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Jim August 5, 2014 at 9:48 am

Glenrothes Select Reserve – £35 per bottle, cannot be beaten for the money. I’d love to know where you’re getting Glenfarclas 17 for €50… it’s £100 in the UK!

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Oliver Klimek August 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Prices have gone up quite a bit. I agree this list needs an update.

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