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15 Best Cheap Bourbon Brands To Try (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on September 21, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Most hardcore bourbon drinkers will tell you to save your hard-earned money for expensive bottles to experience “real” bourbon goodness.

However, it isn’t entirely true that you have to spend hundreds of dollars for good bourbon. 

Here are the best cheap bourbons out in the market that don’t scrimp on quality. 

Top 15 Cheap Bourbons You Need To Try 

15. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 

Average Price: Around $34 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery 

Alcohol Content: 47% 

Why We Like It: If you’ve been reading our blog, you know we’re huge fans of Elijah Craig. We’re kicking off this list with the Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, a nice, satisfying sip for slightly over $30. 

This Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey is nicely round and perfectly sweet, balanced with just a bit of stone fruit and smoked oak.

It is matured for around eight to twelve years in new, charred oak barrels. 

14. Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey

Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey

Average Price: Around $32 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Maker’s Mark 

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Why We Like It: Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey is a top-selling bourbon at a budget price point. It’s a wheated bourbon, so it has more red wheat in its mash bill than the traditional rye, alongside some corn and malted barley. 

As a result, this wheated bourbon has a soft, bread-like quality, rounded out with plenty of vanilla, cinnamon, toasted oak, and spicy tasting notes. 

13. Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 

Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 

Average Price: Around $32 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Heaven Hill 

Alcohol Content: 43.3% 

Why We Like It: The Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon is probably the cheapest single barrel with a quality we could confidently get behind. 

It’s an amazing sipping bourbon, but even more amazing when mixed into classic bourbon cocktails, like a Boulevardier [1]. This complex whiskey has a nice, luscious mouthfeel, with delicate honey tasting notes. 

12. Heaven Hill White Label 

Heaven Hill White Label

Average Price: Around $11 per 750 ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Heaven Hill 

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Why We Like It: The Heaven Hill White Label is a fool-proof option if you’re looking for a nice, affordable bourbon. 

Its 80-proof also means that the bourbon won’t overpower the mixers you decide to use. It’s a good whiskey for sipping, but we find that it shines better in cocktails [2]. 

11. Four Roses Bourbon 

Four Roses Bourbon 

Average Price: Around $25 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Four Roses 

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Why We Like It: Speaking of stellar sippers on a budget, the Four Roses bourbon is one of them. Its juice is made by blending ten Four Roses recipes with varying mash bills and yeast strains. 

You would never guess that a 750ml bottle costs just slightly under $25, as this robust bourbon has an impressive depth of flavors. 

10. Woodinville Bourbon 

Woodinville Bourbon 

Average Price: Around $43 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Woodinville 

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Why We Like It: Woodinville bourbon is a bit of a puzzle as it is technically born and bred in Kentucky but shipped to central Washington for maturation. 

You will definitely adore its vanilla, demerara sugar, and caramel flavors, with a profile that’s just as good and reliable as others you can get from the Bourbon Capital. [3]

9. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon

1792 Small Batch Bourbon

Average Price: Around $33 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Barton Distillery

Alcohol Content: 46.8% 

Why We Like It: The 1792 Small Batch bourbon is one of the best budget bourbons under $50. It’s a decadent dram, rife with notes of burnt caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, and toasted oak, and housed in a gorgeous decanter. 

We love sipping this neat, but it’s just as good in an Old Fashioned. 

8. Wild Turkey 101 

Wild Turkey 101 

Average Price: Around $27 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Wild Turkey 

Alcohol Content: 50.5% 

Why We Like It: As the name suggests, the Wild Turkey 101 is bottled at 101 proof, making it one of the higher-proof bottles on this list. 

This Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey has a smooth profile that packs a punch in all the right ways. Wild Turkey 101 can hold its own when compared to other bourbons that are twice (or even thrice) its price point. 

7. Old Forester 1920

Old Forester 1920

Average Price: Around $36 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Brown-Forman 

Alcohol Content: 57.5% 

Why We Like It: The Old Forester 1920 is a gorgeous bourbon with plenty of depth and character, which we find impressive considering its price point. This bottle of bourbon has a rich flavor and an even richer history to start with. 

6. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 

Average Price: Around $87 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Heaven Hill 

Alcohol Content: 60.4% 

Why We Like It: As the name suggests, the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is bottled straight from the barrel and uncut. It’s the purest form of bourbon, even down to its last drop.

As a barrel-proof bourbon, you might assume that its flavors are overwhelming. And while the flavors are rich and powerful, they remain delectable and enjoyable. It has thick honey, caramel, and wood, nicely balanced with mint and spice notes. 

If we’re being overly critical, we would say that the dram needs to have just a hint of a fruity element, but we’re not complaining. 

5. Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

Average Price: Around $33 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Bulleit 

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Why We Like It: Bulleit bourbon is one of the most popular bourbons on the market, and it’s quite cheap to boot. It has a beautifully spicy profile, with notes like licorice, clove, fennel, and black pepper. 

Doing the “Kentucky chew” brings out more roasted vanilla, honey, dried apple, and orange peel for a more well-balanced dram. 

4. Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon  

Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon

Average Price: Around $50 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Why We Like It: The Eagle Rare 10-Year bourbon is a well-aged bourbon you can get without breaking the bank. It uses the company’s classified Mash # 1, which contains low rye. 

This Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey has a beautiful, gentle profile, rife with mint, honey, vanilla, and caramel notes. It may be a bit mellow for sipping neat, but this is a fail-proof option for classic whiskey cocktails. 

Read: Eagle Rare vs Blanton’s Bourbons

3. Very Old Barton

Very Old Barton

Average Price: Around $13 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Barton 

Alcohol Content: 50% 

Why We Like It: The Very Old Barton has a buttery toffee mouthfeel reminiscent of more expensive bourbons. Of course, its flavor is just as good — it’s a gorgeous balance of cinnamon spice, dark red berries, and (strangely) gingerbread cookies. 

And with its price point of just under $20 per 750ml bottle, it almost feels like highway robbery. 

2. John J. Bowman SiB

John J. Bowman SiB

Average Price: Around $60 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Bowman 

Alcohol Content: 50% 

Why We Like It: While the John J. Bowman SiB bottle shows no clear age statement, it is said that the bourbon is aged between nine to ten years. This is a rich and creamy dram, rife with traditional flavors like chocolate, vanilla, sweet corn syrup, and a bit of oak. 

The bourbon may not be experimental with the type of flavors it has, but it makes up for it by being a rich, lush, and satisfying sip. 

1. Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Average Price: Around $19 per 750ml (Drizly)

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Alcohol Content: 50% 

Why We Like It: The Evan Williams Bottled in Bond bourbon is the perfect epitome of cheap yet stellar quality bourbon. It’s a gorgeous and satisfying sip, whether you’re at your first or tenth bottle (yup, it’s that cheap). 

It has a sweet yet beautifully dark and roasted profile that you’ll definitely enjoy sipping neat yet mellow enough if you want to mix it in cocktails. 

FAQs 

What’s the best cheap bourbon to drink straight?

We find the Evan Williams Bottled in Bond the best cheap yet gorgeous bourbon to drink straight.

It has a wonderful depth that you’ll enjoy sipping neat, and you’ll have fun dissecting all the tasting notes within the dram. 

What cheap bourbon is best for cocktails?

We find that the Eagle Rare 10-Year-Old is one of the best cheap bourbon options for cocktails. It has a beautifully mild and gentle profile that would work wonderfully as the base for your Boulevardier or Old Fashioned. 

Are cheap bourbons considered low quality?

No, cheap bourbons don’t automatically mean they’re low quality. On the contrary, we find that some affordable bourbons can definitely hold their own when compared to the classic Pappy or Michter’s if you know what you’re looking for. 

In A Nutshell

You don’t have to burn a hole through your wallet when choosing bourbons for your home bars. We hope this list makes it easy as you wade through all the bottom-shelf bourbon at the liquor store. 

One thing we like to consider in choosing most bourbons, whether cheap or expensive, is their depth of flavors and how the dram feels on the palate. The ones we listed above are all beautifully plump on the palate, with gorgeous flavor nuances. 

Our top cheap bourbon is Evan Williams Bottled in Bond because it ticks off everything we’re looking for — whether that’s its mouthfeel, tasting notes, or finish. 

References: 

  1. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016009-boulevardier 
  2. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/whiskey-sour  
  3. https://www.history.com/news/how-kentucky-became-the-worlds-bourbon-capital 

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