best bourbons under $100

Alex author
by: ALEX WANG
Founder, writer

So you're looking for some high end bourbon

When you’re looking at this list, you’re probably looking to get some excellent high end bourbon. So, I’ve put together this list of some of the best bourbons under 100 to help point you in the right direction, because there’s unfortunately far too much bourbon that just isn’t worth it.
This list itself will focus on some of the best bourbons under $100 and above $50 because I already have a separate list dedicated to some of the best bourbons under $50, so check that out too while you’re looking for recomendations.
Here’s the general criteria I used so you understand my general thought process.
  • At least “Top Shelf” rated. This also means that some of your favorites might not be on this list because I rated them lower
  • Predominately avoid extremely limited or allocated bourbons so this list is actually useful and actionable
  • I’ll allow barrel picks, because some great bourbons only come as barrel picks
So here are some, but not all, of the best bourbons under $100. This is not going to be a definitive list. But as always, this is my approach on the topic given all the bourbon that I’ve reviewed over the years. This order is based on price. It is not a ranking in terms of quality or rating.
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Best Bourbon Under $100

Best sipping bourbon too

1792 Full Proof

Best Bourbon under $100 #1

Distillery: Barton 1792

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: $50-60

ABV: 62.5%
Don’t forget about Stagg Jr’s cousin – 1792 Full Proof. As the “Full Proof” name might suggest, it’s truly full of fragrance and flavor. It brings its own dense, intense, and dark caramel, orange, dry roasted oak, cinnamon, clove, grass and more.
Be prepared to get jostled by the heat at first, but it gradually transforms into one of the best sipping bourbons. And if you’re wondering how it compares to Stagg Jr, I did the comparison and found it to be a bit more oaky and spicy than Stagg Jr.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Non Chill Filtered

Best Bourbon under $100 #2

Distillery: Wild Turkey

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: ~$50 if you find it in duty free. Shipping will cost a lot more

ABV: 58.4%
This one’s an outlier because it’s export / duty-free only, but it’s so good that I have to include it. If you can find this along your travels, this is an incredibly complex and unique Wild Turkey bourbon that drinks far older and more mature than the normal Rare Breed.
There’s a great earthy sweetness with dark berries, chocolate, tobacco, and more that smells and tastes like luxury. I even picked this over Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel in a comparison.
If you see it during your international travels, don’t overthink it…just buy it. No…no…stop thinking about it, just get a bottle and be very pleased with yourself.

I book a lot of my travel using Agoda because there are so many options (and affordable ones too). So if you’re planning to travel to visit distilleries, buy whiskey, explore, or whatever you have planned, try out Agoda (part of Booking.com so it’s legit). Cheers!

-Alex

Stagg Jr

Best Bourbon under $100 #3

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: $50 (MSRP, so good luck)

ABV: Varies, usually low to mid 60’s
If I’m picking one super difficult to find bourbon, it has to be Stagg Jr. This has been my personal favorite for years, although restocking it is challenging these days for me too. I remember a time when I walked into a store and got two bottles of batch 10 for like $50 and it wasn’t a big deal. Oh how times have changed.
While each small batch is going to be different, you can always expect to get a rich and intense experience full of dark caramel, apple, orange, licorice, and oaky spice. It’s surprisingly fruity and vibrant at times, showing off incredible balance, variety, and complexity.
It’s not the most unique, but you have to try it for yourself to truly understand its awesomeness. Just get ready to do battle because it’ll bite back if you’re not prepared.

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Best Bourbon under $100 #4

Distillery: Wild Turkey

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: $55-65

ABV: 55%
Because this is a single barrel bourbon, your experience will vary. But what I can tell you from personal experience is that Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon is yet another personal favorite, in some ways the more mature and refined version of Wild Rare Breed Bourbon.
It has a similar caramel and vanilla flavor (it’s still bourbon), but has more dark fruit and apple, and smooths out some of the slightly rougher oak and oak spice. It’s beautifully layered and varied, and should find a way onto your shelf. I remember having a bottle before I ever started blogging, and just being amazed how good it was.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Best Bourbon under $100 #5

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Rating: Top Shelf 

Price: $60-80

ABV: In the low to high 60%
Batch over batch, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 12 Year continues to be a caramel and vanilla bomb with supporting oak, cinnamon, apple, and tobacco. While it’s not the most complex and varied bourbon on this list, it just goes on and on endlessly with the caramel, vanilla, and oak. I’ve been hooked on this for years.
It has fragrance and flavors for days, and is one of the best sipping bourbons that will have you smelling and slowly sipping for a while. Even better, the high ABV is usually surprisingly manageable, although far from docile.
If you can find it (not as easy these days), it’s undoubtedly a worthy high end bourbon.

Four Roses Small Batch Select

Best Bourbon under $100 #6

Distillery: Four Roses

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: $60-80

ABV: 52%
What makes Four Roses Small Batch Select stand out is the awesome blend and dance between caramel, various fruits (cherry, apple, orange, lemon), spiced cola, herbal licorice, and spicy kick that come together to form this rich and complex bourbon that’s different than most of the others on this list.
The non-chill filtration also helps enhance the viscosity and provides extra oiliness, adding a little more something something to the experience. On a side note, buy the barrel proof if you find it too. I’m going to jinx it, but this still isn’t so wildly talked about, so people aren’t lining up at stores and/or clearing shelves when they see it (yet).

Woodinville Single Barrel Cask Strength

Best Bourbon under $100 #7

Distillery: Woodinville

Rating: Top Shelf 

Price: $70-80

ABV: Varies, usually high 50 to low 60%
Woodinville has worked wonders to create a densely sweet and earthy bourbon with a delicate fruity side (peach, apple, cherry, dark berries) that provides an excellent all-around sipping experience.
Did I mention this cask strength single barrel bourbon is  “just” 5 years old? It drinks far older than that and outclasses many bourbons from the big distilleries.
Honestly, it outdoes Old Forester Barrel Proof and is nearly on par with Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel, which is 2-3x the price.
Let me caveat this with the fact that I helped pick this particular barrel (these only come as barrel picks), but if others are as good, then you’re in for a siptastic treat.

Knob Creek 12 Year

Best Bourbon under $100 #8

Distillery: Knob Creek (Jim Beam)

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: $60-80

ABV: 50%
With mature and rich caramel, vanilla, dark oak, chocolate, and tobacco that are generally reserved for more expensive bourbon, Knob Creek 12 Year is worthy of being considered one of the best sipping bourbons. At least for me, I didn’t get much, if any, of the signature (and divisive) Beam nuttiness either.
With Booker’s getting more expensive, I think Knob Creek 12 Year is the better buy, especially when it has some distinctive traits compared to what else is on this list.

Joseph Magnus Bourbon

Best Bourbon under $100 #9

Distillery: Joseph Magnus (sourced bourbon)

Rating: Top Shelf

Price: $80-100

ABV: 50%
Joseph Magnus Bourbon is one of the few finished bourbons that’s somewhat available and also a worthy high end bourbon. You get the rich dark berries, dates, and vanilla funk from the brandy and sherry finishes, as well as the roasted oak and oak spices from both the bourbon and finishes. It’s just an awesome marriage.
Still, finished bourbon can be a little polarizing. The more intense (and some might consider overpowering) dark fruit sweetness (e.g., prune, date) and funk aren’t for everyone. But if you’re not put off by that, it’s a fantastic high end option to familiarize yourself with the wonderfully diverse world of finishes.

Widow Jane 12 Year Single Barrel

Best Bourbon under $100 #10

Distillery: Widow Jane (sourced from MGP)

Rating: Top Shelf+

Price: $90-100 (maybe a hair over $100 at times)

ABV: 49.5%
Admittedly, Widow Jane 12 Year only come as barrel picks, so you’re not going to get a uniform experience across barrels let alone find it everywhere. But the one barrel I happened to get of this MGP-sourced bourbon was INCREDIBLE. I mean, just wow, please give me more.
It came out nowhere to blow my mind with how much dark fruit (and fruit in general) there was mixed in with the very rich caramel, roasted oak, tobacco, and spice. Just incredibly deep, complex, and superb. If other barrels are anything close to it, it’ll be a worthwhile splurge and truly one of the best high end bourbons that still sits on shelves.

Redemption 10 Year Barrel Proof Bourbon

Best Bourbon under $100 #11

Distillery: Redemption (sourced from MGP)

Rating: Top Shelf+

Price: ~$100

ABV: 57.2%
This is hands down one of the best bourbons you can still buy today (emphasis on still). While it was sourced from MGP, Redemption did a masterful job blending this 10 year old cask strength bourbon.
It has super rich caramel, vanilla, apple, cherry, roasted oak, cinnamon, chocolate, and coffee grounds that will challenge, lather, and please your senses, even as an experienced bourbon drinker.
I bought this hoping it would be good, and left completely impressed. I even bought another bottle, which is the highest compliment I can give. This is truly worthy of being called a high end bourbon and one of the best sipping bourbons.

Wait...where's the wheated bourbon?

Look, I’ll even call myself out for not having a wheated bourbon in this list of best bourbon under $100. First off, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is already in the under $50 list, and I actually haven’t found another Top Shelf wheated bourbon yet. Given how difficult Weller anything is to find, not to mention the price, there’s no place for it on this list either.
I also didn’t give Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength or Private Selects a “Top Shelf” rating, and their annual releases are exactly that – one time releases that come and go. So I still have work to do to fill out this list.

Best Bourbon Under $100

Still a work in progress
I recognize that I haven’t reviewed everything (working on it). So, here’s a list of bourbons (not remotely comprehensive) that I haven’t reviewed yet so they haven’t been considered for this list.
  • Old Ezra Barrel proof
  • Baker’s single barrel
  • Larceny barrel proof
  • Old Elk (various releases)
  • Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
  • Joseph Magnus Murray Hill club
  • More craft bourbon

In Conclusion

You have a lot of options with some of the best bourbons under 100, and what you might even consider some of the best sipping bourbons. Try some of the bourbons I’ve mentioned if you haven’t already, try some more, decide what you like, and go from there because there’s some incredible bourbon in this list. Cheers!
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my list of some of the best bourbons under $50 as well.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

There are no sponsors, no media companies, and no nonsense. Support The Whiskey Shelf by Buying Me A Shot.
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