Whisky is a luxury item. It can range in price from several thousands for a rare bottle to a few bucks for a bottom shelfer. While $100+ whiskies are becoming more and more common, they are still out of reach for many people. Starting around Thanksgiving, folks ask me for whiskey suggestions in the $20 – $30 range. I thought I’d share with you what I usually tell them. I’ve limited this list to American whiskies, as Scotch whiskies generally command higher prices.
1. George Dickel No. 12 ($25) – Solid offering from the Tennessee distillery. George Dickel is technically not a bourbon, but it’s close enough. It has some great sweet corn, caramel, barrel char and flinty notes. Great for sipping or mixing. I like adding some to my barbecue sauce.
2. Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond White Label ($20) – A four year old whiskey full of classic bourbon flavors. It also packs a punch at 100 proof. Evan Williams White Label is fine on its own, but shines in an Old Fashioned.
3. Knob Creek ($30) – This (formerly) 9-year-old , 100 proof bourbon is a great sipper with it’s strong oaky and brown sugary notes. You might still be able to spot an age stated 9-year-old Knob Creek on shelves.
4. Rittenhouse Rye ($25) – Heaven Hill’s bottled-in-bond rye whiskey is extremely flavorful and better still, it’s very affordable. I keep a bottle around the house mainly for cocktails (try making a Sazerac or Manhattan), but it’ll do just fine neat in a glass.
5. Bulleit Bourbon ($25 – $35) – A great spicy bourbon due to the high amount of rye grain in the mashbill. It is extremely versatile. Lots of mixologists like using this one in cocktails, but it’s generally a sipper for me.
I hope this helps out. If there are other budget-friendly American whiskies you’d recommend, please share in the comments below.