The Consensus 7 Best Affordable Bourbons, Ranked

Bourbon doesn’t have to break the bank to be delicious. Whether you’re a seasoned sipper or just starting to explore the world of aged spirits, there are fantastic options available at a budget-friendly price. This guide will explore some of the best affordable bourbons that won’t leave your wallet feeling lighter. We’ll delve into their unique flavor profiles, highlight their strengths, and recommend them for specific occasions, helping you find the perfect bottle to enjoy neat, on the rocks, or even in a delightful cocktail.

Remember, price isn’t the only measure of a good bourbon. Approach affordable expressions with an open mind, a focus on savoring the unique character each offers, and you might just discover your new favorite dram. Our sources have helped us find the top seven best affordable bourbons that were most recommended across the board, proving that true bourbon delights often reside beyond the glitz of high-end labels. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

A well stocked liquor bar photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash
A well stocked liquor bar (Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash)

The List: Best Affordable Bourbon, According to Experts

1. Old Grand Dad

Old Grand Dad
Old Grand Dad (

Old Grand-Dad’s bourbon roars with bold, spicy character, a fiery spirit born from generations of tradition, singing a Kentucky ballad on the palate with every burnished drop. Breaking Bourbon raves that “Old Grand-Dad seems like a brand that everyone respects, but rarely talks about. Maybe it’s the name, the packaging design, or the fact that its low price and general availability make it somehow seem less exciting. However, the quality of Old Grand-Dad Bonded is hard to argue with.”

Nothing beats quality distillation. Serious Eats  prefers this bottle “on the rocks and in cocktails, too. If you want to drop a few extra bucks, and if you can find them, Grandpa also has a bonded version ($21) and a 114-proof ($25), both of which are better than the original.”

Why does this blend catch the eye of connoisseurs? FR exclaims, “Old Grand-Dad 114 — with an ABV of 57% — stands out in the world of lower-priced, higher-strength bourbons, especially as the extra alcohol heat can make rye-forward whiskeys taste too rough. Old Grand-Dad 114 has a pleasant bite, and is balanced, dry, and earthy, with a nutty quality that’s often associated with Jim Beam whiskeys.”

2. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace, Kentucky’s liquid sunshine, bursts with a chorus of oak and caramel, its fiery sweetness lingering like a warm summer sunset on the tongue. says, “While there are some wildly popular and rare bourbons made at Buffalo Trace, there’s no better affordable option than the distillery’s flagship bourbon. It uses a low-rye mash bill that provides notes of vanilla, caramel and sweet corn.”

What makes this bottle stand out? Vine Pair says, “The eponymous release from one of America’s most celebrated distilleries, this bourbon boasts a lot of character despite its lack of age statement and relatively low (45 percent) alcohol content. With a versatile, rounded profile delivering fruit, spice, and oak notes, this whiskey is a solid option for cocktail hour.”

According to The Bourbon Culture, “Buffalo Trace will claim (on their tours) that standard bottles will contain bourbon aged 7 to 9 years old. This is very respectable among other bourbons at this price range.  If you’ve never had it before, you’re in for a treat of red fruits and sweet caramel. There’s also a nice amount of sweet oak.”

3. Larceny

Larceny Bourbon
Larceny Bourbon (

Heaven Hill Distillery crafts Larceny Bourbon with wheat instead of rye, leading to a softer, smoother character and a bolder taste than its classic counterparts. Insider Monkey comments, “Discover a taste worth stealing. Made with wheat instead of rye as the secondary grain, this wheated Bourbon delivers a smoother taste that’s hard to resist. Larceny is the heir to the wheated Bourbons that make up the historic Old Fitzgerald franchise that Heaven Hill acquired in 1999.”

Their wheated mash recipe, pioneered by Old Fitzgerald, continues to define the Larceny brand’s signature style. The Whiskey Shelf adds, “Yes it has the distinctive (and not for everyone) Heaven Hill dry nuttiness, but there’s plenty of caramel nougat and vanilla, a lot of cinnamon, more delicate peach and citrus, and just a little baked bread and cocoa powder to be richer and complex than other wheated bourbons under $30. It’s truly a go-to wheated bourbon in general.”

FR also loves this bottle. Why? “It’s a testament to the Heaven Hill distillery that they’re able to consistently produce excellent, low-cost bourbons, and Larceny Small batch is another steal at the $20 mark. This particular whiskey was named in honor of John E. Fitzgerald, a gentleman who was considered to be a master distiller back in the 1870s but remained something of an enigma to his contemporaries.”

4. Old Forester

Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon (

Old Forester is one of America’s first bottled bourbons. The Barrell Tap explains, “Handpicked from select barrels, Old Forester 100 proof is a rich, complex bourbon. It’s spicy and robust, and it’s bottled at 100 proof to maintain its distinct character and full flavor profile. This bourbon is not just a drink, but a piece of history that honors the legacy of its founder.”

This label boasts a legacy of over 150 years of crafting whiskey. FR offers, “At 50% ABV — Old Forester 100 has a punchy aroma with hints of butterscotch and cocoa, and the rye in the mash adds nutmeg and clove spice to the oak and ripe apple sweetness. It’s a bourbon that’s bold enough to stand out in flavorful cocktails too, especially a Hot Toddy or Boulevardier.”

According to, “Old Forester 100 Proof—which has the distinction of being the first bourbon to be sold in sealed bottles, rather than barrels. Bartenders and drinkers in the know are huge fans of Old Forester, which is part of the Brown-Forman company that also makes Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel’s.”

5. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon

1792 Small Batch Bourbon hails from the historic Barton Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Food & Wine claims, “The high-rye mash bill gives this a lot of spice up front, shifting into graham cracker and mocha notes. It’s full-bodied at 93.7 proof; try it in an old-fashioned or straight with a dash of water.”

This blend is crafted using a high-rye mash bill and aged at least eight years. 1792 boasts bold flavors and a smooth finish. Vine Pair relates, “While it might be the ‘entry-level’ bottling from 1792, this small-batch release arrives in a stylish decanter and suffers no shortage of character. Its profile leans into decadent notes of caramel and toasted oak, making it apt for sipping as well as mixing into spirit-forward whiskey cocktails. Start with a classic Old Fashioned.”

The Barrel Tap describes this bottle’s flavor palate: “Unmistakable spice mingles with sweet caramel and vanilla to create a bourbon that is incomparably brash and bold, yet smooth and balanced. Elevating whiskey to exceptional new heights, 1792 Bourbon is celebrated by connoisseurs worldwide for its unique and complex flavor profile.”

6. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Whiskey

Crafted in the heart of Kentucky, Woodford Reserve proudly utilizes historic copper pot stills and traditional mash bills. This results in a bourbon that is renowned for its bold, yet balanced, flavor profile with notes of rich caramel, toasted oak, and hints of citrus. Food & Wine says, “Woodford remains one of the best big-name bourbons with its sweet, liqueur-y oak notes; toffee and toast flavors; and just enough bite.”

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Whiskey
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Whiskey (

According to Food Republic, “Like Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve is a comparatively new addition to the bourbon world, launched back in 1996; however, the distiller’s history goes back much further. Woodford Reserve is now owned by Brown-Forman Co., but the distilling site has been in use since 1812 and is designated a National Historic Landmark.”

Vine Pair also raves about this bottle. Why? “Woodford touts its bourbon as having 200 detectable flavor notes. To identify them all, you might need the experience and palate of the brand’s master distiller, Chris Morris. In fairness, it is an incredibly aromatic and flavorful bourbon, which arrives at a precise 90.4 percent ABV. Consider it a solid, dependable all-rounder.”

7. Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey Bourbon (

Kentucky-born Wild Turkey Bourbon is aged in deeply charred barrels and has strong smoky flavors. Breaking Bourbon compliments, “Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is everything one would want out of a bourbon. It contains a tried-and-true sip that sticks to classic bourbon flavors, that is versatile and easily sipped neat or mixed into a cocktail. Not one to deviate from the norm, the Wild Turkey 101 brand, which was created in the 1940s and enters its 9th decade, continues to deliver a reliable pour.”

Wild Turkey is potent proof, born from long aging, speaks of its history with every sip. Food Republic assures, “Despite the 50.5% ABV and high rye content, the heat and spice offer a peppery warmth without being overbearing, while the sweeter characteristics still have room to shine. Wild Turkey 101 is a robust sipping whiskey, but if you find it too unapproachable, it’s perfect for amplifying an Old Fashioned or Whiskey Sour.” also mentions that “although Wild Turkey 101 will deliver a bold presence in classics like the Manhattan and the Boulevardier, this economically-priced bourbon is balanced enough to sip neat or on the rocks—as long as you don’t mind a little heat.”

What makes a quality bourbon?

Bourbon’s rich history and complex flavors allure, but navigating the price spectrum can be daunting. Fear not, budget-conscious connoisseurs! This guide unveils the secrets to snagging the best affordable bourbon without sacrificing an ounce of quality.

Beyond the Brand Name:

  • Distilleries, not just labels: Research! Smaller, craft distilleries often offer incredible bourbons at competitive prices. Ditch the big names and explore hidden gems.
  • Age ain’t everything: While age adds complexity, it doesn’t always equal value. Focus on younger (two to four years) expressions that balance price and character.
  • Mash bill mastery: The grain blend can tell a story. Look for high-corn mash bills for classic bourbon sweetness,or rye-heavy options for spicier notes.

Tasting Treasures:

  • Proof matters: Don’t be intimidated by higher proof (50-60% ABV). It often concentrates flavors, requiring less to enjoy. Dilute with water to personalize your experience.
  • Nose knows: Swirl and sniff! Look for caramel, vanilla, oak, or even fruity aromas. Each aroma hints at the flavor profile waiting to be discovered.
  • The palate party: Take small sips, letting the bourbon coat your tongue. Notice sweetness, spice, oak, or herbal notes. Don’t rush – savor the journey.

Hidden Gems Galore:

  • Store picks: Many liquor stores partner with distilleries for exclusive bottlings at competitive prices. Ask your local store about their hidden gems!
  • Private barrels: If available, consider joining a barrel program. You’ll get a unique, uncut expression directly from the distillery, often at a lower cost per bottle.
  • Batch variations: Don’t shy away from small-batch or single-barrel bourbons. Each batch offers its own unique personality, and you might find a hidden favorite.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.


  1. I agree MIRV. I’m surprised Michters was not on this list. You can’t beat the taste for a $35-40 bottle of bourbon. Over the last couple of years I have sampled all kinds of bourbon with prices ranging $20-$200 a bottle. I learned it doesn’t have to be expensive to be delicious.

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