15 Best Affordable Whiskeys To Drink Straight in 2023 (Expert Picks)

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Whiskey is one of the distilled spirits with deep complexity. Many believe that taking it straight is better than mixing it with cocktails. 

Today, we’ll help you find 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

Average Price: Roughly $15.99 (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.

It also has a semi-sweet start followed by malty flavors of butterscotch, honey, and caramel.

2. Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace on desk

Average Price: Roughly $27.99 (Caskers)

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. 

It contains 45% ABV and has matured for eight years, imparting a strong spiciness to the palate.

It has cinnamon, nutmeg, and butterscotch flavors with subtle pepper and vanilla bean hints.

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. 

It contains 45% ABV, and after pouring it into a glass, you can smell subtle hints of green apple, pears, and spice notes.

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 $15.99 (Caskers)

Alcohol Content: 45.3%

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].

This spirit contains 43% ABV and is available for around $15 or less in some local stores.

It is a smooth drink with well-rounded flavors suitable for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts. 

6. Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Fighting Cock on desk with old fashioned cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $59.99 (Caskers)

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, priced below $20. It uses a classic mash bill of 75% corn, 12% malted barley, and 13% rye.

It has an approachable sweetness and simple aroma rising from the glass that carries on to the 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 $27.99 (Caskers)

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.

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 $32.99 (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 $16.74 (Drizly)

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 on cocktails, but taking it straight will give you medium tastes 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 $19.99 (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 for the finishing process, 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 $38.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It:

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

This expression has intense depth and rich complexity. 

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 $25.99 (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 for peated alcoholic drinks. There is an evident 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 $29.49 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 57%

Why We Like It:

Old Grand-Dad offers a high-proof whiskey of 57% ABV with an above-average rye mash percentage of 27%.

However, it has a subdued aroma of rye heat and ethanol burn despite these numbers. 

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

14. Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101 on table with glass

Average Price: Roughly $19.99 (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 around $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 $18.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This Canadian whisky, priced for around $10, brings a pleasant drinking experience that is hard to beat.

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

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

Read: Top Whiskey Ice Ball Makers Today


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. 

In Summary

Our best cheap whiskeys include several affordable bottles of Irish whiskey, Blended Scotch, American bourbons, and Canadian whisky. Although these spirits are easy to drink straight, there are also products that beginners might want to dilute first with ice before taking.

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



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

5 thoughts on “15 Best Affordable Whiskeys To Drink Straight in 2023 (Expert Picks)

  • June 1, 2022 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm

    I’m more interested in Scotch rather than American/Canadian whiskey. So not of much use to me.

  • June 2, 2022 6:52 am at 6:52 am

    Is it genuine?

  • June 25, 2022 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm

    Buffalo Trace is one of the best tasting bourbon out there.

  • March 23, 2023 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm

    I don’t drink whiskey very often, but I’ll mix some with cola or ginger ale every now and then.
    Windsor Canadian works great for me, and it’s certainly cheap enough.


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