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The Best Bottles Of Bourbon Under $10

Is there a single “best cheap bourbon” out there? We don’t know. But we sure love the journey to find out. Seriously.

That being said, there’s a sort of universal rule in booze that the cheaper the juice gets the less palatable it becomes. And less than $10 per bottle is fire-sale (and fire in your throat) cheap. So please know that when we talk about bourbon at this price point, we’re not asking “can you sip it?” We’re simply asking “is it drinkable at all?”

Of course, what’s “drinkable” is very subjective. Generally speaking, we’re talking workhorse mixers. Bottles you use to make cocktails or, at the very least, add Coke, 7-Up, or soda water to. Many of these are also perfectly fine shooters and drinkable on the rocks in a pinch.

They’re all fine is what we’re saying. And for a tenner, that’s significant.

In the end, the ten bottles of bourbon below are most people’s gateway to the style. They’re cheap, readily available, and easy to understand. And, as you’ll see, you can still find nuance and flavor notes to enjoy, even at these bottom shelf prices.

J.T.S. Brown Botted-in-Bond

Heaven Hill

ABV: 50%
Average Price: $7

The Whiskey:

This is a quality whiskey (from Heaven Hill) at a very accessible price point. It’s a bottled-in-bond, meaning it’s from one distilling season, aged for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear caramel and cream soda sweetness that definitely does draw you in. A touch of dark spice lingers in the background with a bit more of that vanilla-forward cream soda sweetness on the palate, making the sip very easy. The end has a touch more of that spice followed by a moment of oak buried under the creamy vanilla.

Bottom Line:

This is a steal for $7 a bottle. It works wonders in an old fashioned, given the underlying sweetness.

Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon

Heaven Hill

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $8

The Whiskey:

This is Heaven Hill’s other gateway bourbon. There are no frills involved. This is standard bourbon that’s aged for three years before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This is light, with a sense of cornmeal next to classic bourbon vanilla and butterscotch. That butterscotch sweetness tends to be the defining point as the corn and vanilla fade. The end has a bit of warm spice that works well with the corn syrup sweetness and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

Try this on the rocks with a splash of water. It’s also a great beer back if you’re looking to try a new shooter.

Very Old Barton

Sazerac Company

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $8

The Whiskey:

This is a bit of a hidden gem from Barton Distillery (Sazerac). The juice is a blend of three to six-year-old bourbons that are proofed to varying ABVs before bottling. Their 100-proof bottled-in-bond tends to end up on a lot of “best of” lists while this expression serves as more of a first taste to the wider world of Very Old Barton.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla pods mingle with plenty of oak and a hint of caramel sweetness — classic bourbon, really. There’s a note of spice and fruit lurking beneath the fairly smooth texture of the sip. The end is short, oaky, and a little peppery.

Bottom Line:

This one will be a little harder to find, depending on where in the country you live. Still, this is almost good enough to be a sipper on the rocks and goes down well as a cocktail base.

McAfee’s Benchmark Old No. 8

Sazerac Company

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $8

The Whiskey:

This expression from Buffalo Trace (Sazerac Company) really hits classic and accessible marks equally. It’s 40 percent ABV, isn’t overly done, and works really well as an entry-level bourbon to Buffalo Trace.

Tasting Notes:

Salted caramel mixes with plenty of cream soda vanilla and sharp spiciness. The sweetness edges toward honey as the sip takes on a very distant whisper of florals. The end is short and sweet with a nod to the vanilla and spice, and the sweet notes lasting the longest.

Bottom Line:

This could easily be $20 and people wouldn’t bat an eye.

Ancient Age

Sazerac Company

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $9

The Whiskey:

Sticking with Buffalo Trace (Sazerac), we’d be remiss not to call out a classic: Ancient Age. The whiskey in the bottle is young but crafted to be a shooter or mixer. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more that it is and that’s fine by us.

Tasting Notes:

Classic notes of vanilla-meet-caramel with a hint of spice and tart apple. That vanilla/caramel nature carries on with a small dose more of the spice as a minor idea of citrus arrives late. The end is warm, short, and very keyed into the sweeter sides of the vanilla and caramel.

Bottom Line:

This is made to be shot or mixed, so do just that.

Zackariah Harris

Sazerac Company

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $9

The Whiskey:

Heading over to Louisville’s Glenmore Distillery (Sazerac Company), Zackariah Harris hits some very easy-to-drink marks. It’s a high-corn mash bourbon that’s blended, proofed, and bottled with no bells or whistles.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear lightness that leads toward plenty of vanilla and caramel with a touch of kettle corn and cinnamon. The taste stays light and almost soft as the spice gets a little peppery and the vanilla leads towards some woodiness. The end is short but leaves you thinking about taking another shot.

Bottom Line:

While this is a fine shooter, it also works well as a cocktail base for anyone looking to practice without breaking the bank.

Evan Williams Green Label

Heaven Hill

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $9

The Whiskey:

If you’re going to buy Evan Williams (Heaven Hill), it may as well be this one. It’s a standard bourbon that’s aged at least four years before blending and proofing down to 40 percent. It’s almost always under $10 per bottle, even if you’re not in Kentucky, making this a winner.

Tasting Notes:

This bourbon hits the classic triad of vanilla, caramel, and oak squarely on the head. There’s a continuation of those notes with the addition of sweet fruits and a very distant hint of toasted coconut next to corn. The end returns to the oak and vanilla but holds onto the sweeter fruits on a quick fade.

Bottom Line:

You can’t beat this for simple cocktails or highballs (especially with colas or lemonades).

Old Fitzgerald

Heaven Hill

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $9

The Whiskey:

This wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill is an entry point to the much higher priced and much older Old Fitz expressions from HH. While this has no bells or whistles built into the blend, it’s still crafted to highlight the quality of wheated bourbon and makes for a good starting point.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bit of that bourbon vanilla up top, but it’s more about the Christmas spices and, dare we say, mint on this one. The sip brings along a caramel sweetness while leaning into the spices with a note of fruit lurking beneath. The end holds onto the cinnamon-forward spices and caramel sweetness as it quickly fades out.

Bottom Line:

This is another one that’ll be tougher to track down outside of Kentucky. Still, if you come across a bottle, give it a shot for, well, shots. And cocktails.

Old Crow

Beam Suntory

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $9

The Whiskey:

This is a classic bourbon that became part of Jim Beam about 30-odd years ago. Until then, it was famed for being the drink of choice of President Grant back in the 1870s, which gave it a lot of panache as a brand. The juice in the bottle is a year younger than a typical Jim Beam bourbon but still holds up to any other bottle in this price range.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bit of sweetness on the opening that’s very reminiscent of Beam while leaning into caramel and vanilla. An undercurrent of popcorn draws the sweetness back. The body of the sip is warm (not for the faint of heart) and touches on caramel apples, more popcorn, and plenty of that vanilla.

The end is shortish, warm, and has a slight salted and buttered popcorn flourish.

Bottom Line:

This works pretty well on the rocks if you’re looking to get tipsy. It’s easy to drink but you know you’re drinking whiskey with a capital “W.”

Jim Beam

Beam Suntory

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $10

The Whiskey:

Jim Beam’s PET bottle is almost always under $10. The whiskey is the standard 4-year-old Beam in a plastic bottle. If you know Beam, you know exactly what you’re getting with this bottle.

Tasting Notes:

Sweet notes mix with corn, vanilla, and oak. The sweetness edges more towards a cherry or Red Vine as a mild spice kicks in with plenty more vanilla, caramel, and oak. The end is short and sweet but very much in the classic bourbon column, only hindered by a slight plasticky taste.

Bottom Line:

Note, the plastic bottle does come through a bit here. That’s a shame. That being said, if you’re mixing this with Coke or ginger ale or Sprite, you’re not going to notice it.

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