The Best Bourbons Without a Hefty Price Tag
Bourbon has long been considered a gentleman’s drink and is especially popular in the southern states of the USA. Dubbed “America’s whiskey”, bourbon is barrel-aged to lock in the unique flavors that set it apart from other alcoholic beverages: typically, there are hints of vanilla, grains, oak, and some spice. It is a perfect mixer, but also enjoyable straight or even on the rocks. To abide by liquor laws in the USA, bourbon must be barrel aged for at least two years. The longer a bourbon is aged, the more rich the flavors become and the pricier a bottle can be.
If you are willing to overlook any pre-learned biased towards age = money, you will discover there are many delicious bourbons under $100. They may not have the age of their more expensive counterparts, but they are just as enjoyable. In fact, we believe that a bourbon doesn’t have to have an extreme price tag to be an amazing drink. We have compiled a list of our favorite bourbons under $100 that we know you will love. If you’re looking to stock your alcohol cabinet without spending too much money, check out our list below and try some of our suggestions next time you are reaching for bourbon on the store shelf!
Maker’s Mark Bourbon Private Barrel Select
A beautiful amber in color, Maker’s Mark Private Select is a particularly delicious bourbon. It is aged in Maker’s Mark unique 46 barrels that are crafted from a combination of different oaks to create a complex flavor profile. It has a woody taste with whispers of vanilla. Maker’s Mark Private Select leaves a pleasant, lingering heat even after you finish your drink. It is an all-around solid bourbon sure to delight both new and experienced drinks.
Evan Williams Black Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Evans Williams Black Label is the second-highest selling bourbon in the world; just taking a look at the medium amber hue and a quick sip will reveal why. Typically, it is aged in barrel between 5 to 7 years before being released to consumers. It has a very strong caramel flavor that is complemented by toffee and oak. The finish is a bit dry for a bourbon, but relatively agreeable; a lingering taste of caramel lasts after drinking. Overall, it is a very easy bourbon for those unfamiliar with the drink although avid bourbon fans may find it lacks a bit of telltale bite.
Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
Crafted by a brand considered to be full of romantics, Four Roses Bourbon is a beautiful medium copper with strong golden hues. Each bottle contains bourbon collected from only one barrel, so batches are consistent by bottle. The flavor profile is strangely sweet for a bourbon: caramel and vanilla mixed with raisins and coffee. The sweetness lingers for a substantial amount of time. This bourbon from Four Roses is very dense and is a nice break from other bourbons that rely on smokier notes than this.
Old Ripy Kentucky Straight Bourbon
A deeper copper color with just a hint of amber, Old Ripy Bourbon looks beautiful on the shelf and tastes just as good. It is aged for at least 6 years, but certain bottles are aged up to 12 years. It has a very strong woody, oaky taste that is complemented by spicy notes (think of fresh cracked pepper). If you are looking for a bourbon that gives a short, bright bite and lingers in the back of your throat, this bourbon is perfect. It is wonderful shared among friends and will especially appeal to those who seek the earthy flavor many bourbons only hint at.
Bourbon Trace Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Buffalo Trace’s bourbon is a deep, rich amber in color and a perfect addition to any bourbon drinker’s stock. It is aged a minimum of six years and is bottled from multiple barrels, so you’re not likely to have small variations from bottle to bottle. The flavor is somewhat unique as it consists of notes of brown sugar, custard, espresso, toffee, and chocolate. The finish lasts a good amount of time and brings up hints of spices, particularly cinnamon. Overall, it is a good mix of spicy and sweet that will appeal to a variety of bourbon drinkers due to its complex and unique flavor.
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon
This vivid amber bourbon pays tribute to Prohibition-era aging while still appealing to bourbon fans used to more modern aging. Old Forester’s bourbon is aged in oak casks before being sealed in glass bottles and the distilling process even predates the 1920s. It has a delicious nutty flavor with notes of graham cracker, a hint of cedar, peppercorn, and caramel. The finish is extremely long-lasting and leaves you with the smoky flavor of toasted marshmallows. This bourbon has lasted so long because it is delicious and unique, a great value to reach for next time you are looking to purchase a bottle of bourbon.
Hopefully, one of the bourbons listed above has caught your eye; we consider these six bourbons to be some of the best on the market and they all fall under the $100 price marker. As you can see, sacrificing an extreme price tag does not have to mean sacrificing delicious bourbon. In fact, all of the bourbons above are exceptional in quality and will impress bourbon drinks of varying degrees: feel free to serve them to bourbon connoisseurs and new drinkers alike to! Thinking about adding a new bottle to your alcohol cabinet or needing a new bourbon to impress friends next time they’re over for the evening? Reach for one of the bourbons we listed above to save some serious cash and still get a high-quality bourbon.