20 Best Cheap Bourbon Brands (With Price)

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Bourbon is a type of whiskey which contains traits of whiskey, but it also has its own markings that are distinctive enough to make it a separate category. Bourbon, or also known as bourbon whiskey, is sharper than regular whiskey but also purer. 

It is made just like whiskey is, i.e., by distilling grains such as corn, barley, wheat, rye, etc., and leaving the alcohol age.

However, bourbon always ages in new charred oak barrels, and it doesn’t include any flavorings and additional colors, which is why it is considered purer than whiskey. 

Since the base alcohol is whiskey, all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. 

Since bourbon is considered to be the rougher sibling of whiskey, whereby whiskey is considered more refined and elegant, bourbon is cheaper than whiskey. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t underestimate it since the most expensive bourbon bottle costs $55,165. 

However, bourbon doesn’t have to cost a few ten thousand dollars for it to be good, and there are reasonably priced, if not cheap, bourbons delivering even more than what you bargained for.

Since bourbon has to be 51% corn, it means that half of the raw material is already cheap to get, and the maturing process is also more cost-effective compared to that of the whiskey. 

Nevertheless, the cheaper raw materials and the less pricy production process do not mean that bourbon is less of a spirit than whiskey. Fortunately, not all bourbons are pricy, and there are many bourbons you can enjoy while keeping some money in your wallet. 

Cheap bourbon does not equal bad bourbon. Most people value the quality of the bourbon in terms of the price, and although sometimes that may be true, the low price isn’t the only indicator of a bad bourbon.

Also check: 27 Cheap Drinks To Order At A Bar

The seasoned bourbon enthusiasts know which traces make a good bourbon and which ones make a bad one, so the price isn’t an issue for them. 

However, if you are a beginner, you might want to start with the popular stuff. Many expensive and renowned whiskey and bourbon brands make budget products affordable for the everyday Joe in addition to their premium products.

Such a brand would never allow for a product from its line to be under the quality criteria, mea8ning that the budget lines aren’t unsatisfactory but only less fancy than the premium products. 

Also check: 15 Best Bourbon for Beginners

20 Best Cheap Bourbon Brands To Try on a Budget

In this article, I will give you a list of 20 cheap bourbons you can have on a budget. 

1. Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Priced at roughly $20 per 750 ml. bottle, Wild Turkey bourbon is among the best cheap bourbons you can get. It is a bit harsh, but it is rich and flavorful too.

It starts with excellently balanced citrus and charred oak aromas, continuing with the recognizable bourbon vanilla notes. 

The mid-palate is where it reaches its climax with seductive sweet notes of toffee and caramel while still keeping the already set tone of charred oak. It ends with a long and smooth finish, tasting like pepper and sweet spices. 

2. Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

 

 
 
 
 
 
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When a bourbon is bottled-in-bond, it means that it is a higher-class bourbon. This designation means that the bourbons making that bottle came from the same season. It is similar to the “single vineyard” designation for wine. 

A bottle of bottled-in-bond bourbon isn’t cheap, which means that the Evan William Bottled-in-Bond bottles priced at $19 per 750 ml. are virtually cost-free. If you can get ahold of this bourbon, don’t think twice about buying it. 

This is exceptionally smooth bourbon, of course keeping the bourbon harshness; it is flavorful and aromatic and very exploratory.  

3. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Often available under $30, the Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is made by the same company making the Evan Williams bourbon. The Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is a fancier and more upscale version of the Evan Williams. 

It isn’t bottled-in-bond, but it is a delicious, crisp, and very aromatic spirit. Starting with tones of citrus on the nose, continuing with vanilla caramel in the middle, and finishing smoothly with peppery and spicy notes, it is definitely worth more than $30. 

4. George Dickel Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Tennessee whiskey is often considered a subset of bourbon as it bares most of the bourbon’s markings.

The George Dickel Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey is made of 51% corn, and it doesn’t contain an added flavors or colorings. It is, however, filtered with charcoal, which makes it very pure and expressively smoky. 

The citrus and vanilla notes greet the nose, while the caramel, vanilla, and charcoal tones play with the taste buds mid-palate. Priced at about $30, this bourbon definitely offers an excellent value-price ratio. 

5. Bulleit Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Considering that there are spirits that age longer than the entire existence of this bourbon, with 22 years at the market, you can definitely consider it a newbie. However, only because it is relatively new doesn’t mean that it can’t get the job done. 

On the contrary, the Bulleit bourbon has everything its older and more experienced colleagues have, which is why it has managed to break through on the market and stay there. With the typical bourbon roughness bite, the Bulleit bourbon is a textbook representative of its kind. 

If you like classic bourbon or you are just starting to learn about bourbon, this is a great point to start from. Priced at $28, it is definitely worth the try.

6. Four Roses Yellow Label 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Known as the best bourbon for cocktails, Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon is very delicious and much more gentle than the rest in its category. Priced at $26, it offers much more than what you bargained for. 

Tasting like vanilla and caramel with slight floral notes, it is definitely a great point to start exploring the bourbon world. 

7. Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A textbook bourbon whiskey, sharp, pungent, and memorable, the Jim Beam bourbon has grown to become an institution in the bourbon category, making itself a compulsory element of any bourbon-related list. 

It starts sharply with distinct charred oak and slight vanilla tones, following the sip until the end. It has mild tones of caramel and spiciness, ending with a smooth finish, sharp nevertheless. Priced at $32 per 750 ml. bottle, grab it and don’t stop running. 

8. Woodford Reserve

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If one word describes this bourbon, it is character. Very distinct and original, this spirit belongs to the big family that distills Jacks Daniel’s.

This is what I was talking about earlier, that big spirit names have budget lines of exquisite quality such as this one. 

Starting slowly and aromatically, with floral and vanilla tones, it unravels, reaching its climax with caramel, charred oak, and toffee-tasting notes, ending with a smooth and flavorful finish, slightly peppery and warm. Priced at $30, it is even cheap for what it offers.

9. Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Rich and excellently balanced, this bourbon includes tones of vanilla and citrus mixed with smokiness and oak notes. However, the flavors are so well mixed together that you feel them all at the same time without being overwhelmed by one in particular. 

This bourbon is excellent to have neat, but it is especially famous for mixing well in a mint julep. A 750 ml. bottle of this delicacy would cost you about $32.

10. Larceny Small Batch Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Larceny Small Batch bourbon is a wheated bourbon, meaning that in addition to the mandatory corn percentage, at least 51%, the rest of the raw material is wheat.

Not many distillers make wheated bourbon as it is somewhat of a more expensive making process. 

Nevertheless, wheated bourbon is sweeter and softer, which is precisely what Larceny tastes like. Compared to other bourbons, it is less complex, and there aren’t many flavors to explore.

However, its charm consists of its sweetness. It is gentle, with hints of vanilla and slight citrus notes.

Still, it is bourbon, so it does have a certain sting at the finish, but it is more of a spike than anything else, poking you for less than a moment before you swallow your sip. 

A bottle of 750 ml. costs around $35, making this bourbon a well-balanced money-value spirit.

11. Old Forester Bourbon 1920

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Rich and deep, the Old Forester 1920 bourbon has a very distinctive character and a unique flavor complexity. It starts with tones of citrus and vanilla on the nose.

It then pulls you in with its slight caramel notes and smokiness. It finishes smoothly but sharply on a peppery note leaving a warm burn and a slight aftertaste. 

Priced at $25, it offers excellent value for the money, and you shouldn’t hesitate before buying a bottle. 

12. Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Maker’s Mark bourbon is the top-selling budget bourbon, and deservingly so. It is a wheated bourbon, soft, gentle, and sweet, and an excellent starting point for bourbon beginners.

The seasoned bourbon fans like it because they appreciate the flavor complexity and love the sudden sting near the finish. 

On the other hand, beginners like it because of its sweetness and tolerable burn. It is very flavorful, combining tastes of vanilla, cinnamon, toasted oak, and warm spices.

It is full-bodied and high in viscosity. Therefore, this spirit really hits the bullseye, appealing to a broad consumer body. 

A bottle of this bourbon costs about $30, offering the value and quality of a far pricier spirit. 

13. Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Priced at $21, this is a very affordable drink, making many things if it is any good. The good news is it is an excellent spirit. It is very famous as a cocktail mixer, but it is also an exquisite sipping drink. 

Moreover, it is very smooth and lusciously rich. It is very subtle overall, with delicate honey notes and expressively sweet tones. The sting, in the end, is, of course, there, but it comes very gradually and gently, leaving a warm aftertaste. 

14. Heaven Hill Whiskey Label 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Simply described as “better in cocktails,” this $11 bourbon also works well for sipping. However, it is a diamond in the rough, and if you don’t appreciate an explicit burn and a noticeable bite, you may want to opt for another bourbon on this list. 

Even though it has its upsides, this bourbon is harsh overall. It has the vanilla and citrus notes, but they are all wrapped up in the burn and sting, so if you aren’t a fan of the rougher things in life, you will enjoy it more in a cocktail than sipping it slowly. 

15. Woodinville Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Priced at the steeper end of the cheap curve, priced at $53 per 750 ml. bottle, the Woodinville bourbon will charm you with its sweet and gentle taste. It combines caramel, vanilla, and sugar flavors, creating a flavorful and soft result. 

Excellent for slow sipping, it is also a favorite cocktail ingredient to many mixologists. 

16. 1972 Small Batch Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This $33 bourbon is undoubtedly a bargain, as it can definitely play with the big boys. Complex and explorative, it is an excellent choice for slow sipping, as well as for cocktails, though mixing it would be a shame, as its taste is more than deserving of the spotlight. 

Tasting like burnt caramel, toasted oak, brown sugar, and dried fruit, this is a very versatile spirit, allowing each flavor to shine at a given time.

First comes the caramel and toasted oak, continuing and upgrading to mid-palate with brown sugar and dried fruit tones.

17. Eagle Rare 10-Year-Old Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Priced at $50 per 750 ml. bottle, this bourbon is better described as affordable than as cheap. Still, $50 is nothing compared to what you are getting.

Complex and versatile, with layers of taste, this is a well-aged bourbon that you will definitely want to try again. 

Combining flavors of vanilla, mint, honey, and caramel, it is definitely an exquisite spirit, perfect for slow sipping. It is smooth and elegant, gradually shedding layer after layer. 

18. Very Old Barton 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Costing about $13, this is a very flavorful but a little strong bourbon. Nevertheless, it resembles the more expensive bourbons to a large extent. It has explicit caramel and honey notes, mixed with cinnamon, dark red berries, and gingerbread cookies. 

It is a little rough around the edges, but it is definitely an excellent choice for both slow sipping and as a cocktail mixer.

It starts with caramel notes continuing toward the honey and cinnamon, hinting at red berries and gingerbread cookies near the end, and finishing smoothly with a flavorful burn. 

19. John Jo Bauman

Although it costs $60 per 750 ml. bottle of this bourbon, I would still call it cheap, as the quality you are getting is indisputable.

It is thick, almost creamy in consistency which makes this bourbon slide like silk. Each sip is equally rich, showing different aspects of the spirit.

It combines the classical bourbon notes in a refined way, creating an unusually smooth drink.

Sweet from the beginning until the finish, each sip will treat your chocolate, vanilla, oak, and corn syrup flavors. It is rich and very satisfying, to sip slowly or mix it into a cocktail.

20. Knob Creek 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A 750 ml. bottle of Knob Creek will cost you about $40, and it will be worth every penny. It greets the nose with vanilla, caramel, corn, and cinnamon notes, which continue as tasting notes later. It also has expressive tones of citrus and baking spices. 

The finish is long and buttery, with a cinnamon flavor and a lingering aftertaste. 

Best Cheap Bourbon Under $15

$15 for a bottle of bourbon is undoubtedly cheap, and many are skeptical whether such bourbon is any good.

In this part of the cheaper end of bourbon, you are definitely bound to stumble upon some indelicate bottles, but you also may be lucky enough to find a bottle that you would actually like. 

Ezra Brooks is a good under $15 bottle. It costs about $12 and it is excellent for cocktails. Jim Beam is another great choice, even more so since a bottle costs about $15.

A bottle of Very Old Barton would cost you around $13, offering excellent value for the money. 

JTS Kentucky Bourbon is another great label, costing about $13, and JW Dant Bottled-in-Bond will cost you about $13. 

Bourbon Under $20

Cheap bourbon is easy to find, but good cheap bourbon is a little harder to get ahold of. It isn’t because good bourbon has to be expensive, but because there are so many brands of cheap bourbon that you do need to know a few things before deciding which one to buy. 

Benchmark Small Batch Bourbon is a great $19 option. Costing $16, Old Grand-Dad is another delicious and cost-effective option. Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond will cost you $16 and, while Old Tub and Wild Turkey bourbons will set you back around $18. 

Bourbon for Manhattan

Made with whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters, the Manhattan cocktail is delicious, smooth, and exquisitely refined.

A cheap bourbon doesn’t cheapen the experience, so it may be useful to know a few cheap bourbon brands that work like a charm in Manhattan.

Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Belle Meade, King’s County, and Craft Bourbon are great cheap solutions for a classy Manhattan cocktail. 

Resources

https://www.foodandwine.com/cocktails-spirits/difference-between-bourbon-and-whiskey

Chad Smith

Hello and Welcome, I am Chad, a formal bartender. I created this blog to help readers make exotic cocktails at home.

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