A Bourbon Expert's Top Picks For Expensive-Tasting Bottles On A Budget

If you want to know what expensive-tasting bourbon is like but don't have the money to actually buy an expensive bottle, then don't worry — Tasting Table spoke with an expert to find out which affordable bourbon bottles are so good that they actually rival pricier brands. The expert in question is Chris Blatner, an executive bourbon steward, the founder of Urban Bourbonist, and the executive director of Bourbon Charity. Blatner also shares his whiskey knowledge on his YouTube channel, "The Urban Bourbon Hour."

When it comes to affordable whiskeys that will easily fool you into thinking the bottle is much more expensive than it is, Blatner shared three bourbon brands. He said, "There are plenty of inexpensive whiskeys that taste amazing. Pick up a bottle of Old Grand-Dad bonded, Evan Williams bottled-in-bond, or Old Forester 100 proof and you'll be just fine." The most expensive of these affordable options is the Old Forester 100 proof, which is priced anywhere between $27 and $36, depending on where you buy from. Meanwhile, the Old Grand-Dad bottle is priced between $26 and $29, so this is a good option if you're looking to reliably spend under 30 bucks. Meanwhile, the Evan Williams option is even cheaper at about 19 bucks for a 750 mL bottle.

How to serve your expensive-tasting yet affordable bourbon

Now that you've acquired an expensive-tasting bourbon, it's time to enjoy a glass. Bourbon can be enjoyed either neat (without ice) or on the rocks (with ice), and it really comes down to personal preference. If you decide to serve it on the rocks, you may want to use whiskey stones, so you don't dilute the whiskey and are able to experience the full flavor profile of the bourbon. On the other hand, some people choose to dilute the bourbon by adding a small amount of water to tone down the strength and soften any harsh flavor notes to make it an overall more enjoyable drink for their specific palate. Whichever route you choose, you may want to consider adding brown sugar to the rim for a sweeter experience — the sweetness from the sugar complements the vanilla and caramel notes of the bourbon.

Additionally, there's always the option of enjoying your bourbon in a cocktail. You can start with one of the most popular whiskey cocktails, the whiskey sour, which can be made with bourbon. For something fruity, you can make yourself a bourbon-blackberry cocktail. For something bubbly, you should opt for a classic French 95 — a spin on the French 75 — which combines bourbon with prosecco.