The Best Bourbon Under $40

Cheap Bourbon That Doesn't Taste Cheap

  • 15 Drink
  • Updated: Apr 11, 2016

Bourbon for the Drinker on a Budget

Given that it has never really fallen out of favor in the United States (like its cousin rye did for so long), narrowing our options down to any list of the best bourbon is always a challenge. There's a ton of it out there, and much of it is excellent.

Choosing a price point was also a bit difficult, as bourbon ranges pretty consistently from ten bucks to hundreds. Most of the quality brands fall into a middle range of $20-$50, so we landed on a ceiling of $40 for this list. It does omit some really outstanding whiskeys, but the gist is that you don't need to be paying single malt scotch prices to land a great bourbon.

While many of these bottles are great for sipping neat or on the rocks, they also work really well in any number of whiskey cocktails. From classics like the Old-Fashioned and Mint Julep to more modern inventions like the Kentucky Mule and the Civil War cocktail, each of these bourbons holds its own as a base spirit. We're sure that somewhere in here is your new favorite house bottle, so get tasting!

  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Angel's Envy Bourbon is a fairly new bourbon on the market, having launched only in 2012. In addition to the standard 4-6 years of aging in new American oak barrels, it's finished for an additional 3-6 months in port casks to give it a deep coloration and some interesting, slightly fruity notes. The brand was conceived by Lincoln Henderson, formerly of Jack …
  • Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Buffalo Trace Bourbon is the flagship bottle from Buffalo Trace Distillery, which is responsible for producing numerous whiskeys for other spirit brands. It's a nicely balanced bourbon, not too sweet, and at a price point just over twenty bucks it's a great product for breaking into the category. That said, Buffalo Trace has established itself as a favorite …
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Bulleit Bourbon (pronounced "bullet") is a wildly popular, affordable bourbon that's as good on the rocks as it is in bourbon cocktails. It's not quite as complex as some higher-end bottles, but for the price you'd be hard pressed to do much better, making it a great everyday bourbon to keep around the house.
  • Bourbon Whiskey
    To make their Breaking & Entering Bourbon, St. George Spirits brought over 400 barrels of back from Kentucky and blended them together themselves. It's not a St. George distillate, but their fingerprints are all over this complex, delicious, and not-too-sweet bourbon that takes the best elements of each individual whiskey and elevates them.
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is one of Heaven Hill Distilleries' most popular products, distilled in Bardstown, Kentucky and tying itself to the early days of bourbon by naming itself for the "father of bourbon" himself. Despite not having an age statement, it's reportedly aged between 8-12 years, placing it on the slightly older end of bourbons in this …
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon is an annual, 10-year-old release from Evan Williams, one of Heaven Hill Distilleries' most famous brands. It has consistently received positive reviews from critics, primarily thanks to its excellent value. It's difficult to find a bourbon in the price range of Evan Williams Single Barrel that can match, let alone exceed,…
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon is one of Four Roses' premium offerings, bottled at a more powerful 100 proof and generally regarded as an excellent whiskey for the price. It's subtle, complex, spicy, and a bit fruity, making this a bottle you want to save for sipping neat or on the rocks—though it does work great in spirit-forward cocktails like the Old-Fa…
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon is a blend of four different whiskeys, and is one of Four Roses' mid-premium offerings. While not quite as impressive as the Single Barrel, this is still a great bourbon for sipping on the rocks or mixing in cocktails. Four Roses Small Batch is known for notes of caramel, spice, and a creamy, mellow midpalate.
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon is one of Knob Creek's premium offerings, aged for a minimum of 9 years and bottled at a very high 120 proof. It's been highly praised by critics and regular drinkers alike, as the extra aging gives this whiskey a maturity and oaky smoothness that's uncommon in the category. Knob Creek Single Barrel is a bit pricey, b…
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is bottled at a higher proof than their flagship product, though it comes out of the barrel at just 109 proof. The distillers claim that the resulting whiskey is truer to its natural flavor profile than one that needs to be diluted significantly with water. This is a good, affordable bourbon, and we've particularly enjoyed it in the T…
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Woodford Reserve Bourbon is probably best known as one of the official bourbons of the Kentucky Derby, and it has enjoyed widespread popularity for decades. It's not quite as complex as some of its competitors in the same price range, but this is nonetheless a solid standby that's earned its popularity. And if you really want to overpay for it, you can …
  • Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    Michter's US*1 Bourbon is one of Michter's flagship bottles. The brand itself is extremely storied, dating back to Swiss Mennonite farmers who produced rye in the mid-1700s (it's even rumored that this whiskey's ancestor was quaffed by revolutionary soldiers at Valley Forge, but that might just be good marketing). Michter's US*1 has been a perennial favorite…
  • Bourbon
    Fighting Cock Bourbon is a great, affordable bourbon made by Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Kentucky. At 103 proof, it's a fairly potent spirit, but it's balanced well enough to earn its kick—notes of vanilla and spicy rye, as well as a good deal of charred oak (thanks to the 6 years of aging), make Fighting Cock a slightly more subtle standout in th…
  • Bourbon
    Larceny Bourbon is a bourbon made by Heaven Hill Distilleries, inspired by the infamous US Treasury agent John E. Fitzgerald. According to legend, Fitzgerald would periodically sneak into the rickhouses of Julian Van Winkle (of the famous Van Winkle line of bourbons) and steal from only the finest casks as they aged. Larceny Bourbon is branded as the heir to…
  • Bourbon
    Old Grand Dad 114 Bourbon is named for Basil Hayden, a founder of Jim Beam and the grandfather of its original distiller, Raymond Hayden. This bourbon has an unusually high percentage of rye in the mash bill, making it a spicier whiskey than you'd typically expect. Coupled with the high proof, Old Grand Dad 114 packs a hearty punch for a very reasonable pric…

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