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The Best Bottles Of Bourbon Whiskey Between $30-$40

Our quest to find the best bourbon whiskeys at every price range is getting interesting — with a lot of great bourbon expressions for under $40 per bottle. Between $30 and $40, you start getting really solid craft bourbons alongside the first rush of single barrel bottles. Amazingly, this is still very affordable — especially when compared to imported spirits (scotch, etc.).

Speaking of price, the prices listed below are middle of the road (the median, not the mean). You’re going to be able to find some of these bottles for less. Some of you won’t be so lucky and you’ll end up paying more. It really all depends on which state you’re in and what store you’re shopping at. The price of a bottle of bourbon can literally change when you cross a street. Especially if you cross a state line.

Okay, let’s get into the bourbon!

1792 Small Batch

Sazerac Company

ABV: 46.85%

Average Price: $33

The Whiskey:

Haling from Sazerac’s iconic Barton 1792 Distillery, this expression hits a lot of high marks with drinkers and on the awards circuit. The juice is high-rye bourbon that rests in hand-selected oak barrels until it’s small-batched blended, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

This is a classic bourbon from the first whiff to the last sip. Bourbon vanilla and caramel mix with a dark spiciness up top. The spice sharpens to a pepperiness that leads towards more sweet caramel next to sweet corn and a hint of oak char. The finish is light yet longish, with a final note of citrus arriving very late.

Bottom Line:

This benefits greatly from a few rocks to let it open up. That being said, this is also a solid candidate for your next old fashioned or Manhattan.

Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon

Balcones

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $33

The Whisky:

This is a true Texas grain/corn-to-glass experience. The whiskey is made from Texas grains and corn in old-school stills and then matured under the warm Waco, Texas sun in Balcones‘ own warehouse. The results are small-batch blended, slight proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

You get a real sense of kettle corn covered in caramel next to hints of oak, sweet apples, and worn leather. The taste veers away from these notes slightly, with pecan pie topped with vanilla cream, more of that leather and oak, and a touch of honey. The end is chewy and lingers as almost-spicy tobacco arrives late to accentuate the oak.

Bottom Line:

This is a divisive whiskey in the bourbon world. We’d argue it’s a great bottle to expand your palate outside of the “classic” bourbon notes that play on repeat for a lot of bottles in this genre. Just make sure to add a little water or ice to really open it up.

Woodford Reserve

Brown-Forman

ABV: 43.2%

Average Price: $34

The Whiskey:

Woodford Reserve is a unique bourbon.

Sure, it has a pretty typical medium-rye mash bill (18 percent). However, it’s triple distilled a la Irish whiskey, giving the Kentucky juice a serious edge. The bourbon is then matured for a minimum of six years before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a nice mix of dark chocolate covered raisins next to a flourish of orange zest and plenty of bourbon vanilla and spicy tobacco. That slight tobacco chew leads back towards creamy vanilla, buttery toffee, and rich chocolate with a hint of orange cutting back in. The end is just the right length, with a well-rounded creaminess that beckons you back for more.

Bottom Line:

This really is an all-around solid bottle. You can use it as a sipper easily. It also kills as a cocktail base. You really can’t go wrong with this pick.

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Heaven Hill

ABV: 43.3%

Average Price: $34

The Whiskey:

There’s a lot of love around this single barrel expression from Heaven Hill. The craftspeople at the company search through their warehouses for the exact right single barrels that meet their high standards. Those barrels are then proofed with that soft Kentucky limestone water and bottled with the year of distillation on the bottle alongside the barrel number.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of almost bitter caramel next to salty popped corn, oak spice, and flutter of vanilla. The sip is like velvet with caramel apples next to chocolate oranges and a bit of spicy tobacco. There’s a buzz and chewiness to the end that leans very easy-drinking, while the flavors slowly roll back through the spice and wood.

Bottom Line:

This dram is a very solid sipper with water or ice. It’s also a great mixer at this price point — shining in hefty cocktails like boulevardiers or Sazeracs.

Maker’s Mark 46

Beam Suntory

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $35

The Whiskey:

Maker’s Mark is a classic wheated bourbon. This particular expression takes cask strength Maker’s and then add in virgin French oak staves into the barrels for a final nine weeks of maturing. The result is a unique version of the iconic whisky from Kentucky.

Tasting Notes:

The soft and mildly sweet wood greets you alongside slight touches of caramel and vanilla. That caramel and vanilla take a back seat to the deeper sense of toasted oak and spicy tobacco with a hint of fruit similar to an apple dipped in caramel. The end is full of that woodiness next to a light edge of creamy vanilla as it slowly fades away.

Bottom Line:

This is an interesting sipper, especially for those looking for a bourbon that focuses on the oak at its core.

Note: It needs a little water or ice to really bloom in the glass.

Noble Oak Double Oak Bourbon

Edrington

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $35

The Whiskey:

Noble Oak is an Ohio bourbon sourced from MGP. The whiskey is aged in new oak for a spell. Then sherry staves are added to the barrels to create this unique dram. Moreover, for each bottle sold, Noble Oak plants a tree. So far, they’ve planted over 200,000 trees and counting.

Not bad at all.

Tasting Notes:

Cherries in cream with honey and mild spice stands out on the nose and really draws you in. The palate delivers a cherry-flavor that leans more towards dark chocolate covered cherry with a brandy surprise in the middle, thanks to dried fruit and an almost nutty edge to the sip.

There’s a bit of a worn leather aspect to the finish — with the cherry and oak lasting the longest on the fade.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice sipper for this price. On the rocks, that is. It really works best as a cocktail mixer though. Try it in your favorite cocktail if you have a chance.

Four Roses Small Batch

Kirin Brewing

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $37

The Whiskey:

Four Roses is probably best known for making ten signature bourbons that it blends or puts into single barrel expressions. This instance is drawn from four of their bourbons that highlight both low and high rye expressions with a focus on “slight spice” and “rich fruit” yeasts. Those four bourbons are small-batched, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real softness on the nose and on the tongue that touches on cherry orchards, Christmas spices, and sweet wood. The taste really leans into the fruitiness with a mix of berries dusted in cinnamon and nutmeg. The sip becomes velvety soft with an almost blackberry jam vibe as the spices warm while it lingers.

Bottom Line:

This is a great workhorse. We like to use it for cocktails especially, b you can absolutely sip this one on the rocks.

Jim Beam Single Barrel

Beam Suntory

ABV: 47.5%

Average Price: $37

The Whiskey:

The team at Beam hand-select these barrels from under one percent of all the barrels resting in Beam’s massive warehouses. The barrels they’re looking for are the height of what Beam does with their low-ish rye bourbon with little to no fussing.

Besides proofing with Kentucky limestone water, this is Beam straight from the barrel.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear matrix of caramel-soaked kettle corn next to light touches of oak and oily vanilla beans. The taste adds to that with a cherry pipe tobacco next to a honey sweetness and a dash of orange oils. The spices edge toward Christmas spice territory with a hint of caramel corn and cherry candy on the short but sweet end.

Bottom Line:

Like Evan Williams above, this is a big step up and worth the extra cash compared to the standard Beam. Also, a single barrel for around $35 is a bargain and more than exceeds expectations, especially on the rocks or in a cocktail.

Woodinville Straight Bourbon

Woodinville

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $37

The Whiskey:

This craft whiskey is a grain/corn-to-glass Washington experience. The grains are all grown near the distillery. The oak is toasted and aged outside of the distillery’s warehouses for 18 months before the hot juice goes in for maturation. After around five years, the whiskey is blended, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Tropical fruits meld with Christmas spices and plenty of brown sugar, vanilla, and nuts leading towards an almost dark rum nose. The palate delivers but dials into butter-fried bananas, creamy vanilla pudding, rich toffee, and a hint of toasted wood. The end doesn’t overstay its welcome and brings about a mild spicy chewiness and more of that toasty oak with a nice return of the toffee.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the best all-around whiskeys on this list (we’d argue that it’s one of the best, period). However, you chose to drink it make sure to take your time and let it bloom, change, and draw you back for more.

Wild Turkey Longbranch

Campari

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

This whiskey from Wild Turkey creative director, Matthew McConaughey, is a marrying of Texas Hill Country and Kentucky’s rolling hills. The juice is a standard eight-year-old Turkey that’s treated to a bit of Texas via filtering through Texas Mesquite and American Oak charcoals.

This process adds a whole new dimension to an already classic bourbon. It’s much debated, but we think it’s worth your time.

Tasting Notes:

Christmas spices and creamy vanilla greet you. The sip starts off very Kentucky bourbon with more of that vanilla, spice, and notes of caramel dominating with hints of orange zest kicking in. Then the sip takes a turn towards buttery toffee counterpointed by bitter charcoal and a wisp of BBQ smoke. The smoke isn’t the centerpiece by any stretch but adds a nice dimension to the whiskey as it slowly fades through those more classic notes.

Bottom Line:

This is built as a workhorse whiskey. That means you can mix with it as easily as you can sip it with a little water.

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