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Binny’s Mailbag: Great, Affordable Scotch


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   I was just reading The Whiskey Hotline on your website. Very interesting.

   A few weeks ago, I had my first experience with Scotch. Ive classically avoided the darker liquors ever since my bachelor party, oh so many years ago. (but thats a whole other story)

   Heres my problem. I had a friend come in from out of town, and he insisted that I hadnt given Scotch a fair chance. He told me to locate a very specific bottle, which you luckily had one bottle left at your South Loop location; Classic Cask 35 Year Old Blended Scotch.

   I loved it! It wasnt at all what I was expecting. It didnt have the harshness that I remember. It was caramel on the nose and the palate. Oak and a little smoke too. It was a lot smoother than I thought it would be. Delicious.

   The real problem? That bottle is pretty expensive. $299.99Thats okay for a special occasion here and there, but Id really like to find something similar thats not so pricey.

   Do you ever have Scotch tastings? Or, do you have any suggestions for something similar? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

- JW


Hi JW,

   Thanks for checking out The Whisky Hotline! Watch for another update soon.

If you’re looking for something with a smoky and sweet balance, be sure to check out some Highland Park and Talisker offerings. Talisker is the smokier of the two, but is balanced by a lot of honey and some brine. Highland Park picks up a more spicy character from the peat, and is predominantly sherry aged so it has a rich and full front with a mildly smoky and spicy finish.

Highland Park 18 Year is a bargain for the price, with younger expressions starting under $50 and going up from there. The base Talisker is a 10 Year Old at sixty bucks, and an exceptional 18 Year Old is sometimes available for eighty.

Our largest and best Scotch event – Binny’s World of Whiskey – is held in early April each year. Keep an eye on our blog for info as the date nears.

Hope this helps! Cheers,

Binny’s Mailbag

5 thoughts on “Binny’s Mailbag: Great, Affordable Scotch

  1. Scotch comes in malts and blends. Awesome single malts start at $30 and sort of go up from there. I find Talisker a bit overpriced these days (a sad truth about the Diageo Classic Malts line generally; plus you may want to make sure you actually like peat first), but the Highland Parks are all certainly worth the educational experience. Although I would add that, IMHO, the best place to go to start learning malts is the Highlands. The Clynelish 14 and Pulteney 12 are both hugely complex and very balanced, real bargains for their prices, and the Ardmore Traditional has a sizable dollop of peat without slapping you around too much in either intensity or price.I know the Binnys folks didn’t recommend any blends in their lineup (weirdly, since Classic Cask is a blend), but they’re worth checking out too. For daily drams beyond the Walkers, have a go at Black Bottle and Teachers (both dry and a little smoky), Hankey Bannister (off-dry, creamy, and herbal), and (for sweeter stuff) Scottish Leader and Dewars 12. There are a lot more out there worth checking out in the $15-25 range, but those are the ones that spring to mind. Expensive blends are a little harder. Maybe the Black Bull 12? Sheep Dip, if any’s still around?

  2. I am not the world best authority on. Scotch as in the grand scheme of things I have not tasted much but I honestly can highly recommend The Macallan Traditional 12, 18 and 25 year… they are more costly than their counterparts but it is worth it. Macallan has a smooth Sherry taste to it. (12 yr is $50 at Binnys)If you want something with a bit more smoke to it Glen Fiddich cannot be beat and is cheaper still (12 yr is $40 I believe).When the above two were put next to Glen Livet, Dalmore and Balvenie the Macallan was #1 with the Fiddich a close second.

  3. For the value and quality I do not think you can find a better deal in Single Malt than Tomatin. A big rich beautiful 25 year old for $99. Their 30 year, which is finished in Sherry barrels, is under $250. And for the everyday options, their 18 year is a steal at $54.99. Well worth a try!

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