25 Inexpensive Whiskeys Under $40 that Don’t Taste Cheap
Published at: 12-28-2023
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25 Inexpensive Whiskeys Under $40 that Don’t Taste Cheap
Whiskeys under $40 offer an accessible entry into the world of whiskey without compromising on quality. These affordable options boast a range of flavors, from classic caramel and vanilla notes to more complex profiles with hints of spice and oak. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, these budget-friendly bourbons provide a great way for enthusiasts and newcomers alike to explore the diverse and rich heritage of whiskey without sacrificing taste or character. Shop whiskeys now!
Rebel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Rebel Bourbon, the original mischief-maker, has a rich history dating back to the mid-1900s when it was crafted by the W. L. Weller & Sons Company. The innovative William Larue Weller introduced wheat in place of rye, setting the stage for a unique Bourbon experience. The Rebel Bourbon brand and formula were later developed by Charles R. Farnsley, a notable figure who served as both Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, and a Congressman. The connection to Billy Idol's iconic song "Rebel Yell" adds a rock 'n' roll flair to the brand's legacy. Bottled at 80 proof, Rebel Bourbon's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey remains true to its time-honored recipe, featuring a mash bill of corn, wheat, and malt. Awarded Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition in 2016, this rebellious bottle is celebrated for its smooth body, rich flavor, and spicy character. Buy it now for $17.99.
Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
With roots dating back to 1869 when the Ripy Brothers established their distillery on Wild Turkey Hill in Kentucky, Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has become a true classic in the world of spirits. Originally named Turkey 81, it succeeded the renowned Turkey 80 and inherited its predecessor's legacy. After changes in ownership, the Campari Group currently oversees the production, maintaining the Wild Turkey brand's popularity. Aged for 6-8 years in new American oak barrels with char#4, this bourbon boasts a slightly higher proof of 81. Celebrated in mixology circles, it has become a favorite for craft cocktails while standing confidently as a classic Bourbon suitable for sipping on its own. Buy it now for $21.99.
Elijah Craig Bourbon Small Batch
The Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon stands out as a remarkable value, offering an exceptional experience for bourbon enthusiasts. The inviting bouquet opens with delightful aromas of honey, sweet corn, vanilla, and brown sugar, setting the stage for what unfolds on the equally luscious palate. This bourbon strikes a perfect balance, combining boldness with smoothness, as flavors of honey, vanilla, and molasses take center stage, complemented by a subtle dry oakiness. Whether savored neat or with a touch of water, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon delivers a memorable and satisfying drinking experience. Buy it now for $22.99.
Four Roses Bourbon Yellow Label
The Four Roses Bourbon Yellow Label is a timeless classic known for its smooth and approachable character. This bourbon, crafted by the esteemed Four Roses Distillery, boasts a mellow and well-balanced profile that has earned it a permanent place among bourbon enthusiasts. With a blend of ten distinct bourbon recipes, the Yellow Label expression showcases a harmonious combination of sweet, fruity, and spicy notes. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite cocktail, Four Roses Bourbon Yellow Label offers a versatile and enjoyable sipping experience, making it a go-to choice for those seeking a reliable and satisfying bourbon. Buy it now for $24.99.
Larceny Small Batch Bourbon
The Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon, steeped in historical legacy, traces its roots back to John E. Fitzgerald, a post-Civil War distiller who founded a distillery along the Kentucky River. Fitzgerald's Old Fitzgerald Bourbon, renowned for its quality, eventually landed in the hands of Julian P. "Pappy" Van Winkle, sealing its fate as one of the world's most celebrated bourbons. Larceny pays homage to Fitzgerald's discerning taste and the Old Fitzgerald brand, incorporating a unique mash of corn, wheat, malted barley, and rye. Distilled in Kentucky limestone water and fermented with a proprietary yeast strain, Larceny honors tradition by choosing wheat as its secondary grain, creating a distinctive and flavorful bourbon. Buy it now for $23.99.
Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The origins of Basil Hayden's Bourbon harken back to 1796, a time when Basil Hayden, a master distiller, crafted the recipe. Having been raised in Maryland, where he honed the art of whiskey-making with rye, Hayden's journey to Kentucky saw him adapting his skills to create a distinctive bourbon. Departing from the norm, Hayden incorporated a higher proportion of rye in his bourbon, originally derived from a corn base. The result was a uniquely smooth and mild bourbon that bore the unmistakable imprint of his craft. Buy it now for $24.99.
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey
The Wild Turkey 101 embodies both potency and flavor, showcasing the legacy of the Ripy Brothers who began distilling on Wild Turkey Hill in Kentucky in 1869. Their flagship product, Wild Turkey, soared to become the distillery's best-seller, prompting a name change in recognition of its success. Following various changes in ownership, the Campari Group, based in Italy, now oversees operations, producing a diverse range of Bourbons under the renowned Wild Turkey brand. As one of the world's most recognized Bourbon brands, Wild Turkey 101 stands out as America's #1 selling premium Bourbon. Aged in deeply charred barrels with a #4 "alligator char," it derives its complexity and depth of flavor that has garnered a devoted following across generations. Distinctively bottled at "101 proof" (50.5% ABV), the whiskey's name reflects its remarkable complexity and power, leading to consistent acclaim with numerous gold medals awarded over the years. Notably, Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey became the brand ambassador and art director for Wild Turkey last year. Buy it now for $24.99.
Old Forester Bourbon 100 Proof
The Old Forester Bourbon 100 Proof is a testament to the bourbon craftsmanship, offering robust and inviting aromas that beckon bourbon enthusiasts. The bouquet unfolds with notes of rich vanilla, dried roses, warm baking spices, and the sweetness of corn. This bourbon stands as a classic representation of the genre, providing a full and satisfying experience for the discerning palate. The accolades it has received, including the 2020 Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the 2019 Gold at Whiskies of The World, and the Gold at the 2019 International Spirits Challenge in the Straight Bourbon, 10 Years and Younger category, underscore its exceptional quality and appeal among connoisseurs. Buy it now for $25.99.
The Bulleit Bourbon is crafted from the identical high-rye mash bill used in the original expression. The chosen barrels are blended into a single batch and bottled at Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, Kentucky. Staying true to its name, this iteration is presented uncut and unfiltered, directly from the barrel. Notably, each batch exhibits a unique alcohol by volume (ABV), fluctuating between 118 and 125 proof. Buy it now for $26.99.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Buffalo Trace Distillery, nestled in Frankfort, Kentucky, holds a rich history of whiskey-making spanning over two centuries. The site's lineage can be traced back to 1812 when Harrison Blanton, of Blanton fame, established the first distillery operation. Under various ownerships, it eventually became the Old Fire Copper (O. F. C.) Distillery in 1870. Since 1992, Sazerac has stewarded the property, crafting an array of Bourbons and Spirits, with Buffalo Trace emerging as a cherished and reasonably priced signature Bourbon. With a mash bill featuring Corn, Rye, and malted Barley—excluding Wheat—it matures for at least eight years and is presented at 45% ABV. Renowned for its classic Bourbon richness, Buffalo Trace has earned its place as the flagship in the esteemed Sazerac Bourbon lineup, making it a popular choice among enthusiasts for a daily sip. Impressively, Buffalo Trace boasts a production capacity of around 2.7 million gallons per year, equivalent to filling approximately 51,000 barrels, facilitated by a single, 60,000-gallon beer still (wash type). Buy it now for $29.99.
Limestone Branch Distillery, founded by Steve and Paul Beam, descendants of the legendary Beam family, has emerged as a force in the distilling industry since its inception in 2015. Luxco's acquisition of a 50% stake in the enterprise signifies its growth trajectory. Collaborating to revitalize the historic Yellowstone brand, originally created in the late 1800s, the partnership brings forth Yellowstone Select Bourbon. This exceptional blend, featuring four carefully selected Kentucky Bourbons aged between 4 and 7 years, embodies the family's heritage. Bottled at 46.5% ABV, it has garnered prestigious awards, including Gold at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Gold at the 2016 Berlin International Spirits Competition, solidifying Limestone Branch Distillery's commitment to excellence and tradition in the realm of premium Spirits. Buy it now for $28.99.
Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon
Established in 2009 under a bridge in Waco, Texas, Balcones Distilling has been at the forefront of a Spirit revolution, reshaping the landscape of American Whiskey. Using blue corn from New Mexico and Texas-grown barley, Balcones crafted Texas Pot Still Straight Bourbon Whisky, a unique expression distilled in a giant Forsyth pot still. Aged for several years in new charred American oak barrels, this Bourbon features a distinctive mash bill comprising roasted blue corn, Texas wheat, Texas rye, and malted barley. Bottled at 92 proof, it serves as an excellent introduction to Balcones Bourbons for newcomers and offers a sophisticated experience for seasoned enthusiasts, showcasing the brand's commitment to quality and terroir-driven craftsmanship. Buy it now for $28.99.
Heaven's Door Straight Tennessee Bourbon
The Heaven’s Door whiskies are a unique collaboration between the iconic musician Bob Dylan and craft spirit veteran Marc Bushala. The partnership extends beyond conventional celebrity endorsements, with Dylan actively contributing to various aspects of the brand. From designing the distinctive gates featured on the label (inspired by Dylan's own metalworking creations) to influencing the flavor profile of the spirit itself, Dylan's artistic vision plays a significant role. The bourbon, a product of this artistic collaboration, boasts an alluring aroma marked by a sweet and spicy nose. Upon tasting, one can expect a harmonious blend of flavors, including notes of cinnamon, cherry, and brown sugar, creating a distinctive and memorable drinking experience. Buy it now for $29.99.
Bowman Brothers Small Batch Bourbon
Founded by Abram Smith Bowman in 1934, A. Smith Bowman Distillery has been an enduring force in the Bourbon scene. Acquired by Sazerac in 2003, this Virginia-based distillery has maintained a commitment to crafting quality Bourbons. Bowman Brothers Pioneer Spirit Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a standout in the Sazerac portfolio, echoes the mash bill and production style of its "big sister," Buffalo Trace Distillery. With a mash bill featuring high corn and approximately 10% Rye, triple distillation, and aging in new #3-char barrels for six to seven years, this Bourbon offers a robust 45% ABV. Exhibiting a deep maple color and a distinctive character, this small-batch gem is an unsung hero of Bourbon, delivering a great mouthfeel and a spot-on flavor profile that deserves recognition. Buy it now for $29.99.
Devils River Small Batch Texas Bourbon
The Devils River Small Batch is named after the pristine Devils River in southwestern Texas, Devils River Bourbon is a diabolically delightful Texan gem. Flowing through underground channels, the river's purity serves as an apt metaphor for the clean and robust character of this constantly awarded Bourbon. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the process involves selecting the finest grains, utilizing proprietary yeast, distilling in traditional copper pot stills, and aging the Whiskey in #4 charred oak barrels. The result is a golden elixir that is bold, rich, and sweet, encapsulated in a hefty Texas-sized bottle. Whether sipped neat like a true cowboy or enjoyed on the rocks for a mellow experience, Devils River Bourbon is a devilishly divine libation, reflecting the spirit of Texas. For cocktail enthusiasts, the Whiskey Buck, featuring lime juice and ginger beer, offers an enticing alternative. Buy it now for $29.99.
Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon, introduced in the fall of 2019, aims to deliver an affordable yet distinctive daily bourbon with the signature Smoke Wagon flavor profile. Crafted from barrels featuring a high rye mash bill, strategically placed on the top two floors of the warehouse without rotation, this bourbon undergoes a unique maturation process. The elevated temperatures on the upper floors contribute to increased expansion and interaction with the wood, resulting in a rich and creamy character beyond its years. With no barrel rotation, the bourbon avoids harsh tannin flavors, and the high rye mash bill imparts a delightful spicy and nutty finish. The nose opens with inviting aromas of honey, toasted nuts, oak, and a subtle heat. The palate offers a creamy mouthfeel, with initial sweetness of honey and caramel at the forefront, followed by notes of nuts, oak, and pepper spice that gradually intensify. The nuttiness and oak gracefully fade, giving way to the dominance of peppery rye spice across the palate. The finish is a harmonious blend of creamy sweetness, lingering oak, and pepper spice, creating a well-rounded and flavorful bourbon experience. Buy it now for $32.99.
Woodford Reserve Bourbon
This Woodford Reserve Bourbon, has a proof of 90.4, unveils a brilliant honey amber appearance that captivates the senses. The nose is a symphony of rich dried fruit, nuanced hints of mint, and a subtle interplay of oranges coated in a delicate dusting of cocoa. Undertones of faint vanilla and tobacco spice add depth to the aromatic experience. Upon tasting, the bourbon reveals its richness with a chewy, rounded, and remarkably smooth texture. Complex notes of citrus, cinnamon, and cocoa dance on the palate, accompanied by a delightful ensemble of toffee, caramel, chocolate, and spice. The finish is the pièce de résistance – silky smooth and almost creamy at first, leaving a long, warm, and wholly satisfying tail. This exceptional bourbon has garnered numerous accolades, including Gold Medals at prestigious competitions like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the International Spirits Challenge, affirming its status as a true connoisseur's choice. Buy it now for $33.99.
Four Roses Small Batch
The Four Roses perfects the marrying art of mingling multiple Bourbon recipes, our Master Distiller has expertly selected four original and limited Bourbons at the pinnacle of maturation. The result is a perfectly balanced small batch Bourbon that unveils a mellow symphony of rich, spicy flavors complemented by sweet, fruity aromas and nuanced notes of sweet oak and caramel. The finish is soft, smooth, and pleasantly long-lasting. Best enjoyed straight up, on the rocks, or with a splash, this exceptional Bourbon boasts a proof of 90 and an alcohol/volume of 45%. Buy it now for $35.99.
Bespoken Spirits Bourbon Whiskey
The Bespoken Spirits Straight Bourbon Whiskey challenges conventional aging methods by utilizing Silicon Valley's innovative ACTivation technology. Co-founders Stu Aaron and Martin Janousek lead a team of scientists who extract "aroma, color, and taste" with precision, control, and speed, resulting in Spirit maturation in days instead of years. The process, natural and sustainable with no additives, offers benefits like 97% less wood consumption, a 20% increase in Spirit yield, and award-winning taste. Crafted from a 2-year-old bourbon mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malt, this bourbon showcases a beautiful golden brown color. Aromas of marzipan, peanut butter candy, and pickled ginger root welcome the nose, while the palate delivers complexity with sweet spice, mocha macaroons, and toasted pumpernickel bread. Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite cocktail – the choice is yours. Buy it now for $36.99.
Crafted with a regal touch, Pinhook's Flagship Bourbon Resolve is a creation born from the vision of barman Sean Josephs and his team, following a winemaking approach to whiskey. Released in 2023 after maturing for three years and four months at the Castle & Key Distillery in Frankfort, KY, this traditional bourbon boasts a mash bill of 75% Corn, 15% Rye, and 10% Malted Barley. It pays homage to the Bourbon Resolve thoroughbred, embodying the qualities of aspiration and excellence. The nose reveals inviting notes of butterscotch, dried apricot, and graham cracker, while the palate unfolds with flavors of roasted peanuts and candied cinnamon. Bottled at 101.48 proof, this flagship bourbon fulfills its promises, captivating even the most discerning enthusiasts. Buy it now for $36.99.
Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
The Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon is a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of Wyoming's distilling traditions. This small-batch bourbon is meticulously crafted using Wyoming-grown grains, including corn, wheat, and malted barley, resulting in a uniquely regional flavor profile. Aged in charred white oak barrels, the whiskey exhibits a rich and well-balanced character with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice. The careful blending of barrels ensures consistency in each batch, providing a smooth and approachable sipping experience. Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon reflects the spirit of the American West, making it a standout choice for bourbon enthusiasts seeking a taste of Wyoming's distinct terroir. Buy it now for $37.99.
Five & 20 Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Crafted by the Mazza Family at Five & 20, the Straight Bourbon Whiskey showcases their extensive experience in the spirits business. With roots dating back to 1972, the Mazza Vineyard and Mazza Winery have been integral to the US Northeast. In 2005, the family expanded, constructing a new facility along Route 20 in Upstate New York, which later became a trifecta of brewing, distilling, and winemaking. Five & 20 Straight Bourbon Whiskey, aged for two years in extra small casks, boasts a mash bill featuring 70% corn, 15% rye, and 15% malted barley. This unique composition promises a bright and fresh bourbon with a deeper palate development, offering sweet caramel notes, floral hints, and the rich influence of vanilla from the wood contact. At 45% ABV, it stands as a versatile spirit, suitable for sipping or enhancing your favorite cocktails. Buy it now for $37.99.
Fistful Of Bourbon
William Grant's Fistful of Bourbon is its introduction to the world of bourbon comes in the form of this carefully crafted blend, bringing together five straight bourbons bottled at a smooth 90 proof. Drawing on over a century of expertise in blending whiskies, this expression showcases a perfect balance of sweetness and complexity. Ideal for sipping and fostering enjoyable conversations, William Grant's bourbon debut is sure to please both seasoned enthusiasts and those new to the bourbon scene. Buy it now for $37.99.
Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon
The Redwood Empire's Pipe Dream, named after the 14th tallest tree globally, stands as their inaugural Bourbon whiskey proudly crafted in California. A blend of four to twelve-year-old barrels, with a mash bill featuring 75% corn, 21% raw rye, and 4% malt barley, this bourbon boasts a deep golden hue. The nose is powerful, exuding sweet maple, vanilla, and a hint of honey. On the palate, Pipe Dream offers a rich and complex experience with notes of roasted pecan, vanilla, and a lingering interplay of char and woody nuances. Bottled at 90 proof, it finishes smoothly with a touch of black pepper, showcasing the diverse and well-balanced character of this Californian bourbon. Buy it now for $39.99.
Brother's Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Crafted through the collaborative vision of Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, known for their roles as the Salvatore Brothers in The Vampire Diaries, Brother's Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey stands as a testament to their enduring friendship. Blending four MGP mash bills, this bourbon boasts a genuine four-grain composition with 65% corn, 22% rye, and a balance of wheat and malted barley. Utilizing a proprietary yeast in the sour-mash process, the spirit undergoes copper column distillation and matures for a minimum of four years in new oak barrels featuring #4 char staves and #2 char heads. The result is a harmonious and flavorful bourbon that avoids any bite, delivering a smooth and enjoyable drinking experience. Buy it now for $39.99.