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8 Best Well Whiskey Brands Listed (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Bartenders make well drinks by default using the liquor they think is best and easily accessible – unless you request a particular brand of spirit. 

But while you can freely ask for a specific liquor brand, it can be hard to decide which spirit should make up your well drink. 

For this reason, we asked several bartenders for their recommended well whiskey brands that you need to try now, so read on. 

Top 8 Well Whiskeys Recommended By Bartenders 

8. Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon 

Close Up Shot of Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon Bottle

Average Price: around $11.99 /375ml (Drizly)

ABV: 50% ABV 

Why We Like It: Old Grand-Dad Bonded is a high-proof bourbon that stands out in various applications, such as Old-Fashioneds and whiskey [1] sours. 

Also, it is very popular among whiskey drinkers due to its higher rye content.

Its tobacco notes, which are very sweet and spicy, are a great addition to any cocktail or shot. 

7. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

old man holding Old Overholt Rye Bottle

Average Price: around $19.99 /750ml (MSRP)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This is a great steal for anyone who enjoys drinking generally and not-at-all-harsh whiskey. 

It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a robust yet balanced rye with a subtle vanilla note. 

Although this spirit isn’t that complex, it remains a solid choice if you’re looking for something that will stand out.

6. Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon

Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon on a bar counter

Average Price: around $20 /750ml (MSRP)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This bourbon is so consistent and affordable that many bartenders, from amateur to professional, like to stock up on it. 

Its smooth and well-rounded character is great in various drinks, and it is hard to replace it with another brand due to how it hits the perfect balance between oak, spice, and fruit. 

5. Jim Beam Rye

Bottle of Jim Beam Rye

Average Price: around $19.99 /750ml (MSRP)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This well whiskey is made with only 51% rye grain. Despite this, it still manages to taste like bourbon. 

Jim Beam Rye is a spicy and warm drink with a black pepper bite and hints of oak and vanilla.

The finish is warm, with hints of caramel, honey, and chocolate. 

It’s also full of bitter mint and Licorice. This bottle is a heavy and substantial drink that can you can enjoy neat. 

4. Dewars White Label Scotch

Dewars White Label Scotch Bottle and a Box on Top of a Wooden Table

Average Price: around $39.59 /750ml (Drizly)

ABV: 40% ABV

Why We Like It: This classic blend will not overwhelm you with its complexity or peat. It will help train your palate and deepen your appreciation for more complex Scottish spirits. 

“My God, so much I like to drink Scotch that sometimes I think my name is Igor Stra-whiskey.”

— Igor Stravinsky, Composer/Russian Pianist

It’s woody, and the peaty finish lingers on the mouth for around 10 minutes after you’ve finished drinking it. This is a great blend to enjoy with a long finish.

3. Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye Whiskey

Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye Whiskey Bottle with glass and a plant on the table

Average Price: around $25 /750ml (MSRP)

ABV: 50% ABV 

Why We Like It: Rittenhouse Rye is the perfect blend of both classic and modern whiskeys, and it’s also very spicy with a gentle finish. 

This bottle delivers everything one could need from a rye whiskey. 

We agree with the claims that no other Rye can match this flavor.

It’s great on its own or in combination with other drinks due to its distinct spicy and dried fruit note.

2. Wild Turkey 101

Average Price: around $25 /750ml (MSRP)

ABV: 50.5% ABV 

Why We Like It: This rich, scrumptious bourbon has plenty of alcohol, heat, and spice. It’s a great addition to an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Boulevardier, or for sipping neat.

The Wild Turkey 101 is known for its classic flavors, but it also has a distinct and unique spice that sets it apart from other spirits. 

Overall, this is a straightforward and drinkable spirit. It’s also very mellow, which is ideal for many situations.

1. Black Bottle Blended Scotch

woman holding Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky

Average Price: around $18.99 /750ml (MSRP)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This blend is known for its elegant and complex flavor, with hints of brine and sea air. 

You can get the spicy, sweet, smoky, and grainy character –all at once. It’s very subtle on the nose with hints of spices, floral, and toffee. 

The palate is filled with burnt sugars, spice, and fruity notes – finished with honeyed sweetness and smoke.

This is a very simple and refreshing blend of whisky that will leave you wanting more. But the best thing about this drink is that it is very affordable.

What is a Well Whiskey? 

Well whiskeys are usually cheap liquors stored in a convenient area near the bar counter. These drinks are also known as “speed rack,” “speed rail,” or “well drink.” 

The well is the best place to store the most commonly poured liquors, as it’s easy to access, and a good bartender can quickly make a drink out of it.

A well whiskey is typically served in cocktails [2], or it is used in making mixed drinks.

It is usually mixed with tonic water [3], club soda, simple syrups, vermouth, sour mix, bitters, grenadine, etc. 

When To Drink Well Whiskey 

While you can certainly drink well whiskey at any time, some bars offer specials during specific times. 

The most recommended time for drinking well whiskey is during happy hour. There are offerings of good deals that you can save some bucks for your next shot. 

But it’s important to know what type of liquor or drink you’re looking for.  

FAQs 

Is well liquor a bottom shelf?

Well liquor is often referred to as bottom shelf as they’re usually cheap bottles with not-so-high qualities compared to premium brands or top-shelf spirits, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. There are just cheaper brands with decent quality. 

Is Jameson a well drink?

Yes. Jameson can be considered a well drink as most bartenders mix this brand with other beverages.

It’s easily accessible on bar counters, and it’s also very affordable.  

What is a premium well drink?

A premium well drink is a mixed drink made using top-shelf liquor instead of cheap ones.

For instance, instead of ordering a “generic vodka soda,” you’ll make it a premium well drink by having “Grey Goose [4] and soda.” 

Final Thoughts

A well drink isn’t always mixed with cheap and low-quality spirits. You can request a particular brand and even make it a premium drink. 

But cheap doesn’t mean low-quality spirits. With all the liquor brands on this list, you can still enjoy delicious and satisfying drinks without sacrificing your budget. 

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/whiskey 
  2. https://www.vogue.com/article/sustainable-spirits-cocktails-holiday 
  3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2022/07/20/what-is-in-tonic-water/10048167002/ 
  4. https://digiday.com/marketing/grey-goose-makes-a-play-in-the-metaverse-with-us-open/ 

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