Best Medium Whiskey Under $ 40


JANELLE JONES

We all want a top shelf that impresses. But without a sturdy mid-shelf of $ 40-plus bottles that you can pour without a second thought, all you have is a trophy case instead of something you actually live with. These solid everyday staples make things special just that, special, not the bottle you empty after a few weeks of after work drams. It doesn’t mean buying big obvious brands. Recently, in an effort to keep price-conscious young drinkers away from their White Claw, mid-range whiskey distillers have sparked a renaissance worthy of further adoration. While there have been values ​​exceeding their price for years, like Rittenhouse and Buffalo Trace, these new bottles of old styles or revived innovations provide real pleasure and just might keep those high end bottles dusty a little longer. . Also, a little more whiskey and a little less fortified seltzer is probably a good thing.


dewars

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Japanese Dewar smooth
25 $ (40% ABV)

Take a honeyed scotch like Dewar’s and age it in Japanese mizunara casks and you get what the label says: smooth. Try it as a highball or just enough complex sipper.

Shop at the Reservebar


old tub

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Old Bath
23 $ (50% ABV)

Once Beam’s original flagship whiskey, this unfiltered, strong-tasting but very drinkable delight is now available nationwide for the price of a fine cocktail.

Shop at Drizly


manufacturers mark

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Manufacturer’s mark 101
$ 39 (50.5% blood alcohol level)

Wheat bourbons like Maker’s are known for their sweetness, but when you increase the proof all the way to 101 it becomes a more robust player with more vanilla and spice.

Shop at Drizly


ezra streams

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Ezra Brooks 99
25 $ (49.5% ABV)

A prototypical bourbon with vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and a hint of peanuts. It’s not much different from a candy bar, in a good way.

Shop at Drizly


compass

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Compass Box Glasgow Blend
$ 38 (43% blood alcohol level)

Snobs may laugh at the mixes, but this one will convince them otherwise. About 62 percent is single malt, of course, but it’s the clever sherry and smoky playfulness that make this a standout product.

Shop at the Reservebar


super jones

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Grand Jones Bourbon
40 $ (43% blood alcohol level)

From Manhattan’s first (legal) distillery since Prohibition, this is a lighter, smoother whiskey, with just a hint of spice and oak.

Shop at the Reservebar


This article appears in the Winter ’20 / ’21 issue of Esquire. Subscribe here.

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Freeda S. Scott