The Very Best Bourbon Whiskey At Every Price Point Between $10-$500

This year, I’ve endeavored to call our the best bourbon at every price point from the bottom shelf to the locked glass cabinet. Overall, I’ve called out 130 bourbon whiskeys that I think are worth your time and money from $10 to $500. That’s… a lot of whiskey. So to help you focus that even further, I’m narrowing those 130 bottles down to just 13 amazing bourbon whiskeys. That’s right, I’m naming my favorite bourbon from each price point.

The only ripple on this list is that I’m not doubling up on any brands. For instance, Wild Turkey ended up in the number one spot three times out of 13 this year. Due to that, I pulled my favorite of those three bottles and slotted in the next ranked bourbon from the other two articles into the price point listed below. Not that I don’t think you should just buy all the Wild Turkey (I sorta do), it’s more that I wanted to widen the net of the whiskeys listed here — and if one-quarter of them are just Wild Turkey, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing that. Plus, you can see what I think of the whole Wild Turkey line here.

Okay, let’s get into it and find the best bourbon whiskey at every price from $10 to $500. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite whiskey below!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months

$10-$20 — Old Tub

Jim Beam

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $18

The Whiskey:

The juice is a tribute to what Jim Beam was — both on the label and in the bottle — before Prohibition. Yes, Jim Beam used to be known as Old Tub Bourbon worldwide. The bourbon is standard Beam that hits an old-school flavor profile. The whiskey is bottled-in-bond at 100 proof and goes through no filtration before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a subtle roughness to this whiskey that draws you in — rough-milled dry corn, raw honey, freshly sawed wood, soft cherry, and vanilla pods. The caramel popcorn sweetness is there but not overdone as the vanilla, woody oak, and very distant spice and cherry come together to create an all-around easy-sipper by the end. As that end lingers, you get a final note of orange citrus that’s counterpointed by a lingering sense of limestone.

Bottom Line:

This stuff rules, especially for the price. This is one of those bottles that we like to call a “workhorse” in the bar biz. That means it works as well as a cocktail mixer as it does in a highball or on the rocks — or as a shooter with a beer back for that matter.

$20-$30 — Brough Brothers Bourbon

Brough Brothers Bourbon
Brough Brothers Bourbon

ABV: 41%

Average Price: $24

The Whiskey:

This tiny and new distillery was founded in West Louisville by brothers Victor, Chris, and Bryson Yarbrough. The distillery is the first African-American-owned brand working in the state. For now, this bottle is contract-distilled (distilled at a big distillery based on their own recipe/concept) in Indiana from a mash bill of 75 percent corn, 21 percent rye, and four percent malted barley.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with dried roses, marzipan, and creamy eggnog on the nose with a hint of apple and dry corn. That apple drives the taste with more orchard fruit (think pears) as the nutmeg really spikes and the marzipan takes on a rosewater note next to a very distant flutter of pepper spice in the background. The finish sweetens with a spoonful of fresh and floral honey as those orchard fruits affix to a mildly spicy and vanilla-forward tobacco leaf.

Bottom Line:

This stuff has really grown on me. It reminds me of classic bourbon at a classic price. There’s no pretension whatsoever but there’s a real flavor profile at play that works really well in cocktails, highballs, and on its own.

$30-$40 — Maker’s Mark 101

Beam Suntory

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $36

The Whisky:

This is Maker’s Mark classic wheated bourbon that’s bottled at a higher proof to bring about a “richer flavor.” Well, that’s what the label says anyway. This is classic Maker’s that’s treated with a little less of that limestone water to let the barrel techniques shine a bit more while still holding onto the Maker’s vibe.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in stewed apples that have been drizzled with extra caramel. The taste really focuses on that caramel with hints of oak next to roasted almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry wicker, and a drop of soft mineral water. The end lingers while it fades through salted caramel apples towards a mellow floral spiciness with a dried reed finish and a touch of vanilla tobacco chew.

Bottom Line:

This is a great example of Maker’s Mark that dials in the classic wheated bourbon’s vibe thanks to those higher ABVs. This is really good over a few rocks. Add in a few drops of Angostura bitters, a little raw sugar, some orange oils, and a dark cherry and you’ll have a stellar old fashioned in your hands.

$40-$50 — Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Bourbon

Wild Turkey

ABV: 58.4%

Average Price: $44

The Whiskey:

This is the mountaintop of what Wild Turkey can achieve. This is a blend of the best barrels that are married and bottled untouched. That means no filtering and no cutting with water. This is a classic bourbon with nowhere to hide.

Tasting Notes:

Crème brûlée greets you with a nice dose of Christmas spices, mild pipe tobacco, orange zest, and a distant hint of fresh mint sprigs on the nose. There’s a pine resin nature to the woody flavors on the palate that accents the orange oils, spices, vanilla, and sweetness. The sip takes on a Christmas cake-feel late with a velvet end that is just the right amount of everything you want from a bourbon.

Bottom Line:

This might be my overall favorite whiskey on the list. While this is a pretty amazing sipper (neat or with a rock), it’s a truly stunning cocktail whiskey. A Rare Breed Manhattan that leans more into the whiskey than sweet vermouth is a winner every time.

$50-$60 — Noah’s Mill

Screen-Shot-2021-06-02-at-10.12.59-AM.jpg
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers

ABV: 57.15%

Average Price: $59

The Whiskey:

This is the bigger and bolder sibling of Rowan’s Creek bourbon, which is also made at the famed Willett Distillery. Simply put, it’s the same small-batch juice that’s not proofed down as much.

Tasting Notes:

Maple syrup-covered walnuts greet you with a sense of dark dried cherries and a hint of rose water next to old leather books and holiday spices. The taste holds onto those notes while adding in a stewed plum depth with a whisper of caramel apple and orange oils. The vanilla and sweet oak kick in late with a rich depth and well-rounded lightness to the sip fades towards lush cherry tobacco, soft leather, and winter spice matrix tied to prunes and dates.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those bottles that’s always a pleasant surprise. It’s so soft and silky with a classic bourbon feel to it. I dig this over a rock or two or in a classic and simple bourbon cocktail.

$60-$70 — Peerless Small Batch Bourbon

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company

ABV: 54.65% (varies)

Average Price: $69

The Whiskey:

Kentucky Peerless Distilling takes its time for a true grain-to-glass experience. Their Small Batch Bourbon is crafted with a fairly low-rye mash bill and fermented with a sweet mash as opposed to a sour mash (that means they use 100 percent new grains, water, and yeast with each new batch instead of holding some of the mash over to start the next one like a sourdough starter). The barrels are then hand-selected for their taste and bottled completely un-messed with.

Tasting Notes:

Expect notes of blackberry next to worn leather, rich toffee, vanilla oils, and wet tobacco leaves. The taste holds onto the toffee and vanilla as the tobacco dries out and spices up, with touches of cedar bark and a few bitter espresso beans. The end is long, holds onto the vanilla and tobacco, and touches back on the berries as it fades through your senses.

Bottom Line:

While I adore the Rare Breed up above, this is what I reach for when I need a little bigger kick (I know, the ABV is lower here). The sweet mash allows the darker aspects of the flavor profile to come through, which helps this shine as a cocktail bourbon. There’s a bit more edge to this bourbon — this is kind of like the Germs to Rare Breeds’ Green Day.

$70-$80 — Henry McKenna Aged 10 Years Single Barrel Bottled-in-Bond

Heaven Hill

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $75

The Whiskey:

This very affordable offering from Heaven Hill is hard to beat. The juice utilizes a touch of rye in the mash bill and is then aged for ten long years in a bonded rickhouse. The best barrels are chosen by hand and the juice is bottled with just a touch of water to bring it down to bottled-in-bond proof.

Tasting Notes:

Orange zest, caramel, vanilla, and nutmeg-heavy holiday spice are counterpointed by a flush of fresh mint and soft, wet cedar on the nose. The vanilla and caramel carry through as the wintry spices kick up the sharpness alongside a burnt orange feel, vanilla cream, and a slight hint of dry tobacco leaves. It all slowly fades out on the charred oak finish with a minor hint of smoke deep in the background.

Bottom Line:

This is just classic from top to bottom. The issue here is that you’re going to be pretty hard-pressed finding this outside of the Ohio Valley area. They are out there but pretty sparsely distributed. That said, if you’re planning on hitting up Bourbon Country, U.S.A., this year, this is definitely a bottle to bring home.

$80-$90 — Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A122
Heaven Hill

ABV: 60.4%

Average Price: $85

The Whiskey:

2022’s first Barrel Proof drop is a 12-year-old whiskey made from Heaven Hill’s classic bourbon mash of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and a mere ten percent rye. Those barrels are masterfully blended into this Barrel Proof expression with no cutting or fussing. This is as-is bourbon from the barrel.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel draws you in on the nose with a slight sourdough cinnamon roll with pecans, a touch of floral honey, and a soft and woody drug store aftershave with an echo of vanilla candle wax and singed marshmallow. The palate rolls through a soft leather and vanilla pie note as cinnamon ice cream leads to spicy oak. The mid-palate leans into a sweeter, almost creamy spice (think nutmeg-heavy eggnog) which, in turn, leads to a dry cedar bark next to a dry stewed-apple tobacco leaf folded into an old leather pouch for safekeeping.

Bottom Line:

This is another classic bourbon whiskey. This particular release, winter 2022, is great as an on the rocks sipper. Some previous versions — which you might run into on liquor store shelves still — are a little more tilted towards cocktail mixing than sipping. Either way, you’ll have a good bourbon in your hands.

$90-$100 — Remus Repeal Reserve Series V

Luxco

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $94

The Whiskey:

Remus Repeal Reserve V is a hell of a whiskey. The MGP of Indiana signature bourbon — now Ross & Squibb Distillery for their own brands — is comprised of nine percent 2005 bourbon with a 21 percent high-rye mash, five percent 2006 bourbon with a very high-rye mash of 36 percent of the sticky grain, 19 percent 2006 bourbon with the same 21 percent high-rye mash, 13 percent 2008 bourbon with that 21 percent rye mash, and 54 percent 2008 bourbon with the 36 percent high-rye mash.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this is brilliantly fruity with touches of fresh raspberries, strawberries resting in dry straw, candied cherries, freshly peeled tangerines, apple cores and stems, and a touch of caramel malts. That caramel sweetness merges into a fresh honeycomb next to Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda vanilla and pep while the fruit dries out, leaving you with meaty dried figs, dates, and prunes driving the midpalate toward the finish. A touch of candied ginger spices things up as a fruity but dry tobacco leaf rounds out the end with the faintest touch of walnut shells.

Bottom Line:

This is where we start to get into “wow” territory. This is a stellar sipper or cocktail bourbon with real class and depth.

$100-$125 — Knob Creek 15

Knob Creek 15
Beam Suntory

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $125

The Whiskey:

Knob Creek is what Jim Beam becomes with a little massaging, the right aging locations in warehouses, and some luck from the whiskey angels. The juice is made from Beam’s standard 77 percent corn, 13 percent rye, and 10 percent malted barley mash. Then it’s left alone for 15 years in the Beam warehouses on specific floors in specific locations. The best barrels are then small batched and proofed down to 100 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Old saddle leather mingles with musty oak cellar beams and dirt cellar floors with an undercurrent of sweet dark fruits and mild caramel. The palate holds onto that caramel as the fruit becomes dried and a cedar note arrives with a rich and almost sweet tobacco. The dry cedar woodiness carries on through the end as the tobacco leads towards an almost oatmeal raisin cookie vibe with a good dose of cinnamon and nutmeg, leaving you with a sweet buzz on your tongue.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the best 15-year-old bourbons out there. The fact that you can actually find this and buy it at its MSRP (suggested retail price) is also kind of a miracle.

$125-$150 — Garrison Brothers Guadalupe

Garrison Brothers Guadalupe
Garrison Brothers

ABV: 53.5%

Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is hewn from 90 30-gallon barrels of four-year-old bourbon that were transferred into 26 59-gallon Tawny Port casks for a final maturation of nearly two years. That juice was then bottled with a touch of water added.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this bursts with raspberry, blackberry, redcurrant, and blueberry, all stewed with plenty of holiday spices and folded into a cobbler topped with dense buttery buttermilk biscuits. The palate leans into the spice with a focus on clove, nutmeg, and a very small whisper of anise as the berry turns more towards a fresh strawberry with dark chocolate-covered espresso beans chiming in on the mid-palate. That chocolate-bitter vibe drives towards a finish full of cinnamon-spiked dark chocolate tobacco leaves, stewed plums, and a dollop of floral honey.

Bottom Line:

This stuff is delicious. It’s also pretty unique given the craft involved in making this whiskey down in Texas. Overall, this is a no-brainer buy if you see it on a shelf.

$150-$200 — Jack Daniel’s 10

Jack Daniel's 10
Brown-Forman

ABV: 48.5%

Average Price: $200

The Whiskey:

This new age statement released from Jack Daniel’s feels like a throwback to a bygone era in Tennessee Whiskey. The whiskey is aged for at least ten years. During that time, the barrels spend time in the “Buzzard’s Roost” at the top of the rickhouse. Once they hit the right flavor profile, those barrels are moved to the bottom floors of other warehouses to slow the aging down. Finally, the whiskey is vatted, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a rich matrix of cherry syrup, apple cores, sticky toffee, vanilla ice cream, and a thin line of wet and sweet wood. The palate opens up towards the dark fruit but dries it out and marries it to a sticky and spicy tobacco leaf alongside toasted cedar soaked in salted caramel paired with dry corn husks that are just singed. The finish really takes its time as the cherry attaches to an old cinnamon stick and the tobacco takes on a sticky chewiness with a mild savory fruit edge.

Bottom Line:

This whiskey seemingly came out of nowhere last year and changed the way people think about Jack Daniel’s. This is great whiskey that’s worth seeking out even though this is on the rare side now.

$200-$500 — Michter’s Single Barrel 10-Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Michters Distillery

ABV: 47.2%

Average Price: $486

The Whiskey:

The juice in this bottle is a little under wraps. Michter’s is currently distilling and aging their own whiskey, but this is still sourced. The actual barrels sourced for these single barrel expressions tend to be at least ten years old with some rumored to be closer to 15 years old (depending on the barrel’s quality, naturally). Either way, the juice goes through Michter’s bespoke filtration process before a touch of Kentucky’s iconic soft limestone water is added, bringing the bourbon down to a very crushable 94.4 proof.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with subtle notes of soft wood and worn leather next to light touches of dark berries, orange oils, eggnog spice, and slight toffee sweetness next to a fluttering hint of roasted marshmallow. The palate starts off equally soft with a maple syrup sweetness which then leads into a rush of berry brambles. The mid-palate hits on a bit of dark spice, vanilla tobacco, and dark cacao and espresso bitterness. The finish leans into a dry-yet-almost-sweet oak with a touch of an almond shell and dry grass coming in at the very end and a final hint of that now almost burnt marshmallow.

Bottom Line:

This list rules. Maker’s 101, Rare Breed, Peerless, Garrison Bros, Jack 10, and now this. These are all killer whiskeys from top to bottom, but Michter’s 10 is that notch above. It’s elevated juice that feels like going home again. That’s a hard balance to pull off. Brasstacks, the price of this is only going to be going up (since there’s no release this year), so buy some now or forever hold your peace.

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