The value of Scotch whisky is vastly different from, say, bourbon whiskey. Name recognition for brands that have had deep resonance around the world for (sometimes) centuries is going to influence the price. Moreover, scotch simply costs a lot more to make — thanks to taking longer to age, the use of more expensive grain, and having to buy (and sometimes fight for) barrels made elsewhere.

So when we talk about “value” in scotch, we’re going to look at special aging techniques that may cost more elsewhere, special releases that fly under the radar, and those little distilleries that you might not have ever heard of. To find these underappreciated, undervalued gems, we asked a handful of well-known bartenders and bar professionals to tell us their picks.

Keep scrolling to see their selections so you can add them to your home bar cart.

Springbank 10

Springbank 10
Springbank

Jonas Brewis, bartender at Estiatorio Ornos in Miami

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $80

Why This Whisky?

Springbank 10 is a fantastic value for a spirit of such complexity. I love how the light peat interacts with the bourbon and sherry cask aging. It’s a little smoky, a little fruity, utterly delicious.

I’d compare the quality of Springbank 10 to any of the front-line Macs or Glens.

Caol Ila 12

Caol Ila 12
Caol Ila

Ilan Chartor, bartender at MILA Restaurant in Miami

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $65

Why This Whisky?

Caol Ila 12 is highly undervalued. I’m not saying Caol Ila is cheap, but for how good it is, it could be way more expensive. It’s an Islay scotch, so it has mild peat with heavy white fruit components.

Oban Distiller’s Addition

Oban Distiller’s Addition
Oban

John Dal Canton, assistant general manager, and beverage director at La Stella Cucina Verace in Dallas

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $119

Why This Whisky?

This scotch makes me imagine eating a super buttery caramel while standing next to an old campfire in the salt-laced sea air. I would pay $200 for this bottle any day.

Chivas Mizunara Blended Scotch

Chivas Mizunara
Chivas

Roberto Berdecía, co-founding partner of Puerto Rico Cocktail Week

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $50

Why This Whisky?

The most under-valued bottle of Scotch whisky is Chivas Mizunara. The addition of Japanese wood made me fall in love with the flavors. I’d be willing to pay far above its cost because I recognize that wood is expensive and it is worth paying for a product with that quality.

Kilchoman Machir Bay

Kilchoman Machir Bay
Kilchoman

Nicholas Karel, director of bars, lounges, and beverages at Windsor Court in New Orleans

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $65

Why This Whisky?

For around $60 a bottle, this single malt Islay Scotch employs a unique “farm to bottle” philosophy where everything from growing the grains to distilling to bottling occurs on-site. Lightly peated, this expression named after a well-known beach in Islay, is balanced and layered with citrus, vanilla, and butterscotch notes.

I could see myself easily spending $100 for the depth and flavors found in this bottle.

Highland Park 12

Highland Park 12
Highland Park

Adam Jacobs, lead Bartender at The London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills, California

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $60

Why This Whisky?

Highland Park 12 Year is a steal. This scotch is great for everyone because it doesn’t have those aggressive peaty flavors that scare beginners away. It does have a nice, complex smokiness and a finish of honey and vanilla that can impress even a Scotch connoisseur. Usually, around $50-$70 a bottle, it’s one of the more affordable single malts and my go-to Christmas gift every year.

The Balvenie 12-Year Doublewood

The Balvenie 12-Year Doublewood
The Balvenie

Christopher Rodriguez, lead bartender at Lucy Restaurant & Bar in Yountville, California

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $75

Why This Whisky?

The most under-valued scotch is The Balvenie 12-Year Doublewood. It is extremely smooth and mellow with a spicy finish which makes it easy to drink alone or over some light ice and water. The retail value of the bottle is around $60 but it could easily cost twice as much.

Speyburn 15

Speyburn 15
Speyburn

Anthony Aviles, director of operations at The Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club in Sarasota, Florida

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $60

Why This Whisky?

Speyburn 15 doesn’t get a lot of press or love, but it’s a great sipping scotch, in my opinion. It doesn’t shove a ton of peat at your palate and instead offers up some very palatable complexities of coconut and raisin aromas with a vanilla finish. It’s also a bit more viscous and oilier in mouthfeel, making it a more luscious sipping scotch.

The average price ranges around $60-65 but I’d certainly pay more if asked.

The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch

The Famous Grouse
The Famous Grouse

Emily Lawson, bartender and founder of Pink House Alchemy in Fayetteville, Arkansas

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $23

Why This Whisky?

Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky is one of my favorites to enjoy in a Scotch-based cocktail and is widely undervalued in the U.S. compared to other countries. Its sharp flavor and nose make it the perfect base for mixing, I find that it makes a fantastic Scotch swizzle or penicillin cocktail. Not to mention, it’s very affordable at its $25 price tag.

Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve

Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve
Glenfiddich

Nick Baitzel, beverage director of restaurant group Sojourn Philly in Philadelphia

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $59

Why This Whisky?

Glenfiddich’s 14-year-old Scotch often gets overlooked because of the age designation. I truly believe this is a great scotch to pour for whisky drinkers who may be new to scotch or may not be a fan of the peat flavors. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels, it makes for a great bridge between bourbon and scotch, making it a must-have for bourbon drinkers.

Talisker 10

Talisker 10
Talisker

Matty Carroll, beverage director for The Kitchen Restaurant Group in Boulder, Colorado

ABV: 45.8%

Average Price: $65

Why This Bottle?

I think Talisker 10-Year punches way above its weight class. It’s a lovely, balanced whisky with rich fruity malts, black pepper spice, and just the right amount of smoked peat. My favorite part: A beautiful layer of brine and sea-breeze that lifts it all up.

It retails around $60, drinks more like $80 plus.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch
Monkey Shoulder

Christopher Devern, lead bartender of Red Owl Tavern in Philadelphia

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $35

Why This Whisky?

This Scotch has so much flavor that can be appreciated neat or on the rocks. The price feels right coming in around $30. As a bartender, I find this can be a step up from a few other similarly priced blended scotches. The flavor says enough with butterscotch, cloves, honey, and some dried dark fruit notes. I would suggest this scotch for those who are still building a palate for the spirit and for those that want a superior scotch without spending too much to make craft cocktails with.

I’d be willing to pay $50 for this product for its versatility.

Source: https://uproxx.com/life/most-undervalued-scotch-whiskies-according-to-bartenders/