We get it. As much as it would be nice to drop a few bills on an expensive, well-aged whiskey, sometimes your wallet just can’t afford it. Especially if you like to unwind at the end of the day with a whiskey on the rocks, pouring out a glass of top shelf whiskey can start to be tough on the wallet. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite whiskeys that have a budget price tag without the budget taste. Put them in a cocktail or sip them on their own, these ten whiskeys are the best way to get the bang for your buck. Plus, the majority of these bottles will be available at your local liquor store. Cheers to that!
Four Roses Yellow Label
Are you a big cocktail enthusiast? Look no further than RFour Roses Yellow Label to add to your bourbon bar. This bourbon is on the sweeter side, with fruitier notes of crisp apple and pear, as well as some spicier notes to cut the sweetness. This bourbon is a great canvas for whatever cocktail suits your fancy. Plus, the bottle retails for just $19 in America.
Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare 10 Year
Usually, a well-aged whiskey can set you back a pretty penny, but this 10-year bourbon from Buffalo Trace is aged to perfection and will only set you back $35. Aged in charred oak for more flavor, this bourbon also has notes of tart and spiciness, with flavors of dark fruit, orange peel, herbs, leather, and toffee. It’s the perfect drink to sip on the rocks!
Glenlivet 12 Year Old
With over 200 years as a distillery, Glenlivet has it figured out. You may see this bottle as a staple at most decently stocked bars, and for good reason. The low price tag and vibrant flavor profiles make it an agreeable Scotch for most flavor palettes. This Scotch is aged to perfection with notes of sandalwood, vanilla, and mint.
Johnnie Walker Double Black
Okay, Johnnie Walker is always a go-to when it comes to shopping the Scotch aisle. But the charred taste of apple, pears, and orange, as well as a dash of peat, make it a classic for a reason! This Scotch is best served with a few ice cubes or whiskey rocks, although it makes a great addition to many cocktails. Pair it with soda to cut the strength without losing the delicious flavor notes.
Heaven Hill Fighting Cock
If you like a sweeter whiskey that isn’t too sugary, this is a great bourbon for you. Notes of vanilla and caramel paired with a toasty nuttiness highlight the flavors of the rye. This is higher budget bourbon, meaning the percentage of rye in the bourbon is higher than your usual bourbon, adding an extra kick of flavor. If drinking straight, we recommend adding an angel’s share of water to dilute the assertiveness.
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Selection Tennessee
I know, you may have had one too many shots of Jack Daniels during your college days, but there are some redeeming aspects of the frat-boy favorite. The flavor combination of tobacco and vanilla is stellar – the perfect mix of sweet and bitter. It’s a surprisingly sophisticated blend note of cinnamon and caramel with a crisp, deliciously smoky flavor. It’ll be a great way to impress any visitors you entertain. One out of every hundred casks of Jack Daniels is dedicated to becoming a single barrel selection.
Maker’s Mark 46
A bottle of Maker’s Mark has quickly become a bar staple for any self-respecting bartender. But Maker’s Mark 46 has been aged much longer than its younger brother, leaving the flavors to intensify without becoming overpowering. The more complex flavor gives off a palette of cherries, toasted wood, vanilla, citrus, and corn. It has a long finish with a sweeter, caramel flavor with hints of toasted wood.
Even though Woodford Reserve is now sold in stores across the nation, the distillery uses a small-batch process that leaves you feeling like the price tag should be way, way higher. The whiskey gives off aromas of freshly waxed wood, saddle soap, suede and tapioca to give the bourbon an utterly unique taste. Even though it’s got a wide variety of flavors to it, the bourbon has a neat clean finish.
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Falling just under the $50 mark, (one cent to be exact), Angel’s Envy is a delicious bourbon for a seriously wallet-friendly price. The relatively new distillery has an ultra-smooth finish thanks to the creamy vanilla, light toffee, ripe fruit, and maple syrup flavors. The bourbon is finished in a port barrel to add to the smoothness. Sip it on its own or add it to a hot toddy for a deliciously drinkable beverage.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Crown Royal very well may be recognizable from your youth. The signature purple bag and the over-the-top bottle were almost a status symbol in the eighties and nineties. Interestingly enough, this rye actually contains many of the same qualities as bourbon, and actually, qualifies to be bourbon. This clean rye has much of the sweetness of bourbon (watermelon, cherry, wildflower honey, and sour apple notes are characteristics), as well as the toasty earthiness of rye. Much of that bitter earthiness is thanks to the flavors of cinnamon and pepper. It is on the more sugary side, so perfect for sippers with a sweet tooth. In addition, this Canadian rye just took home the trophy for the 2016 Whiskey of the Year awards.