Liquor Laboratory

ll logo white
ll logo white

18 Best Cheap Bourbon Brands To Try (2024 Updated)

Best Cheap Bourbon

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 18 Best Cheap Bourbon Brands You Need To Try 

18. Woodford Reserve

Average Price: $39.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45.2%

Why We Like It: Woodford Reserve has the right balance of palate profile from bold grain to fruit and floral notes.

We enjoyed sipping the bourbon on the rocks because the ice opened up other palate profiles of the whiskey. Also, it drinks nicely and does not taste cheap.

17. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Hand Holding Buffalo Trace Bottle

Average Price: $34.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It: Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey is a good-entry level bourbon whiskey that boasts a complex flavor profile despite its low price.

The notes of brown sugar, toffee, dark fruit, oak, and anise tickle our palate. Also, it has a smooth, long, and serious depth in its finish.

Buffalo Trace bourbon is a solid choice if you want a cheap yet complex bourbon whiskey.

16. Jim Beam Single Barrel

Close Up Shot of Jim Beam Single Barrel Bottle

Average Price: $39.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 47.5%

Why We Like It: You don’t need a budget of a King to enjoy a premium single barrel bourbon because you only need less than $40 to try one.

Jim Beam Single barrel is handcrafted and skilfully made to ensure its premium quality.

We are impressed with its distinct flavor that does not fade easily when mixed with Old Fashioned. You can also try it neat if you want the ultimate drinking experience.

It is silky and smooth with rich caramel and vanilla notes, better than dessert.

15. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 

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

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 friendly, 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 in new, charred oak barrels for eight to twelve years. 

Read: Elijah Craig Bourbon vs Buffalo Trace

14. Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey

Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey

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

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)

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 a fantastic sipping bourbon, but even more impressive 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)

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)

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)

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 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]

Read: Best-Selling Bottom Shelf Bourbons

9. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon

1792 Small Batch Bourbon

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

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. 

You drink the whisky the way you want it. I think one gets intimidated because of these rules. There are many ways of enjoying it, take what feels right for you. 

-Simon Brooking, Beam Suntory Master Scotch Ambassador

8. Wild Turkey 101 

Wild Turkey 101 

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

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. 

Read: Popular Wild Turkey Bourbon Bottles

7. Old Forester 1920

Old Forester 1920

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

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)

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 good 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)

Alcohol Content: 45% 

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

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)

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)

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)

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. 

Read: Our Favorite Top-Shelf Bourbon Brands

1. Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

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

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. 

Is cheaper bourbon made differently?

No, cheaper bourbons are not made differently. Every bourbon should follow strict production regulations to ensure quality.

They are usually cheap because of mass production and different length of maturation.

What is considered the best cheap bourbon? 

The best cheap bourbon is subjective and varies depending on personal taste preferences. However, some widely recommended budget-friendly options include Evan Williams, Old Forester, and Buffalo Trace.

Are there any specific qualities to look for in a cheap bourbon? 

While price is a consideration, look for bourbons with a smooth and enjoyable flavor profile, even at a lower price point. Some affordable bourbons offer great value without sacrificing quality.

Can I use cheap bourbon for cocktails?

Absolutely! Cheap bourbon can be used in a variety of cocktails, such as Old Fashioneds, Bourbon & Coke, or Whiskey Sours. Its versatility makes it a popular choice for mixing in cocktails without spending much money.

Are there any well-known brands that offer affordable bourbon options?

Yes, several well-known bourbon brands offer affordable options, including Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Heaven Hill. These brands often provide excellent value for the price.

Is there a difference in quality between cheap bourbon and more expensive options? 

While expensive bourbons may offer more complexity and depth of flavor due to longer aging or higher-quality ingredients, many cheap bourbons provide a satisfying drinking experience at an affordable price. It’s all about finding the balance between quality and affordability that works for you.

What are some of the best cheap bourbon under $20?

The best cheap bourbon under $20 would likely be Evan Williams Black Label. It’s known for its smoothness and affordability, offering a classic bourbon flavor profile with hints of caramel and vanilla. Other notable options in this price range include Buffalo Trace White Label, Old Forester 86 Proof, Jim Beam White Label, and Wild Turkey 81 Proof. Each of these bourbons provides a solid taste experience at an affordable price point.

In A Nutshell

You don’t have to burn a hole through your wallet when choosing bourbons for your home bars.

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.

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. 

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 
Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar