After having some interesting discussions lately about whiskey price points and at what price do you have to pay for a decent whiskey, some saying you can’t get anything decent for under $50, I thought I’d embark on a journey to find decent whiskies for under $35 a bottle.
If you can guess by the pictures, 1st up is the Missouri Spirits House Bourbon, an 80 proof young small batch. Now, before I go into it, just so you know, I do plan to seek out all the Bourbon, Scotch, Irish, Canadian and any others that may fit the criteria, the first just happens to be a bourbon.
This one typically runs between $27-$35. I’m currently drinking it neat in a nosing glass with just the slightest splash of water to open up the nose. It opens up with slightly sweet caramel on the nose, surrounded by vanilla, a touch of oak and just a hint of spice.
The oak is more apparent on the palate than the nose, noticeable but not overwhelming or off putting. Not as sweet as the nose might suggest but, hints of caramel and vanilla mix harmoniously throughout with slight notes of dried dark fruit & spice right in the finish. The texture is silky smooth and it’s very mellow for a young bourbon with no burn to speak of and it drinks neat beautifully.
With more age it may develop more and become more complex, but it’s very drinkable and extremely enjoyable as is. And… at only $27, the price I paid for this one, you can drink well and not break the bank. I personally have paid much more for whiskies I didn’t enjoy as much.
I did a video over my 50th birthday on May 24th, this was one of 3 whiskies I drank both neat and on the rocks, so, in that spirit, I’ll do a short bit on the rocks version.
Maybe even a tad sweeter on the nose on the rocks version. I drink primarily neat, but I find it very enjoyable cold on these hot & humid days.
The slight melt off makes it feel just a touch sweeter on the taste than neat. Both versions are highly enjoyable and I recommend this $27 bourbon highly and I always feel good when supporting a small local distillery.
Danny Boy Irish Whiskey, an 80 proof twice distilled Irish from Cooley. They tell you to look for vanilla & toasted wood as well as caramel, toffee & sweet fruits and a hint of spice.
The full retail on this was $24.99, but I found it on sale for $16.94. Pictured is some on the rocks, but as I sit here and write I’m drinking it neat with just a splash of water.
A lot of vanilla & toasted wood on the nose, just like their website states. Big vanilla on the flavor as well, light toasted oak as well as the toffee notes they tell you to look for. Sweet fruits? Why not, I do believe I’m detecting a hint of apple and white grape with just a hint of spice. Maybe a tad rougher around the edges than many Irish whiskies at similar price points I’ve had, but it is bolder than most.
It is smooth enough to drink neat though and it also lends itself well to drinking on the rocks. I do believe she’d mix well if that’s your thing and at at the price point, you wouldn’t feel bad doing so.
For my taste buds there are a few others I enjoy, but, this one at under $20 a bottle is certainly worth a look.
On the rocks: slightly sweet on the nose with notes of caramel, honey and vanilla being the dominant aromas with just hints of oak & spice. The oak is more apparent on the palate, but not overwhelming in any way and is highlighted by the toffee, vanilla & honey and bright spice notes.
Neat: Slight warm spice on the nose as well as small hints of oak, vanilla & toffee, much less sweet on the nose served neat. The mouthfeel is silky and it’s amazingly smooth. Served neat the spice is dominant, the sugars follow with slight hints of vanilla that are brightened by just the slightest hints of brown sugar, honey & toffee surrounded by the white oak. For me, this is a steal at only $25 a bottle and I’d surely buy this again!
Rock Town Arkansas Hickory Smoked Whiskey, I found this interesting whiskey for only $29.98. Above is the picture just before I did a video on it last night with it poured both neat and rocks, so, as I write this I once again poured it neat and rocks. Neat: A jigger poured into the Rock Town Nosing(Glencairn)glass, this whiskey uses a wheat mash making it slightly sweet on the nose giving way to that beautiful hickory smoke and just a hint of spice to accent. Monumentally smooth and silky, wheat mash sweetness initially, much like the nose and then giving way to that incredible hickory smoke. Maybe a hint of apple and a touch of spice to finish. Rocks: the neat pour is a tad sweeter on the nose, the smoke isn’t bigger on the rocks pour, but it is more noticeable without the sweetness. On the rocks I’m also getting herbal, almost hay like notes I didn’t get on the neat pour. Oddly enough, although I don’t feel the sweetness on the nose on this rocks pour, it does drink sweeter cold with a touch of melt off. Much sweeter in fact and then there it is, bigger than life, HICKORY SMOKE BABY! This whiskey is enjoyable either way, however, I’ll most likely finish this bottle neat, it is winter after all!
I first heard of them through a beer friend, Dale of Craft Beer Central, he sent me a beer, well a few beers from Upslope brewing, one was a Manhattan inspired brew aged in their rye barrels. I was so intrigued that when i finally found it I just had to buy it and it’s not priced bad at only $34 a bottle.
The bottle I have came from barrel #337 according to the bottle, it looks trustworthy, I have no reason to doubt it.
They tell you on their website you may get flavors and aromas of vanilla, pear, oak & raspberry. I’ve enjoyed it neat, straight up and on the rocks and I got everything, but the raspberry. As we speak, I just poured a shot neat, so here’s what I’m getting right at the moment: The Nose: Oak & spice including hints of cinnamon and allspice, soft vanilla creme and just a touch of the pear.
Flavor: They tell you subtle oak on their site, to me the oak isn’t subtle, it’s not unpleasant, but it’s not subtle. The oak works it’s way through every sip enhancing the other flavors of vanilla, pear and spice that include cinnamon & allspice with just a hint of black pepper right at the end. They call it an American Small Batch Whiskey and not a bourbon, but it does have a mash bill of corn & rye. The result for me though is it feels almost like a bourbon and Irish whiskey hybrid. A fine whiskey and a definite buy again for me and I will look for other products.
Now, I’ve had this one before, but it had been a while. I came across it again, on sale for only $21.97, I kid you not!
The bottle says it’s a 92 Proof, Very Special Small Batch Bourbon.
Rocks: They tell you aromas of fresh bread and toffee with a note of butterscotch. I’ll add on this rocks pour, hints of spiced apple.
They tell you to look for flavors of butter caramel, honeyed notes and a rich mouthfeel. Buttery caramel for sure, slightly sweet vanilla & oak in the finish with a hint of spice.
Larceny Neat: Aroma: Certainly the fresh bread, toffee and butterscotch they mention on their site along with spiced fruit & oak.
Flavors: Buttery dark caramel, bits of honey, finishing with notes of spiced vanilla and oak.
The latest to add is the West Cork Bourbon Cask Blended Irish Whiskey, 80 proof, about $25 a bottle, drinking some neat as we speak.
Soft, sweet vanilla creme on the nose, along with light caramel & oak.
I just poured a jigger on the rocks in the glass you see above that reads,”Reward Yourself”.
On the rocks I’m picking up more fruit aromas than I did neat, that of fresh apple, pear and cherry come to mind, the vanilla, caramel and oak are very slight on the nose.
Sweet, crisp apple initially, slight hints of pear, toffee, vanilla and charred oak showing up towards the finish.
A darn fine blended Irish Whiskey for the money.
As you may be able to tell from that picture, it was taken at Christmas, Santa brought me this bottle of Rock Town Arkansas Hickory Smoked Whiskey and although Santa brought it, I have it on good authority that was slightly less than $30 a bottle.
You may notice that this is a repeat, but I decided to put it back because again, you may notice the label change.
To be exact, this bottle was $29.25, a bargain and a whiskey that I do buy often.
Neat: Aromas of oak, sweet vanilla and pungent back walnut are most apparent, you may also get herbal & stone fruit notes as well and let’s not forget that beautiful hickory smoke that lays softly through it all.
Flavors of mildly sweet toffee, vanilla, robust black walnut finishing with that beautiful hickory smoke, bright spice notes and dry oak.
Rocks: Nose: Nutty & herbal with black walnut in the forefront followed by vanilla, peach and oak.
Hot diggity dang I love this whiskey! That hickory smoke just weaves itself through the entire drink, noticeable but not overpowering. Mildly sweet light toffee with vanilla undertones, black walnut, finishing with oaky spice.
The first time I had this whiskey I described it as “If Americans Invented Scotch Whiskey”, this is what it would taste like.
Now onto smoked whiskey in a different way, “Mountain Maid” Smoked Ozark Corn Whiskey from White Mule, she clocks in @ 80 proof.
It’s an interesting whisky from this small distillery just outside of Purdy Mo using Ozark spring water and local grains smoked over hand cut hickory.
Neat: Slightly sweet & smoky on the nose, raw sugar sweetness upfront giving way to slight herbal & grain notes and ending with that beautiful hickory smoke.
This was $30 a bottle and worth every penny! You CAN actually taste the quality of this hand crafted white whisky, it just tastes fresh and the clean finish is beyond amazing.
Rocks: Sweet honey creme on the nose along with smoke, smoke and more smoke.
Slightly sweeter upfront on the rocks, flavors of raw sugar & honey, herbal notes, hint of grass and a whole lot of smoke.
I recently returned to this fine distillery to pick up “27”, an aged version of the smoked corn whiskey, I also grabbed the Apple Pie Liqueur.
Redemption High Rye Bourbon, she runs about $27 a bottle.
She’s 92 proof, 60% corn, 36% rye(hence HIGH rye) and 4% barley and aged in new charred oak barrels.
Rocks: Nose: Big toasted oak accompanied by vanilla and a hint of caramel
Taste: Sweet & creamy vanilla mix with light caramel notes finishing with bright rye spice that balances the sweetness beautifully.
FINISH:Pleasantly oaky and semi-dry
Neat: Nose: Warm vanilla, a hint of caramel caressed by oak
Taste: Slightly sweet, honey-like with a touch of light caramel surrounded by tasted oak
Finish: A hint of burnt oak and pleasantly dry.
Overall Impression: A beautiful bourbon for the price and I for one love the high rye with the spice balancing the sweet corn.