Bourbon whiskey is a taste that many people are familiar with. It has a strong hint of oak, caramel, and vanilla, but bourbon can be smooth if it’s aged for a couple of years. In fact, bourbon can be one of the best types of whiskey to start sipping. Unfortunately, some bourbon whiskey gets up there in price, with some bottles costing several hundred dollars.
When it comes to bourbon, the price may or may not impact the quality of the liquor. For example, more expensive options are usually smoother because they’re aged for longer periods. While this is the case, some distilleries have figured out ways to replicate this taste while keeping the price low.
Therefore, the good news is that not all bourbon costs you a fortune. There are plenty of bourbon options that cost less than $100 – you just have to know where to look. While it’s like finding a diamond in the rough, we’re here to help you find the whiskey you need.
What You Need to Know About Bourbon Under $100
When you’re shopping for bourbon whiskey that costs less than $100, it’s important to consider a few factors before you pick up a bottle. While it’s more affordable than some expensive options, that doesn’t mean you should choose a bad-tasting whiskey that’s not smooth enough to sip.
Understanding what goes into a good bourbon will help you make the right choice, even if a bottle is significantly cheaper than some of the most expensive options.
Bourbon Under $100: An Overview
Bourbon that’s under $100 is made with many of the same things that an expensive bourbon is made with. It’s an American whiskey that’s made with a mash of grain, water, and yeast. When it comes to bourbon, the mash bill must be over 51% corn. Otherwise, it doesn’t qualify as a bourbon whiskey. That said, the mash bill for most bourbons is closer to 70% for one good bottle that’s less than $100. You may also notice other types of whiskey that have different mash bills, like rye whiskey. All of these whiskey types can usually be found for under $100.
Bourbon Under $100 should also be aged for a few years. This isn’t a whiskey that’s meant to be consumed as a shot, so you want something you can sip on the rocks or as an Old Fashioned.
How to Choose the Best Bourbon Under $100
When choosing a high-quality bourbon, there are several factors you should consider. First and foremost, take a look at the mash bill. When shopping for a good bourbon, the more corn on the mash bill, the better. The best bourbon whiskey will have a mash bill that has upwards of 99% corn mash. However, for a bourbon that costs less than $100, it’s more realistic to look at a mash bill of 70-80% corn.
Next, it’s important to consider how old the whiskey is. If you’re going to drink it in shots or add it into your beverage as a mixer, which isn’t super common with bourbon, the age of the whiskey isn’t that important. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a good sipping whiskey, the older the better. While the best bourbons are aged for more than 5 years, you can get a good three-year-old bourbon for less than $100.
Another factor to consider is the strength of the bourbon whiskey. It should only be distilled to 160 proof and filled in charred oak barrels up to 125 proof. From there, you need to consider if you want something that’s cask strength, which is straight from the barrel with more alcohol content, or something less potent with a lower proof and ABV.
Believe it or not, the barrel is also important. While it’s hard to find in some cheaper bourbon, look for brands that have oak barrels that are charred or treated in other ways for better flavor.
What Does Bourbon Under $100 Cost?
When you’re looking for bourbon that costs less than $100, it might be obvious that it won’t cost over $100, so what does that price look like? If you want to get a good bourbon that’s less than $100, you want to get a bottle that’s closer to that $100 mark. For a decent-aged bourbon, you’re looking at $75-$95. On the other hand, you can get a bourbon that still tastes good at $50-$70.
The amount of bourbon you’re getting is also a factor. For example, you can get a small bottle of exceptional sipping whiskey for less than $100, or a large quantity of decent bourbon. Therefore, whether you want quality or quantity is up to you.
Where Can You Buy Bourbon Under $100
You can find bourbon whiskey for under $100 at just about any liquor store in the United States. Big chains like the Wine Guy also carry bourbon in this price range. Many sports bars and dive bars will also have affordable bourbon, but classier venues like wedding halls may not have these affordable options.
It’s also possible to have bourbon that’s under $100 shipped right to your door. Speakeasy Co has plenty of affordable bourbon options that are worth a try.
The Best Bourbon Under $100
A good bottle of bourbon that costs less than $100 is hard to find, so it’s important to consider your options – even if it’s affordable, you still want your money’s worth. Learn about our top choices for the best bourbon under $100 below.
1. Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Some note a citrus influence with a hint of apricot and spearmint, while others note that it has oak and citrus aromas followed by banana, vanilla, and dried hay.
Our Rating: 5 Stars
Frey Ranch is an award-winning whiskey-maker who knows how to polish off the perfect bottle. The brand is experienced when it comes to bourbon, rye, and other types of whiskey. This straight bourbon whiskey is aged for over five years, which makes it one of the smoothest options you can find for under $100. It includes cereal grain, corn, winter wheat, and two-row barley that give it a smooth and spicy flavor that’s hard to beat, even as you move up to more expensive options.
When it comes to strength and proof, it’s right in the perfect place. It’s smooth enough to enjoy straight but potent enough to make you feel it. That said, many people still enjoy this whiskey in cocktails and with a fruity garnish.
- Strong enough for a buzz
- Award-winning company
- Wide range of flavors
- Good straight or in a cocktail
- Might be too strong for some people first try sipping whiskey
2. Pinhook Flagship Bourbon
Tasting Notes: Butterscotch nose followed by coffee, roasted peanuts, candied cinnamon, and créme brûlée.
Our Rating: 4 Stars
When you’re looking for an aged bourbon that’s under $100, it’s hard to beat the smooth taste of this Pinhook Flagship Bourbon. Aged for three years, it has a smooth taste that’s reminiscent of butterscotch, and it’s easy to drink straight or with an orange garnish. That said, it’s also a great choice if you want a bourbon that you can mix with other drinks. Ultimately, it gives you the flexibility to enjoy bourbon your way.
Aside from its flavor, Pinhook Flagship Bourbon is strong. After a few sips, you’ll start to feel the zip that this bourbon has as you transition into a nice, warm buzz. When it comes to the best bang for your buck, it’s hard to beat a bourbon whiskey like this.
- Good as a mixed drink
- Great taste straight
- Strong enough to sip and enjoy
- Aged for three years
- Too strong for some whiskey enjoyers
3. St. Augustine Florida Straight Bourbon
Tasting Notes: Sweet finish with a hint of raisin, cinnamon, chocolate, and tobacco.
Our Rating: 4 Stars
Florida Straight Bourbon is made by one of the best distilleries in the United States. Produced by Saint Augustine Distillery in Florida, this straight bourbon is filled with a Southern tale on bourbon whiskey. The mash bill contains 60% Florida corn, 22% barley, and 18% wheat. All ingredients are grown in Florida, and while the corn content isn’t as much as other whiskey, it still maintains a delicious corn whiskey flavor that includes spice and smoothness.
Speaking of smoothness, it’s aged for at least three years in white oak barrels. These 53-gallon barrels are toasted and charred to further enhance the flavor of the whiskey. Overall, this gives it one of the widest flavor ranges for bourbon whiskey under $100.
- All ingredients are sourced locally in Florida
- Top-rated distillery in Florida
- Wide range of flavors
- Excellent as a Bourbon Old Fashioned
- Low corn mash percentage compared to other bourbon under $100
4. Balcones Blue Corn Bourbon Wine Finish
Tasting Notes: Rustic nose, followed by top notes of black cherry ice cream, strawberry jam, and candied pecans
Our Rating: 3 Stars
Blue Corn Bourbon Wine Finish is a unique take on bourbon whiskey, which makes it one of our favorite options for bourbon under $100. Instead of being finished in traditional barrels, it’s finished in California Grenache and Washington Cabernet puncheons. This gives the whiskey a smooth flavor that’s hard to replicate with any other type of barrel aging.
Blue Corn Bourbon Wine Finish is also a great choice because it’s easy to enjoy for beginners. You can drink it straight, sure, but it’s also awesome for use in cocktails and with an orange for a garnish. Therefore, if you’re not quite ready for a straight bourbon taste yet, you can’t go wrong with Blue Corn Bourbon Wine Finish.
That said, the drawback is that the wine finish might not be what more serious bourbon drinkers are after unless you’re trying to try something new.
- Smooth taste
- Awesome for mixers and Old Fashioneds
- Great taste that you can drink straight
- Not a traditional bourbon that people who are seeking that traditional bourbon taste
- Proof is high for some whiskey lover
5. Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Grainy taste with a hint of spice
Our Rating: 3 Stars
Made by the famous distillery Cedar Ridge, Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey is one of the most affordable bourbons under $100. While it has an affordable price tag, it still has an impressive mash bill that’s 74% corn, so you’re not missing out on any flavor. That said, the flavor that you do get has more of a grainy taste, so don’t expect anything spectacular when you take your first sip. Still, as long as you love a good bourbon, this Cedar Ridge product is smooth enough to enjoy straight in the glass.
It’s also important to note that this bourbon has won several awards. Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey has won six gold medals in several competitions for being one of the best bourbon whiskeys in the state of Iowa. When it comes to bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with this whiskey.
- One of the cheapest bourbon options for under $100
- Despite its price, it’s still aged for a few years and maintains a great, smooth taste
- Great straight in the glass or mixed
- Not the strongest whiskey
- Basic flavor compared to some other types of bourbon
Don’t Let Gatekeepers Kill Your Buzz: Enjoy a Bourbon Under $100
The best bourbon whiskey doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle that’s unattainable. Plus, why would you start with a 300-dollar bottle of whiskey if you don’t even know if you like to sip it? This is where delicious bourbon for under $100 comes into play.
Dip your beak into some delicious sipping whiskey that won’t break the bank when you choose any of the whiskey options we covered in our list. With these prices, you don’t have to be shy, so jump right in!