The 11 Best Bourbons
Under $150

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”
-Raymon Chandler

 

When you first take a sip of a glass of bourbon, savor the moment.  Inhale the scent, and let it coat your tongue because this may be what heaven is like.

As the bourbon makes its way to the back of your throat, and you feel the warmth spreading through your chest and stomach, giving you the feeling that someone has just wrapped a warm blanket around your shoulders- you know it doesn’t get much better than this.  This sensation, known as the Kentucky Hug, often hooks people on the spirit.

And it’s hooking people at an unprecedented rate. The so called Bourbon Boom of the 21st century has seen the popularity of this drink soar, to the point where a bottle may set you back over $3000 USD – that is, if you can even find it to buy.  In 2019, bourbon alone amounted to more than $1.6 billion in revenue.

Related: Neat: The Story of Bourbon Review

Luckily, there is still fantastic bourbon available at reasonable price points. Your first bottle of bourbon will probably be something tasty and cheap, like Knob Creek or Four Roses.  These are great entry-level drinks that will allow you to start exploring the diverse range of ages and flavors available in the bourbon world.  But, when you’re ready to up your game, you’ll want to start exploring the 11 Best Bourbons Under $150.

In the world of whiskey and bourbon there are A LOT of great distilleries with more and more popping up each year and with so many options it can be overwhelming to even start.  Below you’ll find my list of the 11 best bourbons under $150 with information about the distillery, ABV, price, description, and most importantly the tasting notes.

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep

The Bourbon: Master’s Keep- Bottled in Bond
Distillery: Wild Turkey  Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
ABV: 50.5%
Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

First introduced in 2015, this bourbon is aged 17 years and is now released yearly by Wild Turkey.  The mashbill is high in corn, coming in at 75% corn and 13% rye.  Bottled-in-Bond is a term dating back to 1897 as a way of keeping whiskey pure, and means that the government has supervised the production and distilling of the spirit.  There were about 14,400 bottles released in 2020, making this limited release one of the best bourbons under $150.

Tasting Notes:

Unlike their first low-proof release in 2015, this Wild Turkey is bottled at 100 proof.  The vanilla, baked apple, and black cherry tasting notes make it an easily enjoyable bourbon to have on your top shelf.

King’s Country Bourbon

The Bourbon: King’s County 7 Year Old Bourbon
Distillery: Kings Country Distillery New York City
ABV:
53.5%
Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

King’s County Distillery became the first licensed distillery in New York City in over 90 years when it launched in 2010.  This 7 year old release is one the best bourbons under $150, and is the only one on our list that’s not from Kentucky.  It is copper pot-distilled bourbon, bottled at 107 proof, and the mashbill is 80% organic corn and 20% English malted barley.

Tasting Notes:

Tasting notes from the distillery include dry spice, and it is traditional tasting bourbon despite its untraditional home.

Bardstown #4

The Bourbon: Bardstown Discovery Series #4
Distillery: Bardstown Bourbon Company Bardstown, Kentucky
ABV:
 57.5%
Average Price: $130

The Whiskey:

Bardstown Bourbon Company describes itself as “one of the country’s most modern and technically advanced whiskey distilleries.”  The best bourbons under $150 are generally aged more than 10 years, and their latest release uses a collaborative mix of three aged bourbons, ranging in age from 10 to 13 years.

Tasting Notes:

While they don’t release the specific bourbons used to create the blend, the result ends up being sweet, with notes of caramel, oak, dried figs, and dates.

Related: 11 best bourbons for an Old Fashioned

Michter’s 10 year

The Bourbon: Michter’s 10 Year – 2020 Release
Distillery: Michter’s Distillery Louisville, Kentucky
ABV:
47.2%
Average Price: $140

The Whiskey:

This 10 year old bourbon is made for sipping, with notes of chocolate and caramel, earning it a place as one of the best bourbons under $150.  Noted by Food & Wine Magazine as the “Best American Whiskey,” this well balanced bourbon is sourced from undisclosed distilleries around Kentucky.

Tasting Notes:

Michter’s does not disclose their mashbill, but the assumption is this one’s a little higher in the rye category, giving it a spicy, earthy finish.

Woodford Reserve

The Bourbon: Very Fine Rare Bourbon
Distillery: Woodford Reserve / Brown-Forman Distillery Woodford County, Kentucky
ABV:
45.2%
Average Price: $130

The Whiskey:

This is the 15th release from Woodford Reserve, and includes bourbons ranging in age from 11 to 17 years.  While it tips its hat at tradition, this release according to the Master Distiller Chris Morris is “about present and future.”

It’s unusually low ABV results in Woodford Reserve’s 2020 release being easily accessible, while still making it one of the 11 best bourbons under $150.  It is well valued, and a welcome addition to any budding bourbon collection.

Tasting Notes:

The taste is honey and oak heavy, with smoke, vanilla, and a little fruit rounding it out.

Rock Hill Farms

The Bourbon Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel Bourbon
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac Company)
ABV: 50%
Average Price: $140

The Whiskey:

Rock Hill Farms is a single barrel bourbon, with the same mashbill as Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo trace bourbons are often limited release, making them difficult to find, but this release from Rock Hill Farms is not a rare release, making it one of the best bourbons under $150.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla and oak feature predominantly in the palate, finishing with a caramel and smoke taste.  This bourbon is deep and complex, in an absolutely gorgeous etched decanter bottle with a glass stopper that will look great on your shelf.

Kentucky Owl – Confiscated

The Bourbon: Kentucky Owl Confiscated Bourbon
Distillery: Kentucky Owl
ABV: 48.2%
Average Price: $125

The Whiskey:

In 1916, a warehouse of Kentucky Owl barrels was confiscated by the government, marking the end of Kentucky Owl for nearly a century.  The Master Blender’s grandson brought the brand back in 2014, and “Confiscated” is now available across all 50 states.

Tasting Notes:

The tasting notes are sweet, leathery, and a bit of pipe tobacco.  For the history alone, this drink with a cult-like following is worth having as one of the 11 best bourbons under $150.

Booker’s Pigskin Batch

The Bourbon: Booker’s Pigskin Batch
Distillery: Jim Beam. Clermont, Kentucky
ABV: 63.65%
Average Price: $100

The Whiskey:

Most of the best bourbons under $150 are chill filtered, but not this Booker’s Pigskin Batch released by Jim Beam.  Non-chill filtration means that the liquid is not cooled during the filtration process, meaning that the subtle and complex cask flavors are not lost by chilling the liquid to as low as 0°C.  That lends itself nicely to this 6 year old bourbon with dominate oak notes from the barrel, followed by cinnamon and a burnt caramel finish.

Tasting Notes:

Booker’s gives detailed information on their batch makeup if you want to really get to know these bourbons inside and out.  And since this bourbon comes from the Beam Family 7th Generation Master Distiller, you know this bourbon has to be good.

Old Fitzgerald

The Bourbon Old Fitzgerald 13 Year
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown, KY
ABV: 50%
Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

Not too many of the best bourbons under $150 have a high wheat mashbill, but this Old Fitzgerald 13 Year has 75% corn and 20% wheat.  Like the Wild Turkey Master’s Keep, it is also bottled-in-bond, aged in a federally bonded warehouse

Tasting Notes:

Despite being a wheated bourbon at 100 proof, this spirit has a kick, and has some mild spice notes.

W. L. Weller 

The Bourbon: W. L. Weller 12 Year
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac Company)
ABV: 45%
Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

Weller 12 Year was described by Josh Ozersky in 2015 as the bourbon that wasn’t quite good enough to become Pappy Van Winkle, which caused a surge in popularity.  While this “poor man’s Pappy” can be difficult to find, it makes the cut as one of the best bourbons under $150.

Tasting Notes:

W.L. Weller 12 is a wheated bourbon, sweet with lots of vanilla and spice.  It is a smooth drinking bourbon, and an excellent substitute when Pappy is just a little too far out of the price range.

Baker’s 13 Year Single Barrel

The Bourbon: Baker’s 13 Year Single Barrel
Distillery: Jim Beam. Clermont, Kentucky
ABV: 53.5%
Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

The final on our list of the best bourbons under $150 is Baker’s 13 Year Single Barrel.  In 2019, Baker’s began releasing their 7 and 13 year aged bourbons as single barrel, meaning that your bottle of bourbon has come from one single barrel – it’s not mixed.  This means that individual bottles can (and will!) taste different, even under the same label.

Tasting Notes:

This 107 proof bourbon is rich with tobacco and fruit, and comes with the scent of baked goods and chocolate.  It may be worth getting two of these bottles from different barrels to compare and contrast the flavors.

There you have the list of, in my opinion, the best bourbons under $150.  

How many have you had? Which ones are on your bucket list? If you haven’t tried all of them yet, well, what are you waiting for?

And if you do pick up one of the bottles on this best bourbon under $150 list, shoot me a DM on Instagram over at @ofwhiskeyandwords for a chance to get featured!

Stay Gold

Todd

About Todd Smidt

Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.

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