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Christmas 2021: 10 whiskies for under £50

As we countdown to Christmas, here are some gift ideas for the whisky fan.

Published: November 22, 2021

With only a few more weeks until Christmas, we take a look at some great whiskies - all for £50 or under.

From blends to single malts, including supermarket whiskies and big names, there's something for everyone without breaking the bank.

Nc’nean, £49.95

Recently launched, Nc’nean’s Organic Single Malt is the first whisky released to the public by this new, independent distillery.

Organic, made with renewable energy and bottled in the UK’s first-ever 100 per cent recycled clear glass bottle, the whisky showcases Nc’nean’s commitment to protecting the environment.

Nc’nean’s whisky is made from organic Scottish barley whose natural yields and rich soils contribute great depth of flavour, and gentle fermentation and distillation accentuate the delicate, fruity flavours in the spirit.

The whisky achieves its signature body and sweetness from having been left to mature for three years in selected ex-Bourbon and specially treated STR ex-red wine barrels. Each barrel has been chosen by Nc’nean for the distinct flavours the wood contributes to the whisky.

Nc’nean Organic Single Malt Whisky is priced at £49.95 for 70cl,  46% ABV.

Lidl Ben Bracken, £39.99

Lidl recently launched the latest whisky to their award-winning range, an 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt.

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Priced at £39.99, the Ben Bracken single malt will join Lidl’s award-winning whisky line-up in all Scottish stores alongside its ever-popular Abrachan Triple-Barrelled Blended Malt (42% ABV, 70cl), which comes with a special gifting tube ahead of the festive season for £16.99.

Wee Smoky, £34

Launched as part of a limited released in November 2020, Wee Smoky is a single grain whisky that is being aimed at non-whisky drinkers.

Just 400 distinctive electric blue and pink bottles from the first cask were available direct to consumers via the company’s website, with batch 2 now available online.

Founder Rory Gammell began to develop the concept for a whisky that is inclusive and welcoming to younger people and non-experts while living in San Francisco.

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Grain whisky is made from grains other than malted barley, which is what is used in single malt whisky.

Monkey Shoulder, £26

You will no doubt have seen Monkey Shoulder in a range of places, it’s a really diverse (and often overlooked) blended Scotch whisky.

Made from a mix of three different Speyside Single Malts – Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie – Monkey Shoulder is popularly used in cocktails but is also great enjoyed neat.

Or, for a simple Burns night tipple, just add ginger ale or soda for a delicious highball.

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Monkey Shoulder is around £26 and you can buy a bottle here.

Scallywag Winter Limited Edition, £49.99

 Douglas Laing’s exclusive festive bottling is now available, priced at £49.99 from specialist spirit retailers and online.

Made from a marriage of Single Cask Single Malts only from Speyside, it's bottled at 53.1% ABV.

The tasting notes include bold notes of juicy dates, rich toffee sauce and warming spices.

Last year, the Glasgow Distillery Company introduced Malt Riot – a blended malt Scotch whisky – to its range.

The new release is a selected blend of handpicked single malts from across Scotland, with the distillery’s Glasgow 1770 Single Malt at the heart of the spirit.

Malt Riot, £25

The whisky is inspired by the malt tax protests that took place in 1725. These started in Glasgow, then spread across the nation, where protesters came together to demand the tax on malted barley be overturned.

Malt Riot Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is available from the Glasgow Distillery website and independent retailers at an RRP of £25.

Johnnie Walker, £26

One of Scotland's most famous blended whiskies, Johnnie Walker celebrated 200 years in 2020 and is set to be the star in a new visitor attraction in Edinburgh.

The range includes Johnnie Walker Black, Gold, Red and Blue label, and our favourite is Johnnie Walker Black label.

A sweet and moreish dram ideal for beginners, it also holds its own in cocktails and highballs.

Priced at £26, you can buy a bottle here.

Tullibardine The Murray 2008, £50

Distilled in 2008, this limited edition bottling has been matured in first-fill American oak casks and bottled at cask strength.

On the nose, honeycomb candy with butterscotch fudge, layers of candy floss, crème brûlée and molasses all drenched in a warm spiced bergamot orange liqueur.

Rich, creamy toffee flavours infused with citrus fruits, brownie baked Alaska with hints of choc chip mint ice cream combine leaving a long lingering velvety finish.

A special whisky for the whisky fan looking for something a bit different this year. Buy it online here.

Jura Winter Edition, £39.95

This relatively new release from Jura is, as the name suggests, an ideal dram for a cold evening.

The team say: "Bringing distinct regional and seasonal flavours to our island malt, this unique Winter Edition explores the world of the rich sherry cask finish.

"Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and finished in hand selected aged sherry casks, this is a full-bodied and indulgent single malt. With its deep mahogany colour, inviting aromas and flavours of sweet spices and rich apple pie, this is the perfect winter warmer."

Priced at an affordable £39.95 (40% ABV), it's available now through Masters of Malt.

anCnoc 2009 vintage, £50

anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky recently launched this limited edition to celebrate the latest release from its acclaimed vintages collection.

A delicate spicy, woody nose combines with anCnoc’s classic honey and citrus notes, demonstrating the time that this beautiful malt has spent quietly maturing in a combination of first-fill Spanish oak butts and ex-bourbon American oak barrels.

anCnoc 2009 Vintage is bottled in 70cl at 46% ABV, non-chilled filtered and with natural colour. Only 1,320 cases are available for UK and global markets, sold through independent and specialist retailers and whisky shops now, RRP £50.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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