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LCBO - cheapo scotch

Heya, so I've had a look at the two posts below

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595361
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/582005

But I'd like a value-oriented scotch. Primary purpose is to fill my (slightly crushed) hip flask.

Have been drinking JW Red, but feel I deserve better. (and it's always nice to try something new

)

Any advice?

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  1. If you state a budget, that would help. One person's "cheap" might not be the same as yours.

    You can get quality in the $50 range, Balvenie 10 yr old is a good example. Mccleland is a single malt that's only $30, the flavour isn't that complex though.

    1. Agree with aser. Need a budget. When I read "cheap Scotch", the first thing that popped up was LCBO blend. It's a hit and miss but sometimes very good. Also do you like blend, single, light etc......

      1. The best cheap scotch I know is Famous Grouse. Blended, but from great sources. Less than $30 for 750ml. It's very smooth, and I don't feel like I'm slumming it when I pour a shot.

        Next up is Te Bheag. Less than $40. More complicated than the Grouse. Also, it's "unchillfiltered", which to me means it gets cloudy sometimes.

        Enjoy.

        1. Acnoc 12 - Single malt and it goes for $65 a bottle. Really smooth, fruity and nutty. Not peaty. And compared to the Dalwhinnies, Balvinie and Mclellands it's a good price.

          That said, if you are putting it into a flask, I suggest you stay away from single malts as the stainless is going to taint the flavor.

          Stick with the blended scotches which tend to be cheaper. Although Aberlour is a great, cheap, SM scotch. $35 a bottle. And you don't feel guilty getting blind drunk off of it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: goodcookiedrift

            For value, I like "William Grant's Family Reserve". I actually prefer it to say, Johnnie Walker Red, and it's much cheaper.

          2. Weird.. so my reply disappeared.

            My budget is as small as possible - this is not a slow sipping plan, but rather a swigging brutishly plan.

            The flask is pewter - not sure if there's the same taste concern.

            I'll try either William Grant or Arbelour - and report back,

            1. Oh, come now. "mikefly" wants a recommendation for a cheap Scotch, and people come up with stuff at $50 a bottle, $65, or more.

              To me, this is a bit like asking for recommendations of a red wine to go with pizza, and being told that a Margaux or Barolo might be a good idea.

              Mikefly might consider looking at the LCBO's website, www.lcbo.com, on which all of their products are listed, along with the prices, and at what stores they can be found.

              10 Replies
              1. re: ekammin

                Yeah, but when you talk scotches, most of the time you are referring to single malts and most of the time, a 'cheap' single malt is in the $50 - $65 range. Sure, blended scotches can be had for $35 - $40 but as the OP noted, he wanted something different.

                Now, if he were to say whisky, I could recommend a handful of $25 bottles that will get you right ripped.

                1. re: goodcookiedrift

                  I think most people refer to single malts as single malts and blended scotch whisky as scotch. Keep in mind the OP is currently drink JW Red...

                  1. re: goodcookiedrift

                    Mikefly sounds like he's doing it old school, with his beat up hip flask. Based on the fact that he's been drinking JW Red, I think staying with low priced blends is perfect for his purposes. Teachers, Ballantine, J & B etc. are all decent blends.

                    If he's willing to branch out from scotch, there are some good Canadian whiskies worth trying as well.

                    1. re: Pantz

                      pantz, cookie, colour me ready to try some rye (or another whisky)... I was until recently opposed (for an unknown reason) .. but since swilling some CC at a hockey game, I'm down for experimentation.

                      1. re: mikefly

                        Forty Creek Whisky strikes a great balance between price and quality. $24.45 for 750ml.

                        http://lcbo.ca/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/...

                        1. re: tbonetak

                          I second 40 Creek. I now give it for Christmas presents and the recipients all complain once a year is not frequently enough. A couple have compared it to Tullamore Dew.

                        2. re: mikefly

                          If you want your "rye" to actually have some rye in it, try Alberta Premium or Alberta Springs (which are straight rye - I prefer Premium) or Centennial Rye (which at least has enough that it tastes like rye). I agree with tbonetak that if you're going the blended Canadian whisky route, Forty Creek is a good one.

                          Oh, and if you're sticking with scotch, I keep a bottle of Te Bheag on hand for when I'm in the mood, and it serves me quite well.

                          1. re: Wahooty

                            Forty Creek is a singular whisky, very distinctive. Wahooty has completed nailed it concerning rye. Alberta Premium is a great rye with all those crisp, almost minty notes.

                            It's discontinued now, but for a while, the greatest value for money the LCBO offered was the 25 Year Old Alberta Premium for the ridiculously low price of 30 bucks a bottle.

                            I'm still dreaming of the day the offer some American Rye up here.

                            1. re: Pantz

                              Yeah, a friend of mine still has some of the old Alberta and lets me dip into it when he has parties - that's lovely stuff. He also lets me get into his single malts - I repay him with a nip from my stash of American ryes and bourbons. And while I would love to see those on LCBO store shelves, I shudder to think of what they would cost. But since most of the good ones are only available in a handful of states, I don't imagine they'll ever have a prayer of making it up here.

                    2. re: ekammin

                      A Barolo would be pretty darned good with a wood-fired meaty pizza, actually.

                    3. To say that a reference to "scotch" must refer principally to single malt is like saying that any discussion of "cars" must refer to Mercedes and Ferraris, not Chevrolets and Fords.

                      Incidentally, a friend from Glasgow tells me that most scotches are good, with the exception of Cutty Sark, if they still make it. he claims that Cutty Sark originated at the end of US Prohibition, whe most Americans were used to the taste of lousy bootleg whiskey, and the makers tried to imitate that.

                      Also, Personally, I prefer John Jameson, and, since I grew up in the U.S., bourbon.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ekammin

                        Ballantines is a great buy for under $25. Tastes like a real Scotch, unlike Forty Creek. and leaves your head alone the next morning.

                      2. okay, so this will all be interesting for the future, but a funny thing happened on my way to Montreal (or in Montreal really)

                        I found in my mom's basement:
                        JWR
                        JWB
                        Crown Royal
                        Chivas 12
                        and...
                        Long John finest Scotch (what the devil is this even?)

                        I figure I'll prolly buy them all, but they'll take bloody years to drink.
                        These are all at least 10 years old and unopened.

                        1. For value, I suggest Whyte and Mackay not only for price, but because it is strongly flavoured and is suggestive of Chivas Regal, hints of smoky single Malt Scotch, perhaps!!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Jar

                            +1 on Te Bheag. It's a party in your mouth and everyone's invited. Rambuctious flavour.

                            But if you're just gonna knock it back, get some Alberta rye and be done with it.

                            In the $50 range, I found Knappogue Castle at King/Spadina and it's quite good, caramelly with an edge, like an Auchentoshan. http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/pro...

                            1. re: svanegmond

                              +2 on Te Bheag, nice and peaty, unfiltered though so be prepared for a doozey of a hangover if you don't drink a pile of water

                          2. I love Grant's for a cheap but not awful scotch for a night out with the flask. But you can get better whiskeys instead of scotch for flask sipping, my 2 value choices are Jamieson and Tullamore Dew (both Irish Whiskeys). Both are smoother and have good caramelly vibes compared to the Grant's.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: miketoronto

                              For me it depends on the drinking situation. If im out with friends with the intent of getting drunk, id probably spend a bit less on the scotch, but id still want JW Red. Great on its own, on the rocks, even mixed with coke(I dont know if scotch people consider that blasphemus but i dont mind it!).

                              If its more of a celebration situation, like a birthday, promotion, some other good time that warrants a nice drink, Ill have a nice glass of Johnny Walker Black on the Rocks. I might upgrade that to JW Blue in the future.

                              For the cheapo stuff, I consider that really to be under $25 for a 26er, but JW Red is close enough I suppose. If im out with the friends, id also consider Jack Daniels, Crown Royal or CC. Not much of a rum or vodka fan thanks to some "fun" times back in high school!

                            2. Wow, this post is back from the dead. In the end, my go-to flask scotch has become (duty-free) Chivas.

                              As my flasking days are fewer and further between, my budget has increased a titch, and I've tried several different scotches.. most of which have been nice.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: mikefly

                                ha, didnt realize this thread was resurrected!

                                  1. re: miketoronto

                                    Kind of sad to see even how much the cheaper singles have come up in price in the last few years.

                                    Aberlour always gets my vote when leaning towards the value side of the equation.

                                    1. re: dlw88

                                      Love Aberlour but for value I would still say that Bowmore and Glenfarclas are my choices. How's that for split personality?

                                      1. re: dubchild

                                        lcbo's selection has gotten a lot better lately, with competitive pricing on the lesser known brands. I would still suggest you save macallan, lagavulin for purchasing in the US. Astor wines has Lagavulin 16 for $50, we pay $110 here. Balvenie 15 is $65 at Astor, $125 at lcbo, I kid you not.

                                        Seek out Glenfarclas, lcbo is carrying a wide range of it, $60 for the 10 yr. Arran is getting a big push by lcbo also.

                                        http://lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product...

                              2. Ballantines. Not smooth but more complex than others in it's price range, Cheap

                                1. To clear a few things up: Te Bheag is a Welsh whisky not a Scottish, US rye is available in Ontario, look for Sazerac an oldie but a goodie! As for the origional post, if it must be Scotch it would be Singleton in my flask. My flask would (and does) contain boubon, a great whiskey for sipping try Blantons, Bakers or even Makers Mark.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: tommg

                                    The LCBO says Te Bheag is a scotch whiskey and further investigation revealed it is bottled on the isle of Skye. But maybe they are wrong.

                                    1. re: Herne

                                      You are correct Herne, I apologize, I was thinking of Penderyn.
                                      The KGBO is never wrong it is against the law.

                                      1. re: tommg

                                        I plan to buy my first bottle of Singleton tomorrow. Will report my opinion soon there after

                                        1. re: Herne

                                          Well I tried Singleton for the first time last night. Not a spectacular taste but no headache this am either. Can't say the same for many Bourbons. I usually don't drink anything like whiskey except Canadian Club and Glenfidich so it didn't seem too cheapo to me.
                                          All in all I'll enjoy the bottle probably until Labour Day

                                    2. re: tommg

                                      Blantons is an excellent bourbon, the bottle is super sweet as well

                                      1. re: tommg

                                        We definitely seem to be out of the realm of cheapo scotch, especially when we start talking about single malts and bourbons.

                                        Perhaps the thread should be renamed to 'best value whiskies for your flask'?

                                        In that respect, I like that sweet spot of the 30 to 40 dollar range - where you often get big flavours for a good price.

                                        Here are my current faves -

                                        Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky 100 Bond- $34.95 - This is new, the only American rye in general listings and definitely a live one at 100 proof. Highly recommended.

                                        I prefer Sazerac 6 Year Old Straight Rye - $44.95, 90 proof - even more, but there appears to be one bottle left in Ontario - up in Thunder Bay.

                                        On a side note, I think it's a shame that no one in Canada is making ryes in the more rough and tumble American style. I love Alberta Premium, but the last time I tasted something really adventurous from a Canadian distiller was Lot 40 Pot Still, a whisky not available for a while now.

                                        Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey - $39.95 (90 proof - has a nice touch of of rye in it's blend to add some spice, has been creeping up in price while oddly Maker's Mark is actually decreasing in price, from $45 to current $37.95 )

                                        Jim Beam Black Kentucky Bourbon Aged 8 Years - $28.95 ( I love the whole Beam family of bourbons, but this is the value loaded one of the bunch, bottle at 86 proof)

                                        The Black Grouse Scotch Whisky - - $33.70 (86 proof a - fair amount of Islay in the blend, so peaty/smokey/briney with some nice sweat notes - a great value blend).

                                        1. re: Pantz

                                          Give Crown Royal Black a try, it has the traditional smoothness of Canadian whisky combined with the smoke and vigor of a bourbon.