The Best Blended Scotch Brands For An Everyday Dram

by
February 20, 2020

Limited edition bourbons, Japanese whiskies, and single malt scotches tend to get all of the press these days. Meanwhile, bottles of reliable scotch blends get relegated to the bottom shelf. But, we can’t all drink like kings on a daily basis. For a daily dram, it’s hard to top the value these scotch blends bring to the table. Here are a few we feel pass muster for an everyday dram. These are our picks for the best blended Scotch whiskies that won’t break the bank.

Dewar’s White Label

Dewar’s was started by John Dewar Sr, a wine & spirits merchant, but the company really got going by his sons, John Alexander and Tommy. White Label is comprised of over 40 different malt and grain whiskies and was created by their first Master Blender, A. J. Cameron in 1899.

Best Blended Scotch: Dewar’s White LabelDewar’s White Label / Photo Credit: Dewar’s

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Sweet & Fruity
Distiller Score: 84

Famous Grouse

The Famous Grouse was started the same way most blended Scotch whiskies were started—by wine and spirits merchants. They would create their own blends to sell to their customers and the most popular ones have withstood the test of time. Famous Grouse was created by Matthew Gloag in 1896 and the bottle still bears his signature. The Edrington Group owns this brand now, along with Highland Park and The Macallan.

Best Blended Scotch: Famous GrouseFamous Grouse / Photo Credit: Famous Grouse

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Fruity & Sweet
Distiller Score: 85

Black Bottle Blended Scotch

Black Bottle is a brand that has been around since the late 1800s. It was originally a product brought to market by brothers Charles, David and Gordon Graham in Aberdeen, Scotland. As expert tea blenders, they decided to turn their skills into blending whisky, which they released in a special bottle made with black glass from Germany. The product has had many incarnations since then, even changing package design, but is now under the leadership of distiller Ian MacMillan, who has revisited a recipe similar to the original, using Islay malts in the blend.

Best Blended Scotch: Black Bottle Blended ScotchBlack Bottle Blended Scotch / Photo Credit: Black Bottle

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Rich & Full Bodied
Distiller Score: 87

Chivas Regal 12 Year

Chivas Regal is a brand of blended Scotch whisky from Chivas Brothers which launched a 25-year-old blend as its first product back in 1909. Just after Prohibition in 1938, the brand launched its 12 Year Blended Scotch upon returning to the market. Today, Strathisla Distillery is at the heart of the Chivas Regal blend. Colin Scott has been its master blender since 1989.

Best Blended Scotch: Chivas Regal 12 YearChivas Regal 12 Year / Photo Credit: Chivas

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Fruity & Tart
Distiller Score: 82

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Created in 1820 under the name “Old Special Highland Whisky”, Johnnie Walker Black was so named in 1909 as the brand’s customers had started to order bottles by the color on the label. Composed of a blend from over three dozen distilleries, the malts in the whisky are largely comprised of peated distillery whiskies such as Talisker and Lagavulin but also the unsung hero Cardhu.

Best Blended Scotch: Johnnie Walker Black LabelJohnnie Walker Black Label / Photo Credit: Johnnie Walker

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Vanilla & Sweet
Distiller Score: 84

Dimple Pinch 15 Year

Originally known as Haig & Haig, and alternately now as Dimple or Pinch, depending on your country, this blend is named for the unique shape of the bottle. It was also the preferred whisky of Felix Leiter, James Bond’s best friend in the Ian Fleming books.

Best Blended Scotch: Dimple Pinch 15 YearDimple Pinch 15 Year

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Vanilla & Sweet
Distiller Score: 83

Ballantine’s Finest

Ballantine’s Finest dates back to 1910 and is the brand’s oldest recipe in its current portfolio. It is blended using 40 different malt and grain whiskies from four different scotch regions. Sandy Hyslop has been Ballantine’s master blender since 2005.

Best Blended Scotch: Ballantine’s FinestBallantine’s Finest / Photo Credit: Ballantine’s

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Smoky & Vanilla
Distiller Score: 84

J & B Rare Blended Scotch

J & B is another blend that began through wine and spirits merchants. The “J” stands for “Justerini”, an Italian who had followed his heart to London and subsequently became a wine & liquor merchant. The “B” refers to “Brooks” who purchased the business a few generations later. The blend as we know it today came about in the 1930s, just after the end of Prohibition.

Best Blended Scotch: J & B Rare Blended ScotchJ & B Rare Blended Scotch / Photo Credit: J&B

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Fruity & Tart
Distiller Score: 84

Buchanan’s De Luxe 12 Year

Buchanan’s blended whiskies are a great place to start if you are just building your relationship with scotch. Canadian born James Buchanan first created Buchanan’s to fill a niche for affordable entry level scotches. Notably, the brand has since become known for its strong acclaim in South America with some of its largest markets in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

Best Blended Scotch: Buchanan’s De Luxe 12 YearBuchanan’s De Luxe 12 Year / Photo Credit: Buchanan’s

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Fruity & Sweet
Distiller Score: 81

Cutty Sark

Launched in the midst of Prohibition, this blend was created to provide a lighter whisky, both in color and in taste, to better suit wine drinkers, which it did to great success. Cutty Sark is named after the world’s fastest ship at the time, a tea clipper—itself named after a young witch character in a poem written by celebrated poet and Scotsman, Robert Burns.

Cutty SarkCutty Sark / Photo Credit: Cutty Sark

ABV: 40%
Flavor Profile: Tart & Fruity
Distiller Score: 82


You can’t go wrong with any of the whiskies in this list. What’s your pick for the best blended Scotch?

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