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15 Best Affordable Whiskeys To Drink Straight in 2024 (Expert Picks)

Best Affordable Whiskeys To Drink Straight In 2022

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Whiskey, a spirit known for its profound complexity, often shines brightest when enjoyed straight. There’s a certain elegance in savoring it straight, allowing its nuanced notes to dance on your palate.

To help you, I’ve scoured liquor stores and tasted various options to bring you the ultimate list of the best affordable whiskey to drink straight from different distilleries. 

Top 15 Affordable Whiskeys to Drink Straight

1. 2 Gingers Blended Irish Whiskey

2 Gingers on desk, best affordable whiskey to drink straight

Average Price: Roughly $19.49 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Although most Irish whiskeys are triple distilled, 2 Gingers only went through double distillation processes. It is available for around $15 to $20 and contains 40% ABV.

Its four-year aging period results in a soft and velvety liquor that you can have neat.

“Sip, savor, and discover the affordable elegance of straight whiskeys.”- Liquor Laboratory 

I like it because it has a semi-sweet start followed by malty flavors of butterscotch, honey, and caramel that sit well when you consume it neat.

2. Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace on desk

Average Price: Roughly $43.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It:

Buffalo Trace is probably one of the world’s most historical whiskey distilleries, producing many famous brands like Pappy Van Winkle and W.L. Weller Special Reserve Bourbon.

Their flagship bourbon bearing the same name as the distillery is one of their most affordable liquor to sip neat. 

Buffalo Trace is a popular bourbon whiskey because it has cinnamon, nutmeg, butterscotch flavors with subtle pepper and vanilla bean hints- decent enough to be consumed neat. 

3. Bulleit Rye

Bulleit Rye on desk

Average Price: Roughly $21.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It:

Bulleit Rye became one of the most recognizable spirits since its release in 2011.

The distillery did not hold back incorporating 95% rye in its mash bill, while the remaining 5% mash is malted barley. 

After pouring it into a glass, the subtle hints of green apples, pears, and spice notes greeted my nose.

It has strong flavors of peaches, oak, and spiciness, followed by a clean and lingering smoky finish.

Read: Bulleit Bourbon vs Four Roses Bourbon

4. Corner Creek

Corner Creek on desk with glass

Average Price: Roughly $35.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 44%

Why We Like It:

Corner Creek presented their Reserve Bourbon expression in a bottle label designed by renowned artist William Nagle. It is an 88-proof spirit crafted from the finest corn, rye, and wheat.

The bourbon exudes a light aroma of fruits, leather, and grass, while its palate is an interesting combination of vanilla, nutmeg, peaches, butterscotch, and spices.

It has a moderate finish with remnants of cinnamon and charcoal hints.

5. Evan Williams

Evan Williams with glass on rocks on the desk

Average Price: Roughly $19.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 43%

Why We Like It:

When it comes to one of the best cheap whiskeys to drink straight, it is hard to go wrong with Evan Williams Black Label bottle.

It is a classic bourbon named after the person who established the first commercial distillery in Kentucky [1].

It is a smooth drink with well-rounded flavors suitable for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts who want to drink whiskey straight. 

6. Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Fighting Cock on desk with old fashioned cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $18.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 51.5%

Why We Like It:

At 51.5% ABV, this high-proof bourbon is one of the most affordable offerings of Heaven Hill.

It uses a classic mash bill of 75% corn, 12% malted barley, and 13% rye and has approachable sweetness and a simple aroma rising from the glass that carries on to my palate.

There are classic tastes of caramel, oak, baking spices, and pepper upon the first sip. It delivers an easy-drinking experience despite the high alcohol content.

7. Forty Creek Canadian Whisky 

Forty Creek Canadian Whisky on table with bread

Average Price: Roughly $31.45 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This product combines different grain whiskies that go through separate processes.

The makers use copper pot stills during distillation and finish some of the whiskies in Sherry casks.

Forty Creek Barrel Select, bottled at 40% ABV, has an undeniable sweet taste that perfectly accompanies any food.

I noticed that it is syrupy and thick with a subtle hint of milk chocolate, maple syrup, honey, and butterscotch.

8. Glenlivet

Glenlivet on desk with glass and peanuts

Average Price: Roughly $35.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Glenlivet 12 Year Single Malt is one of the world’s best-selling Scotch whiskies, famously known for having elegant and well-balanced flavors.

Extracting sugar from malted mash results in its fruitiness and soft texture and is counterbalanced by its long aging process.

The liquor used copper pot stills during distillation and contained 40% ABV. It has delicious apple and pineapple flavors with toffee and candied nuts hints.

Read: Glenlivet & Glenfiddich Compared

9. James Foxe

James Foxe on desk with cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $14.49 (Total Wine

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This Canadian spirit is a blend of whiskies made from malted and unmalted barley. It offers a very good price value of less than $20 for a 1.75-liter bottle containing 40% ABV.

You can have it in cocktails, but I like taking it straight because of its medium taste of corn, vanilla bean, and spices.

It has a short and smooth finish with no lingering aftertaste. 

10. Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey on table with cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $20.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

The Jameson whiskey makers used triple distilled locally grown malted and unmalted barley from Ireland for this product.

Then, they aged the blend for at least four years and bottled the liquor at 80 proof.

The makers use Sherry casks and other woods to finish, leaving a flavorful character to the liquor.

It is full of floral notes with a light fragrance of pears and cloves. The palate has hints of sherry, oak, and orchard fruits.

11. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut on desk with crackers

Average Price: Roughly $31.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It:

Jim Beam used a proprietary process of extracting liquid trapped in barrel wood and adding an extra-aged bourbon to craft this premium spirit [2].

This expression has intense depth and rich complexity as I drink in straight. 

It is a 90-proof bourbon with a heavy, woody, and oaky aroma. Although it is not overly spicy, it still has strong flavors of cinnamon and rye with botanical notes.

Read: Jim Beam Bourbon & Knob Creek Compared

12. Johnnie Black Label

Johnnie Black Label on table with box

Average Price: Roughly $24.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Like Jack Daniel’s, Johnnie Walker is one of the most recognizable and affordable bottles in the world of spirits.

It is a Blended Scotch, aged twelve years, and consists of Single Malt and grain whiskies. 

It is a timeless classic with 40% ABV that is a good introduction to peated alcoholic drinks. There is a gentle smoke in the flavors with honey and ripened peaches.

Read: Johnnie Walker Black & Double Black Compared

13. Old Grandad

Old Grandad on desk with a shot of whiskey

Average Price: Roughly $13.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Old Grand-Dad has a subdued aroma of rye heat and ethanol burn despite these numbers. 

I usually sit the spirit in a glass for a few seconds before drinking it straight. It will open up with full-bodied rye flavors, spice notes, and alcohol.

14. Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101 on table with glass

Average Price: Roughly $22.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 50.5%

Why We Like It:

Wild Turkey is one of the high-proof bourbons on our list, aged for at least six years. This widely available whiskey bottle is a decent buy for less than $25.

It provides an easy-drinking whiskey with a delicious balance of campfire smoke, pepper, cinnamon, and butterscotch.

The flavors build up to a buttery soft palate, while the finish is smooth with subtle orange peels and cloves.

15. Windsor Canadian Whisky

Windsor Canadian Whisky on desk with cherry cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $11.49 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This Canadian whisky, priced at around $11.49, brings a pleasant drinking experience that is hard to beat.

The 40% ABV is easy to take with no intense ethanol notes.

“The high quality whiskys here [in Canada] are ridiculously underpriced.”- Dave Broom, Whiskey Connoisseur & Author

Like other Canadian whisky spirits [3], this bottle is triple distilled and has a surprising sweetness and smoothness on the palate.

Read: Top Whiskey Ice Ball Makers Today

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s a cheap but good starter whiskey to drink neat?

Some cheap but good starter whiskey products to take neat are Johnnie Walker Black Label, Evan Williams Black Label, and Wild Turkey 101. These products are widely available at reasonable price points.

Jack Daniel’s offers affordable expressions with a delicious hint of maple syrup, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and oak.

What’s a good cheap whiskey to drink on the rocks?

Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Old Grand-Dad, and Wild Turkey 101 is among the good cheap whiskey products to drink on the rocks.

A few drops of ice helps these expressions to open up more and dilutes their high alcohol concentration instead of taking them straight. 

What type of whiskey do you drink straight?

Bourbons, single malts, and blended scotches are the whiskey you should drink straight. They are often favored for their distinct flavors and smoothness when enjoyed neatly, allowing their unique characteristics to shine without the influence of mixers.

Is affordable whiskey good to drink straight?

Yes, affordable whiskey is good to drink straight. Many whiskey enthusiasts appreciate sipping it neat to experience its intricate flavors and aromas fully.

What is the best tasting affordable whiskey?

Determining the “best tasting” affordable whiskey is subjective and depends on individual preferences. However, some widely praised affordable whiskey options include:

Buffalo Trace Bourbon: Known for its rich and complex flavor profile at an accessible price point.

Evan Williams Black Label: A Kentucky straight bourbon offering a balance of sweetness and spice.

Jameson Irish Whiskey: A smooth and versatile Irish whiskey often favored for its approachable taste.

Famous Grouse Blended Scotch: A well-balanced and affordable Scotch whisky.

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon: Offers a higher proof and robust flavor at an affordable price.

Which whisky is best in low price?

Several whiskies offer good quality at a low price. Some options include:

Johnnie Walker Red Label: A widely available and affordable blended Scotch whisky.

Old Forester 86 Proof: A reasonably priced bourbon known for its approachable flavor.

Rittenhouse Rye: A value-for-money rye whiskey with a robust character.

Canadian Club 100% Rye: A budget-friendly Canadian rye whisky with a smooth profile.

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition: An Irish whiskey with an affordable price and a unique finish.

What is the best whiskey for a good price?

Finding the best whiskey for a good price depends on personal taste preferences, but some generally well-regarded options include:

Bulleit Bourbon: Offers a high-rye content and a distinctive flavor profile at a reasonable price.

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon: Known for its quality and complexity without breaking the bank.

Redbreast 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey: A single pot still Irish whiskey with a reasonable price for its age.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch: A smooth and versatile Scotch whisky at an affordable price.

Weller Special Reserve Bourbon: Part of the Weller line, offering good value for a wheated bourbon.

Is Chivas Regal a good whisky?

Chivas Regal is considered a good whisky, particularly in the blended Scotch category. It is known for its smooth and approachable character, making it suitable for both sipping and mixing in cocktails. Chivas Regal expressions, such as Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old, are often well-received for their balance of flavors, including fruity and malty notes.

Which whiskey is best for beginners?

For beginners exploring whiskey, it’s advisable to start with whiskies that have approachable and milder profiles. Some good options include:

12-Year-Old: A single malt Scotch with fruity and floral notes.

Jameson Irish Whiskey: Known for its smoothness and light, slightly sweet flavor.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon: Offers a well-balanced and flavorful introduction to bourbon.

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky: A Canadian whisky with a smooth and versatile profile.

Maker’s Mark Bourbon: Recognized for its approachable sweetness and smooth finish.


What is the smoothest whiskey with no burn?

The perception of smoothness in whiskey is subjective, but some whiskies are often praised for their smooth character with minimal burn. Some options include:

Glenlivet 12-Year-Old: A single malt Scotch known for its smooth and light profile.

Redbreast 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey: Smooth with a pleasant balance of fruity and spicy notes.

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon: Recognized for its smooth and well-rounded flavor profile.

Michter’s US*1 American Whiskey: A smooth and approachable American whiskey with no age statement.

Yamazaki 12-Year-Old: A Japanese single malt known for its elegance and smoothness.

Is Glenfiddich a good whisky?

Yes, Glenfiddich is widely regarded as a good and reputable whisky. As one of the most well-known single malt Scotch whisky distilleries, Glenfiddich has a range of expressions that cater to various taste preferences. The Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old, in particular, is often recommended for its approachable and fruit-forward flavor profile. The distillery’s commitment to quality and innovation has contributed to its positive reputation among whisky enthusiasts.

What type of whisky is the smoothest?

Smoothness in whisky often depends on factors such as production methods, aging, and individual taste preferences. Generally, some types of whisky are often associated with smooth profiles:

Irish Whiskey: Known for its smooth and approachable character, often with a slight sweetness.

Canadian Whisky: Typically smooth and lighter in style, with a blend of grains.

Japanese Whisky: Many Japanese whiskies exhibit a smooth and harmonious character, emphasizing balance.

Blended Scotch Whisky: Well-crafted blends can offer a smooth and balanced drinking experience.

Which whisky is best for daily use?

Selecting a whisky for daily consumption depends on personal preferences and budget. Some options known for their balance of quality and affordability include:

Jameson Irish Whiskey: A versatile and approachable option suitable for daily sipping or mixing.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon: Offers a good balance of flavor at an accessible price point.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch: A smooth and mixable Scotch whisky.

Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon: A value-for-money bourbon with a solid flavor profile.

Highland Park 12-Year-Old: A single malt Scotch with a good balance of sweet and peaty notes.

Which brand is best for whisky?

Determining the best whisky brand is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences. Several brands are widely respected for their quality and diverse offerings. Some highly regarded whisky brands include:

Macallan: Known for its premium single malts, often aged in sherry-seasoned casks.

Lagavulin: Renowned for its peaty and complex Islay whiskies.

Glenfiddich: A well-established distillery with a broad range of expressions.

Jameson: An iconic Irish whiskey brand with a smooth and approachable style.

Buffalo Trace: Recognized for producing high-quality bourbons with a range of flavor profiles.

The best whisky brand is ultimately the one that aligns with an individual’s taste preferences and budget considerations.

Final Verdict: Best Affordable Whiskey To Drink Straight

Sipping whiskey [4] neat allows the complex flavors and fine distinction to shine, providing an authentic and unadulterated tasting experience.

Among the options above, 2 Gingers Blended Irish Whiskey stands out in our blind tasting. Its exceptional balance, approachable character, and ability to offer a rewarding moment of relaxation with each sip. So, why dilute greatness?

During dinner, these products may be a good food companion for seasoned enthusiasts and whiskey fans.

References:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/bourbon-history-timeline-760176
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jim-beam-establishes-revolutionary-bourbon-making-process-with-release-of-devils-cut-122580388.html
  3. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Canadian-whisky 
  4. https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/cocktails-spirits/how-to-drink-whisky 
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