In each issue of Whisky Advocate, the editors select three great value bottles: whiskies with solid scores, modest prices, and wide availability. For the Winter 2019 issue, two scotches—a blend and a single malt—plus a straight wheat whiskey met the criteria for Best Values.
For all whiskies reviewed in the Winter 2019 issue, check out the full Buying Guide.
Best Bang for Buck Whiskies: Winter 2019
Dewar’s 8 year old Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask-Finished Blended Scotch
90 points, 40% ABV, $22
A delicious dram with a sunny disposition, this drums out aromas of butter biscuits, raisins, vanilla sugar, cane honey, and abundant tropical fruit notes of guava and papaya. It’s a light and nimble blend that weaves through white chocolate, biscuit notes, chewy granola bar, apricot, and mandarin. Spices rattle around a fruit core on the finish. Rum powerhouse Bacardi acquired Dewar’s in 1998; they should have done this years ago. —Jonny McCormick
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Straight Wheat Whiskey (Batch 0037)
88 points, 45.2% ABV, $35
The loveliest qualities of wheat grain are present in this delicate whiskey. It starts off with banana-nut muffin, orange Creamsicle, toasted wood, lemongrass, and bubble gum on the nose. The palate has a simplicity that’s well-executed: orange oil, toasted Popsicle stick, roasted nuts, and a full complement of oak spices. It finishes clean and satisfying, with chocolate, cinnamon, white pepper, and pecans. The definition of easy-drinking. —Susannah Skiver Barton
Auchentoshan 12 year old
87 points, 40% ABV, $48
This staple bottling is aged primarily in bourbon barrels, along with a modest portion from sherry casks. The nose yields tropical fruit, hazelnuts, caramelized sugar, and cereal notes. On the palate there’s barley, vanilla, coconut milk, a hint of sherry, light oak, and ginger. The medium-length finish offers black tea and black pepper. An ideal stepping-stone from bourbon to single malt scotch. —Gavin Smith