Lower ABV Whiskies

Whiskies with lower ABV

For those of us who want might want to curtail the amount of alcohol we consume, finding a spirit with a lower ABV can sometimes be hard. Whisky by nature is usually be a higher ABV, especially if its cask strength. For whisky to be Legally called whisky, it has to be over 40%.

In this article is a selection of whiskies that are excellent to taste but also have a lower ABV of just 40%. We’ve gone for drams from all over the world so you have a international selection.

1. Glenfarclas 10 year old

Bottle cost: £32.95

A brilliant dram from the independently owned Glenfarclas Distillery, this 10 year old is complex and full of flavour. It is packed with sherry notes on the nose and moves on to smooth, sweet honey. There are lots of vanilla, oak wood and fruit flavours as well, with a warming hint of smoke throughout.

2. Laphroaig 10 year old

Bottle cost: £32.95

The Laphroaig 10 year old is a legendary whisky, and only has a 40% ABV, so you can enjoy it even when you’re not indulging. It is full of smoky, seaside notes with lots of peat and salt. This is a wonderfully complex dram. There are medicinal notes of iodine and TCP, with sweet vanilla, caramel and rich, earthy peat flavours. 

3. The Balvenie 21 year old Madeira cask finish

Bottle cost: £184.87

The finish of the Madeira casks on this 21 year old Balvenie come through really well on the palate. It is sweet and fruity, with lots of citrus and orchard notes. Delving deeper we get hints of smoke and pepper spice. The casks give it a lovely sweet and spicy edge.

4. Royal Salute 21 year old Signature Blend

Bottle cost: £116

Another widely known and loved dram, this blend is full of sweet notes and wood flavours. Oak makes itself known on the nose and blossoms into floral flavours and vanilla sweetness. Apples, pear and big notes of orange jump out on the palate.

5. Redbreast 12 year old

Bottle cost: £44.95

One of the best Irish whiskies around, Redbreast 12 year old is luxurious and elegant. It is brimming with sweet nuts and fruit flavours. Marzipan, melon, hazelnuts and raisins abound, giving it a nice crisp edge. There is a delicate sweetness to this dram that is enhanced by the fruit flavours.

6. Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Bottle cost: £20.83

Rebel Yell has all the key flavours of a Bourbon at only 40% ABV. The nose is sweet and full of vanilla, with a toasty charred note appearing. There is a smooth honey flavour throughout that ties in perfectly with apples and orchard notes. The sweetness and spicy is wrapped up in a long hint of wood smoke that really makes this Bourbon Sing (or yell!).


Bottle cost: £35.83

Another Bourbon for our list, Basil Hayden’s is an excellent dram with big flavours. This is a typical Kentucky Straight Bourbon that shows just how well Bourbons can be made. The rye spice is excellent throughout, with sweet hints of vanilla and caramel. there are notes of menthol and fruity flavours that really adds depth.

8. Crown Royal Canadian Whisky

Bottle cost: £24.95

One of the most well known Canadian whiskies, Crown Royal is a brilliant spirit. Citrus fruits, chocolate cake and cherries all appear, against a gentle backdrop of vanilla and caramel. Oak wood comes out with lots of tannins and sweet, sugary notes.

9. The Macallan 12 year old Sherry Oak

Bottle cost: £69.95

One of the best Scotches about, this 12 year old Macallan has been matured in Sherry oak casks and really shows. The spices and fruit notes of the Sherry really come through and add a wonderful warmth to the dram. There is also a delicate floral note and lots of dried fruit to really give it some depth.

10. Whyte and Mackay Spirit Drink

Bottle cost: £9.96

Ok, so this technically isn’t a whisky and is in fact Scotch and Sherry blended and matured in Sherry and Bourbon casks, but it’s an excellent drink and has an ABV of 21.5%. Lots of spirits brands are looking at producing lower ABV drinks and Whyte and Mackay, who traditionally have made whisky, have produced their own Spirit Drink. Not the best name, but it can’t be called whisky or sherry by law. The flavours are brilliant, with big notes of spice and dried fruit. Notes of caramel give it a really sweet but smooth background. Definitely worth trying!

Tags: BalvenieBasil HaydenCrown RoyalGlenfarclasLaphroaigLower ABV WhiskiesRebel YellRedbreast 12Royal Salute 21The Macallanwhyte and mackay
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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