Some whiskies have a reputation for carrying a hefty price tag, but we know that not every dram needs to break the bank.
We’ve rounded up 10 whiskies that scooped up the medals at our recent blind tastings that cost less than £50 (US$60.40). The perfect bottles for gifting on a budget, or for when you want to treat yourself without flexing the plastic.
Keep scrolling to discover the award-winning bottles from around the world that will give you change from a 50 quid note.
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This Australian whisky took home a Gold medal at our World Whisky Masters 2022 blind tasting, and its toasty caramel and crème brûlée notes make it a real crowd pleaser.
Solera is named after the traditional method the Spanish use to age their Sherry and keep it consistent. A fractional amount of each young cask is blended with more mature spirit, and this technique was the inspiration for making this uniquely bold whisky. It has been aged in Apera barrels, an Aussie fortified wine similar to Sherry, to give it a full and lingering juicy finish.
RRP £44.90 (US$54.36)
Any bottle named as a brand’s ‘house style’ has got to be one to pay attention to. The maturation in ex-Bourbon barrels and the finish in ex-Madeira wine casks really brings out its full gold character – quite fitting considering this Welsh whisky took home a medal of the same colour from our World Whisky Masters 2022 this summer.
Bottled at 46% ABV, it boasts aromas of cream toffee, rich fruit and raisins, with a persistent vanilla sweetness on the finish. It’s lucky this bottle is so affordable because it won’t last long when you have guests over.
RRP £38 (US$45.20)
This Gold medal-winning Irish whiskey is proof that three heads are always better than one.
Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition is the result of a collaboration between Brian Nation, master distiller in Midleton Distillery, Dave Quinn, master of whiskey science in Midleton Distillery, and Franciscan Well founder and head brewer, Shane Long. This triple-distilled Irish whiskey is finished in craft IPA-seasoned barrels. It features the “signature smoothness of Jameson alongside hints of light hops, fresh citrus and floral notes” and makes for the perfect boilermaker.
RRP £24.95 (US$29.68)
In the no-age-statement round of Campbeltown single malts, a Gold medal went straight to this “well-rounded” Glen Scotia Double Cask, with its “nice spiciness and peppery finish”.
The two personalities of the casks used in the ageing of this Scotch – a first-fill Bourbon cask followed by a 12-month finish in PX Sherry casks – make for something pretty special. Sippers can expect the rich and indulgent notes of bonfire night on the palate (we’re talking spicy fruits with toffee and fudge) while fresher summer aromas of apple and peach hit the nose.
RRP £43 (US$51.15)
The Lincoln Lawyer‘s Matthew McConaughey teamed up with Wild Turkey master distiller Eddie Russell to launch this Gold medal winning whiskey, after turning to his Kentucky and Texas roots for inspiration.
This affordable whiskey is made with a proprietary process that combines two separate charcoal filtration methods. The first uses charcoal made from American white oak, while the second uses charcoal made from Texas mesquite wood, giving the Bourbon notes of smoky sweetness alongside flavours of caramel, pear, and hints of citrus, followed by a subtle, smoky finish.
And yes, it’s a bit of alright alright alright.
RRP £34.45 (US$40.98)
Teeling Whiskey Company’s Small Batch offering was lauded for its “lovely cocoa finish with a touch of cedar wood” by one of the judges in our Irish Whiskey Masters 2022, who added that the expression had an “underlying malty sweetness, which was really wonderful”. The whiskey is finished in rum casks for added spice, and bottled at 46% ABV without chill-filtration.
This spirit secured a Gold medal in the Blended – Premium category, and it tastes great neat or in a rich Irish Coffee. Nightcap anyone?
RRP £34 (US$40.44)
Predominantly aged in Sherry-seasoned European and American oak casks, the Highland Park 12 Years Old was praised for its “touches of almond and spice” in our Scotch Whisky Masters 2022.
Hailing from the island of Orkney, this Scotch boasts spices that pair well with winter, so expect waves of smoky honey and rich fruitcake. There’s an intense maltiness to this dram which hovers on the palate before giving way to the smokiness.
RRP £31.50 (US$49.36)
Nurtured in a trio American and European oak Sherry-seasoned casks and Bourbon barrels, this premium whisky offers a mellow profile packed with sweet notes of ginger cake, candied oranges and dark chocolate.
Complexity and classiness are key with this 2021 expression. The three casks have worked in harmony to create a liquid that can be enjoyed at leisure, having elevated the fruity style of the Highland distillery’s new make spirit that sits at the core of the brand’s portfolio.
RRP £47 (US$55.91)
It likely won’t come as a surprise to hear that this bottle is packed with fresh aromas of red and green apples, but perhaps the lingering notes of “sweet red fruits and a gingery finish” picked up by our judges might raise an eyebrow or two. Yes, this bottle embodies all the warming, fruity characteristics of an autumn pie, with hints of buttery pastry on the palate and a rich golden syrup edge.
This no-age-statement blend features whiskies from the likes of Clynelish, Linkwood, and Benrinnes distilleries, which were all sourced as new make spirit and combined in Compass Box’s own casks. The result is a 46% ABV whiskey that is a must-have bottle for any casual drinker.
RRP £42 (US$49.96)
This original Tennessee Straight Small Batch Whiskey is a great bottle to take to a barbecue, and offers all the flavours of an all-American fairground – we picked up notes of toffee apple, banana fritters and popcorn, and it was definitely the kind of ride we want to go on again and again.
This Gold medal winner is as eccentric as the man who created it (you’ll find his portrait on the front of the bottle) and stirs down brilliantly into a characterful Manhattan, or built up in to the brand’s signature Rackhouse Lemonade which comprises 45ml Daddy Rack, 20ml crème de pêche, 15ml lemon juice and 90ml Fever Tree lemonade.
RRP £35.95 (US$41.76)