Whiskey Bargains: Best bourbons for your buck - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Whiskey Bargains: Best bourbons for your buck

As a whiskey writer, it’s super easy to talk about expensive whiskey and say how awesome it is.  I mean, if you’re spending fifty to one hundred bucks or more on a bottle of whiskey, it’s probably going to be good.

But what if you’re on a budget?  Or what if you’re looking to go on a bender?  Because here’s my motto:

Once you’re wasted on the good stuff, the good stuff is wasted on you.

Here are some budget friendly choices in the bourbon and American whiskey category that are delicious neat, even as the first dram of the evening.

Best bourbon under $25: Buffalo Trace

BuffaloTrace-750mlFor my money, hands down, the best budget-friendly bourbon out there is Buffalo Trace.  This stuff drinks like a much higher end bourbon.  Honestly, if it were $40 or more, I would still think it was a good deal.

A wonderful blend of sweet, spicy, and earthy with sweet corn and vanilla, rye and cinnamon spice, mint, and some toasted oak notes.  More complexity and a longer finish than you’ll get from many bourbons twice the price.

Best rye under $25: Bulleit rye

Bulleit-RyeThis isn’t news to anyone, but yeah, Bulleit rye is a serious bargain.  I’ve had better ryes, but not many, and certainly not at this price point.

Bulleit rye has an unusually high 95% rye mash bill.  The result is fresh, spicy, and botanical, with juniper and citrus, white pepper and cinnamon.  It’s everything I want from a rye, and is very hard to beat even compared to more expensive whiskeys.

Most underrated budget bourbon: Redemption High-rye bourbon

redemptionAlso under $25, Redemption High-rye bourbon is an excellent budget choice.  I picked it up for the first time on a whim, because I liked the modern, straight-sided bottle shape and the price was right.  And I really liked it.

But when I went to look at others’ reviews, I was surprised to see many people writing this bourbon off as a mixing whiskey.  I happily drink it neat, and other friends who have tasted it with no introduction have enjoyed it as well.

It’s young and a bit brash, but the caramel sweetness of bourbon combined with the strong hit of rye spice and cinnamon heat work very well for me. It’s a little hotter and less complex than Buffalo Trace, and the screw cap isn’t winning it any coolness points.  But if you like a bit of burn to your bourbon, and I do, this is one to try.

Best inexpensive extra-strong bourbon: Noah’s Mill

noahsmill1In the mid-$40 range, Noah’s Mill is a bit more expensive than the other choices, but you get some extra kick for that price.  It’s bottled at 114.3 proof.  That’s slightly lower ABV than a typical cask strength bourbon, but Noah’s Mill has many of the qualities one looks for in a cask strength bourbon, including complexity, heat, long finish, and a luscious clinging mouthfeel.

Also, don’t ask me how I know this, but Noah’s Mill pairs very well with chocolate peanut-butter confections.  Like, say, Reese’s peanut butter eggs.  Just, you know, for an example.



About the author

Pam Desmond

When Pam isn’t living some imaginary fabulous whiskey lifestyle, she can be found hanging at home in her PJs with her husband and school-aged twins, or driving her glamorous minivan shuttling the kids to dance and gymnastics. She also writes a blog focusing on self-love, body acceptance, and being a mom at Pam-a-rama ding dong. With the more lucrative half of her brain, she works as a statistician and scientific writer. Follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/whiskeypam) and Twitter (@pamdesmond)! Contact the author.

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