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The Best Bottles Of Bourbon Whiskey Between $80-$90, Ranked

We’re drawing very close to the best bourbons under $100. Nearing that price point in bourbon means that we’re pretty much into the special releases, one-off bottlings, and allocated offerings that excite whiskey drinkers from coast to coast.

For this list, I went deep into my tasting notes to find bottles that I think are actually worth dropping $80-90 on. It’s a tough prospect for many drinkers, especially when you can buy two or three bottles of perfectly good bourbon for the same price as some of these picks. Still, I winnowed the list down to all bangers all the time. These are bottles I absolutely vouch for, ranked according to my taste.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to find that special bottle in your region at or near the prices listed below (some of these bottles might be priced wildly different on the secondary market, depending on where you live).

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

10. Old Charter Chinkapin Oak Bourbon

Old Charter Chinkapin Oak
Sazerac Company

ABV: 46.5%

Average Price: $80

The Whiskey:

This limited release from 2020 rounded out the Buffalo Trace Old Charter Oak Series. The whiskey was aged in Chinkapin oak barrels which, in some cases, are made from trees up to 200 years old. The staves are air-dried for 24 months before the barrels are built. Those barrels were then filled with standard Buffalo Trace distillate and left to do their thing for nine long years before mingling, proofing with limestone water, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose reveals a hint of Double Mint gum that leads towards cherry blossoms with a hint of the tree bark in the mix, a touch of raw leather, and a thin layer of vanilla wafers. The palate kicks off with a spicy grain vibe that builds towards dark chocolate spiked with orange zest, a flourish of those cherry blossoms, and a honey candy mid-palate. That sweetness leads back to the dark chocolate with a slight wintry spice leaving you warmed with a mild cherry tobacco chew.

Bottom Line:

That raw leather note from Buffalo Trace’s mash always puts me off slightly. It’s not overpowering here, thankfully, and this really does have a serious depth that, ultimately, feels classic. Pour this over a rock or two and you’ll be set.

9. Horse Soldier Signature Barrel Strength Bourbon

Horse Soldier Single Barrel
Horse Soldier

ABV: Varies

Average Price: $85

The Whiskey:

This new bourbon brand is killing it at the moment. The bourbon in this case was contract distilled in Ohio (but is now being made in Kentucky). The juice is a wheated bourbon that spent eight years mellowing before bottling. Each barrel was hand-picked before being married into a single barrel strength expression that’s bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

A firewood pile opens the nose with apple crumble, lemon zest, plenty of creamy vanilla, and wintry spices rounding out the nose next to a hint of old saddle leather. The taste has a butterscotch vibe next to hints of Vanilla Coke, more of that apple crumble with the spice and brown sugar set to eleven, and a touch of apple blossoms next to a hint of fresh ginger. The finish takes its time and leans into the sharpness of the spice, leaving you warmed to your soul next to a final note of that dry firewood stacked in dark soil.

Bottom Line:

This is a pretty damn fine, yet bold whiskey. I’d recommend pouring it over a rock or two to calm it down and let it bloom a little in the glass. Or you can mix this into a killer old fashioned.

8. Bib & Tucker 10

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $85

The Whiskey:

Bib & Tucker is a classic example of what great blending can do with sourced juice. The Tennessee whiskey is a marriage of ten-year-old whiskeys aged in the lowest char barrels available, allowing more direct contact with dried wood rather than black char. Those barrels are blended and then proofed down with soft Tennessee water.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of vanilla bean (pod, seeds, essence) up top with hints of spicy chewy tobacco, dry oak (almost pine), and a distant note of fresh corn husks. The palate really holds onto that velvety vanilla as the corn husks dry out and notes of orange-infused dark chocolate mingle with that spicy tobacco, which starts buzzing on your tongue. The end is longish, has touches of that dry pine, and holds onto both the vanilla and dried corn husks.

Bottom Line:

This is the sweet spot for Bib & Tucker. This whiskey is super easy to sip neat but really benefits from some water or rock to help it open up. It’s also a really solid cocktail base, especially for a Manhattan.

7. Belle Meade Sherry Cask Finish

Nelsons Green Brier

ABV: 45.2%

Average Price: $83

The Whiskey:

This masterful blend of sourced whiskeys is a highwater mark for Nelson’s Green Brier out in Nashville. The nine-year-old barrels are hand-selected from a reserve sourcing program. Those high-rye bourbons (the 36 percent rye MGP mash bill) are married and then transferred to Oloroso sherry casks for a final maturation before the whiskey is slightly proofed and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of a Christmas cake full of dark spice next to fatty nuts, vanilla, dried fruits, and candied orange peels with hints of plummy wood popping up in the background. The taste follows that path and adds in more dried fruits with a toffee sweetness and buttery edge next to a touch of dried florals. The end builds as the vanilla and spice meld into a bread pudding body with a lingering sense of spice on the slow fade.

Bottom Line:

I’m not the biggest fan of sherry-finished bourbons but this one stands above them all. There’s a subtlety at play that works in making this an easy sipper (on a rock) or a really good cocktail base (for a simple one).

6. Larceny Barrel Proof

Larceny Barrel Proof A122
Heaven Hill

ABV: 62.2%

Average Price: $86

The Whiskey:

The juice in the barrel is made from a mash bill of 68 percent corn, 20 percent wheat, and 12 percent malted barley. The whiskey in the bottle is a blend of six to eight-year-old barrels that are vatted and bottled at cask strength as-is. It’s as easy as that, folks.

Tasting Notes:

Based on the latest 2022 release, expect the nose to open with full-tree cedar beams. That woody note is supported by touches of warm brown butter and maple syrup waiting for a stack of pancakes that haven’t been cooked yet with a hint of sticky buns and orange pith lurking in the background. The palate starts off sweet and nutty, kind of like almonds dipped in that maple syrup and then rolled in holiday spices with an echo of warmth. The mid-palate leans into ripe figs and spiced prunes before a vanilla husk woodiness arrives with whispers of hazelnuts, dry sweetgrass, and woody spice with a hint of cedar-infused tobacco leaves.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty much a perfect whiskey. In fact, I’d argue that for each entry from here on out. So, consider this where I start splitting hairs to “rank” these brands. Not for nothing but this makes a mean cocktail thanks to those high ABVs.

5. Bomberger’s Declaration Bourbon

Michters Distillery

ABV: 54%

Average Price: $89

The Whiskey:

This whiskey heralds back to Michter’s historical roots in the 19th century before the brand was even called “Michter’s.” The juice on the bottle is rendered from a very small batch of bourbons that were aged in Chinquapin oak which was air-dried for three years before charring and filling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with this rich and meaty plum presence next to a hint of buttery toffee and creamy vanilla with a touch of wood lurking in the background. The palate goes full crème brûlée with sticky burnt sugar over the top and a slight touch of allspice and nutmeg next to a dark cacao powder dryness with a touch of smoke salt and light, dry cedar. The mid-palate leans back into the dark stone fruit and sweetness as it only slightly dries out.

Bottom Line:

This is subtle and nuanced in a way that kind of makes you go “Woah” just like Keanu. While this is pretty hard to find, it’s worth seeking out to see what Michter’s is up to these days. If you do find a bottle, pour it neat and slowly add water as you taste and dig into the deep end of this whiskey.

4. E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch

Sazerac Company

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $80

The Whiskey:

This high-end brand from the legendary Buffalo Trace campus is crafted as a sipper at a (fairly) accessible price point. The juice is aged specifically in Warehouse C, which was built by E.H. Taylor, Jr. back in the 1880s. The barrels live under federal regulations for bottled-in-bond rules. Once they’re ready, they’re small batched, and proofed down to 100 proof.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a nice rush of freshly popped corn that’s been hit with some salt and butter before a touch of caramel arrives with a slight black licorice bent and a hint of cherry leather. The taste delivers on those promises with a butter toffee with a slight almond and dark cocoa note next to spicy tobacco leaves and hints of leather and cedar. The end doesn’t overstay its welcome and fades away, leaving you with an almost peppery spice and cherry chewing tobacco buzz cut with salted caramel.

Bottom Line:

This is a beautiful whiskey that really does deserve the hype it gets. That “raw leather” note that so many Buffalo Trace offerings carry is not here, which helps for my palate. Overall, this is a classic for a reason.

3. Garrison Brothers HoneyDew Bourbon

Garrison Brothers HoneyDew
Garrison Brothers

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $82

The Whiskey:

This is technically a “flavored” bourbon but it’s nothing like any other flavored bourbon you’ve ever had. This is Garrison’s Small Batch Bourbon that’s then infused with Burleson’s Texas Wildflower Honey. That means that the bourbon was transferred to a steel tank for storage. In the meantime, those empty barrels were rebuilt into smaller wooden cubes and dipped into the honey until they were completely honey-laden. Those cubes were then put into the steel vats of bourbon to infuse the juice over seven long months.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with clear bourbon notes that worn leather, dry straw, and apple next to elderflower, ripe peaches and apricots, and a touch of raw honey. That honey note creates a bridge to the palate which is full of wildflowers, orange oils, cinnamon buns with a little pecan, and a final honey drizzle that’s almost creamy. The finish is a balance between the rich honey vibes and the clear sense of bourbon with cinnamon spice, dry pecans, and orange oils all slowly soaking into a pot full of honey.

Bottom Line:

This is a flavored bourbon and it f*cking rules. You don’t lose a moment of the bourbon’s depth since the honey adds layers that work in the overall build of the whiskey. This is so easy to drink neat or on the rocks that you’ll be hard-pressed not to fall in love at first sip.

2. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Heritage Barrel

Jack Daniel's Special Release
Brown-Forman

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $80

The Whiskey:

This whiskey from Jack Daniel’s is a pretty special offering. First, the barrels were heated/charred using a special method of very slow heating to achieve a richer toast before going off to be charred with fire. Those barrels were then filled with 100 proof distillate and placed in the highest rungs of warehouses on Coy Hill on the JD campus. 100 barrels hit the mark and each was released as a single barrel, 100 proof offering.

Tasting Notes:

A hint of dry cedar and pine kindling comes through on the nose with the support of cherry pie with a lard crust, vanilla tobacco chew, and a hint of zucchini bread with walnuts, clove, cinnamon, and powdered ginger. The palate leans into those spices and adds a hint of dried red peppercorns that’s countered by a rich vanilla ice cream speckled with dry cherries and dark chocolate. The mid-palate sweetness fades back towards that kindling pile as a cinnamon/cherry tobacco chewiness leaves you warmed and wanting more.

Bottom Line:

This is a rare find, sure. But, goddamn, they’re good. The nuance of this will dispel any preconceived notions you might have about Jack Daniel’s. This is killer whiskey that deserves a prime spot on any bar cart. It also makes a phenomenal Manhattan.

1. 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 bottle sort of represents every great about bourbon. It’s nostalgic while still feeling fresh. It’s a classic that feels like it takes you somewhere new. It’s… just really, really good.

Try it neat, on the rocks, or in a simple cocktail. You will not be disappointed.

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