Bourbon. Everybody loves bourbon (or should), but it sometimes comes with a hefty price tag. Since a bottle of Pappy isn’t an option for most of us, how does one satisfy the craving for that sweet Kentucky kick with a budget of, say, $25? You’ll soon find out—here are what I believe to be the top 5 bourbons that $25 can get you (and their approximate Louisville prices):
1. Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey - $24
This high-rye dream is one of the best bourbons I’ve had. Its hints of vanilla and caramel followed by a strong cinnamon kick make it complex yet palatable. The fact that it’s 90 proof makes the kick that much better.
2. Buffalo Trace Bourbon - $21
Though also high-rye and 90 proof, Buffalo Trace is notably sweeter than Bulleit. Its burn doesn’t hit hard, and it goes down with hints of molasses. This bourbon’s a crowd pleaser, and for around $21, there might not be a better deal around.
3. Four Roses Yellow Label - $19
Four Roses’ 80 proof yellow label is smooth as hell. This high-rye bourbon doesn’t kick; it’s tame and refined. Floral and almost fruity hints come across, so it often mixes particularly well.
4. Old Forester Classic - $18
At 86 proof, Old Forester’s got less punch than Bulleit or Buffalo Trace. Priced right around the $18 mark, this bourbon is almost a melding of the first three: a little fire, some sweetness, and fruit notes all come through, with a dry finish.
5. Old Grand-Dad - $16
This bourbon has flavor. Wood and orange and molasses all come to mind, plus spice. Old Grand-Dad is sweet, complex, and a good mixer—and who can say no to $16 a pop?