- Very Old Barton ($7.99)
“VOB is a flavorful bourbon, packed with fruit and spice and a hint of rye. You can mix with it, and you can sip it, but either way, I think you’ll enjoy it.” – Michael Dietsch (Serious Eats)
VOB is absolutely my number one recommendation for a budget bourbon, it far outperforms anything in its price range. They also have but out a few higher proofs including a bonded that is wonderful as well.
- Old Fitzgerald ($9.49)
“Another ‘cheap’ bourbon with anundeservedly bad rep, Old is a wheated bourbon that’s got something to offer at one of the lowest price points out there. It is the way to go for an affordable bourbon that’s good for some on-the-rocks sipping. Softer and subtly sweet, with honey, citrus, and almonds.”
I am a big fan of Old Fitz as well. For a wheated bourbon lover this is an excellent alternative to the more expensive wheats: Maker’s Mark and Larceny.
- Ancient Age 90 ($9.99)
Medium bodied with a refreshing blend of tartness and brisk spice. Features aromas of corn, caramel, toffee and vanilla. Follows through with many of the same but with a hint of spice and a lingering finish hinting of toffee and citrus.
- Evan Williams Black ($9.99)
“Easy to find most anywhere, this smooth whiskey isn’t going to send anyone into raptures, but it goes great in a cocktail and is a sure bet for the buck.” – Dana McMahan (Kitchn)
This is the typical bourbon most college students start out with, and most of the time that means some not so great memories, but this one is worth picking up for another try. If you are out of the city and don’t quite have the same selection, this is always a safe bet.
- Heaven Hill Green Label ($11.49)
“It’s 90 proof for around $9, and you just don’t beat it for the money. I’ve done some blind tastings with it and it out-tastes Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, even Buffalo Trace. However, it is only available in Kentucky. My theory is the Shapiras, the people who own Heaven Hill, keep this label for them and their employees. It gets zero marketing dollars.” – Fred Minnick
- Fighting Cock ($14.49)
“This six-year-old high-rye bourbon is a great value for the price, and it simply tastes good. I’d say it compares to Wild Turkey 101—it’s very similar, in fact, but about five bucks cheaper.” –Michael Dietsch (Serious Eats)
- Old Grandad ($14.99, 18.99, 25.99)
Old Grandad comes in a few varieties listed in the prices above: 80 proof, 100 proof, 114 proof. While everyone has their certain preference, high-proof spirits have a sort of built in value. You can (and I suggest) adding some water or stirring the cocktail a little longer with a less of the bourbon to get a similar profile. This means your 750ml bottle will last longer when you are pouring 1.25oz of the 114 proof to 2oz of the 80. However, I do enjoy the 100 and 114 on the rocks to sip as well.
- Evan Williams 1783 ($15.49)
This bourbon I cannot say enough good things about. In a taste test of 6 different bourbons including Maker’s Mark, Basil Haydens and Larceny, it was the clear winner. At such a reasonable price point, I highly recommend picking this up as something to mix into the classics like an old fashion or boulevardier, or even just to sip on neat.
- Wild Turkey 101 ($16.49)
“Wild Turkey 101 has plenty to offer the bourbon beginner (or the bourbon regular looking for an affordable fix). The deep-layer char on the barrels imparts depth of color and some toasty oak flavors underlying vanilla-toffee sweetness, supple fruit and a hint of spice.” – Emily Bell (VinePair)
- Evan Williams Single ($22.49)
“Here’s a whiskey with great finesse. In the world of bourbons, this one is among the most subtly complex-especially in its spicy notes. It’s a well-balanced bourbon-and at a great price too! I’ve tried all the vintages to date, and this one the best. ” – Whisky Advocate-Kentucky
This is one of the cheapest single barrels on the market and absolutely punches above its weight class in terms of price.