The Best Bourbons Under $100

What is the Best Bourbon under $100 | Low Price, High Quality Bourbon

In the realm of American whiskey, bourbon has carved out a distinctive reputation with its rich American heritage and a flavor profile that ranges from sweet and smooth to rich and complex. For enthusiasts and novices alike, finding a premium bourbon that doesn’t break the bank is like striking liquid gold and here we'll help you realize that is a lot easier than you might think. This guide will take you through a selection of the finest bourbons available under $100, ensuring you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy high-quality bourbon whiskey.

Key Highlights of the Article:

  • Explore exceptional bourbons that offer significant value for their price.
  • Delve into the comprehensive flavor profiles and intriguing histories of renowned bourbon brands.
  • Learn expert tips on selecting the perfect bourbon to match your palate and budget.

I. Introduction to Bourbon and its Value Proposition

Bourbon, often referred to as America's native spirit, is more than just whiskey—it's a symbol of artisanship and tradition. Here, we explore what defines bourbon and why some of the best bottles can be found under $100.

A. What is Bourbon?

  • Definition and Legal Criteria: Bourbon is a distinct type of American whiskey, made from a mash containing at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and distilled to no more than 160 proof.
  • The Importance of Aging and Flavor: The interaction between the spirit and the charred wood over time imparts bourbon with its unique flavors, ranging from vanilla and caramel to spicy oak.

B. Why Bourbon Under $100?

  • Quality vs. Price: There are numerous bourbons that offer complexity and depth of flavor without commanding a high price, making premium bourbon accessible.
  • Availability: These selections are widely available, making them a great choice for those looking to explore quality bourbon easily.

II. Top Picks for Bourbons Under $100

Let’s navigate through some of the finest bourbons you can acquire for under $100, celebrated for their craftsmanship and memorable taste profiles.

A. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon

  • Price: $32.99
  • Flavor Profile: One of, if not the most, popular bourbon in the past decade, hence being the first on this list. This bourbon offers a complex aroma of vanilla, mint, and molasses. It strikes a pleasant balance of sweet, with notes of brown sugar and spice, leading to a long, smooth finish with profound depth. At 90 proof, it maintains a robust flavor that is both traditional and nuanced.

B. Knob Creek 12 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

  • Price: $69.99
  • Flavor Profile: Aged for 12 years, this bourbon exemplifies a full flavor profile with an underlying sweetness tempered by wood influences. It presents a deep richness typical of extended-aged bourbons, making it a standout at 100 proof.

C. Maker’s Mark 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

  • Price: $42.99
  • Flavor Profile: Maker's Mark 101 offers a rich aroma of ripe fruit coupled with bold spice at 101 proof, given the name. The palate is creamy and soft, featuring layers of spice, fruit, and caramel, leading to a mellow, lingering creamy finish. This higher proof version elevates the traditional Maker’s Mark experience.

D. Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

  • Price: $29.99
  • Flavor Profile: Crafted by Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, this bourbon is renowned for its high rye content and 101 proof, offering flavors of vanilla, caramel, and orange peel, complemented by a bold, spicy finish. Wild Turkey 101 is renowned as one of the best budget bourbons, even by some of the most seasoned bourbon connoisseurs.

E. Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon

  • Price: $40.99
  • Flavor Profile: It wouldn't make sense to not have the most sold bourbon brand on this list in Jim Beam, this single barrel is a product of many years of exceptional bourbon loved by many Americans and even around the world. Each barrel of Jim Beam Single Barrel provides a distinct and unique flavor profile, featuring rich, oaky vanilla with subtle hints of fruit, culminating in a uniquely satisfying bourbon experience.

F. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

  • Price: $49.99
  • Flavor Profile: A lovely bourbon that, in the past, has gone under the radar but in recent years it has been getting the recognition it rightfully deserves. This 100-proof bourbon offers a complex experience with flavors of ripe plum and cherries, backed by dried spice, pear, and vanilla, culminating in a smooth and delicately long finish.

G. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon

  • Price: $64.99
  • Flavor Profile: You can never go wrong with any Old Forester bottle of bourbon, given that most of the expressions available by this prestigious brand lies under the $100 mark. Created to honor the spirit of Prohibition-era bottling, this 115 proof bourbon delivers intense flavors of cherry preserves, caramel, dark chocolate, and spiced oak, with a finish of tart apple and toasted marshmallow.

III. How to Choose the Best Bourbon Under $100

Selecting the right bourbon involves knowing what flavors appeal to you and considering the occasions for enjoying your whiskey.

A. Consider Your Flavor Preferences

  • Sweet vs. Spicy: Determine if you prefer the sweeter, mellower notes or the robust, spicy tones.
  • Complexity and Finish: Think about whether you enjoy a straightforward flavor or one with multiple layers that evolve on the palate.

B. Occasions and Pairings

  • Casual vs. Formal: Choose bourbons that fit the tone of your event—whether a relaxed evening or a formal celebration.
  • Food Pairings: Consider what dishes will accompany your bourbon, as it can complement everything from grilled meats to rich chocolates.

IV. Conclusion and Recommendations

This guide demonstrates that exceptional bourbons are available under $100, offering both quality and value. Each selection provides a unique flavor that caters to various palates and occasions, ensuring that your bourbon experience is both enjoyable and memorable. 

It doesn't end here though, their are countless great and maybe even better options for certain palates. Here at The Barrel Tap, you can explore these bourbons we talked about today but many more options and even some gems for an even lower price! Cheers to finding your perfect bourbon under $100!

As always, please sip responsibly.