The market for bourbon varieties is vast, with some costing a great deal of money. But there are plenty of options for barrel-aged American whiskies without the hefty price. For less than $30, you can grab a bottle of bourbon without compromising quality.
Whether you’re buying bourbon for your daily sipper, a celebratory drink, or to gift a friend, here are the best bourbons under $30.
- Early Times Bottled-in-Bond
- Old Forester 100 Proof
- Maker’s Mark
- Buffalo Trace
- Old Grand-Dad 114
- Wild Turkey 101
- Elijah Craig Small Batch
- 1792 Small Batch
- Four Roses Small Batch
- Very Old Barton
- Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond
- Evan Williams Single Barrel
- Bulleit Bourbon
- Knob Creek 9 Year
- Chattanooga Whiskey 91
1. Early Times Bottled-in-Bond
Early Times Bottled-in-Bold guarantees value for your money. It’s bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV), crafted with pure water, and aged for at least four years. It includes a mash bill of corn (79%), rye (11%), and malted barley (10%).
When buying this bourbon, you won’t find the usual 750ml bottles. Early Times Bottled-in-Bond is available in a 1-liter bottle that will cost you around $25. As a result, you’ll receive quantity and quality at an affordable price.
The bourbon offers subtle hints of honey, orange, and caramel aromas. You’ll detect a creamy, rich texture along with citrus, vanilla, and tobacco notes on the palate.
The finish highlights the sweetness of vanilla, raw sugar, and black pepper.
2. Old Forester 100 Proof
Old Forester 100 Proof is the signature bourbon for the Old Forester brand. Unlike the brand’s standard Old Forester 86 proof, this bourbon has bolder flavors and more complexity. Its mash bill includes corn (72%), rye (18%), and malted barley (10%).
Old Forester 100 Proof costs more than its 86 proof namesake. The whiskey ranges between $25-30, unlike the Old Forester 86 Proof, which costs between $15-20.
This whiskey’s 18% rye provides more explosive flavors, making it an ideal mixer for creative cocktails. When sipping it neat, you’ll detect sweet caramel, cherry, and oak aromas from the glass. You’ll also taste ripe apple, cinnamon, banana, and vanilla, among other sweet fruit notes.
3. Maker’s Mark
Maker’s Mark is a fantastic option if you prefer bourbon made from wheat instead of rye. This bourbon is ideal for drinking neat but can also be a perfect mixer for classic cocktails, such as the Manhattan and Old Fashioned.
Maker’s Mark is a handmade bourbon that’s bottled at 45% ABV. Its mash bill includes:
- Corn (70%)
- Wheat (16%)
- Barley (14%)
It’s an affordable bourbon in the market with a price ranging from $25-30 a bottle.
Due to the use of wheat, this bourbon delivers softer and sweeter notes coupled with vanilla and toasted oak flavors. When sipped neat, the bourbon displays caramel, pine, and shredded tobacco tastes and a smooth, dry finish.
4. Buffalo Trace
Are you looking for the best bourbon under $30? Buffalo Trace is a hard-to-find bourbon in most liquor stores as the brand has to wait longer for the whiskey to age properly. The bourbon is bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV) and ranges from $25-30 a bottle.
Buffalo Trace is ideal for drinkers interested in bourbons with low rye content. The bourbon’s smooth but bold flavors blend well with other drinks without losing the original flavors.
When sipping neat, you’ll notice sweet tastes of vanilla, caramel corn, and brown sugar with dark fruit, toffee, oak, and anise flavors.
5. Old Grand-Dad 114
Bourbon lovers looking for extreme value in cheaper bottles can opt for the Old Grand-Dad 114. This bourbon is bottled at 114 proof (57% ABV) and ages for at least five years. Its mash bill includes corn (63%), rye (27%), and malted barley (10%).
Old Grand Dad 114 has classic bourbon flavors and is perfect for whiskey connoisseurs interested in higher proof.
This bourbon has vanilla, cherry, light oak, and caramel aromas. You’ll also notice the vanilla, caramel, simple syrup, and black pepper flavors when you sip it neat. Additionally, the finish highlights oak, char, and a moderate burn.
6. Wild Turkey 101
Wild Turkey 101 is aged for at least six years in American white oak barrels to produce a flavorful Kentucky straight bourbon.
The bourbon’s mash bill includes corn (75%), rye (13%), and malted barley (2%). The distiller uses char #4 during aging to ensure the bourbon achieves the desired flavor and deep color. It’s then packed at 101 proof (50.5% ABV) and sold at an average price of $25 a bottle.
When sipping it, you’ll notice notes of:
- Heavily-charred oak
While Wild Turkey 101 comes with a higher proof, it doesn’t have the heavy alcohol punch.
7. Elijah Craig Small Batch
Elijah Craig Small Batch is a smooth bourbon. It delivers a rich flavor and texture, making it ideal for drinking neat or creating Old Fashioned cocktails.
The distiller ages this bourbon for around 8-12 years in new American oak barrels and uses char #3 to achieve the desired flavor and hue. Its mash bill incorporates corn (78%), rye (10%), and malted barley (12%).
Elijah Craig Small Batch comes with a rich chestnut honey color. Its aromas include apples, vanilla beans, ripe bananas, and butter cookies. When sipped neat, the bourbon is sweet on the palate and delivers notes of vanilla, caramel, heavy oak, and peppery spice.
8. 1792 Small Batch
1792 Small Batch is one of the best bourbons under $30. Its rich, semi-bold, and sweet flavors make it a popular choice for most bourbon lovers. It uses higher-than-usual rye, ensuring a spiciness to the final product.
The bourbon’s mash bill includes corn (75%), rye (5-25%), and barley (10%). It’s aged for at least eight years and sold at an average of $27.
With the higher rye percentage, 1792 Small Batch delivers flavors of sweet caramel, dark fruit, and bold rye spice. Its simple tasting notes make it ideal for creating classic cocktails.
9. Four Roses Small Batch
Four Roses Small Batch is among the sweetest bourbons under $30. The distiller blends four of their ten roses, two rye mash bills, and five yeast strains. The mixer is aged for at least seven years to achieve a bourbon with cereal and fruity fermentation taste notes.
Its mash bill includes a blend of:
- Corn (75%)
- Rye (20%)
- Malted barley (5%)
The bourbon is packed at 90 proof (45% ABV) and sold at an average of $30.
Four Roses Small Batch offers oak, citrus fruit, caramel, and a hint of spice aromas. On the palate, the bourbon feels creamy and delivers summer fruit, oak, caramel, cherries, and ray spice flavors.
10. Very Old Barton
Very Old Barton is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a bourbon to drink daily without spending a lot of money. For less than $20, you can grab a bottle of 1.75 liters.
It’s available in 40, 43, 45, and 50% ABV variants but contains the same liquid aged around four to six years. The bourbon’s mash bill includes corn (75%), rye (15%), and malted barley (10%).
Very Old Barton has a classical oak, vanilla, and baking spice aroma. When you sip it, you’ll detect a rich and bold taste of black cherry, dry oaky sugar, red apple skins, toasty corn, and rye spice with a dry finish.
11. Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bold
All Bottled-in-Bold bourbons must meet several standards. They must be crafted in a single season, aged for four years, and bottled at 100 proof.
With such attention to detail, Bottled-in-Bold bourbons have a higher price tag. However, Evan Williams breaks this norm by charging an average of $15 for their Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bold.
The bourbon’s mash bill includes corn (78%), barley (12%), and rye (10%). Its bottle’s price tag, excellent tasting notes, and versatility make it an ideal daily drink.
When sipping it neat, you can smell a hint of gingerbread, vanilla, dark candied fruit, and caramel. On the palate, you’ll detect notes of caramel, vanilla, burned brown sugar, and black pepper.
12. Evan Williams Single Barrel
This bottle is another of Evan Williams’s most prominent bourbons under $30. Evan Williams Single Barrel is the only single-barrel bourbon in the market marked with its vintage date. It’s aged seven to eight years, bottled at 86.6 proof (43.3% ABV), and available at an average of $27.
The bourbon’s mash bill incorporates corn (78%), rye (12%), and malted barley (10%). It has a gold hue and delivers light traditional aromas, including sweet caramel, vanilla, and seasoned oak. You’ll also notice taste notes of aged oak, cinnamon toast crunch, caramel, honey, and a hint of pepper and spice.
13. Bulleit Bourbon
Bulleit Bourbon is an excellent choice for anyone who prefers a higher rye content in whiskey at an affordable price. This bourbon’s mash bill includes corn (68%), rye mash (28%), and malted barley (4%). The high rye content gives this bourbon a bold and spicy character with a distinctively clean and smooth finish.
Bulleit Bourbon is aged for at least six years. The bottle comes at 90 proof (45% ABV) and costs approximately $30.
The bourbon is smooth and delivers taste notes of rich vanilla, nutmeg, toasted oak, and maple, followed by a dry, satiny finish. It works well in Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, and Kentucky Mule cocktails.
14. Knob Creek 9 Year
Knob Creek 9 Year is aged for nine years in traditional charred American White Oak barrels. Its mash bill includes corn (75%), rye (13%), and malted barley (12%).
The bourbon is bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV) and available from $25 to $40. Its extra maturation gives it a slightly darker hue, rich aroma, and taste.
Knob Creek 9 Year has some toffee, oak, vanilla, cinnamon stick, and black pepper aromas. When sipped, the bourbon tastes sweet, fruity, woody, and full-bodied, with complexities of cinnamon and oak spices.
15. Chattanooga Whiskey 91
Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is one of the most unconventional bourbons available for under $30, thanks to its high-malt mash and Solera finishing. It’s aged for at least two years before going through a Solera finishing process.
Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is a four-grain straight bourbon whose mash bill includes yellow corn, caramel malted grains, malted honey barley, and malted rye. The 750 ml bottle comes at 91 proof (45.5% ABV) and costs an average of $30.
The bourbon has a high malted grains scent followed by hints of sweet bread, cherries, oak, and brown sugar. When sipping neat, you’ll notice a rich, smooth flavor with hints of caramel, apricot, brown sugar, smokiness, honey, and malted grains.
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