In a previous post I talked about using sample sets to give yourself an opportunity to taste a variety of whiskies, and train your palate, without having to lay out a huge amount of cash.
But let's say you want to buy a few bottles to keep on hand. Bottles don't have to be hugely expensive to be quite good! I'd like to be able to buy a bottle of The Balvenie PortWood 21, but they go for about $150. I'll do it at some point, but meanwhile, you could buy bottles of all of these for less than that one bottle:
1. Glenfiddich 15 is a very round, well-balanced, and enticing, "more-ish" dram that should appeal to both novices and more advanced tasters who just want something that isn't a peat or spice bomb. Its primary notes are butterscotch and citrus, and it has a great mouth feel and long, appealing finish.
2. McLelland's Single Malt Speyside is a great malt as well, with a number of fruity, creamy notes, like banana and dried fruit, on top of mint, menthol, dark chocolate, and pine -- very light and elegant, more like an Irish whiskey than a Scotch whisky in some ways! (You might try the McLelland's Highland while you're at it, although I rated the Speyside slightly higher).
3. The Tyrconnell, which is an Irish whisky, can be had at nice low price as well. This one is really intriguing, with flavors of shortbread, lime, green apple, and American cheese. It has an amazingly pleasing mouth feel as well.
4. The Singleton of Glendullan goes here for about $36, and it's a well-balanced dram with a lot going on, so I'll include it -- you'll find nice notes of orange, honey, vanilla, sandalwood, and dried fruits.
5. Finally, I enjoyed the Glenfiddich 12 quite a bit, although I did not find it quite as appealing as the 15. It's got butter pecan ice cream going on, and baked apples, as well as interesting floral notes that remind me of baclava made with rosewater.