Fiddich Review Centre
Bourbon Whiskey

11 Best Budget Bourbons | Country Living

If you’re looking for a quality liquor that won’t break the bank, you may be surprised to find that bourbon is one of your better bets, but it is.

Sure, dyed-in-the-wool bourbon aficionados will happily tell of you of the glimpse they once got of a Pappy Van Winkle bottle, which can retail for thousands, but for those of us who will never taste it, we can still enjoy a great-tasting bourbon cocktail—or even a make good enough to drink straight—without shelling out several mortgage payments.

In fact, we’d dare say that for under $30 per bottle (and sometimes for under $15), you can get better-quality bourbon than you can practically any other liquor.

Some Tips on Buying Bourbon

Whether you’re new to bourbon in general, or just looking for a new bottle to put on the shelf, it pays to do a little exploring. To be called bourbon, a whiskey has to be made from at least 51% corn and aged in charred oak containers (which gives it that brown color and vanilla flavors). While that generally means that bourbon is going to be sweeter than other whiskeys, such as rye or Scotch, it also allows for a lot of variation. So if you like one kind of bourbon it doesn’t mean that you’ll like others.

To that end, we recommend buying smaller bottles—a flask or even the airplane-sized bottles—first, and tasting as you go, before deciding to invest in a full 750ml or larger option. If you’re looking for something to sip on over ice, go for a lower alcohol content, no more than 80-90 proof at most. The higher-octane alcohols (101-proof and up) are mostly going to taste very harsh on their own, and will be better in mixed drinks.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try something new! A lot of the bourbons on this list are classic brands that are widely available. That’s because they’re well established, and having been turning out a reliably high-quality product for decades (sometimes centuries). But there’s recently been an explosion of new distilleries in the U.S. and while the startup costs mean that they may not be as inexpensive as the big guys, you may find an affordable bottle in your neck of the woods that you like as much or better.

Either way, we’ve filled this list with our favorite safe bets: bourbons that you can be proud to pour for yourself or guests, as an after-dinner treat or weekend unwinder, in a stiff cocktail, or even cooked into a quality side dish like bourbon yams.

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