As evidenced by pretty much everything Macallan is releasing these days, there seems to be no limit on the upper ceiling of whiskey prices. But what about the floor? Are there any truly delicious whiskeys left out there for, say, $50 or less?
The answer, fortunately, is yes. While mid-shelf shopping may never give you the same thrill as shelling out a month’s rent on the most recent collectible release from Bowmore, it’s reassuring to know that, for now, there’s still good whiskey out there for the rest of us.
Price: Somewhere around $35
This 114-proof release from the Beam plant consistently delights and surprises drinkers who think that good high-proof bourbon has to cost an arm and a leg. Rich, fruity, and spicy, this NAS bourbon is just as good neat as it is in cocktails.
2. Lot 40 Rye
Price: About $45
I tasted this a year or two ago, and was blown away by how deliciously intense it was.
Where most Canadian whiskey zigs towards butter and caramel, Lot 40 zags towards robust, satisfying spice that’s perfectly geared towards the bourbon-lover’s palate.
As many bourbons drop their age statements (particularly their double-digit ones), Luxco’s Rebel Yell is moving in the opposite direction.
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This year, they released this premium update to the budget Rebel Yell line, and it quickly became one of the cheapest ways to get your hands on a bottle of age-stated, single barrel wheated bourbon that we know of.
Price: Around $40
It may seem hopelessly basic, but Johnnie Walker Black Label is actually a great whisky. And it should be. It’s the best-selling Scotch whisky in the world, so Diageo can afford to spend a lot of time, money, and energy making it just right. Here’s a fun trick: invite your snobbiest Scotch friends over for a blind tasting, and then sneak a little Johnnie Walker Black Label into the lineup.
If you’re looking for a smooth, balanced, subtle blend, you’re not looking for Cutty Sark Prohibition. Quirky and funky, this blend has a flavor profile that goes toe-to-toe with the weirdness of any single malt.
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Cutty Sark says it’s made to replicate pre-Prohibition styles of whisky. I have no idea what whisky tasted like before Prohibition, but if this is accurate, it tasted like oily tire, grain porridge, and a faint whiff of industrial smoke. I know that sounds bad, but it’s not.
This article originally appeared on The Whiskey Wash.
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