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The Best Bottles Of Bourbon Whiskey Between $40-$50, Ranked

This price point is where bourbon whiskey starts to get interesting. This whole list is pretty much bangers and every bottle costs less than $50. That, folks, is a great sweet spot when it comes to finding and drinking a great bourbon whiskey right now.

For this ranking, we’re going off two parameters. One, these are the bottles I vouch for, as you can see in my tasting notes. There are tons of other bourbons that could easily slot into these spots but just don’t rank quite as highly for me. Two, this is based on prices at Totalwine.com with delivery set to Lousiville, Kentucky. That means that your prices may vary slightly depending on your own state taxes and so forth.

Beyond all of that, this really is just about calling out ten great bottles of whiskey that you can go out and get right now. Let’s get into it!

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

10. Bulleit Bourbon 10

Diageo

ABV: 45.6%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

This is classic Bulleit Bourbon that’s aged up to ten years before it’s blended and bottled. These barrels are hand-selected (sourced) barrels that really amplify those classic “Bulleit” flavors that make this brand so damn accessible (and beloved) in the first place.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lot going on with butter and spicy stewed apples, maple syrup, Christmas cakes full of nuts and dried fruit, and a hint of savory herbs all pinging through your nose. The palate brings about smooth and creamy vanilla with plenty of butter toffee, sourdough crust, more X-mas spice, cedar bark, and a hint of dried roses. The finish is long, warming, and really embraces the toffee and spice.

Bottom Line:

You really can’t beat this if you’re looking for either an easy end-of-the-day sipper or a killer cocktail base. It’s the best of both worlds.

9. Rowan’s Creek

Rowan's Creek
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers

ABV: 50.05%

Average Price: $44

The Whiskey:

This whiskey used to be a 12-year small batch offering named after the creek that runs through Willett Distillery. It’s still named after the creek, but the 12-year age statement is gone. The whiskey is cut down to a very specific 100.1 proof with that Kentucky limestone water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose draws you in with notes of salted caramel, woody cherry tobacco, a touch of leather, and vanilla wafers countered by savory herbs (think rosemary and maybe sage) next to light but fresh roses. The taste goes hard with the cherry tobacco to the point that it’s nearly sticky on the palate as the roses dry out and the vanilla and caramel almost feel dried out and attached to a dry cedar bark. A hint of winter spice comes in late as the finish leans back into the dry roses and singed cherry tobacco leaves.

Bottom Line:

This packs a pretty solid flavor punch, especially when you’re mixing up subtle bourbon cocktails. While there are a couple of Willett labels that beat this one out, it’s still pretty damn fine for a $44 bottle of bourbon.

8. Heaven’s Door Tennessee Bourbon

Heavens Door

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $46

The Whiskey:

Bob Dylan’s Tennessee Bourbon is a very enjoyable and a (surprisingly) un-gimmicky treat. The juice is a high-rye bourbon that’s aged for up to eight years before Heaven’s Door’s blender gets his hands on the barrels. Those whiskeys are then blended to highlight classic bourbon notes with a Tennessee twist.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of vanilla sit next to a slight oakiness with an almost rye bread crust sourness and bitterness. The sip leans into the vanilla, creating a creamy texture as wisps of apricot and cherry mingle with mild brown spices. The finish is long and hits on that vanilla cream, all the fruit, and mild spice while leaving you with a final nod to the charred oak at the end.

Bottom Line:

This bottle is a good conversation starter for any bar cart (Dylan designs the labels) that also happens to a pretty easy-drinking whiskey or mixer.

7. Wilderness Trail Small Batch Bottled In Bond

Wilderness Trail Bottled in Bond
Wilderness Trail

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $46

The Whiskey:

Wilderness Trail is the whiskey nerd’s whiskey. Dr. Pat, who started off selling yeast to brewers and distillers, helped start this distillery based on making the best of the best. This expression starts off with a high rye mash bill of 64 percent corn, 24 percent rye, and 12 percent malted barley. That whiskey is aged on-site and then only 12 barrels are pulled for this small batch expression.

Tasting Notes:

This draws you in with a piping hot apple pie full of stewed apples, wintry spice, and a lard crust accented by vanilla, a touch of applewood, and subtle salted caramel drizzle. The palate leans into the stewed apples at first then counters with freshly cracked black pepper before the caramel sweetness takes the mid-palate towards the finish. The end is full of winter spices with a hint of peppery tobacco leaf and a touch of dry wicker furniture.

Bottom Line:

There’s a nice balance to the peppery rye notes and those sweeter bourbon ones that help this stand out. This is just an easy-drinking bourbon, in general, with very little to push you away. Still, I feel like this leans more into a solid cocktail mixer and a perfectly fine on the rocks sipper territory.

6. George Dickel Barrel Select

Diageo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $48

The Whisky:

This is Dickel’s main “small batch” whisky. The standard juice is aged for nine to 12 years and built from 12 or fewer barrels. Those hand-selected barrels are vatted and then cut with that soft Tennessee water to a very approachable 86 proof.

Tasting Notes:

You get soft notes of corn next to butterscotch, oily vanilla, fresh leather, a touch of orange rind, and maybe a little cherry on the nose. The palate delivers a mix of eggnog spices with hints of vanilla, creamed corn, dry cedar bark, and a slight savory note that leans towards fresh green herbs. A note of black Neco Wafers arrive on the mid-palate and leans into almost powdered banana and anise. The end lingers on the spices as the vanilla and cedar leave you with a dry feeling on the back of your palate.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the more interesting sips on the list. That powdery fruit and spice help this feel like a true outlier. It’s also pretty divisive. I dig it, especially over some rocks or in a cocktail.

5. Four Roses Small Batch Select

Four Roses

ABV: 52%

Average Price: $49

The Whiskey:

This expression uses six of Four Rose’s ten whiskeys in their small-batching process. The idea is to blend both high and low-rye bourbons with yeast strains that highlight “delicate fruit,” “slight spice,” and “herbal notes.” The whiskeys tend to spend at least six years in the barrel before blending and proofing with just a touch of Kentucky’s soft limestone water.

Tasting Notes:

Raspberry and cloves mix with old oak and draw you in on the nose. The palate amps up the dark berry sweetness with a bit of tartness as a stone fruit vibe comes into play. The spice heightens and leans into winter spice with a focus on nutmeg. Finally, a wisp of fresh mint arrives to counterpoint the whole sip as the oak, vanilla, berries, and spice all slowly fade out.

Bottom Line:

This is where things land squarely in the great sipper territory. Again, that’s not to say I don’t use this in cocktails. I just prefer it over a rock or two after a long day.

4. Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old Very Small Batch

Castle Brands

ABV: 45.1%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

Jefferson’s really hits it out of the park with their sourced juice. The “very old” element of this small-batched blend means that eight to 12 barrels of four unique bourbons were selected to be married, with the oldest clocking in at 20-years-old. That juice is then proofed with soft Kentucky limestone water to bring it down to a very approachable 90.2 proof.

Tasting Notes:

This is classic. Notes of vanilla meet spicy tobacco, leather, oak, and very buttery toffee with a hint of popped corn and apple pie mingle on the nose. The palate holds true to those notes while adding a mellow cherry with an almost cedar-infused cream soda. The finish is short but full of all those woody, spicy, and apple pie notes again, with plenty of buttery mouthfeel and a cedar box full of rich tobacco leaves.

Bottom Line:

This is another easy sipper, especially over a rock. Still, don’t sleep on putting this in your next Manhattan either.

3. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon

Brown-Forman

ABV: 45.2%

Average Price: $49

The Whiskey:

This expression takes standard Woodford Bourbon and gives it a finishing touch. The bourbon is blended and moved into new barrels that have been double toasted but only lightly charred. The juice spends a final nine months resting in those barrels before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a welcoming aroma of marzipan, blackberry, toffee, and fresh honey next to a real sense of pitchy, dry firewood. The taste drills down on those notes as the sweet marzipan becomes more choco-hazelnut, the berries become increasingly dried and apple-y, the toffee becomes almost burnt, and the wood softens to a cedar bark. A rich spicy and chewy tobacco arrives late as the vanilla gets super creamy and the fruit and honey combine on the slow fade.

Bottom Line:

This is a deeply-hewn whiskey at this price point. Pour this into a Glencairn and add a little water to really let it bloom. Then do some experimenting with your favorite cocktails to see where it fits for you.

2. Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon

Michters

ABV: 45.7%

Average Price: $42

The Whiskey:

Michter’s really means the phrase “small batch” here. The tank they use to marry their hand-selected eight-year-old bourbons can only hold 20 barrels, so that’s how many go into each small-batch bottling. The blended juice is then proofed with Kentucky’s famously soft limestone water and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Buttery caramel and peaches mix with creamy vanilla and oak on the nose. The vanilla really shines as the peach almost takes on a grilled edge as it gets sweeter and adds a whisper of smoke next to peppery spice. The spice kicks up and warms the senses as the slow fade embraces stone fruit, toffee, and more vanilla with a final kick of charred oak.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those classic, entry-point bourbons (for Michter’s) that a lot of other bourbons are measured against. This really is a versatile pour that works wonders in a glass with a little water or rock or will make any cocktail pop.

1. 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 is my go-to as a sipper (end of day or end of the week). This really is just ridiculously easy to drink while still delivering a serious flavor profile that’ll engage you. All of that for a whiskey that’ll cost you less than $50 is a bit of a miracle given where bourbon prices are going right now.

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