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12 Best Bourbon Under $40 To Drink in 2024

best bourbon under $40

News Flash: You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a sip of the best bourbon!

Yes, you read that right. You can definitely try the truest American drink without breaking your bank.

In fact, you can easily get the best bourbon under $40 without doing any blind tastings – we’ve already done it for you, so keep reading to check out our reviews. 

12 Must-Try Best Bourbon Under $40 

12. Jeffersons Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Jefferson's

Average Price: Around $37.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 41.15%

What We Considered: Jeffersons Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey is made from three hand-selected straight bourbon blends of different ages and mash bills.

This straight bourbon whiskey is best for sipping because of its smoothness and creamy caramel, corn, and vanilla palate.

When sipping this Kentucky straight bourbon, expect a hint of citrus with brown sugar and a medium, delicate finish.

11. Noble Oak Double Oak Bourbon

Noble Oak Double Oak

Average Price: Around $37.25 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

What We Considered: Noble Oak bourbon comes with a sherry oak finish and hints of ripe cherries and honey.

The best masters of wood source this bourbon whiskey at Edrington, the producer of some of the world’s finest single malts. 

This golden chestnut-colored bourbon also has hints of dried fruit, vanillas, and warm spices. Expect lingering palatable flavors of cherry and wood finish upon sipping this bourbon.

10. High West American Prairie Bourbon Whiskey

High West American Prairie

Average Price: Around $38.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 46%

What We Considered: High West American Prairie bourbon whiskey is blended from two, three, six, and thirteen-year-old bourbon blends.

It comprises 21% rye, 75% corn, and 4% malted barley sourced from Midwest Grain Products (MGP) [1]. 

This MGP-sourced bourbon whiskey is excellent in cocktails because it has complex flavors.

9. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Average Price: Around $39.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45.2%

What We Considered: Woodford Reserve Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey offers a chewy, well-roundedly smooth, rich palate.

Woodford Reserve straight bourbon whiskey also has distinct hints of mint and oranges, cocoa, baking spices, and tobacco spice.

The Woodford Reserve straight bourbon whiskey has a warm, long, and silky smooth finish, almost creamy at first sip.

8. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Average Price: Around $34.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45% 

What We Considered: Like Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey is another bourbon under $40 that offers a complex layer of flavors and aroma of mint, vanilla, and molasses.

Buffalo Trace bourbon is your best choice if you are into pleasant-tasting bourbons.

This Buffalo Trace Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey has pleasant flavors of brown sugar and oak spices, partnered with dark fruit, toffee, and anise.

This bourbon from Kentucky also has a long, silky smooth finish. 

7. Old Forester 100 Proof Signature Bourbon

Old Forester 100 Proof Signature Bourbon

Average Price: Around $26.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 50%

What We Considered: Old Forestester is a 100-proof bourbon whiskey specifically crafted to honor the legacy of George Garvin Brown, its founder.

Old Forester is the first-ever sealed bourbon in a bottle.

This 100-proof bourbon whiskey was made from handpicked select barrels, so it has full and complex flavors. It also has the right kick of spiciness, maintaining its distinct flavor profile. 

Surprisingly, this bottle also has a strong but candied coffee and chocolatey, creamy butterscotch tasting notes.

This is obviously cheaper than Old Forester Bottled-in-Bond bourbon, which has a caramel and fruity flavor.

6. Larceny Small Batch Bourbon

Larceny Small Batch Bourbon

Average Price: Around $28.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 46%

What We Considered: Larceny small batch bourbon whiskey is a wheated bourbon made by Heaven Hill that you can score in measly $30.

This small batch whiskey uses wheat instead of rye as its secondary grain, so expect it to deliver a smooth taste. 

This bright new copper-colored small batch bourbon whiskey offers a note of butterscotch, toffee, and a fresh bread aroma with a long, gentle, savory finish.

Read: Top Bourbons For Weddings

5. Redemption Straight High-Rye Bourbon

Redemption Straight High-Rye

Average Price: Around $29.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 46%

What We Considered: Redemption Straight High-Rye bourbon whiskey comprises 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley.

Because its rye content is high, it offers a unique layer of complex sweetness flavors punctuated by rich rye notes. 

This bold straight bourbon whiskey also offers a strong aroma of red berry fruitness, with light oak hints and sweet vanilla.

This straight bourbon whiskey has fennel-like notes of black pepper and light licorice from its rye spice content. 

Read: Popular Bourbon Smoker Kits

4. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Average Price: Around $39.59 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

What We Considered: Four Roses small batch bourbon whiskey, bottled at an affordable price, sports a mellow but perfectly balanced array of full-bodied flavors. 

You can enjoy this 90-proof Four Roses small batch bourbon whiskey on the rocks or straight up. You can also mix Four Roses with your favorite bourbon mixers.

3. Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Average Price: Around $26.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 50.5%

What We Considered: Wild Turkey 101 bourbon is a bold bourbon with an impossible-to-miss character.

This Wild Turkey bourbon is aged six to eight years in American white oak barrels. It’s also coated with the deepest alligator char, resulting in its bold, candied, but smooth palate. 

This Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey has a high-rye content, so it carries a bit of a bite. It tastes like Cinnamon, maple, and charcoal.

This is not overly sweet, so you can always enjoy this delectable drink neat, in a cocktail, or on the rocks.

Read: Our Top High-Value Bourbons Today

2. Evan Williams Single Barrel

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Average Price: Around $31.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 43.3%

What We Considered: Evan Williams single barrel is an 86.6-proof bourbon whiskey that tastes lush but spicy. It also comes with hints of apple, oak with honey, and orange notes.

Evan Williams single barrel bourbon, with delicate amber-gold color, has a long, elegant finish.

This Evan Williams single-barrel bourbon is the first and only vintage-dated single-barrel bourbon whiskey. It’s also a five-time Whiskey Of The Year award winner. 

1. Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit

Average Price: Around $32.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

What We Considered: Bulleit Kentucky straight bourbon is one of the best bourbons that only use the highest quality corn, rye, and malted barley.

This Kentucky straight bourbon has a recipe inspired by the whiskey recipe used over 150 years ago. 

Bulleit Kentucky straight bourbon has a subtle, complex, unique mash bill, special yeast strains, and pure Kentucky limestone [2] filtered water. You’ll notice its medium amber color, honeyed oak, and gentle spiciness aroma. 

Because this Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey has a high content of rye, it also comes with a bold character and spiciness with a distinctively smooth, clean finish.

Best Bourbon Under $40 for the Money:

For bourbon enthusiasts seeking quality within a reasonable budget, Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon stands out as an exemplary choice. With its rich flavor profile boasting notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, this bourbon offers a remarkable depth typically found in higher-priced options. Priced under $40, it delivers exceptional value, often surpassing expectations with its smoothness and complexity. Its single barrel aging ensures consistency and allows for the development of nuanced flavors, making it a favorite among both casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike. Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon exemplifies affordability without compromising on taste, earning its place as one of the best bargains in the bourbon market.

Best Bourbon Under $30:

In the realm of budget-friendly bourbons, Buffalo Trace stands as a shining example of quality and affordability. Priced under $30, Buffalo Trace offers a delightful balance of sweetness, spice, and oakiness, making it a versatile choice for sipping neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. Its smooth finish and well-rounded flavor profile, featuring hints of toffee, cinnamon, and a touch of leather, make it a favorite among bourbon enthusiasts on a budget. Despite its modest price tag, Buffalo Trace consistently delivers a drinking experience that rivals many higher-priced competitors, solidifying its status as one of the best bourbons under $30.

Best Bourbon Under $50:

For bourbon aficionados willing to stretch their budget slightly, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon presents an exceptional value proposition. Priced under $50, this bourbon offers a depth of flavor and complexity that belies its modest cost. With its combination of rich caramel, vanilla, and oak notes, along with a hint of spice and a velvety smooth finish, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon delivers a drinking experience that rivals many higher-priced options. Its careful craftsmanship and attention to detail shine through in every sip, making it a standout choice for those seeking premium quality without breaking the bank.

Best Bourbon Under $100:

At the sub-$100 price point, Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon emerges as a top contender for the discerning bourbon enthusiast. With its higher price tag comes an elevated drinking experience characterized by layers of complexity and sophistication. From its well-balanced blend of fruit, spice, and floral notes to its smooth and lingering finish, Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon exemplifies craftsmanship and quality. While it may represent a slightly higher investment, its exceptional flavor profile and undeniable allure make it a worthwhile splurge for special occasions or simply indulging in a premium bourbon experience.

Best Bourbon Under $300:

For those seeking the pinnacle of bourbon excellence without venturing into ultra-premium price ranges, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon stands as a beacon of luxury and refinement. Priced under $300, this bourbon offers a truly transcendent drinking experience characterized by its unparalleled depth, complexity, and elegance. From its distinctive bottle design to its meticulously crafted flavor profile featuring layers of caramel, spice, and oak, every aspect of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon exudes sophistication and class. With its smooth and velvety texture, along with a long, satisfying finish, it’s a bourbon that commands attention and admiration. While it represents a significant investment, the unparalleled quality and unmatched drinking experience make Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon a worthy addition to any connoisseur’s collection.

FAQs

Are there high-quality bourbons under $40?

Of course, there are high-quality bourbons under $40. In fact, you can shell out the best bourbons for at least $30, like Knob Creek, Bulleit, and Buffalo Trace.  

What’s the best bourbon under $40 best drank neat? 

The best bourbon under $40 best drank neat is the Four Roses small batch bourbon whiskey. It comes with a soft nose, yeast-ly, almost like baking flour, and strong whiffs of burnt sugar and vanilla.
It has a smooth finish and versatile character, making it perfect for any cocktail. 

Can I find high-quality bourbon under $40?

Absolutely! Many distilleries produce exceptional bourbon within this price range, offering a wide variety of flavors and profiles to suit different preferences.

What should I consider when choosing a bourbon under $40?

Factors to consider include flavor preferences, mash bill (grain recipe), age statement (if any), and the overall reputation of the brand. It’s also helpful to read reviews and possibly sample different options to find the best fit for your taste.

Are there any specific bourbon brands known for offering value under $40?

Yes, brands like Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Elijah Craig, and Maker’s Mark are renowned for consistently delivering quality bourbon at affordable prices.

Can I expect good complexity and flavor from bourbons under $40?

While bourbons in this price range may not offer the same depth and complexity as higher-end bottles, many still provide rich flavors, balanced profiles, and enjoyable drinking experiences.

Should I prioritize age statements when selecting a bourbon under $40?

Age statements can be a helpful indicator of a bourbon’s maturity, but they’re not the sole determinant of quality. Many excellent bourbons under $40 may not have age statements but still offer remarkable flavor profiles.

Are there any bourbons under $40 suitable for sipping neat or on the rocks?

Yes, several bourbons in this price range are suitable for sipping neat or with a splash of water or ice. Experimenting with different brands and expressions can help you find one that suits your sipping preferences.

Can I find bourbons under $40 that are suitable for cocktails?

Absolutely! Many bourbons under $40 are versatile and work well in classic cocktails like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, and Mint Juleps. Look for bourbons with balanced flavor profiles that complement your cocktail recipes.

Does Jack Daniels qualify as bourbon?

While Jack Daniel’s is often associated with bourbon due to its similar production process and flavor profile, it is technically not classified as bourbon. This distinction arises from the fact that Jack Daniel’s undergoes an additional filtration process called the Lincoln County Process, where the whiskey is filtered through charcoal before aging in barrels. This extra step, unique to Jack Daniel’s production, sets it apart from traditional bourbons. However, in terms of taste and characteristics, Jack Daniel’s shares many similarities with bourbon, including its mash bill predominantly made from corn, aging in new charred oak barrels, and a rich, smooth flavor profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak.

Is Jim Beam a good bourbon?

Jim Beam is widely regarded as a good bourbon, offering a solid quality-to-price ratio that appeals to both casual drinkers and whiskey enthusiasts. As one of the best-selling bourbon brands globally, Jim Beam has established a reputation for consistent quality and accessibility. Its flagship expression, Jim Beam White Label, delivers a classic bourbon experience with a balanced flavor profile characterized by sweetness, spice, and oak. While it may not possess the complexity or depth of higher-end bourbons, Jim Beam is praised for its versatility, making it suitable for sipping neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. Overall, Jim Beam represents a reliable choice for those seeking a well-crafted bourbon at an affordable price point.

How do you drink bourbon?

The enjoyment of bourbon is subjective, and there are several ways to drink it depending on personal preference. Many bourbon enthusiasts prefer to drink it neat, meaning straight from the bottle without any additional mixers or ice. This allows for a full appreciation of the bourbon’s flavor profile and aroma. Some may choose to add a few drops of water to slightly dilute the whiskey, which can help unlock its nuances and soften its intensity.

Others enjoy bourbon on the rocks, where the whiskey is poured over ice cubes to chill it slightly and mellow its flavors. This method can be particularly refreshing on warmer days or when seeking a more diluted drink. Additionally, bourbon is a popular base for cocktails, such as the classic Old Fashioned or Mint Julep, where it can be mixed with other ingredients to create a unique flavor experience. Ultimately, the best way to drink bourbon is whichever way you personally enjoy it most.

Do expensive bourbons taste better?

The taste of bourbon, like any whiskey, is subjective and influenced by personal preference. While expensive bourbons often boast superior craftsmanship, longer aging periods, and rare ingredients, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better taste for everyone. Expensive bourbons may offer more complex flavor profiles, greater depth, and smoother finishes compared to budget-friendly options. However, what one person considers the “best” tasting bourbon may differ from another’s opinion.

Factors such as individual palate, tasting experience, and the specific characteristics desired in a bourbon all play a role in determining whether expensive bourbons taste better. Some whiskey enthusiasts may find that certain expensive bourbons justify their price tag with exceptional flavor and quality, while others may prefer the taste of more affordable options. Ultimately, the enjoyment of bourbon is subjective, and the “best” bourbon is the one that brings the most satisfaction to the individual drinker, regardless of its price.

Final Thoughts

Based on a series of blind tastings our team made, Bulleit Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey emerged as the best bourbon under $40. We liked its subtle but complex flavor and spicy and bold flavor profile. 

The high rye content of this Kentucky straight bourbon also became our deciding point because we loved its surprising kick even right after the first sip. Its smooth and clean finish also sealed the deal.

However, despite having to choose one victor among the 12 bottles we had to choose from, we discovered that there are actually a bunch of high-quality bourbons under $40.

The contenders on the list are almost as equally excellent as the Bulleit Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.

You can easily pick one from our list if you want honeyed, smooth, or bold bourbons. 

References:

  1. https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/midwest-grain-products-inc
  2. https://www.uky.edu/KGS/rocksmineral/rm-rocks-limestone.php#
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