9 Bottom-Shelf Bourbons That Will Blow Your Mind Without Breaking the Bank

Wild Turkey 101

At 101 proof (55% ABV), Wild Turkey 101 has a higher alcohol content than most of the bourbons on this list. This bourbon brand has been around since 1940 and at a price point of around $20, Wild Turkey's popularity is well deserved. The bourbon's mash bill is made up of 75% corn, 12% malted barley and 13% rye and it's then aged in the deepest char American white oak barrels.

Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon

The blend creates a lighter and smoother bourbon that's great for those new to the category to start exploring. The nose leans on the floral side, which is rather unusual for bourbons. The $20-24 pricing for a Kentucky bourbon that's been aged for 5 years is a good deal, making this a great bottom-shelf buy.

Bulleit Bourbon

The mash bill is made out of 68% corn, 28% rye and 4% malted barley, making it one of the bourbons with the highest rye content. Bulleit is a great option for those who want a bourbon that more of a bold flavor with spicey notes and is less sweet due to the high rye content. It's a solid bourbon to sip neat or to be used in cocktails with $32 pricing.

Evan Williams Black Label

Evan Williams Kentucky straight bourbon, also known as their black label, is the second best-selling bourbon in the country and it's well know for being a great value. Made by the same master distiller as the other Heaven Hill brands, Evan Williams bourbon usually retails for under $15 and it delivers a lot for such a low price.

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Kentucky straight bourbon retails at around $25, though it can be higher in some markets, a price point that barely gets this whiskey on this list. The mash bill for this bourbon is a closely guarded secret, but the bourbon sees a minimum of eight years in the barrel, which is a long aging time for a bourbon at this price point.

Jim Beam Single Barrel

Jim Beam's history of whiskey making started in 1795 and it is now one of the biggest names in the bourbon world. Jim Beam's most well-known bottom-shelf bourbon is the white label Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, but the brand also makes other whiskies that still retail at an affordable price. The Jim Beam Single Barrel bourbon is available for around $25

Elijah Craig Small Batch

The Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon is a Kentucky straight bourbon bottled at 94 proof (47% ABV) and it's aged in a level 3 char oak barrels (on a scale of 1-4) and is charred for 35 seconds, which gives this bourbon its light smokiness. Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon the best overall cheap bourbon in 2022. It retails for around $16 a bottle, and it's an excellent value that's hard to beat at that price point.  

Old Grand-Dad

Old Grand-Dad bourbon is actually distilled at the Jim Beam distillery in Kentucky and was first bottled in 1882. While the recipe has changed a little since then, this bourbon still has a high rye content that contributes to its spiciness, which was the preference of Basil Hayden Sr., a.k.a. old grand-dad himself. You can find this bourbon from anywhere between $15-25.

Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond

This bourbon has won the Consumer's Choice award at the SIP Awards at least twice. According to Liquor writer Robert Haynes-Peterson, the Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond is "a solid bar standard at a great price [and is] a reliable and affordable choice that's especially great in cocktails." The Bottled-in-Bond, which retails for under $20, has to come from a single season from one distillery to meet the requirements for the labeling. 

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