Having a top-notch stash of Bourbon is pretty much an essential for the modern whisky lover, especially if you enjoy drinking with company. Fine, aged single malts are all very well for quiet contemplation and deep conversation, but nothing beats some of Kentucky’s finest when you’re having a relaxed evening among friends, or want to kick back and relax at the end of a long day.
If you’re looking to upgrade your Bourbon collection (without having to splash out several hundred dollars on the latest collector’s bottle from Pappy Van Winkle), you’re in luck – there are several superb Bourbons out there for under $50, which do the job very nicely indeed without breaking into the kid’s college funds.
We’ve searched high and low for the finest affordable Bourbons – perfect for drinking straight, or for mixing into a classic Old Fashioned – and have come up with five bottles which would make even Pappy himself proud. Check them out below!
Willet Pot Still Reserve
Willet is a classic Bardstown distillery, which is known all across the country for its superbly designed bottles, and even more superbly made whiskies. This is a masterclass in small-batch production, featuring exceptional smoothness and absolutely bags of character and distinction. The pot still shaped bottle is going to be a real talking point when brought out of the liquor cabinet, but you’ll hear those voices quickly fall silent as this exceptional and highly affordable Bourbon is sipped, appreciated, and admired.
Elijah Craig Small Batch
If you’re shopping around for quality Bourbons under $50, the chances are you’re not going to come across a whole lot of examples with any real age to them. Elijah Craig Small Batch, however, is a notable exception, and one well worth checking out. This is a 12 year aged whiskey which really packs in plenty of fascinating notes of coconut, caramel, dark fruit and nuts, all held in a stunning amber liquid which is impossible to resist. As the name suggests, this is a small batch whiskey wherein attention to detail brings about the most impressive results – snap it up before it all disappears!
Ben Milam Single Barrel
Unless you’re in Texas, you’re probably not going to stumble across a bottle of Ben Milam Single Barrel anytime soon. That would be a shame, though, as this Bourbon is one of the best out there for under $50, and is one which is really making the most of the current trend for old-time, authentic, no-nonsense whiskies with a modern, distinguished twist. Luckily for those who rarely venture to the lone star state, Ben Milam is available to buy online… and we’d strongly urge you to consider doing so. Brown sugar and caramel on the nose, followed by notes of cinnamon and vanilla… all before a finish which is as smooth as one you’d expect from a far pricier bottle. Utterly delicious.
Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old Bourbon
Master Distiller Jim Russell has been impressing the world of whiskey drinkers for a considerable amount of time, thanks to his sterling work at Wild Turkey. Russell’s Reserve is, as the name suggests, a side project of real passion for Jim, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. This is a 90 proof sipping whiskey which is really worth taking your time over – incredibly smooth, bursting with delicate sweetness and surprising spice, and one which really reveals the singular talent of this remarkable distiller and his artistry.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon
No list of quality affordable Bourbon whiskey would be complete without some mention of Buffalo Trace – to say this distillery has had a truly impressive decade would be a remarkable understatement indeed. Clocking in at 90 proof, and benefiting from 8 years of barrel ageing, it’s got all the distinction and finesse we’ve come to expect from this Franklin Town operation, and packs a major punch of flavour which you’ll come back to over and over again. This is a bourbon which really shows off Buffalo Trace’s craftsmanship; it’s made a mix of Kentucky and Indiana corn, malted barley and selected ryes, and the balance of flavour achieved from that mash is truly something that has to be tasted to be believed.