$1: Old Heaven Hill Bottled In Bond
Spirit: BourbonProof: 100Approx. cost:$12.50
Bottled in Bond is a term you should come to know and love when youre being thrifty. It refers to laws set forth in 1897 that are intricate enough to merit a 700-word Wikipedia entry. The tl dr verison: Bottled-in-bond whiskeys are 100 proof. Most cheaper offerings youll see are a watered-down 80 proof and lacking in flavor. But not Old Heaven Hill, which must be the cheapest bonded bourbon on earth, making it one of the best deals in all of spirits. Unfortunately, it can be a tad tricky to findthere are constant rumors its been pulled from the marketas Heaven Hill seems more content pushing its Evan Williams and Elijah Craig lines.
Others: Old Crow Reserve, Old Fitzgerald Prime, Old Overholt, Very Old Barton Bottled in Bond, probably anything with Old in the name
Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey
This whisky is a premium, small-batch bourbon made on Kentuckys oldest distillery site. Its a balanced flavor and comprises over 200 detectable flavor notes – which is why it has so many fans. You should be able to spot everything from wood to bold grain, spice, fruit, floral, and sweet aromatics. This is truly one of the greatest and is excellent value.
Balvenie Doublewood 40% Abv
Best for sherry sweetness
Take a trip to Speyside with this opulent, flavourful addition from Balvenie. Expect rich milk chocolate on the palate, with fresh raspberry, warming cinnamon and a hint of spicy black pepper to finish. Every true whisky connoisseur could do with a bottle of this special single malt on their shelves.
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Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
This whisky is a blended scotch whisky aged for 12 years with a malt and grain blend. Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky has a classic flavor and is extremely tasty. The color is bright amber, and it has a noticeable herbal tea scent with notes of cherry and honey. You can also find flavors of pear, vanilla, honey, and hazelnut if you consider yourself a whiskey connoisseur. Its easy to drink, and ice water may improve the flavor for some whisky fans. If you like classic flavors, this could be a great one for you. Put it in a long glass with ice or create a whisky cocktail out of it, such as a Chivas Collins for ultimate enjoyment.
Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Four Roses brand is a symbol of quality and distinction. The distillery uses five proprietary yeast strains, two different mash bills to create 10 whiskey recipes that are then blended into each bottle for an individual taste you can’t find anywhere else!
This world-class drink has been used for centuries to create mixed drinks or cocktails with an elegant, and modern flair. It is a smooth, mellow drink with hints of pear and apple that mix well in this whiskey’s flavor profile.
It also includes floral aromas as well as a honey spice hint. The finish lingers pleasantly long on your palate before fading away softly, leaving you wanting for more.
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Four Roses Single Barrel Checks All The Boxes
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Liquor / Chloe Jeong
Best Sherry Cask Scotch: The GlenDronach Allardice at Drizly
Matured entirely in Spanish Oloroso sherry butts, the 18-year-old whiskey delivers one of the best full-flavored sipping experiences.
Best Wine Barrel Aged:Starward Nova Single Malt at Caskers
This Australian single-malt is aged in ex-wine barrels, resulting in a fruitier and jammier whisky than anything found in Scotland.
In the big world of whiskeys, there’s a bottle out there for every taste, price point, and preference. Nowadays, you can find whiskey made in every corner of Americaindeed, every corner of the worldeach with its own specific character and identity. Whether youre looking for the perfect whiskey to pair with a cocktail, something really smoky and assertive, or a smooth sipper, weve got you covered.
After consulting experts, we’ve selected the Four Roses Single Barrel as our top whiskey option thanks to its strong flavors and high proof.
Here are some of the best whiskeys you can get your hands on now.
Rebel Yell Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Not just for Billy Idol fans, this whiskey is made in the style of W.L Wellers wheated bourbons. Full of honey and raisin flavors, Rebel Yell is a bargain, as it displays the flavor profile of something much more expensive. By buying Rebel Yell, though, youll be left with cash money in your pocket to either a) buy ingredients for some cocktails or b) buy another bottle. If youre in this position, choose option B.
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Knob Creek Straight Rye
Price: $32.49For a traditional, straightforward American rye, Knob Creek is a no-brainer. The tobacco-forward 100 proof recipe is more oak-heavy and herbaceous than most so youll feel like you’re drinking something much older and wiser than its maximum of 9 years. McCarthy simply calls this guy gutsy, admiring its big, bold body and rye spice character.
Whisky Beginners Dont Fear Heres How To Pick The Best Whiskies To Start
Theres a literal world of whisky out there, but while we know thats cause for celebration it can also be a daunting prospect particularly if youre new to the category. Whats what? Where to start? What to try?
To get you on your way weve put together a guide with the help of Greg Dillon, Editor of the ever-excellent whisky blog GreatDrams and Whisky Wizard at The Dram Team. It details several of the most important styles of world whisky and whos likely to enjoy them, and includes product recommendations for each.
Just want the list? Heres whats on Gregs essential whisky list:
There is also an abridged, embeddable version you can share on your own site if you like. The snippet is available at the end of the page.
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Peerless Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Price: $74.99This fifth-generation Kentucky whiskey maker certainly knows what its doing. Kentucky Peerless rye might get more fanfare, but the bourbon is top-notch, with notes of citrus fruits, cedar, and honeysuckle. The aromatic finish includes dry cocoa, cinnamon, and spicy oakideal sipping for the holiday season. This would make a great gift, or a bar cart stand by for slow sipping by the fire.
Oban Distillers Edition Single Malt
The Oban Single Malt Scotch whisky originated from a small distillery in the Scottish Highlands. It was brought to the second maturation in Montilla Fino sherry casks, which gives the spirit luxurious and distinctive flavors.
Its fruity and pungent on the note. On the mouth, it tastes like soft malt and salt and transitions into caramel and delicate fruit notes. Theres just a hint of peat that creeps up on the mid-palate. It has a medium-length finish with hints of toffee and a little dark chocolate. It has a malt-biscuit effect at the end.
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Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The world-renowned whiskey brand Maker’s Mark is one no whiskey lover should ever miss because you’ll be missing out big time! It’s a great drink over ice or used in a cocktail. Furthermore, this bourbon has a nose that will make your mouth water.
The sweet aromas are complemented by oak spice and vanilla with hints of cinnamon. It tastes like a well-rounded, spiced treat. There are tasting notes of brown sugar and dark berries can be found with hints from burnt sugars that have been infused into the alcohol itself for extra flavor.
You’ll also notice wonderful spices atop rich notes of caramel throughout your mouth on each sip. Because of its flavor range, this would make a fantastic base for a great infinity bottle.
What Is The Difference Between Bourbon And Whiskey
Bourbon is a style of whiskey that must be produced in the United States. Unlike other whiskeys, bourbon must be made according to specific regulations. These include a mash bill composed of at least 51 percent corn, the strength at which it is distilled and bottled, and aging in new, charred oak barrels.
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Best For Old Fashioneds: Redemption High Rye Bourbon
courtesy of ReserveBar
Region: Indiana | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Mint, Ginger, Caramel
It’s the age-old question: should you make your Old Fashioned with bourbon or rye? There are fine whiskies in each category that produce delicious Old Fashionedsbourbon makes a rounder and sweeter drink, while rye gives you a spicier, leaner cocktailand each has its adherents. So when it comes to choosing a “best-of,” why not have your cake and eat it too? With a mash bill that includes 60 percent corn and a healthy 36 percent dose of rye, the High Rye Bourbon from Redemption Whiskey is about as close as you’ll get to a best-of-both-worlds scenario. When expertly blended with sugar and bitters, the plush body from the corn intermingles perfectly with the herbaceous spiciness of the rye and leads to a truly bold and harmonious drink. Crucially, the high ABV also means that your cocktail will remain sturdy and satisfying, even after the ice begins to melt.
Region: Islay, Scotland | ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Honey, Citrus, Vanilla
Michters Us *1 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Taste 2
Michters really means the phrase small batch here. The tank they use to marry their hand-selected eight-year-old bourbons can only hold 20 barrels, so thats how many go into each small-batch bottling. The blended juice is then proofed with Kentuckys famously soft limestone water and bottled.
Theres a nice sense of classic, fruity bourbon on this sip. I think Id lean more toward using this for cocktails based on that, hence it placing a little lower on this list.
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Naked Grouse Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
From the makers of The Famous Grouse, youll find the Naked Grouse Scotch Whisky. Its a small, robust all-malt whisky matured in sherry casks. Its heavier than a grain/malt blend but has a sweet after taste with a clean and attractive bottle. Plus, its outstanding value – even when its not on offer.
Some Tips On Buying Bourbon
Whether you’re new to bourbon in general, or just looking for a new bottle to put on the shelf, it pays to do a little exploring. To be called bourbon, a whiskey has to be made from at least 51% corn and aged in charred oak containers . While that generally means that bourbon is going to be sweeter than other whiskeys, such as rye or Scotch, it also allows for a lot of variation. So if you like one kind of bourbon it doesn’t mean that you’ll like others.
To that end, we recommend buying smaller bottlesa flask or even the airplane-sized bottlesfirst, and tasting as you go, before deciding to invest in a full 750ml or larger option. If you’re looking for something to sip on over ice, go for a lower alcohol content, no more than 80-90 proof at most. The higher-octane alcohols are mostly going to taste very harsh on their own, and will be better in mixed drinks.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try something new! A lot of the bourbons on this list are classic brands that are widely available. That’s because they’re well established, and having been turning out a reliably high-quality product for decades . But there’s recently been an explosion of new distilleries in the U.S. and while the startup costs mean that they may not be as inexpensive as the big guys, you may find an affordable bottle in your neck of the woods that you like as much or better.
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The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
The Famous Grouse may be a cheap whiskey but it is a world-class and best-selling Scotch whisky in Scotland. It all started with this rather humble blend. It has been around since 1896, but it wasn’t until 1905 that it was named “The Famous Grouse.”
On the nose, there are hints of apples and barley, with just enough sweetness from honey or sugar cane syrup added in to make this drink as dessert-like as it gets without being sugary at all!
The palate has thick creamy malt that can only come out when blended together so well by master distillers. It’s not an easy task indeed given how many Scotch whiskeys exist within Scotland.
Best Rye: Pikesville Straight Rye
Region: Kentucky | ABV: 55% | Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Oak
Two styles of rye whiskey dominate the whiskey market these days: rye made from a 95% to 100% rye mash bill and the Kentucky-style mash bill that usually contains just above 50% rye, the minimum legally required to be classified as rye whiskey. Pikesville, which falls into the latter category, was originally made in Maryland and is now distilled in Kentucky by Heaven Hill. Try this in a classic cocktail like the Manhattan, where those characteristic spicy rye notes will harmonize beautifully with the rich sweetness of the vermouth.
Pikesville is my favorite rye because it provides a great symphony of flavors from the rye spice, baking spices, the high proof and maturation from the six years in the barrel. The strong taste of cherries, vanilla and baking spices gives it a really fun take on a cherry Coke. Paul Gonzalez, head bartender for the Allegory Bar at D.C.s Eaton Hotel
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Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Years
Sweet and warm, with vanilla, chocolate, oak, and freshly baked bread aromas, this bourbon-barrel-aged Scotch was a crowd favorite. It has a creamy body and fruity, peppery finish, like peppercorn and orange peel. Glenfiddich 14 was also a favorite, with Lipton-tea-like bitterness and acidity on the finish, one taster said. Panelists found both whiskies approachable and easy to drink. Average price: $55.
Best Under $2: Four Roses Bourbon Yellow Label
Courtesy of Drizly
ABV: 40% | Age: 5+ years | Volume: 1 L, 750 ml, 1.75 L
Four Roses Bourbon might just offer the best value in whiskey. Not only is it cheap, but its also incredibly good. Not long ago, the brand called this entry-level whiskey Four Roses Yellow Label, but its still the highly approachable, well-rounded, and balanced glass it was before. Aged at least five years, its a whiskey that you are going to find near the bottom of the shelf at your liquor storebut pay that product placement no mind. Its a rich and delicious bourbon loaded with caramel, vanilla, and spice.
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$5: Four Roses Single Barrel
Spirit: BourbonProof: variesApprox. cost: $55
A great secret in the wild world of bourbon is that many top liquor stores offer their own bottlings from single-barrels distilleries that have allowed them to hand-select. The Party Source in Kentucky, Binnys in Chicagoland, Julios in Massachusetts, and BevMo! on the West Coast are just a few places taking part in these programs. Only the most astute liquor connoisseurs typically notice these are any different from the standard options, as they are usually marked with the tiniest of stickers. Youd also think these specialties would cost more than their typical off-the-shelf counterparts. Ive found, though, they often cost the same, if not a tad less. Four Roses offers some of the best store-picked offerings. All are high-proof , and theyre almost always available since stores like to maintain their private stock.
Others: Bookers, Laphroaig Quarter Cask
The One Sherry Cask Finish
A blend of whiskies from around the British Isles, THE ONE is the latest project run by the Lakes Distillery while they await the maturation of their own spirit. The blend is finished in Oloroso sherry hogshead butts and is a limited edition of 3,335 bottles, meaning its not going to be around forever. An affordable and unique thing from the world of whisky, and definitely one worth trying.
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The 10 Best Bourbon Whiskeys For Under $20
Paul has been a passionate drinker of bourbon whiskeys for over thirty years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida, USA.
Looking for a great bourbon whiskey at a reasonable price? Check out my 10 selections below.
My love for bourbon goes back to the 1980s when I was first given a bottle of Jim Beam as a gift. Since then, my enthusiasm for this most distinctive of liquors has only grown.
Bourbon whiskey is made from a grain mix that consists mainly of corn. It is aged in charred oak barrels, which give it its distinctive color and contribute to its taste.
It has been around in the USA since the late eighteenth century and has strong associations with the South in general and Kentucky in particular.
The drink takes its name from an area that was known as “Old Bourbon” in Kentucky. The heart of bourbon production is Bardstown, where the largest concentration of bourbon brands and distilleries exists and where the Bourbon Festival is held every September.