Picking the ten best whiskies under $100 is a bit like picking the top ten zombie movies of all time... they're low-budget, predictable and all a bit the same. However, If you look further than most people, suddenly you've got a few seriously satisfying, fun and surprising experiences.
If you've ever drunk Irish whiskey and wondered what all the fuss is about, you haven't tried this pot still whiskey. Texture and flavour to put many a Grange to shame. Sweet velvety vanilla.
My pick of the three Islay must-haves (this, Laphraoig and Lagavulin) because of it's freshness and more interesting peat characteristic. Malt, smoke and minerals.
Popping up everywhere like hipster cafés but backs up the attitude with flavour to spare. Spice, stone fruits and Chantilly cream... also gluten free.
If you haven't seen it, find it. This is the perfect balance of freshness and mouth-filling maturity. Vanilla ice cream, heather and honey smeared on a fresh cooked waffle.
Into sherried whiskies? This is without doubt the best available under $100 in Australia, so much flavour and a long finish that keeps on giving way beyond its age. Apple pie, syrup and raisins.
One of the few whiskies in this price range with genuinely different element; Sauternes cask maturation. Honey, spice and a crips finish that makes this whisky very moorish.
One of three Australian whiskies in the price bracket and the only one that explores what new world whisky can be. Maple syrup, 95% dark chocolate and lolly bananas... seriously
The cheapest (sub $50) and honestly one of the best. A blend of the same malt whiskies that make Grant's abominable blended scotch (Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie) done properly. Ice, cocktail, straight it's all good with this one.
Of all the bourbons under $100 (and many over) this careful blend of four small batch bourbon whiskies delivers far more spice, vanilla and texture. It's still a bourbon so expect to think "smooth" more than anything else but it sure makes Jim, Jack, Buffalo and Woddfords' all look pretty dull.
And now for something completely different... Indian whisky. Smokey without the chemical edge of peat, complex without the overbearing sweetness of some sherried whiskies, still holds a great malt character too. It's not for everyone but damn does it shame a lot of scotches.