Finding a really delicious and high-quality bourbon doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out our picks for some of the best “cheap” bourbons – most of which are $50 and under – so far this year.
You shouldn’t have to drive all across Kentucky to find good, affordable bourbon. Production of bourbon is at its highest levels of all time but so is the demand for bourbon. Much of that demand growth is in the US, but people all over the world now desire to get their hands on good American bourbon.
This outpaced demand has pushed the prices of many bottles of bourbon to new highs, check out a few of them here. It can be frustrating to see a bottle of bourbon that you love go from $35 to $120 bottle after people ‘discover’ it and start to seek it out; for me the best example of this is the Weller 12 Year.
We recently listed out some of the best bourbons of the year (so far), but sometimes we’re just looking for ones that are really affordable, but still great. You may be surprised to see some of my favorite bourbons that made my list this year, but I stand behind them all.
Here are 10 bourbons that you should both be able to find and cost less than $50 – so far – in 2023.
1. Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon
This is a great bourbon, aged for 10 years and one of my favorites of the year again. The nose is sweet and citrusy with oak notes. The taste is dry with rich oak flavors. The finish is quick and dry. Drink it straight or get your cocktail shaker out, it is a winner. Read my full review here.
2. Elijah Craig Barrel Strength Bourbon
The barrel strength means that it does pack some heat and a punch. The nose is woody with up front carmel and fruit notes. The taste is a pleasant balance of wood and carmel with overtones of vanilla sweetness. The finish is warm, spicy and long with the oak coming through again. Add a cube or two to this bourbon and enjoy. Read my full review here.
3. Old Bardstown Bourbon
While this bourbon does have a lot of fans you can still easily find on the shelf and reasonably priced. The nose is herbal with hints of mint. While tasting, a little water can be added to this 101 proof product to help bring out some of the grassy, cereal notes. The finish is earthy with the oak shining through. Read my full review here.
4. Johnny Drum
You don’t see a whole lot of reasonably priced bottles of Willett Bourbon on the shelf these days. The nose is smokey and woody with hints of vanilla. The taste is sweet with carmel and orange flavors. The finish is spicy with wood and cedar notes. The bottle is 101 proof, but you can’t tell from the taste or finish, it is smooth and sweet. Johnny Drum bourbon is made by Willett so it will have to do and it delivers. Read my full review here.
5. Willett Family Estate 2-Year Rye
Sometimes you want a glass with a little more spice in it so you reach for a bottle of rye. It has a wonderful vanilla nose with spicy pepper and rye notes. The finish is warm from the rye with smoky vanilla notes. The balance of the sweetness and the spiciness from the rye is what makes this bottle work so well. If you are going to reach for a bottle of rye, this is the clear winner. Read my full review here.
6. Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength
At 119 proof this bourbon is great mixed in a cocktail or cut with some ice. The nose is heavy with spice and caramel once you let it air-out a bit. The taste is full of spice and alcohol but a surprisingly smooth finish when the spiciness dissipates. Read my full review here.
7. Noah’s Mill Bourbon
The nose is smokey and woody with some spicy rye notes showing through. The taste is filled with rye, yet somehow still smooth. It is likely going to come in just under the $50 price point but well worth the cost. It is a surprisingly smooth high proof bourbon. Read my full review here.
8. Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish
This bottle of bourbon packs the right amount of smokiness. if you are apposed to a smokey flavor profile then by all means grab a regular bottle of Michter’s bourbon off the shelf and enjoy. The nose is woody with noticeable smoke. The smoke is a nice balance to the sweet vanilla that is ever present in the taste of the Michter’s US*1 Bourbon. Fruit and vanilla mingles with the smoke on the finish. Read my full review here.
9. Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10
You may not find this bourbon on every liquor store shelf but if you see it, grab it and you will not be disappointed. The nose of the Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10 is full of carmel and fruit. The taste is smooth with sweet carmel and vanilla notes. The finish still has some sweetness with some oak and rye notes. Read my full review here.