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Best weeknight whiskies

There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to buying a decent bottle of whisky, if you search wisely, there are all sorts of affordable gems to discover. 

The quality of a whisky isn’t all about its price tag, where it comes from, or whether it resides on the top or bottom shelf on the back bar. Cast the net a little wider when you browse rather than loosening the purse strings and you might well find some new favourites. We’re going to explore a few ways to find a good deal.

Knockdhu distillery, great whisky, not so well-known

Here are the best weeknight whiskies

Lesser-known distilleries

There are almost 150 whisky distilleries in Scotland, with plenty of big names like Macallan, Lagavulin, and Talisker that are extremely well known. However, there are many lesser-known distilleries to explore too. With a majority of their output destined for blends, many of these distilleries take up far less space in the single malt market and have less need to push a single malt brand. That isn’t to say they don’t produce them though, and this is where to look if you want a single malt Scotch at a refreshingly modest price. From the Diageo stable alone we could recommend Clynelish, Dailuaine, and Benrinnes. Other names that came up round the Master of Malt discussion table are Tamdhu, anCnoc, and GlenAllachie. Of course, on occasion, hidden gems like these get discovered by the masses, and the bargains come to an end, so let’s keep all of this between ourselves. 

Talisker 10 – famously great value

Flagship bottlings

If you do want to stick with the bigger names, don’t be afraid to go for choices that might feel a bit obvious – these can often be the best place to start. Many distilleries offer a whole portfolio spanning a range of age statements, styles, and of course, price points. Yes, you’re going to see premium offerings at the top end of the list, housed in crystal decanters and mahogany cases, but start at the other end and you’ll find the introductory flagship expressions, created to showcase the distillery’s house style. Think about it – they’re not just bottling up all their unwanted leftovers here, they want to impress you, they want to draw you in, to invest in their style and come back for more. They want you to become such a veteran loyal fan that when the day comes that you get married/retire/celebrate a special anniversary/win the lottery, you might well come back for that crystal decanter. What I’m trying to say is that they don’t skimp on quality with these introductory bottlings. Talisker 18 might be a luxury buy these days, but the standard Talisker 10 Year Old is still affordable, and much more easygoing as a quality everyday sipper. It’s a similar story with Ardbeg 10, Caol Ila 12, and Glenfarclas 10 Year Old. They’re all great whiskies and just because they are famous, doesn’t mean that they don’t offer good value. 

Branded whiskies

There are plenty of brands out there bottling up single malts that focus on flavour profile, rather than the whisky’s exact point of origin. These are an ideal way to get bang for buck if you know what you like from a drinking perspective. Wormtub whisky can’t go unmentioned here, a firm favourite here at MoM Towers, it’s a robust and characterful single malt with bold, meaty malt at its core that has proven very popular out there in the wide world of whisky drinkers. 

You can’t go wrong with Johnnie Walker Black Label

Blended whisky

Blended whisky is generally cheaper because it contains grain whisky, which is much cheaper to produce. People can be a bit sniffy over blends, and honestly, they’re missing out because you get a lot of flavour per pound from a blended whisky compared to malt. You’ve got the big names like Johnnie Walker Black Label, and smaller producers like Black Bottle with its brilliantly smoky range. You’ll also do well by exploring Irish blends, with interesting finds like The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Whiskey, and Powers Gold Label Distiller’s Cut that are complex enough for sipping neat, while also being versatile and affordable for mixing. 

Independent bottlers 

Independent bottlings can offer a great opportunity to try a variety of age statements and cask finishes from all manner of distilleries. If you take a similar approach to the above advice on under-the-radar distilleries, look at different countries than just Scotland, grains as well as malts, and also check out bottles from undisclosed distilleries you’ll find some real gems and pretty pleasing prices for what you’re getting. There’s plenty of Scotch to explore from big names like Signatory and Douglas Laing, like this 14-year old grain whisky from North British, and this 10-year-old Tomatin. There are smaller names in the game worth exploring also, like the aptly named Weeknight Whisky collection featuring single malts from both Islay and Speyside, and by keeping the names of the distilleries undisclosed, they’re able to keep those prices more approachable too. Of course, there are some cracking finds in our exclusive Master of Malt collection too, how about a three-year-old Finnish single malt, or a wheated bourbon from Indiana?

Buffalo Trace – a great favourite here at Master of Malt

Head to North America

That Indiana bourbon brings us nicely to the point of American whiskey, and the quality you get in bourbon for the price of a fairly ordinary single malt is remarkable. You’ll generally find high quality from all the leading brands so there are plenty to explore, but names like Buffalo Trace and Four Roses Small Batch are a great place to start. 

Deals deals deals 

Keep an eye out for special offers and promotions! Discounts and sales might make the difference between a bottle ticking the “affordable everyday” box or not, and you can also save with multi-buy offers that work out cheaper overall than buying bottles individually. We have all sorts of deals and special offers, compiled on this handy page right here

There we have it, some tips to inspire your next order, that’ll hopefully turn up some new favourites without the eye-watering price tags. 

Five affordable whiskies, picked by Master of Malt

Black Bottle Andean Oak – Alchemy Series

The Black Bottle collection features a host of impressive blended Scotch whiskies, with a particularly smoky profile. It’s Alchemy Series takes things a step further, introducing experimental elements to the production, like this expression that was treated to a finish in Andean oak casks, quite possibly a first in the world of whisky. Andean oak imparts a similar character to American oak, but with more tannins and spice that elevate the creamy, smooth grain whiskies of the blend.

The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Whiskey

Hailing from the Royal Oak Distillery in Co. Carlow, Ireland, The Busker combines a blend of Irish single grain, single malt, and single pot still whiskey. This edition was treated to a finish in three different cask types – bourbon, Marsala wine, and sherry resulting in a charactrful, well rounded expression that is equally good sipped neat as it topped up with ginger ale, or mixed in a cocktail. 

Weeknight Whisky Speyside 8 Year Old

Created to be a reliable regular sipper that single malt fans can enjoy without the worry that it’s too special for a Tuesday afternoon. This is a solid Speyside single malt, matured for eight years and boasting plenty of tasty sherried notes alongside the chocolatey malt and honeyed orchard fruits at its core. 

Finnish Single Malt 3 Year Old 2016 (Master of Malt) 

This single malt hails from a mystery distillery in Finland, not something you see every day! Distilled in 2016, it matured for three years in a bourbon barrel that we cracked open to release a total of 458 bottles. It’s a delicate sipper, with elegant soft stone fruits and honey alongside buttery fruit pastries and vibrant oak. 

Buffalo Trace Whiskey

Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace distillery is a legendary producer, making some of the most revered, and in some cases, rare and collectable bourbons on the market. Thankfully, it also has a portfolio of readily available releases, like its classic flagship bourbon. Made from a combo of corn, rye, and malted barley, this is a “straight” bourbon, indicating it’s matured for at least two years, and it’s packed with classic notes of vanilla, oak char, toffee apple, and sweet spice. 

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