Whiskey Gift Guide: Bourbons Under $50

By Katelyn Best / December 13, 2016

Eagle RareThe holidays are coming, and for many of us, that means an excuse to treat ourselves and our friends to something a little nicer than our everyday drams. But when it comes to spirits, being able to tell the good from the merely expensive is a crucial skill, especially if you’ve got more than one whiskey drinker on your list.

We’re here to help: this list of gift-worthy bourbons under $50 will put you on the right track without breaking the bank.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Wild Turkey 101 has a rough rep in the popular imagination, but the distillery also makes some higher-end whiskeys worthy of sipping slowly. Wild Turkey Rare Breed, a barrel-proof expression, is a blend of 6, 8, and 12-year-old bourbon. It’s a notch up in quality from Wild Turkey 101, but still a great value at $40 or less. In fact, our reviewer gave it the highest score in a roundup of higher-end Wild Turkey bottlings—two of which retail for more than $100.

Old Forester Bottled in Bond

I got the chance to try this bourbon as part of my very first batch of reviews for the Whiskey Wash, and it’s a solid, approachable dram, with big caramel, spice, and fruit notes. Part of the distillery’s Whiskey Row series, it’s bottled at 100 proof, quite a bit higher than their standard 86-proof expression. You can find a bottle online for $40-50.

Knob Creek Small Batch

Knob Creek calls itself the nation’s first small-batch distillery, and more than twenty years after the brand’s inception, their middle-shelf bourbon is still a value that’s hard to beat. It’s a classic bourbon expression, with plenty of vanilla, caramel, and warm spice. You can pick up a bottle for anywhere from $30-$45.

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Four Roses Single Barrel

Among the various higher-end Four Roses bottlings, one bargain that stands out is Four Roses Single Barrel. It got a solid review from us last year, with notes of honey, vanilla, and “an almost savory quality.” At $30-40 a bottle, it’s one of the best bargains out there.

Whiskey Acres Bourbon

If you’re looking for something from a craft distillery, this wheated bourbon from a farm-to-glass distillery in Illinois is an interesting expression. It’s quite corn-forward, crisp, bright, and almost vegetal compared with the classic bourbon profile. For bourbon drinkers who’ve tried everything, this one makes a unique gift at $40-50 online.

Eagle Rare 10 Year

Long one of the best values in bourbon, Eagle Rare is never a bad choice. Reportedly, Eagle Rare is actually hand-selected Buffalo Trace—both are made by the same distillery—aged a few extra years. In any case, it’s a lower-rye bourbon, with well-integrated fruit, oak, and toast. A steal at $25-35 a bottle.