Best Affordable Single Malt Scotch

Best Affordable Scotch

Getting bargain shoppers to agree on the best affordable scotch might not be an easy task. There are certainly some inexpensive scotch whiskey out there, but how do we define which one is best? Does the best affordable scotch have to be single malt or can it be blended? Does it necessarily have to be smooth, or would you prefer to sacrifice some smoothness for special flavor and character? And how cheap does the best affordable scotch have to be to be considered at the top of the list? Of the few bargain-priced, scotch whiskeys I’ve tried I have never really found a very good blended malt that is smooth and flavorful. On the other hand, I’ve tried some affordable single malt scotch that is very smooth, but does have a whole lot of substance and taste. Lismore is a good, affordable single-malt scotch that comes to mind. Unless a single malt scotch is unusually smooth, I decided I’d rather pay a little more for something with some interesting scotch-like flavors. Since the more affordable scotch’s are not aged very long, they are hard to find. Time to check my favorite region for Scotch and see what is available.

Islay Single Malts

For character, flavor and excitement, Islay single malts are the best in my opinion. Unfortunately, they are also usually among the most expensive. I’ll never forget sitting in a restaurant with my wife on our 10th anniversary sampling scotches and choosing one with the weird name, Lagavulin. I thought it was amazing. Very scotchy and peaty. I also enjoyed what I thought was saltiness. When I went home I confirmed that what I was tasting was indeed salt and it’s from the barrels which are aged near the Atlantic ocean. With Islay single malts, you are literally sipping a bit of salt from the ocean. How neat is that? I later bought a bottle of the very expensive Lagavulin which costs about $90 today. I really learned to love it, but if only it was a little more affordable.

Best Affordable Single Malt in an Islay

Don’t think for a minute that MacGavins is anything close to being as good as Laphroaig or Lagavulin, but for the price it is quite good and even satisfies a little bit of the craving for the salty characteristics of an Islay single malt. MacGavins is not aged – or at least it doesn’t say how long on the bottle. The 1.75 Liter pictured above cost about $35.00. Even if it is not a premium Islay Single Malt, MacGavins is one of the best affordable single malt scotch whiskeys you can buy.

Taste Test

The MacGavins is very dry in the nose and really pretty smooth for a whiskey that doesn’t claim to be aged. I tasted some brown sugar, caramel and even a little pear. Also, there is definitely some noticeable saltiness – and that it is a good thing. The whiskey isn’t as dark, intense or peaty as either Laphroaig or Lagavulin, but it is certainly tastier than some of the cheap single malt scotch whiskeys I’ve had from other regions. MacGavins is a keeper for an every day, good drinking, Islay single malt scotch. Either Lismore or McGavins are the best affordable single malt scotch that I’ve tried. Take your pick.


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Is the iPhone 5 Worth It

Is the iPhone 5 Worth Buying?If you’re reading this, you probably already own an iPhone 3 or 4 and wondering is the iPhone 5 worth it over your older model. If you’re contact with your phone carrier is due for renewal, you can upgrade to an iPhone 5 for $199.00 and a small activation fee (usually $15 – $35 depending on whether or not you’re with Verizon, Sprint or AT&T). It has only been out three months, but is the iPhone 5 worth buying? I’ll be honest, I have become progressively less ‘wowed’ with each new iPhone upgrade since I originally purchased a 3GS about 4 years ago. Still, there are some notable differences that might make the iPhone 5 worth the $199 upgrade price:

Reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 5

  • Longer screen. More viewing area, especially when turned sideways
  • Lighter weight / thinner design
  • Higher resolution, 8MP Camera – Much better photos in poorly lit rooms
  • Faster processing: Up to 3 times faster than the 4S running certain applications
  • Much faster, new 4G / LTE networking bandwidth
  • Longer battery life (supposedly)

Next, I’ll explain whether or not the claimed improvements above really live up to their expectations. First, let’s go over some of the drawbacks of the new

Reasons not to upgrade to the iPhone 5

  • Lightening Connector – your old charging devices and docks are not compatible
  • Nothing earth-shattering or new about functions and operation
  • Longer screen makes the phone seem narrow and some apps don’t recognize the bottom of screen

Conclusion: Is the iPhone 5 Worth It?

The longer screen doesn’t get me too excited – in fact, it seems small and narrow. The iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter, but that lone, is not a huge deal for me ither. The higher resolution, 8MP camera, however, is significantly better than the camera on the iPhone 4 and the in door pictures look about as good as a nice, point and shoot digital camera. I’ve noticed very little difference in the speed of operation, despite the faster processor of the iPhone 5. The 4G / LTE network has not yet made much of a difference either, due to the limited coverage offered by providers. The longer battery life is a huge myth. Each of my new iPhone upgrades has had progressively worse batter life and the iPhone 5 is no exception. The bottom line is that if you want better pictures and support for better network speed,makes the iPhone 5 worth it while we wait a long time for the iPhone 6.


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Brother HL-2280DW

HL-2280DW Review

How do you rate the Brother HL-2280DW Laster Printer? 

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Benefits of Laser All-In-One Printers over InjetsI bought the Brother HL-2280DW All-In-One Laser Printer to replace the HP C6180 Ink Jet that has been in use for the past 6 years. In my household, we’ve learned that trying to use photo printers for business scans, copies and printing is more trouble that it’s worth. Even as a photo printer, the HP C6180 has not really loved up to it’s purpose. It is costly, slow and a nuisance to print your own photos. We got increasingly sick of all of the time it used to take for the Ink jet to become ready to print. The C6180 is excessively obsessive and fidgety before it begins printing – and don’t dare open the ink tray. It will take a good 2 minutes for it to become ready to print again. When I looked into laser printers, particularly the Brother all-in-one series, I got excited about printing again. Here’s why:

  • Fast printing with virtually no startup waiting period
  • Cost per monochrome page is Much Lower
  • Less Down-Time replacing long-life toners instead of Ink Cartridges
  • Consistent quality from page-to-page.
  • Lower Maintenance
  • Lower total cost of ownership

Advantages of the Brother HL-2280DW

Cheap Toner for the Brother HL-2280DW

For around $30.00 you can get a 1200 page toner and I’ve seen them for as low as $21.00 with coupons. The C6180 advertised 600 pages on a $19.00 black cartridge, but I never got close to that with mine, partly because the ink is also being used for photos.
brother hl-2280dw

Superior Brother Laser Printing Software

HP software loves to take over your entire computer loading up all kinds of software and documentation that slows down your startup times and generally makes using your computer more tedious and difficult. The HL-2280DW installation is straight forward.

Brother Scanning, Copying and Printing Software

Brother’s software installation was straight forward. The advanced menu makes it easy to choose what you want to do: Scan, Print, Copy, OCR icons are all right in front of you. There is no waiting to get them to work. They pop right up when you push on them. The buttons on the HL-2280DW can be configured and customized to your own preference. For instance if you want to scan a document to one or more PC’s in your house, it’s easy to do.


It’s easy to double sided prints with the HL-2280DW. Simply choose the double sided print option from your print menu. I was amazed at how easy this was to use. I chose a two page resume and printed it on both sides of one page without hassle the very first time I tried it.

Wireless Networking

Finally, we can print from all computers, laptops and devices in our home without hassling with network settings. The HP C6180 never worked properly or consistently. Wirelessly connected PC’s constantly had to have the printer driver removed and re-installed.

Fast Scans and Copies

Unlike Inkjet printers, the Brother Laser 2280DW, All-In-One doesn’t have to do a bunch of preliminary, mumbo jumbo before it scans or copies a document. Push the copy button and bam – it goes right to work and does it rather quietly and effortlessly.

Pros and Cons of the Brother HL-2280DW Laser All-In-One Printer


  • Prints very Fast – up to 27 pages per minute with no startup delay
  • Quiet and smooth operation
  • Extremely affordable Laser Toner provides 1200 pages for $21 – $30
  • Duplex (Double-Sided) Printing
  • Easy, uncluttered Full-Featured software installation and Use
  • Trouble Free Wireless and/or wired connectivity
  • Clean and Easy-to-Use Control Interface with Configurable Buttons


  • No Multiple Sheet Feeder: Must copy one sheet at a time
  • Small LCD Screen is hard to read at an angle
  • Doesn’t print color (if that’s what you want)

All in all, I give the Brother HL-2280DW all-in-one Laser Printer a big thumbs-up.

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Costco K-Cups

Costco K-CupsCostco has done it again – they’ve made an expensive habit affordable. Kirkland Pacific Bold comes in a box of 100 K-Cups and sells for just $38.00 at Costco. That’s only 38-cents a cup. When the Keurig brewers first appeared on the market, it was tough to find affordable K-Cups for them. Anything under 75 cents a cup seemed cheap back then. There is the really, really cheap French Roast, San Francisco brand that is only $25.00 for an 80-Pack, but the quality simply isn’t as good. The open-mesh, bottom creates a mucky, mess in the cup. 38 cents a cup for a coffee as good as the Newman’s or Starbucks would have to be considered a break-through.

Costco K-Cups Pacific Bold

pacific bold kcups coffee from costcoIf you like dark, bold coffee that is a little lighter and less ashy-tasting then European roasts, you’ll find the Kirkland Pacific Bold to your liking. In fact, I think I like this is as well or better than either the Starbucks Pike or Newman’s extra bold (My former two favorites).  Pacific Bold tastes strong, bold and has a smooth, roasted finish that doesn’t leave your mouth tasting like you swallowed an ash-tray. I definitely prefer this to the French and Italian Roasts by the San Francisco brands at Costco.  This is really good coffee – one of my favorites if not thee favorite. It takes time to make that judgment. The quality of the k-cups is as good as any of the other brands. The foil on top seems to be packaged well and doesn’t separate, break or clog the spout as some of the cheaper brands have done. The Costco k-cups aren’t perfect, though, there was a little residue left in the bottom of the cup. (not enough to spoil a good product). Kirkland is a very low-acid, well-roasted coffee similar to what I used to buy in the green bag, whole beans at Costco. I recommend Pacific Bold K-Cups from Costco.

Costco Kirkland K-Cups Rating

** 3. 5 Stars

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