Today we’ll take look at our top 5 whiskeys for under $50. Now remember, this is a completely subjective list. We all have our own preferences and I’ll do my best to justify mine. Whiskey is a unique experience to each drinker. Keeping all of this in mind, think of this list more like a guide to some great whiskey you might want to give shot if you had any doubts about grabbing a pour or bottle.
So without further ado, here’s our top 5 whiskeys for $50 and under:
1. New Riff Single Barrel Bourbon
I quite literally can’t get enough of this stuff. Over the past couple months, if I saw a single barrel pick of this on the shelf, I bought it. This hits the sweet spot for me. I’ve found that the 100-110 proof range is one of the ideal spots for me as a drinker. Not too much ethanol or heat to wash out the nose or palate, but enough to give you a slap in the face and wake you up for those delicious aromas and flavors to come. It’s a whiskey I can’t resist grabbing a pour of but it’s also something I want to save for a special occasion.
I think the reason I enjoy this bottle so much is that I recently formed a fondness for ryes and this bourbon has a high rye mashbill. That combination makes this a perfect marriage of that tradition bourbon profile with the bold and flavorful palate you find in ryes. Spicy without overpowering and the bourbon notes replace that earthy finish that some ryes have. It gives you the best of both worlds and has killer flavor to boot. The price tag on this is right on the wire at $49.99. (A theme you might notice on this list.) Check out our review of a New Riff Single Barrel here.
2. Stagg Jr.
Yes. Believe it or not, $50 is the retail on Stagg Jr. However, you’d be damned lucky to find one at that price. Its popularity and scarcity have driven the price of this pour up quite significantly in the past few years. At $50 this is a fantastic whiskey. High proof and full of flavor. The reason this guy is at #2 instead of #1 for me is because of its boldness and heat. It can be unforgiving to inexperienced and even seasoned palates. It can range from the low 120’s to the mid 130’s for proof depending on the batch number. That high of an ABV can be a big turn off for some whiskey drinkers. If you like higher proof whiskies and can handle the intensity, grab this one every time at msrp. Check out our review of Stagg Jr. Batch 15 here.
3. E.H. Taylor Small Batch
E.H. Taylor Small Batch is another great whiskey and one of my personal favorites. I went back and forth between Buffalo Trace and this for the number three spot. I ended up choosing E.H. Taylor because it delivers more of an experience than Buffalo Trace in my opinion. From the bottle to the juice inside of it, E.H. Taylor is a piece of whiskey history. The label, the bottle and the tube that houses it all looks like it could be found in an old west saloon. Rightfully so, as the design and packaging of this spirit pays homage to the original design which has been around since the late 1800’s. For ~$40 dollars a bottle, this bourbon is hard to beat. Check out our E.H. Taylor Small Batch review here.
4. Pikesville Rye
Ryes are whiskies too and Pikesville Straight Rye is one of the best examples of the spirit in this price point. Another one just at the top end of the price range $49.99, but it drinks every penny worth. A 6 year rye sitting at 110 proof it’s not for the feint of heart. I had another tough decision for this spot as well. A toss up between this and Sazerac Rye (It will definitely have a place on a future list). I knew I had to throw some rye representation in here and not make it seem like this list was sponsored by Sazerac Co. Pikesville ultimately won out again in part to the bottles presentation and history. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a sucker for unique bottles especially ones with interesting history behind them. Check out more on the bottle here.
5. Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Shh! Don’t tell anyone we told you about this one. It’s one of the better kept secrets of the budget bottle connoisseurs. I intentionally made this list in the reverse order you typically see to reward the ones who stuck it through to #5. It’s another mid-high proof whiskey with a fantastic flavor profile. You should find this around the $40 dollar range. The nose on this one is very forgiving for the proof it sits at (116.8). Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of Wild Turkey’s other expressions but this has some magic hidden under that cork. It’s believed to be a blend of 6, 8 and 12 year bourbons. Getting a tasty blend of well aged whiskey at an average of $40 is a hell of a deal. Grab one if you see it hanging out on the shelf with the rest of the flock.
Got a better suggestion? Maybe something you feel should’ve made the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
User Review( votes)
Orion has been friends with Greg since their high school days.
His love for whiskey grew as he tried different pours Greg was reviewing for Whiskey Culture. And, when Whiskey Culture began traveling around the country, he went with them to document their whiskey expeditions.
Orion now works full-time for Whiskey Culture managing our production schedule and ensuring the quality of our content. He oversees our contributor program, and can be found alongside Greg during their trips to Kentucky either behind the camera, or behind a glass of fine whiskey after a long day of shooting footage.