Choosing The Best Supermarket Whisky & Amazon Deals!
Updated: May 17
It’s a big part of everyone’s whisky journey, and for some the only way they buy bottles (given a lot of people are buying for gifting, such as birthdays, or Christmas). This makes it an important subject and one people actively seek advice on. We're here to give some tips and recommendations on the best supermarket whisky!
We explore some golden rules to consider when buying supermarket whisky, or trying to find the Amazon whisky deals worth snagging. Then we pick out some bottles we think you should give your attention to. Even if your starting point is to identify the cheapest whisky at supermarkets, reading this will help you think again, and consider the taste and quality of the whisky at the best price points.
Mike & Duncan’s Golden Rules
We chatted about this subject in episode 8 ‘We Supermarché On’ of our podcast and reflecting on lots of buying whisky from supermarkets over the years, and now recently large online retailers led us to these three golden rules.
1. Go for an ABV of 43% or more
We really recommend going for an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 43% or more. Ideally, 45% or more, and you are unlikely to get much higher than 46% in a supermarket. This just means there is a little less water in the whisky and the flavours will be more concentrated. You can always add more water, but you can’t take it out (well easily anyway, and without some major science going on).
2. If spending more than £40 shop elsewhere
There’s a limit to the choice of whisky at major retailers, whether supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose, or Amazon for that matter. If you are budgeting to spend more than £40, we recommend looking at a specialist whisky retailer, like Master of Malt. You can also find a list of all recommended whisky retailers on OSWA, which is the online Scotch Whisky Awards, who have a focus on price integrity and ethics.
3. Only buy when on offer
Be patient or try to be. A lot of the great value comes from buying on offer. Bottles can be discounted 25 to 40%, which takes them to a price point that makes them worth buying, whether it’s the one bottle you will have in the cupboard, or some padding amongst other pricier whisky you have in the cupboard.
Hopefully, giving consideration to the ABV, price limit, and only buying when on offer, helps to suggest that whilst we all want a bargain, finding the cheapest whisky at supermarkets is not the ultimate goal. It’s finding the best value whisky at the retailers.
Our best supermarket & Amazon whisky picks
Mike & I put our heads together and picked out some of the best supermarket whisky and Amazon whisky deals. Here is our short-list!
When to buy: When it is £29 to £31.
A Highlands whisky from the Isle of Skye with an ABV of 45.8% it is regularly on offer and a tasty easy sipper, with plenty of flavour. It is chill filtered and has some colouring though.
What to expect: A gently peated whisky, with orchard fruits, coastal saltiness, vanilla, brine, pepper and some sweetness to balance throughout the soft bonfire smoke.
Whiskybase score: 84 from 100
When to buy: When it is £30.
An English single malt whisky with an ABV of 46% it is often on an offer, usually at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s or Amazon.
What to expect: Creamy vanilla, with orange and lemon citrus, and a hint of black pepper. Some sweeter notes like marzipan.
Whiskybase score: 82 from 100
When to buy: When it is under £40, usually £37 to £39.
A popular peated whisky, which is versatile, with an ABV of 46%, it is not on offer as often. When it is, stock up!
What to expect: An Islay peated whisky, with some heft, but also crisp. Sweet vanilla and caramel intertwine with the sour lemon and lime citrus, then some saltiness, smokiness lifts it all.
Whiskybase score: 86 from 100
Eagle Rare 10
When to buy: When it is under £40, usually £35.
A great age statement for a bourbon, with an ABV of 45%, making a full and rich pour. A great one for #TumblerClub.
What to expect: Layered on top of the vanilla and toasted oak, is a little spice, some herbiness, and old leather, to make it interesting. The sweetness comes from maple syrup, honey and red apples.
Whiskybase score: 83 from 100
When to buy: When it is under £40, usually around £35 to £36.
A classic, and one of peoples favourites. A non peated whisky from Islay, with an ABV of 46.3% it brings coastal together with sweetness.
What to expect: A lovely salty and sweet dram, with a strong sherry profile, and underlying nutttiness, vanilla, caramel and gentle spice and maltiness.
Whiskybase score: 85 from 100
Black Bottle Double Cask & Black Bottle Island Smoke
When to buy: Both are always £26 or less, and often around £22 to £24
Both weigh in at 46.3% with a feel to match or beat single malts at the same price point.
What to expect: If you like your smokey drams, go for Island Smoke, with gentle peat, coastal saltiness, toffee, caramel and spice. Otherwise the Double Cask gives a fruity, gently spicy dram with vanilla and toffee.
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie
When to buy: Sometimes can be picked up for sub £30 in which case it's a bargain.
Rocking up at a mighty 50% ABV with a lovely coastal nature and made from Scottish barley.
What to expect: Rich in vanilla, toffee, honey and sweetness, with a saltiness and malty to boot. A creamy dram with light orchard fruits and a little spice kick.
Whiskybase score: 83 from 100.
Tamnavulin from Speyside, has a range of whiskies at 40%, and cask types, from the double cask to the sherry and red wine editions. Generally, they are all decent, and one of the whiskies at 40%, which is a joy to drink. We recommend getting only when around £20 to £22.
Some others of note: Tomatin Legacy at under £25 (43% ABV), Benriach 10 at under £30 (43%ABV), Ardbeg Wee Beastie (47.4%) at under £35, Sazerac Rye (45% ABV) at under £30.
We hope this gives you some whisky for thought, when trying to pick out the best supermarket whisky, or Amazon whisky deals. Remember that buying the cheapest whisky at supermarkets is not the goal, it's finding the best value and something you will savour and enjoy!
Although, we have not written a list of bottles we would not buy, we have tried whisky from all major supermarkets, and we generally find that the 40% ABV whisky let's us down, hence why quite a few of those bottles are not in this list of mentioned. We recommend the above. If in doubt, drink less and better!