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The Tastiest, Best-Value Bottles Of Bourbon In The $50 Range

Finding a very solid cheap bourbon is pretty easy these days — there are some good values to be scored for under $30. But the truly sippable stuff isn’t found on the bottom shelf. The real sweet spot for quality, bang-for-your-buck, easy-to-drink-straight bourbon is the $30 to $50 range. The various expressions at that pricepoint can shock you with their value, often over-performing far more expensive bottles.

Is it worth buying one bottle of bourbon for $50 when you can buy two for $25? That’s really for you to decide. If you’re mixing cocktails, maybe not. But if you like to sit with a dram and really savor it, the answer is likely “yes.” Especially if some savvy shopping puts you in a position where you’re getting $75 in history, flavor, and distilling expertise.

The ten bottles of bourbon below are some of our favorite bourbons that cost less than $50. They’re easy-drinking, complex, and available for delivery right now.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

ABV: 45%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
Average Price: $30

The Whiskey:

Buffalo Trace has a massive line of brands under their shingle. This is their signature bourbon, which has gone fairly unchanged since the distillery opened 200 years ago. Buffalo Trace tends to keep their exact mashbills to themselves, but it’s likely this is their Mash Bill #1, which is high on corn and low on rye (around ten percent).

Tasting Notes:

Classic bourbon vanilla greets you with a flourish of fresh mint and a rum-like molasses darkness. That sugariness gives way to brown sugar and buttery toffee next to hints of oak and dark spice. There’s a modicum of heat on the end as the oak and vanilla linger.

Evan Williams Single Barrel

ABV: 43%
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery, Louisville, KY
Average Price: $30

The Whiskey:

Evan Williams’ basic expression is a great go-to cheap bourbon. It tracks that their Single Barrel expression would make an easy-drinking step up from the rail behind the bar. This particular expression is hand-selected from Heaven Hill’s rickhouses to meet the distiller’s high standards and directly bottled with no fuss.

Tasting Notes:

Charred oak comes through strong, next to a dose of deep caramel. Honey and orange mingle with apple and cinnamon spice. There’s a long-lasting warmth at the end (the Kentucky hug!) as the oak, caramel, and orange bitterness fade.

Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon Whisky

ABV: 46%
Distillery: Balcones Distillery, Waco, TX
Average Price: $30

The Whiskey:

This well-crafted Texas bourbon is an outlier. This dram is a Texan grain-to-glass experience that focuses in on the texture and flavors that make bourbon so unique, and delicious.

Tasting Notes:

You feel Texas emanating from the glass with whiffs of old leather, apple orchards, earthy honeycomb, salty kettle corn, and plenty of oak. The honey and leather carry through as lines of spicy pecan pie with a buttery crust and sandalwood bounce through the taste. The spicy warmth, leather, and oak last on the senses long after the dram goes down.

High West American Prairie Bourbon Whiskey

ABV: 46%
Distillery: High West Distillery, Park City, UT (MGP Indiana)
Average Price: $37

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is a blend of two to 13-year-old bourbons that High West sources, mostly from MGP out in Indiana. The whiskeys have unique mash bills that lean into the corn but have plenty of rye (their MGP juice is 21 percent rye). Sourced or not, the alchemy levels are high and the dram is a very easy sipper.

Tasting Notes:

Mellow notes of caramel meet vanilla on the front end. The sip is full of crackling sweet corn with notes of butter mingling with candy corn sweetness and a hint of milk chocolate. The vanilla carries through to the end with an echo of fairground candied apples dusted in spice.

Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon

ABV: 45%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

This is probably the best sipper on this list. Buffalo Trace’s Eagle Rare is a masterful bottling of their best ten-year-old barrels with no interference whatsoever. This is just plain old great bourbon done well.

Tasting Notes:

Charred oak, worn leather, rich toffee, fresh honey, and a rush of orange zest open this one up. Dark and bitter cacao powder mixes with honey-roasted almonds as warm spice weaves in and out. A subtle dryness takes over as the leather, oak, and warmth fades ever-so-slowly away.

Weller Special Reserve Bourbon

ABV: 45%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
Average Price: $42

The Whiskey:

Sticking with Buffalo Trace, Weller Special Reserve is a fantastic example of a wheated bourbon. This expression tosses out the peppery rye grains for a more nuanced and, dare we say, fruity wheat. The softness of this expression makes it the perfect summer sipper.

Tasting Notes:

Orange trees and spring wildflowers come to mind with a sense of caramel. The dram edges into a butterscotch sweetness with a honey backbone as the florals peak. The end is brief yet satisfying as the oak, florals, and sweet corn caramel cuts out.

Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Basil Hayden’s Distillery, Clermont, KY (Beam Suntory)
Average Price: $44

The Whiskey:

Basil’s is Beam’s high-end sipper that is way too cheap for the quality it offers. This juice is well-crafted with care and bottled to highlight classic notes of bourbon next to textures and flavors that’ll keep you on your toes as a bourbon lover.

Tasting Notes:

Spiciness next to black tea bitterness and a hint of fresh sprigs of mint greet you. That spiciness carries through as a note of toffee sweetness mingles with the fresh herbs, florals, and mild oak. The sweet edge and oak fade slowly as your senses fill with warmth.

Four Roses Single Barrel

ABV: 50%
Distillery: Four Roses Distillery, Lawrenceburg, KY (Kirin Brewing Company)
Average Price: $48

The Whiskey:

This Single Barrel expression from Four Roses ages for a minimum of seven years before it hits just the right spot for bottling. The juice is made from Four Roses’ recipe number one, meaning it has a very high rye mash bill with 35 percent of the spicy grain in the mix.

Tasting Notes:

There’ll be some nuances but expect maple syrup covered spicy stewed pears with a hint of vanilla and bitter cacao. Once it hits the palate, the sip leans into dark red cherries with floral sweetness and sharp peppery spice. The oak, spice, vanilla, and syrup coalesce on the long-lasting finish.

Angel’s Envy Straight Bourbon Whiskey Port Finish

ABV: 43.3%
Distillery: Angel’s Envy Distillery, Louisville, KY (Bacardi)
Average Price: $48

The Whiskey:

Angel’s Envy is all about the finish. Their signature bourbon is finished old port casks for three to six months after spending up to six years aging in oak. The best barrels are then small-batched with no more than 12 other barrels at a time.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla and maple syrup dance with dried fruits and roasted nuts. The vanilla and syrup carry through and pick up notes of tart red fruit and bitter dark chocolate. The oak and sweetness last the longest, as a very subtle and plummy hint of wine pops at the very end.

Heaven’s Door Straight Tennessee Bourbon

ABV: 45%
Distillery: Heaven’s Door Spirits, Nashville, TN
Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

Bob Dylan’s whiskey takes it time to show itself. The bourbon has 30 percent “small grains” in the mash bill alongside the corn. The juice then spends eight long years mellowing in oak until it hits the right high marks, as judged by the distiller.

Tasting Notes:

Cherries stewed in spice and maple syrup alongside an oily pod of vanilla open the sip. The vanilla forms a foundation for dry cedar, Christmas spices, rich caramel, and the slightest wisp of smoke. The caramel and vanilla dominate as the warm end slowly fades to black.

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