Best Bourbon Deals: Bottled Bourbons Under $30

Nestled neatly between standard bourbons (40-49% ABV) and high-strength bourbons (51-69% ABV) are bond-bottled bourbons, at exactly 50% ABV. These whiskeys are considered the “good stuff” by old school bourbon fans, thanks to this slightly high proof, and the minimum four years these whiskeys must spend in the barrel before blending, proofing and bottling. in a bottle.

Of course, bonded bottling is about more than proof and age. The main distinction/rule for the style is that each release comes from a season of distillation at a distillery made by a distiller. The main reason these rules elevate this class of whiskey – in some people’s estimation – is that the casks blended into the final whiskey come from the same season and same year of distillation. Very generally, this means that the blender and/or distiller cannot use casks from different years to mask flaws or fill in gaps in the flavor profile. In theory, there’s a little more fidelity to a bail-bottled expression than to your standard everyday bourbon.

And while all of this seems to make bottled bourbon much more expensive, there are plenty of bottled masterpieces out there that won’t break the bank. To that end, I decided to name eight of my favorite bottled bourbons, all of which cost under $30. Check them out below and you just might find your next great bourbon blend!

8) The Linked McAffee Reference

Reference

ABV: 50%

Average price: $20

Bourbon:

Named after some of the first Europeans to reach Kentucky, this bottle is an entry-level Buffalo Trace expression. The juice comes from BT’s famous Mash Bill No. 1, which contains a little rye and barley as well as a lot of corn. Mash is the recipe for high-impact BT brands like EH Taylor, Stagg, and Eagle Rare, making it a cheaper take on these bangers.

Tasting notes:

The nose is caramel apples, vanilla and a nice kick of spicy rye, but not much else and that’s not surprising for a value bottle. The flavor is decent but quite generic. There’s vanilla, caramel, and oak wood, but that’s about the extent of the flavor profile. The finish is long, warm and has a spicy hint of pepper.

Conclusion :

For a cheap bourbon, it’s not terrible. It’s not very exciting either. The flavors are quite muted and bland and that’s why we start here. This is a bottle of bourbon and coke at best.

7) JW Dant

JW Dant
JW Dant

ABV: 50%

Average price: $14

Bourbon:

According to legend, this historic whiskey was first distilled from a hollow log in 1836 by a man named Joseph Dant. Since 1993 it has been produced by Heaven Hill, which has retained the old school logo and design. The juice in the bottle is 78% corn, 12% malted barley and 10% rye mash – just like Evan Williams below, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna.

Tasting notes:

Apples, caramel and oak dominate the nose. Otherwise, it’s pretty understated and boring. When sipped, it highlights notes of dried fruit, caramel candies, vanilla and lightly cracked black pepper. You can smell it very resistant, but the flavors are still quite light, with oak and pepper taking up most of the palate.

Conclusion :

You can do much worse for less than $15. But if you were to stack this against most $25 bottles, you’d be pretty sad about the results, and so it’s going to stay pretty low on this list.

6) Jim Beam bound

Jim Beam bound
Jim Beam

ABV: 50%

Average price: $27

Bourbon:

Jim Beam makes a pretty decent bound whiskey from their classic 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley mash. Beyond that, this 100-proof award-winning bourbon has been aged for a minimum of four years in a bonded warehouse.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a ton of sweetness that comes through on the nose with aromas of dried cherries, brown sugar, vanilla and heavy oak. The palate is very robust and filled with warmth as well as flavors like vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate and spicy, warming pepper at the very end. It’s flavorful but has a little too much burn for some drinkers.

Conclusion :

If you’re a Jim Beam White Label fan and want to go all the way up to 11, this is the whiskey for you. It’s a heightened and bolder version of the classic bourbon. It has a bit more burn than needed for an everyday sip, making it more of a cocktail bourbon than anything else.

5) The first times in the bottle

Early Times in Bond bottle
The first times

ABV: 50%

Average price: $23 per liter

Bourbon:

Early Times was founded by John Henry Beam (uncle of Jim Beam) in 1860. Its Bottled-In-Bond phrase was discontinued in 1983 before being revived in 2017. This phrase pays homage to the original recipe of 79% Corn , 11% rye, and 10% malted barley. Like all bonded whiskeys, it is aged for a minimum of four years in bonded warehouses.

Tasting notes:

Vanilla, cherries, raisins and honey dominate the nose. The palate is quite sweet, but complex with notes of dried cherries, candied orange peel, pipe tobacco, vanilla pods, caramel and oak wood. The finish is dry, warm and memorable.

Conclusion :

If you’re looking for a spicy and bold bound bourbon, look elsewhere. Early Times is surprisingly smooth with vanilla and dried fruit taking center stage, making for a perfectly blended bourbon.

4) Old Bardstown in a bottle

Old Bardstown bottled in Bond
Old Bardstown

ABV: 50%

Average price: $20

Bourbon:

Named after an iconic thoroughbred horse, Willett’s Old Bardstown Bottled-In-Bond has a mash bill of 72% corn, 15% malted barley and 13% rye. Unlike some fined bourbons, Old Bardstown barrels are said to spend up to 10 years aging in new charred American oak barrels.

Tasting notes:

There is plenty of spice on the nose of this whisky, highlighted by aromas of cinnamon candy, vanilla, caramel and lightly peppery spice. The palate is more than just spicy with sweet dried fruit, cinnamon sugar, maple candy, butterscotch, vanilla, oak and a nice touch of pepper to tie it all together.

Conclusion :

There’s definitely a great mix of spice and sweetness at play here. This one earns bonus points for being good enough for this price, though we’re still squarely in “I’d use this as a blender” territory.

3) Old vat bottled under bond

Old bottled vat on bail
Jim Beam

ABV: 50%

Average price: $22

Bourbon:

This unchill-filtered, bond-bottled bourbon comes from Jim Beam. Originally, it was only available at the distillery’s gift shop. In 2020, it became a limited release offer available in-store. Distilled with Beam’s signature wort of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley, it is aged for a minimum of four years in new, charred American oak barrels in bonded warehouses and aged bottled at 100 degrees.

Tasting notes:

There’s a lot going on with the nose of this whisky. There are aromas of candied pecans, caramel, slightly peppery rye and cinnamon. On the palate you will find notes of caramel corn, nutty sweetness, dried fruit, butterscotch and rich oak. The finish is sweet and fruity with just a hint of baking spice.

Conclusion :

This is a surprisingly cheap whiskey for its quality. It is complex, savory and well-balanced with warm spice and sweet flavors of hazelnut and fruit. This beats Beam Bonded above for that lack of filtration, adding a bit more character to this one.

2) Evan Williams bottled on bail

Evan Williams bottled up in Bond
Evan Williams

ABV: 50%

Average price: $19

Bourbon:

Heaven Hill’s award-winning 100-proof bail-bottled bourbon has the same mash bill as JW Dant above, but with a few more nuances. Yet this is aged for a minimum of four years and bottled in the same place.

Tasting Notes:

Classic aromas of vanilla, rich oak, butterscotch and dried fruit are heavy on the nose. It’s very inviting and leads to a palate of vanilla cream, orange peel, cinnamon sugar, raisins, dried cherries and a nice touch of spicy cracked black pepper. It all ends with a warm, dry and slightly spicy finish.

Conclusion :

There are few bargain-priced bond-bottled bourbons better than Evan Williams. It is complex, slightly spicy and loaded with flavors of caramel and vanilla. It’s a great and potent iced drink or killer cocktail base.

1) Old Grandpa Bound

Old Grandpa Bound
Jim Beam

ABV: 50%

Average price: $20

Bourbon:

The jewel in Jim Beam’s “Olds” crown, the old grandfather on this classic bottle is none other than Basil Hayden (who also has a whiskey named after him). This spiced whiskey with a high rye content – 63% corn, 27% rye and 10% malted barley – is aged for at least four years in bonded warehouses.

Tasting notes:

On the nose, you will find aromas of caramel corn, grilled vanilla pods, candied orange peel, brown sugar and a nice touch of peppery spices. The palate is a nice blend of sweetness and spice with orange zest, butterscotch, toasty oak, vanilla, cinnamon and cracked black pepper. It all ends with a warm blend of sweet citrus, creamy vanilla and peppery spices.

Conclusion :

There’s a reason Old Grand-Dad Bonded is loved by bartenders and drinkers alike. It’s bold and spicy, but has enough sweetness to counter the heat. It’s a great sipping whiskey as well as a great base for your favorite bourbon cocktails. It wins today because it’s always cheap, tasty, and available.

Freeda S. Scott