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The Absolute Best Bourbons Under $100, Ranked

Best Bourbon Under $100

The best bourbon under $100 is a wide category. There are easily 100 bottles that could slot into that wide-ranging parameter. But when you narrow it all down to the best bourbons between $90 and $100, you get a glimpse at some of the best bourbons on the shelf right now.

Below, I’m calling out 15 bottles of bourbon that you should know, taste, and enjoy — all between $90 and $100. These bourbons are all prime cuts. There are no losers listed below. That’s not always true of whiskey at this price point, there are some very mid bottles that don’t wow. Iron Smoke, I.W. Harper, Gentleman’s Cut, and Good Times are all very skippable at this price point.

But we’re not here for those. We’re here for the good stuff.

There is one big elephant in the room at this price point too. Some bottles are priced for retail (MSRP) at $99 or near that that you’ll never see at that price point unless you win the lottery (sometimes literally). I did not list those bottles here because we’re dealing with the real-world prices of things and not mythical MSRPs that no one gets access to. So E.H. Taylor’s, BTACs, etc. are not on this list (but will be on later installments with their real-world retail prices).

Let’s dive in!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months

15. Old Elk Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels

Old Elk Port Finished Bourbon
Old Elk

ABV: 54.05%

Average Price: $94

The Whiskey:

This Colorado whiskey has a base of 51% corn, 34% malted barley, and 15% rye. That whiskey rests for five years before it’s batched and re-barrelled into 59-gallon port casks from Portugal. After 10 months to a year, those barrels are batched and bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This is crafty bourbon turned up to 11 with a sweet porridge nose, raw leather, cold apple cider, and a hint of fresh oak on the nose.

Palate: There’s a honey-apple crisp sweetness on the opening of the palate that leads right back into that slurry of sweet porridge — now with a white grits edge — before a nice ABV buzz (not burn) leads to orchard barks, winter spice mixes, and a soft sense of cherry bark.

Finish: The finish holds onto the buzziness as the fruit wood and spice settle into a soft and sweet grit ending.

Bottom Line:

This is just good bourbon. The port is perfectly balanced with a deep crafty graininess that works wonders. It’s kind of like a nourishing bowl of grits cut with stewed and spiced dark fruits and syrups on a cold morning.

The warmth of the ABVs is also very well balanced, creating a lovely, warming sipping experience.

14. Lost Lantern Single Distillery Series New Riff Distilling Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Lost Lantern Single Cask Series New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Lost Lantern

ABV: 58.1%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

This single cask bottling from Lost Lantern is a one-of-a-kind Kentucky barrel from New Riff Distilling (across the river from Cincinnati). The whiskey in the barrel was a low-corn bourbon (65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley) aged for four years. The barrel was bottled at cask strength and yielded around 196 bottles.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This opens with a deep burnt caramel sweetness that gives way to five-spice powder over fatty smoked pork next to dark cherry cola and rich and clear tobacco.

Palate: That tobacco is fresh and vibrant on the palate as the fatty smoked pork drives the taste toward rich dark chocolate sauce, winter spice medleys, and campfire toasted marshmallows.

Finish: Mulled wine and apple cider spices drive the finish to some wet brown sugar, more dark cherry cola, and a hint of a buttermilk biscuit with marmalade just kissed with that five-spice powder before the heat really kicks in a mutes everything with a loud numbing mouthfeel.

Bottom Line:

This is a fun and fresh sipper that makes for a great food pairing whiskey, especially if you’re leaning into East Asian flavors. The warmth of the ABVs balances beautifully with the sharp spices and soft sweetness to create a wonderful slow sipper.

13. Kings County Distillery Bottled-In-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Kings County

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $96

The Whiskey:

This crafty whiskey from New York is a grain-to-glass bourbon experience. The mash bill on this one eschews rye and wheat for 80% locally grown corn supported by 20% malted barley from England. The juice is then aged for four years in small 15-gallon barrels treated according to the law and bottled in Kings County’s signature hip flask bottles.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This draws you in with a strawberry shortcake with a cornmeal base, topped with fresh berries, buttery vanilla whipped cream, and then dipped in a caramel sauce.

Palate: The palate veers away from all of that and touches on bitter black coffee syrup with brown sugar and butter notes next to oatcakes and vanilla sauce with a hint of spice lingering in the background.

Finish: The end is long and full of chocolate malts, leather, and more of that creamy and buttery vanilla whipped cream.

Bottom Line:

This is another crafty bourbon that has a great balance of grains and deep spice with the perfect hint of bitterness, creating a well-rounded sipper. This is the sort of pour you reach for when you want to try what’s new in bourbon.

12. Pinhook Straight Bourbon Whiskey 2023 Vertical Series Bourbon “Bourbon War” Aged 8 Years

Pinhook Vertical 8 Series Bourbon

ABV: 57.3%

Average Price: $92

The Whiskey:

This is an instant classic from Kentucky’s Pinhook. The whiskey is hewn from a mash bill of 75% corn, 20.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley distilled at MGP of Indiana and aged at Castle & Key (in Kentucky). The whiskey was left alone for eight years before batching and bottling as-is.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with toasted raisin bread, cinnamon butter, dates, prunes, and figs with a nice layer of leathery dark berries cut with bright orange zest.

Palate: Soft caramel opens the palate before sharp winter spice barks stewing dark plums, sticky toffee pudding, and vanilla buttercream lead to fresh gingerbread.

Finish: The end leans into the rich buttercream and woody spices with a soft sense of pipe tobacco and Christmas cakes.

Bottom Line:

This is a bright and, well, just gorgeous pour of bourbon. It’s nostalgic while still feeling vibrant and fresh. It also makes one hell of an old-fashioned.

11. Fox & Oden Double Oaked Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Fox & Oden
Fox and Oden

ABV: 49.5%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

The whiskey in this small batch bourbon is rendered from MGP’s 21% and 36% rye bourbon mash bills. The barrels are between eight and 15 years old when they’re married. Once vatted, the whiskey is just touched with water before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: A rich buttery note comes through on the nose with a hint of salted corn next to savory figs with a hint of honey and freshly ground nutmeg mixed with some vanilla cream.

Palate: The palate turns that butteriness into salted caramel with a hint of sticky toffee pudding with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg next to a thin line of charred oak underneath it all.

Finish: The end dries out with a sense of old leather wrapped around an old and dry tobacco leaf with a twinge of raisin.

Bottom Line:

This is another one that’s just a delight to sip. It’s essential American whiskey with a deep yet very concise profile that shines. Sip it slowly and enjoy the ride.

10. Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey Private Select Single Barrel

Woodinville Private Select

ABV: 57.2%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

This craft distillery out in Washington is starting to create a big footprint nationwide. This release is a single barrel pick of five-year-old local grain-to-glass Washington bourbon. The barrel spent exactly five years and four months aging in Central Washington during deeply cold winters and very hot high-desert summers, accelerating the aging process significantly. It was then barreled 100% as-is.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: A dark and almost dried cherry greets you on the nose with a sense of toasted Graham Crackers, maple syrup, and huckleberry pie next to hints of spiced winter cakes and salty dark chocolate.

Palate: Those spicy winter cakes follow on the palate as salted caramel and vanilla cake lead back to a lush cherry ice cream with a hint of dark chocolate and almond.

Finish: That dark chocolate gets creamy and sweet on the finish with a hint of floral honey and nasturtium spice next to a mild sense of old yet sweet oak.

Bottom Line:

This is a distinct whiskey that feels of a place. The wild berries and soft graininess speak to Washington craft spirits with a sense of floral spice and soft mountain honey that all work wonderfully in unison to deliver a great slow-sipping whiskey.

9. Southern Star Paragon Single Barrel Cask Strength Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Southern Star Paragon
Southern Star

ABV: 58%

Average Price: $91

The Whiskey:

This North Carolina bourbon is starting to make some serious waves. This very limited batch of single-barrel bourbon is made from wheated bourbon mash bill with 70% corn, 16% wheat, and 14% malted barley. The hot juice was left for around four years before the barrel was hand-pocked and bottled as-is at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with a sense of orange blossoms and an apple orchard with a hint of pear and plum next to walnut shells, old honey bottles, and rich vanilla sauce with a hint of poppy seed.

Palate: The palate has a touch of dark chocolate powder sweetness that melds with walnuts and honey to make a cluster before the brown spice kicks in with sharp cinnamon and a touch of root beer.

Finish: The end leaves the spice and warmth behind for smooth vanilla walnut cake with a hint of apple-honey tobacco wrapped up with old cedar bark.

Bottom Line:

This whiskey keeps winning big awards. It’s easy to see why once you get your hands on a bottle. It’s deep and keeps delivering more and more nuance and beauty with each successive sip. This is one to take your time with and really dig into. You’ll be rewarded with a very enjoyable sipper.

8. Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel Barrel Strength

Old Forester Single Barrel

ABV: 65%

Average Price: $97

The Whisky:

This is classic Old Forester from a single barrel that’s not cut with water for bottling. When you find these, they’ll generally be a pick from a retailer or bar program. That means they’ll vary slightly, depending on what the person picking the barrel was looking for. Still, there’s a consistency of “Old Forester” running through them all.

Tasting Note:

Nose: There’s a clear sense of dark fruit, especially cherry, that becomes stewed with dark winter spices on the nose with a good dose of dry tobacco in an old cedar box that’s wrapped up in old leather.

Palate: A hint of old dry roses sneaks in on the palate as those spices and syrupy cherry and berries intensify and attach to the chewy tobacco.

Finish: The mid-palate sweetens with an almost rose-water marzipan vibe as the cherry tobacco dried out pretty significantly, leaving you with a sense of pitchy pine sap and your grandparent’s old tobacco pipe that’s still hot to touch.

Bottom Line:

These tend to start off as a cherry bomb, but they go so much further. There’s a massive depth of flavor notes in these single barrel releases from Old Forester that makes them beloved (and also sell out quickly).

7. Booker’s “Charlie’s Batch” 2023-01 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Booker's "Charlie's Batch"
Beam Suntory

ABV: 63.3%

Average Price: $90

The Whiskey:

This first Booker’s Small Batch of 2023 was the one to get. This release is an hommage to Charlie Hutchens — the woodworker who makes Booker’s boxes the whiskey comes in and a long-time family friend to the Noe family who makes Beam whiskeys. The whiskey is a blend of mid to high-floor barrels from five warehouses. Those whiskeys were batched and bottled 100% as-is at cask strength after just north of seven years of aging.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Toasted almonds and walnuts lead the way on the nose with a deep and rich vanilla cake lightly dusted with cacao, dry cherry, and cinnamon with a touch of old oak cellars and black-mold-encrusted old deck furniture.

Palate: The soft caramel and vanilla open the palate before a rush of woody and sharp spices — clove, anise, allspice, red chili pepper — arrive with a sense of old wood chips on a workshop floor leads to salted toffee dipped in roasted almonds and dark salted chocolate with a whisper of cherry cordial backing it all up.

Finish: That soft sweetness counters the hot spices on the slow finish as the spices take on an orange/cherry/vanilla Christmas cake vibe with plenty of nuts and ABV heat.

Bottom Line:

Booker’s is always going to be a good play at this price point. This bottle is a stellar example of the cask-strength whiskey coming out of Beam right now. You really cannot go wrong with these bold sippers.

6. Old Ezra Aged 7 Years Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Old Ezra 7

ABV: 58.5%

Average Price: $97

The Whiskey:

This brand from Luxco is still sourced whiskey though they did start distilling their own in 2018. This bottle is a seven-year-old blend of barrels with a bourbon mash bill of 78% corn, 12% malted barley, and 10% rye, which just so happens to be Heaven Hill’s bourbon mash bill. These barrels are blended down and left as-is at cask strength for bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This is a pretty classic bourbon from nose to finish with a strong sense of rich caramel, pancakes with plenty of vanilla, sweet oak, wet brown sugar, and a whiff of cherry tobacco.

Palate: The palate leans into the woody brown spices as a dark cherry vibe sweetens the mid-palate before this deep sense of nutty Christman cake arrives with a sense of candied citrus, stewed red fruit, and sharp yet sweet winter mulled wine spices.

Finish: The end circles back to that sweet oak and spicy cherry tobacco with a whisper of smudging sage, old boot leather, and brandy-soaked spiced winter cake cut with a fluttering of salt and orange.

Bottom Line:

This is the biggest “hidden gem” at the price point. This is a very good bourbon that never gets the love it deserves. Buy one, dig into that profile, and then make a killer Manhattan with it.

5. Joseph A. Magnus Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Joseph A. Magnus Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Joseph A. Magnus

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

Joseph A. Magnus has been the insider’s bourbon for a while now. This version is made from old barrels of bourbon that were finished in cognac and sherry casks before batching, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: This opens with sticky toffee pudding that amps up the cinnamon and nutmeg next to black-tea-soaked dates next to some stewed prunes wrapped in chili-chocolate-laced tobacco leaves and dripped in honey and then walnuts.

Palate: A savory fruitiness opens the palate with figs and pumpkin that leads towards an apricot jam with a hint of clove and cinnamon next to light touches of old library leather and funk.

Finish: A faint hint of dark berries arrives on the mid-palate before the finish luxuriates in burnt toffee, almond shells, more of that leather, and dried-out apricots.

Bottom Line:

This is an excellent bourbon with the perfect proof point. It’s so sippable neat that you don’t really need a rock or water unless you want to dig deeper into that seemingly bottomless profile. You can also make a great whiskey-forward cocktail with this one.

4. Starlight Distillery Carl T. Huber’s Limited Release Double Oaked Bourbon Whiskey Finished in a Second Oak Barrel French Oak

Starlight Double Oak Bourbon French Oak
Starlight Distillery

ABV: 59.8%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

This is a four-year-old Starlight bourbon that was aged in French oak casks from the jump. Then that same whiskey was refilled into new French oak casks for a final maturation before batching and bottling to help with prostrate cancer research via bottle sales this year.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Your grandma’s caramel candies draw you in on the nose with a light sense of vanilla malts topped with whipped cream and cherry before the oak arrives with a sense of sweetness and light mocha espresso vibes.

Palate: The dark cherry takes on a mild cola feel before it drives toward rich vanilla buttercream cut with poppyseeds and nutmeg next to a hint of that sweet oak dipped in salted caramel.

Finish: Rich tobacco leaves wrap themselves around that caramel oak before a whisper of apple blossom and maybe some brandy-soaked pear round out the finish.

Bottom Line:

This French-on-French bourbon is a vanilla dessert lover’s dream pour. It’s so rich and creamy with a lovely counterbalance of stewed and spiced orchard fruits. Pair this with a dessert course or just make this the dessert — either way, you’ll be in for a real treat.

3. 15 STARS Fine Aged Bourbon Kentucky Stars A Select Blend of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys

15 STARS Kentucky Star

ABV: 52.5%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

15 STARS did it again with this special release. The whiskey in the bottle is a blend of Kentucky straight bourbon that is at least eight years old, with several much older barrels in the mix. The final blend was just kissed with limestone water and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose draws you in with a deep sense of brandied cherries dipped in rich and creamy salted dark chocolate that almost leans into baker’s chocolate with a hint of oily espresso before a soft burnt sugar vibe arrives with a whisper of old sweet oak and worn boot leather.

Palate: The palate leans into a soft sense of cherry tobacco with a chewiness that’s wrapped in that old boot leather, wet cedar bark, and smudging sage with a touch of marmalade and apricot preserve over a buttermilk biscuit just kissed with brown butter cut with cinnamon and molasses.

Finish: The end dries out toward spiced oak staves in an old brick warehouse with plenty of dirt and mold from a fallow orchard, soft brittle dry tobacco leaves, and a medley of nutshells all twinged with orange, cherry, and pear oils.

Bottom Line:

This is a wonderful sipper. It’s so deep and nourishing. You’re transported to an old barrel house in Kentucky where you feel the wood and whiskey in your bones as you sip.

2. Bardstown Bourbon Company Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bardstown Bourbon Company Single Barrel
Bardstown Bourbon Company

ABV: Varies

Average Price: $96

The Whiskey:

This brand-new release from Bardstown Bourbon Company is part of their Origins Series in single-barrel form. The whiskey is their 36% high-rye bourbon mash bill and is selected from prime single barrels from their vast rickhouses. The whiskey is bottled as-is at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Expect a nose full of stewed stone fruits — peach cobbler comes to mind — on the nose with a good sense of baking spices with brown butter, soft brown sugars, and creamy vanilla that leads to salted caramel, touches of dark chocolate, and hints of black licorice with a whisper of fatty roasting herbs.

Palate: The fruit gets brighter on the palate as apricot preserves and blueberry pies drive the taste toward a sense of old rickhouses full of barrels, soft orchard trees on a summer day, and a deep sense of real vanilla pods baking in the sun with a hint of almond nuttiness.

Finish: The end leans into the nuttiness and vanilla husks with a deep oakiness that’s countered by sharp winter spice, grassy smudging sage, and cedar-infused tobacco layered into an old humidor.

Bottom Line:

These single-barrel picks are going to dominate the conversation in 2024. They’re excellent. This is what you want from a sipping whiskey — depth, unique vibes, and deliciousness. These also feel like they’ll make killer whiskey-forward cocktails.

1. Fortuna Rare Character Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Fortuna Rare Character Barrel Proof Bourbon
Rare Character

ABV: 59.41%

Average Price: $94

The Whiskey:

Last year’s Fortuna release was an instant classic. In 2023, the Rare Character team has upped the ante with a cask-strength version and, ho boy, they hit it out of the park. The whiskey in the bottle is a small batch of minimum seven-year-old barrels that were expertly batched and bottled 100% as-is.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with a sense of deeply roasted walnuts, almonds, and chestnuts dipped in salted toffee with a sense of darkly charred old oak staves countered by a lush vanilla cream cut with winter spices.

Palate: The nuttiness drives the palate toward vanilla buttercream next to winter spice cakes filled with rum raisin, candied orange rind, and brandy-soaked cherries before a hint of sticky toffee pudding arrives with a whisper of roasting herbs and sweetgrass.

Finish: Nutshells and dried pipe tobacco round out the finish with a deep winter spice bark vibe before the luscious vanilla creates a creamy landing for the pour that’s part eggnog and part malted vanilla shake cut with peppermint, clove, and sasparilla.

Bottom Line:

This is a mic-drop whiskey. It has everything plus so much more that you could want from a Kentucky bourbon at cask strength. It’s bold, gentle, nuanced, brash, warming, delicate … divine. Pour this into a simple whiskey-forward cocktail and it’ll blow minds. Then show it off as a sipper and tell them where you heard about it!