top bourbon under $50


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a list from liquor.com. some good stuff but even i reckon that there are a few others. 

The Best Bourbon for Less Than $50
Written by Liquor.com
Updated 11/21/19
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You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.


 Balcones Texas Pot Still ($43)

“Crafted in a copper pot still (uncommon for bourbon), this 92-proof offering has a nice complement of flavors and a finish that's just the right amount of spicy.”—Chall Gray, co-owner of Little Jumbo in Asheville, N.C.

 Eagle Rare 10 Year Single Barrel ($42)

“As value buys in bourbon get harder and harder to achieve due to price increases and scarcity, it's nice to know that Sazerac Co. gives you a lot of bang for your buck (which is a good reason why it can be so hard to find its whiskeys). Eagle Rare 10 Year is still widely available and an amazing deal for 10-year-old single-barrel bourbon. At 90-proof, it has some gentle heat. Pair that heat with baking spice and orange peel notes, and you have a pretty compelling whiskey for the price.”—Neal Bodenheimer, owner and partner at Cane & Table and Cure in New Orleans

 Early Times Bottled in Bond ($21)

“This ain’t the E.T. we drank in college. This juice tastes like a higher-proof Woodford for less cost—a total steal for around $30.”—Zachary Helton, bartender at Cork & Cow in Franklin, Tenn.

 Elijah Craig Small Batch ($31)

“It's always a delicious safe bet and what we use at Leyenda as our well. I love it!”—Ivy Mix, owner of Leyenda in New York City

 Evan Williams Single Barrel ($34)

“For years, this bourbon was the best bargain in the industry, a high-quality single barrel that often went for under $20 a bottle. While the price has gone up a bit since then, the quality is every bit as good and still remains a steal, as many people haven’t quite figured out exactly how good it is yet.”—Erick Castro, owner of Polite Provisions in San Francisco and bartender at Boilermaker and Raised by Wolves in New York City

 Four Roses Single Barrel ($45)

“It’s my go-to bottle at home—smooth with oaky butterscotch notes on the finish.”—Travis Sanders, bartender at Pennyroyal in Seattle

 Four Roses Small Batch ($40)

“I recommend this bottle often because it's a great whiskey than can be found in most stores and usually only runs around $30. It’s delicious, accessible and smooth.”—Gray

 Legent ($48)

“This a collaboration between Fred Noe, of Jim Beam, and Shinji Fukuyo, the master blender of Suntory. It’s a bourbon with the subtle elegance of Japanese whisky—delicious!”—Cari Hah, bar manager at Big Bar in Los Angeles

 Michter's US*1 ($48)

“It’s a perfectly balanced bourbon with a peppery aftertaste—great for any cocktail or just to sip by itself.”—Sondre Kasin, principal bartender at Undercote in New York City

 Michter's US*1 Sour Mash ($48)

“Everything goes in waves—the public’s populist taste, bartenders’ favorites and everyone’s personal favorites. All of these have met again in The Whisky Exchange’s Whiskey of the Year for 2019, Michter’s Sour Mash. On a personal level, I have hated and loved sour mash bills over the years, but none of those were ever this tasty.”—Nathaniel Smith, creative director of bar and drinks at Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Minneapolis

 Old Forester 1870 ($48)

“It’s pretty much exactly what I want from a bourbon that's sub-$50 retail, especially as value bourbons that punch above their weight get harder and harder to find. Rich, round and tasty, this 90-proof bourbon is a great example of good blending.”—Bodenheimer

 Old Forester 86 Proof ($25)

“This is another high-rye bourbon that hits lots of chocolate and tobacco notes in front of deep vanilla and orange peel. I like it as is or in cocktails.”—Sother Teague, beverage director at Amor y Amargo, Blue Quarter, HoneyBee's and Windmill in New York City

 Russell's Reserve 10 Year Old ($38)

“Russell's Reserve has everything you would want in a bourbon—lovely honey vanilla without being cloying or sweet.”—Hah

 1792 Full Proof ($50)

“Fruit, baking spice and oak are gorgeously married in this value-laden overproof bottling. It can be drunk neat, though a splash of water or some ice isn’t gonna hurt this 125-proof gentle giant.”—Joaquín Simó, partner at Pouring Ribbons in New York City

 St. George Breaking and Entering ($47)

“Super-fine and balanced, this bourbon hits your palate at every correct point and finishes long.”—Hah

 2bar ($46)

“I have to give props to my new hometown. This Washington State bourbon is made from great local grains and has a honeyed butterscotch finish. I like a whiskey where you can taste the quality of the grain.”—Abigail Gullo, bar manager and assistant general manager at Ben Paris at The State Hotel in Seattle

Continue to 17 of 17 below.

 Wild Turkey 101 ($22)

“Call me old-fashioned, but I love Wild Turkey. Heavily charred barrels and a high-rye mash bill (hmm, a theme with me, I guess) combined with an above-average proof give this expression a nose of baking spice followed by soft honey. Coffee and smoke play their role, and the finish has chocolate and oak. Bring on the Boulevardiers.”—Teague

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Russell's Reserve Single Barrel can usually be found for around $50, including some store picks, and that'd probably be my choice at that range.  110 proof, non-chill filtered.

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22 minutes ago, Deeg said:

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel can usually be found for around $50, including some store picks, and that'd probably be my choice at that range.  110 proof, non-chill filtered.

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These are all good whiskeys and I've had most of them.    I keep buying the Early Times BIB and Elijah Craig Small Batch.  They're so good for the money....   I've never seen a Legent bottle though, and see that some folks are already driving that one's price up on the secondary market, and good luck finding an Eagle Rare at the reasonable MSRP (it can be done!).  I have wanted to find the Balcones as well, but haven't really seen any in Arizona.  Maybe I'm just not walking down the right aisles....

I'd say this is one list it would be hard to argue against.

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Legent is great 

Russell's is fantastic (single barrel is the way to go, especially store picks) 

Can't go wrong with four roses, michters or old forester. 

One of the barrel proof bottles if you can find it at retail (49$) would be Stagg Jr 

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Solid list. I have never had Legent or St. George Breaking and Entering but will look for them next time I need to replenish the cupboard

 

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1 hour ago, mtd057 said:

Solid list. I have never had Legent or St. George Breaking and Entering but will look for them next time I need to replenish the cupboard

 

Haven’t had any of their whiskeys yet but the Absinthe they do is superb. 
 

Pretty solid list of reliable, budget friendly whisky. I usually keep an Eagle Rare around the house as it’s only ~$33USD here and not hard to find. The store is out sometimes out but it’s not like trying to buy Weller! ? For mixing, I usually go Old Grandad BiB at ~$22USD.

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No basil Hayden 10

no bulletin bourbon 10

No Henry McKenna 10

no maker’s Mark

to me, it’s looking like the new competing price point is 59.99$. A lot of bottles of quality pushing that 55-50$ price point now.

thanks for posting the list

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Another Vote for Eagle Rare! If I have the time and can find it I buy it in the magnum bottles last I remember it was 60ish US dollars. Kinda hard to find the bigger bottles but well worth it if you can. Best value aged bourbon whiskey I could find. I stopped searching after that for good bourbon. I'm a simple man. I find one I liked and ran with it. I have no need or time to keep searching for the best whiskey it seemed like a game of diminishing returns to me. But that's my personal opinion. 

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Good list, thanks for sharing.  I've been an almost exclusive Bourbon drinker the last year or so and have really fallen into the rabbit hole of the variety the category has to offer.  One of my Top-5 under $50 that didn't make the list is Woodford Reserve Double Oaked ($40-$50).  It has a very sweet candy profile to it from the 2nd barrel aging process and I love it.  Very readily available in California, have seen this in Target, Trader Joe's, and CVS' now.  Another honorable mention is Makers Mark 46 ($20-$40).  Also, E.H. Taylor ($40-$50) is my favorite bottled in bond offering. Another one that I imagine will get hiked up in future years due to the demand of it being a stronger/complex Buffalo Trace product a notch up from Eagle Rare. 

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The volatility of pricing and availability in the bourbon market continues to amaze me.  It wasn't that long ago Russell's Reserve was $19 here.  $38 now but still worth it.

Two years ago here in Oregon, there was plenty of Elmer T. Lee, Weller 107, Weller SR on the shelves for $24 or less.  Now never seen at all.

Two years ago you'd never see EH Taylor or Eagle Rare, but now plentiful here.

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This is a solid list.  I use Evan Williams for my cocktails (sometimes cut with Knob Rye for spice).  I personally believe the Elijah Craig store picks have been unreal. 11-12 year bourbons for sub 30$.  That’s what I have really enjoyed.  

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2 hours ago, TheGipper said:

The volatility of pricing and availability in the bourbon market continues to amaze me.  It wasn't that long ago Russell's Reserve was $19 here.  $38 now but still worth it.

Two years ago here in Oregon, there was plenty of Elmer T. Lee, Weller 107, Weller SR on the shelves for $24 or less.  Now never seen at all.

Two years ago you'd never see EH Taylor or Eagle Rare, but now plentiful here.

Oregonian myself and just started getting back in to whisky in general after a few years of exploring other spirits. Went to try and find Weller and some stores practically laugh you out for even asking. But then other states people covet the Eagle Rare and it’s all over the place here. At least the pricing is controlled so if you can find “rare” bourbon it’s usually priced fairly instead of hiked up. Then there’s times like today when I went to pick up a bottle of Mellow Corn today just for mixing and it’s $23 on the bottom shelf. Thought it was a price error but nope, that’s what they’re charging ?

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a list from liquor.com. some good stuff but even i reckon that there are a few others. 
The Best Bourbon for Less Than $50
Written by Liquor.com
Updated 11/21/19
 Pin
 Share
 Email
You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.
Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.

 Balcones Texas Pot Still ($43)
“Crafted in a copper pot still (uncommon for bourbon), this 92-proof offering has a nice complement of flavors and a finish that's just the right amount of spicy.”—Chall Gray, co-owner of Little Jumbo in Asheville, N.C.
 Eagle Rare 10 Year Single Barrel ($42)
“As value buys in bourbon get harder and harder to achieve due to price increases and scarcity, it's nice to know that Sazerac Co. gives you a lot of bang for your buck (which is a good reason why it can be so hard to find its whiskeys). Eagle Rare 10 Year is still widely available and an amazing deal for 10-year-old single-barrel bourbon. At 90-proof, it has some gentle heat. Pair that heat with baking spice and orange peel notes, and you have a pretty compelling whiskey for the price.”—Neal Bodenheimer, owner and partner at Cane & Table and Cure in New Orleans
 Early Times Bottled in Bond ($21)
“This ain’t the E.T. we drank in college. This juice tastes like a higher-proof Woodford for less cost—a total steal for around $30.”—Zachary Helton, bartender at Cork & Cow in Franklin, Tenn.
 Elijah Craig Small Batch ($31)
“It's always a delicious safe bet and what we use at Leyenda as our well. I love it!”—Ivy Mix, owner of Leyenda in New York City
 Evan Williams Single Barrel ($34)
“For years, this bourbon was the best bargain in the industry, a high-quality single barrel that often went for under $20 a bottle. While the price has gone up a bit since then, the quality is every bit as good and still remains a steal, as many people haven’t quite figured out exactly how good it is yet.”—Erick Castro, owner of Polite Provisions in San Francisco and bartender at Boilermaker and Raised by Wolves in New York City
 Four Roses Single Barrel ($45)
“It’s my go-to bottle at home—smooth with oaky butterscotch notes on the finish.”—Travis Sanders, bartender at Pennyroyal in Seattle
 Four Roses Small Batch ($40)
“I recommend this bottle often because it's a great whiskey than can be found in most stores and usually only runs around $30. It’s delicious, accessible and smooth.”—Gray
 Legent ($48)
“This a collaboration between Fred Noe, of Jim Beam, and Shinji Fukuyo, the master blender of Suntory. It’s a bourbon with the subtle elegance of Japanese whisky—delicious!”—Cari Hah, bar manager at Big Bar in Los Angeles
 Michter's US*1 ($48)
“It’s a perfectly balanced bourbon with a peppery aftertaste—great for any cocktail or just to sip by itself.”—Sondre Kasin, principal bartender at Undercote in New York City
 Michter's US*1 Sour Mash ($48)
“Everything goes in waves—the public’s populist taste, bartenders’ favorites and everyone’s personal favorites. All of these have met again in The Whisky Exchange’s Whiskey of the Year for 2019, Michter’s Sour Mash. On a personal level, I have hated and loved sour mash bills over the years, but none of those were ever this tasty.”—Nathaniel Smith, creative director of bar and drinks at Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Minneapolis
 Old Forester 1870 ($48)
“It’s pretty much exactly what I want from a bourbon that's sub-$50 retail, especially as value bourbons that punch above their weight get harder and harder to find. Rich, round and tasty, this 90-proof bourbon is a great example of good blending.”—Bodenheimer
 Old Forester 86 Proof ($25)
“This is another high-rye bourbon that hits lots of chocolate and tobacco notes in front of deep vanilla and orange peel. I like it as is or in cocktails.”—Sother Teague, beverage director at Amor y Amargo, Blue Quarter, HoneyBee's and Windmill in New York City
 Russell's Reserve 10 Year Old ($38)
“Russell's Reserve has everything you would want in a bourbon—lovely honey vanilla without being cloying or sweet.”—Hah
 1792 Full Proof ($50)
“Fruit, baking spice and oak are gorgeously married in this value-laden overproof bottling. It can be drunk neat, though a splash of water or some ice isn’t gonna hurt this 125-proof gentle giant.”—Joaquín Simó, partner at Pouring Ribbons in New York City
 St. George Breaking and Entering ($47)
“Super-fine and balanced, this bourbon hits your palate at every correct point and finishes long.”—Hah
 2bar ($46)
“I have to give props to my new hometown. This Washington State bourbon is made from great local grains and has a honeyed butterscotch finish. I like a whiskey where you can taste the quality of the grain.”—Abigail Gullo, bar manager and assistant general manager at Ben Paris at The State Hotel in Seattle
Continue to 17 of 17 below.
 Wild Turkey 101 ($22)
“Call me old-fashioned, but I love Wild Turkey. Heavily charred barrels and a high-rye mash bill (hmm, a theme with me, I guess) combined with an above-average proof give this expression a nose of baking spice followed by soft honey. Coffee and smoke play their role, and the finish has chocolate and oak. Bring on the Boulevardiers.”—Teague
Not much of a bourbon drinker probably because I have not found one that pairs well with a gar. Any recommendations? I drink a lot of Scotch though.

Sent from my moto z3 using Tapatalk

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6 hours ago, Stogiepuffer said:

Not much of a bourbon drinker probably because I have not found one that pairs well with a gar. Any recommendations? I drink a lot of Scotch though.

Sent from my moto z3 using Tapatalk
 

I don't drink bourbon with cigars that often myself, though I love bourbon generally (and Scotch. And Armagnac. And rum. And...). One I've found does pair well is Joseph Magnus, which is a finished bourbon (Oloroso, PX and Cognac casks).  Not cheap, but the finishing really brings out the fruitier elements in the whiskey that stand up to a good Habano.  Magnus also makes a "Cigar Blend" which is supposed to be perfect for pairing - by all accounts it's supposedly a phenomenal whiskey but that one's not in my tax bracket.

If you're looking for a cheaper bourbon to pair with a Cuban, I might try Old Forester 1920.

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Even with the popularity of bourbon still growing, it seems there are still lots of good bourbons under $50. You certainly can't go wrong with anything on that list.  I find myself going back to several of the same brands with those being Buffalo Trace, Maker's Mark, Eagle Rare and Four Rose's Small Batch most often.  Our local distillery, Cedar Ridge also makes a very nice bourbon in the $35 per bottle range. 

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