20 Best Affordable Whiskeys To Drink

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Whiskey is a delicious spirit that everyone should try at least once. However, there is whiskey and whiskey, and a bad whiskey experience can really impact your attitude toward the spirit. Nevertheless, the general conclusion is that a good whiskey is pricy, while cheap whiskey is a bad one. 

Therefore, the problem arises when you want to have good whiskey but can’t or won’t pay too much for it. So what are the best affordable whiskeys? 

To know which whiskey you should buy, you should know what a good whiskey is. The whiskey quality, to a great extent, depends on the grains used for it and the aging.

All whiskeys age, so you won’t get a spirit bottled right after distillation. However, the aging process is an entire science in itself, so same-age whiskey can taste differently depending on how the maturation process progresses. 

In general, a good whiskey is a smooth one. They usually start with subtle notes, mostly vanilla, mid-palate they get fruity and end with a peppery finish and a burn. 

Nevertheless, not all whiskeys observe this order of events, so you may stumble across some really unbearable flavors and overly expressed alcoholic notes.

The smooth and long finish is a recognizable characteristic of a good quality whiskey, while expressive fruity, herbal, and chocolate notes, followed by a spicy finish, are traits of a top-shelf whiskey. 

An excellent affordable whiskey is usually a milder version of the abovementioned features. It has tame fruity notes mixed with alcoholic flavors and aromas.

It is slightly grainy, has a moderately high viscosity, and, mid-palate, it is toned down with a moderate vanilla whiff and a semi-smooth and long finish. Usually, the finish is more intense than you might want, but it is still pleasant. 

There are affordable whiskeys that might surprise you with their quality, as there are some brands that produce whiskey with the sole purpose of clearing its name. So, you also may stumble upon some good quality brands that won’t set you back too much. 

Not all whiskey brands are oriented to selling expensive spirits, and some find it more profitable to sell a cheaper product to a wider audience than an expensive one to a more restricted circle of consumers. 

20 Best Affordable Whiskeys To Drink Straight

To make things easier for you so that you can enjoy a good whiskey in your price range, in the following article, I will talk about affordable whiskeys that deliver good or maybe even excellent quality. So, keep reading and see which one is the best for you. 

1. Ginger Blended Irish Whiskey

Distilled twice and priced at $15 to $20, you won’t believe that this whiskey falls under the affordable whiskey category. It is smooth, almost velvety, and it goes down the throat very nicely. 

It has the typical herbal dimension recognizable for the Irish whiskey category, but it also contains notes of vanilla, caramel, and subtle whiffs of chocolate. It starts on a typical herbal note, mostly minty and mid-palate; it gets chocolaty and caramel-like. 

It finishes smooth and on a slight peppery note, with a semi-strong burn. 

Also Check: 27 Best Whiskeys In the World

2. Buffalo Trace


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Being the flagship of the distillery and starting at $45 per 750 ml. bottle, this is the most affordable spirit expression from its brand. It is one of those whiskeys that is made to reach regular everyday people and get them acquainted with the finer things in life. 

Therefore the price doesn’t correspond to its quality, as it is worth more than $45 a pop. It starts with a vanilla note that invites you to go even further and explore it even more passionately. It continues to unravel, showing further dimensions of nutmeg and butterscotch and slight peppery notes. 

It has a high viscosity, contributing to its smooth and lingering finish. 

Also Check: 15 Best Wheated Bourbons

3. Bulleit Rye 


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Priced at $32 per a 750 ml. bottle, Bulleit Rye has been launched in 2011, becoming increasingly popular over the next few years. The 95% rye used to make it gives this whiskey a strong and pungent flavor. 

Therefore, this spirit isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, as it is rather particular. It has expressive spice notes that come pretty strong on the nose. It also has green apple hints and citrus whiffs. It ends with a smooth but intense spicy finish lingering on, leaving you with a leathery and smoky flavor. 

4. Corner Creek 


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With a starting price of $35 per 750 ml. bottle, this bourbon won’t empty your pockets, but it will give you an enjoyable whiskey experience. It with fruity and grassy notes, pulling you mid-palate with expressive notes of vanilla, nutmeg, peaches, and spices. 

It has a long, smooth, and lingering finish with hints of leather and black pepper. It also shows cinnamon and charcoal hints near the end of the sip, making it perfect for slow sipping and elegant enjoyment. 

More: 25 Best Kentucky Bourbons

5. Evan Williams 


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Surprisingly cheap, priced at $15 per 750 ml. bottle, the price isn’t the only thing worthy of mentioning. It is very smooth and elegant, exhibiting notes of citrus freshness and vanilla caramel. 

It is the perfect whiskey to start exploring the whiskey world with, as all of the flavors are well-rounded and balanced, including its tame burn. In addition, it is also beloved by the seasoned whiskey enthusiasts, as there is much to explore. 

The Evan Williams whiskey is definitely a great idea for a refined whiskey experience. 

6. Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey


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With a name hinting towards a more aggressive spirit, this whiskey is surprisingly mild and gentle to its drinker. It has a well-balanced overall flavor, it is easy to drink, and it has a very gentle and warm burn. 

This is a budget solution of an otherwise more exclusive brand, Heaven Hill, and it is priced below $20 per 750 ml. bottle. Absolutely worth every penny, and even underpriced, in my opinion, this whiskey has a lot to offer. 

It starts with citrus and vanilla notes, progressing toward more complex but still well-rounded flavors of butterscotch and charcoal, ending with a smooth, spicy finish. 

7. Forty Creek Canadian Whiskey


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Priced at $20 per 750 ml. bottle, this Canadian delicacy offers more than what you paid for. It is thick, almost syrupy, and it has a complex collection of flavors that won’t leave you indifferent. It starts by the book, with classical hints of vanilla, going deeper with milk chocolate, maple syrup, butterscotch, and honey notes, and ending with a smooth and silky finish, leaving you with a burn that is warming and mild. 

This is definitely one of those whiskeys made to reach a wider audience and acquaint them with the real world of whiskey. 

8. Glenlivet 


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Sweet, sugary, and fruity, this whiskey offers more than good value for the money. Priced at $49 per 750 ml. the Glenlivet whiskey will allure you starting with its light brown, almost yellow color, and all the way to its finish; it tells a sweet and fruity story you will gladly repeat. 

It is an unusually gentle spirit, with expressive green apple and butterscotch notes interlaced with vanilla and caramel. It finishes with a classically spicy, predominantly peppery note. The finish is smooth, and the burn is flavorful and warm. 

However, the Glenlivet whiskey is not very high in viscosity, which can be a deal-breaker if that’s what you are mainly looking for. 

9. James Foxe


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Made from malted and unmalted barley and priced at $20 per 1.75 ml bottle, this Canadian whiskey is definitely grossly underpriced. Due to its versatility, its moderate viscosity, and the balance of flavors and aromas, it works both as a cocktail mixer as well as a slow sipper. 

It is a rather simple spirit, without any complex flavors and top-notch experimentations during its making. It is a people’s drink intended to be enjoyed by the everyday Joe. It starts with vanilla notes at the very beginning, continuing with corn and spices. 

The finish is short but smooth, leaving a genuinely long aftertaste. Although its viscosity isn’t as high as that of some other whiskeys, it does do a good job layering the throat, leading to altering the taste of each new sip.

10. Jameson Irish Whiskey


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Probably one of the best-known whiskeys on this list, Jameson Irish whiskey definitely offers not good but excellent value for the money. Priced at $22 per 750 ml. bottle, this spirit most certainly delivers more than what you paid for. 

It has that typical herbal dimension all over, but it also exhibits floral notes, a discrete,  noticeable peach aroma, and whiffs of clove. Mid-palate, it brings out notes of sherry, orchard fruits, and oak. 

This is definitely a very delicious whiskey, and even if you can and are willing to pay more, you should think about getting this one instead. The quality of this spirit does not match its price but exceeds it. Therefore, you should in no case think of it as a last resort but, rather, one of the best choices. 

11. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut

Intense, rich, and deep, this whiskey has some sort of darkness about it, matching the name perfectly. Priced at $20 per 750 ml. bottle, it is way more valuable than that. It is a mix of the classical and the modern, combing the old-school whiskey taste with new, fresh, and more experimental notes. 

On the nose, it exhibits a heavy woody and oak aroma, seducing you and stimulating you to explore it further. On the palate, it has strong and intense flavors of cinnamon and rye, as well as a herbal dimension. The finish is smooth, and the burn is warm. 

Near the end, there is an intense spicy note, but it doesn’t last long. It is some type of a spike to remind you that this is still a potent drink. 

12. Jonnie Walker Black Label


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Jonnie Walker Black label is one of the commercially most popular Jonnie Walker labels. It is priced at $36 per 750 ml. bottle, bringing much more to the table than what you have bargained for. 

This is a smoky and elegant spirit, starting with woody and oaky whiffs, continuing with chocolaty and leathery flavors and ending on a sweet honey note with a velvety smooth finish and warm burn, and a lingering aftertaste. 

Its quality is definitely high-shelf, while its price is pretty affordable. 

13. Old Grand Dad


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Priced at $17 per 750 ml. bottle, the Old Grand Dad whiskey is definitely not for everyone. It is a strong and intense drink, so if you like the milder whiskeys better, don’t even bother with this one. However, if you are a fan of the rugged and intense, you are in the right place. 

This is a rye whiskey, which is where it gets its intensity from. It is a potent spirit that could quickly go straight to your head. Therefore, even if you have a higher tolerance, be careful how you drink it. 

It starts with a potent rye and alcohol aroma, pulling you deeper inside with its smoky and wood notes. It ends with a smooth but spiky finish and a hot burn. Before taking a sip, let it sit in your glass for a few seconds. This allows for the flavors to set and balanced out.

14. Wild Turkey 


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Widely available and priced at $25 per 750 ml. bottle, this is a very popular whiskey, and not only because of its price, but because of its quality as well. It definitely has much to offer. 

It is rich and diverse and definitely very colorful. It is moderately mild, so it can appeal both to those who like their whiskey on the stronger side and on the softer side. 

It combines campfire smoke, pepper, cinnamon, and butterscotch. It starts gently with vanilla and butterscotch notes. Then, it continues to deepen and exhibit pepper and cinnamon whiffs while retaining and enhancing the vanilla and butterscotch flavors. 

The flavors that come later on help create a certain elegance and richness around this whiskey giving it a refined, almost aristocratic dimension. 

15. Windsor Canadian Whiskey 


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Sweet and smooth, costing only $10 per 750 ml. bottle, this whiskey is the junior version of its more robust counterparts. Although mainly intended for mixing, it is easy to drink straight, with a sweet flavor and smooth texture. 

It doesn’t have a strong ethanol aroma, so if you are sensitive to that smell, this is your drink. It also has sweet, fruity, and smoky notes but is tame and toned down, with not overly expressed flavors. 

16. Rittenhouse Straight Rye 


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Costing about $28 per 750 ml. bottle, the Rittenhouse Straight Rye is a strong and pungent spirit that is recognizable for its grainy notes. In the other aspects, it is a classical whiskey, with a vanilla note at the beginning and a butterscotch note mid-palate.

The burn is smooth and soft; however, it is hot and long-lasting. It is overall a potent whiskey with a particular taste you either like or don’t. There’s no middle ground here, as it is a typical high rye whiskey and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

17. Four Roses Yellow Label 


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This is probably the gentles whiskey on this list. Floral and fruity, you will definitely like it even if you are a fan of the stronger-tasting whiskeys. 

It has an expressive pear aroma mixed with spices and honey. In the beginning, it is fresh and soft, fruity, with mostly apple-dominated notes mixed with cinnamon flavor. It ends with a soft and smooth finish and a lingering aftertaste. 

Priced at $49, it is an absolute bargain, and it delivers way more than you would expect for the price. 

18. Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch 


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Primarily intended for mixing, this whiskey is also great for sipping it slowly. It is best described as honey-flavored and silky smooth. 

It costs $32 per 750 ml. bottle, and it is an absolute delight to drink. It can come a little strong in the beginning, though, because it does have that recognizable ethanol note, but as it progresses further on, the honey overtakes the stage. 

The finish is strong but smooth, nevertheless.

19. The Busker Triple Cask 


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This is a delicious and complex whiskey. It starts with tropical fruits and vanilla notes on the nose. It then goes on to show sweet notes and dark chocolate flavors, with understated, yet noticeable notes of toffee fudge and cinnamon that intensify the entire story. The whiskey ends with a gentle and perfectly balanced, sweet finish.

If you like colorful and complex flavors you can explore, give this whiskey a chance. It costs $26 per 750 ml. bottle and delivers more than enough for that money.

20. Old Bardstown Kentucky 

This is a classic Bourbon whiskey, and if you like the recognizable bourbon fruitiness, this is the drink for you. On the nose, you can feel noticeable caramel notes with oak, vanilla, and discrete floral aromas. 

This is a soft spirit, ideal to start exploring the bourbon and whiskey department with. These same notes transfer on the palate as well, rounding up the entire story. Priced at $23 per 750 ml. you will definitely love what it has to offer. 

What Is the Best Budget Whiskey?

There are many budget whiskeys that offer excellent value for the money; it all depends on what you like. Old Grand Dad has been pronounced as one of the best, but I would also recommend Four Roses if you like milder and more elegant drinks and Jonnie Walker Black Label if you like mixing chocolate flavors with smoky aromas. 

Also, Wild Turkey is excellent and well-rounded, as well as Windsor Canadian Whiskey. Almost all of the more expensive whiskey brands have budget editions, which doesn’t mean that they are of any lesser quality than the regular-price ones. 

What Whiskey Is the Smoothest?

It would be a shame if there were only one whiskey that is the smoothest, so luckily, this is not such a case. There are many kinds of smooth whiskeys, such as George Dickel Bottled In Bond, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Knappogue Castle 1995, Laphroaig 10-Year-Old, Redbreast 12-Year-Old, The GlenDronach Allardice, Tomintoul 14-Year-Old, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Jonnie Walker Blue Label, and Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey some of the smoothest types of whiskey available on the market.

Which Whiskey has the Best Taste?

Taste is highly subjective, so saying that there is one that is above all others would be entirely wrong. Depending on what you like, there is a pretty wide range of excellent-quality whiskeys, each tasting delicious and a star in its own right. 

If you like smooth and leathery, go for the Jonnie Walker Blue Label, or if you love honey-dominated flavors, then Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey should be your choice. 

If you like the expressive note of the Irish whiskey, then Jameson Irish Whiskey is for you to enjoy. If you like fruity and gentle, go for Four Roses.

Best Affordable Whiskey To Drink Straight?

This may come as a surprise, but affordable whiskey does not equal bad whiskey. Many affordable whiskeys have been made primarily for mixing, but there are those you can have straight and enjoy.

Gingers Blended Irish Whiskey, Buffalo, Trace Bulleit Rye, Corner Creek, Evan Williams, Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and Forty Creek Canadian Whisky are all excellent to drink straight. 

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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