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7 fan-favorite budget whiskey bottles, ranked

7 budget whiskey bottles ranked

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Whiskey is a great spirit to get into. Whether you’re buying to collect or to sip right now, you have your pick of Single malt Scotch whisky (only the U.S. and Ireland use the ‘e’ in whiskey), rye whiskey, bourbon, Japanese whisky, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, and whisk(e)ys from all corners of the globe. The best part? While there are tons of over-the-top, offensively expensive bottles, countless budget bottles are just waiting to be discovered.

Add to that, many well-known, fan-favorite budget whiskey bottles belong on your home bar cart or tucked away in your liquor cabinet — great sipping whiskeys, versatile mixing whiskeys, and everything in between. There’s something for every palate when it comes to budget bottles.

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The 7 best budget whiskey bottles, ranked

Whiskey is a broad spirits category with a wide range of prices. If you get into single malt Scotch, you can find bottles listed for thousands of dollars (sometimes hundreds of thousands) and beyond. The same goes for bourbon and other styles of whiskey. But there are also a lot of beloved budget bottles. We’re talking bottles less than $100 (oftentimes much less). Keep scrolling to see seven of our favorite budget whiskey bottles. As a bonus, we ranked them on value and overall flavor.

Wild Turkey 101
Wild Turkey

7. Wild Turkey 101 Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Made the same way for over 75 years, Wild Turkey 101 is matured in oak barrels “coated in the deepest alligator char”. As you might have guessed, it’s a potent 101-proof. A favorite of bartenders and drinkers alike, it’s known for its high-rye mash bill and a nose of vanilla beans, cinnamon candy, and oaky wood. The palate is a mix of toffee, vanilla, and gentle, wintry spices. Great as a budget sipper, it shines as a base for your favorite bourbon cocktails.

Glenmorangie The Original

6. Glenmorangie The Original 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The whisky has more than 175 years of history behind it. The flagship expression from Glenmorangie, there might not be a better gateway into single malt Scotch than this expression. Matured for a minimum of ten years in ex-bourbon barrels, it’s known for its smooth, easy-drinking nature that begins with a nose of candied orange peel, caramel, and vanilla. Sipping it reveals a palate of vanilla, orchard fruits, butterscotch, and oak. It’s sweet, mellow, creamy, and surprisingly inexpensive for the quality.

Tullamore D.E.W.
Tullamore D.E.W.

5. Tullamore D.E.W. Original Irish Whiskey

Ireland’s Tullamore D.E.W. makes a handful of flavorful whiskeys. But if you’re only going to stock one, make it Tullamore D.E.W. Original Irish Whiskey. This triple blend, triple distilled whiskey is beloved not only for its affordability, but for its smooth, mellow, balanced, and unparalleled complexity. Aged in a combination of traditional refill, ex-bourbon, and ex-sherry barrels, it begins with a nose of sticky toffee, honey, and oak before moving into a palate of caramel candy, vanilla, oak, and dried fruits.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie

4. Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

If you know anything about Islay, you know that the Scottish island is well-known for its peat-smoked single malts. But not every whisky coming out of this sheep-filled island is peaty. Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie is an un-peated single malt made from 100% Scottish barley. It’s non-chill filtered and well-known for its nose of honey, caramel, and candied orange peels and a palate of oak, barley, butterscotch, and dried fruits.

Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye
Knob Creek

3. Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

We are in the midst of a rye whiskey renaissance. There are countless high-quality, bargain bottles available to you. One of the best is Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. This 100-proof straight rye whiskey is known for its high-corn mash bill, giving it a perfect mix of corn sweetness and rye spice. Matured for at least seven years, it’s known for its nose of fresh leather, toffee, vanilla, and rye spice and a palate of oak, cracked black pepper, caramel, and vanilla beans.

Old Grand Dad Bonded
Jim Beam

2. Old Grand-Dad Bonded Kentucky Straight Bourbon

One of the most popular budget bourbons from Jim Beam’s “Old” line, Old Grand-Dad Bonded is made with a mash bill of 63% corn, 27% rye, and 10% malted barley. It’s matured for at least four years in in Federally bonded warehouse. Bottled at 100-proof, it’s known for its nose of cinnamon sugar, toffee, and vanilla. Sipping it reveals notes of oak, cinnamon candy, black pepper, toffee, and vanilla beans.

Oban Little Bay

1. Oban Little Bay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Proving that you don’t need an age statement to have a great single malt Scotch whisky, Oban Little Bay is an award-winning sipping whisky that deserves a permanent spot on your home bar. It’s beloved for its nose of orchard fruits, vanilla, oak, and candied nuts. Sipping it brings forth notes of green apples, candied orange peels, honey, brown sugar, oak, and dark chocolate.

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Stock up on whiskeys you’ll love

If you don’t have the extra cash to buy every one of the above bottles, stick to the style of whiskey you enjoy. If you like bourbon, grab one or two of the bourbon bottles. Is single malt Scotch your jam? Get one of those. Rye whiskey? Knob Creek is for you. Or buy every bottle. You’ll be glad you did.

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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