15 Best Whiskeys for Under $35

It doesn’t have to be super expensive or aged for ages to deserve a spot on your bar.

two bottles of whiskey in a collage
Updated May 28, 2024
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In the realm of whiskey, price doesn't always dictate quality. While there are certainly high-end bottles worth the splurge, there are also many affordable options that have exceptional flavor, complexity, and character that won’t break the bank.

Whether you're a seasoned whiskey enthusiast or just starting to sample this beloved amber spirit, here are some solid options under $35 that deserve a place on your shelf without jeopardizing your financial fitness.

Editor’s note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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1792 Small Batch

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-1792 Small Batch

Price: $23.99

Named after the year Kentucky joined the union, 1792 Small Batch Bourbon is a staple whiskey in many collections. It’s characterized by rye, vanilla, and caramel throughout the smelling and sipping experience.

Fans enjoy it neat or mixing an Old Fashioned with this classic bourbon.

Buffalo Trace Small Batch

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Buffalo Trace Small Batch

Price: $26.99

Buffalo Trace is well known for its limited edition products, but their flagship bourbon has layers of flavor, ranging from fruity notes like cherry to vanilla and caramel sweetness.

Aficionados recommend having it on the rocks for sipping and appreciate that it’s exceptionally smooth and consistent from bottle to bottle.

Bulleit Bourbon

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Bulleit Bourbon

Price: $23.99

Bulleit is a daily sipping spirit for connoisseurs on a budget that doubles as a mixer for cocktails like Kentucky Mules and Spiked Arnold Palmers.

In addition to classic bourbon flavors like vanilla and oak, cinnamon stands out in the nose and flavor. It’s a solid, well-balanced spirit.

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Early Times Bottled in Bond

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine Early Times bourbon whiskey

Price: $15.99
Early Times Bottled in Bond is truly a “bottom shelf king.” Its aroma is the best part, filled with woody, earthy notes, followed by a super warm sip. The finish lingers with a hint of licorice.

Reviewers say that for the price, it’s hard to believe it doesn’t burn more going down.

Elijah Craig Small Batch

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Elijah Craig Small Batch

Price tag: $26.99

Nuttiness and oakiness are highlights of this whiskey, though, in taste and smell, there’s a good deal of grassiness along with more classic flavors like vanilla and caramel.

There’s a kiss of fruitiness at the finish, rounding out a sip that fans say is not complex but is satisfying.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Courtesy of Total Wine Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Price: $17.49

This whiskey may be young, but its peanutty, caramel sweetness and baked vanilla flavor mask any graininess. For a bottle this cheap at this proof, aficionados ardently explain it’s a great deal.

It’s the workhorse you reach for when you want a mixed drink at the end of the day.

Four Roses Small Batch

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Four Roses Small Batch

Price: $29.99

Four Roses is the Goldilocks of affordable whiskey, thanks to the balance of caramel, spice, oak, and fruitness that’s just right. The long finish stands out, too, encouraging you to keep sipping.

Customers love the quality you get for the price and enjoy it on the rocks or in an Old Fashioned.

George Dickel 8 Year

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-George Dickel 8 Year

Price: $25.99

Starting with a berry-forward aroma with floral notes and progressing into a strong and spicy maple flavor, George Dickel 8 Year is made like a classic Tennessee whiskey but skews bourbon.

Not surprisingly, fans say it’s smooth and warm and great neat or on the rocks.

Jim Beam Double Oak

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Jim Beam Double Oak

Price: $19.99

Ages in not one but two charred white oak barrels, this spirit delivers on the promise of oakiness throughout. It also has a classic chocolaty caramel note in the nose with vanilla and fruit in the flavor.

Reviewers recommend using Jim Beam Double Oak in mixed drinks.

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Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian Whisky

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Kirkland Signature Canadian Whisky

Price: $27.36 (1.75ml bottle)

The only reason Crown Royal didn’t make this list is because Costco’s Canadian whisky tastes just like the stuff and is significantly cheaper. The only difference is that it’s a bit spicier.

Fans speculate it’s made by the same folks, but the rumor has yet to be substantiated.

Knob Creek Small Batch

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Knob Creek Small Batch

Price: $32.99

With a long history and esteemed reputation, Knob Creek arguably sets the standard for excellent yet affordable whiskey. It delivers all of the classic aromas and flavors beautifully — vanilla, caramel, oak, and spice — at 100 proof.

Whether you mix it or sip it, you’ll enjoy it.

Larceny Small Batch Bourbon

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Larceny Small Batch Bourbon

Price: $28.99

This wheaty bourbon is often overlooked, but it’s a worthy addition to your bar thanks to its beautifully complex nose, sweet and nutty yet grassy and spicy flavor, and no-nonsense finish.

It’s a great daily sipper per aficionados, whether neat or on the rocks.

Maker's Mark

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Maker's Mark

Price: $22.99

Maker's Mark is a true Kentucky classic, with a sweet and rich toffee aroma and flavor combined with deep, rich fruit. It’s wheaty due to the lack of rye in the recipe, as well as extra smooth.

Plenty of fans keep a bottle of this O.G. on the bar for Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

Russel's Reserve 10 Year

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Russel's Reserve 10 Year

Price: $32.99

From distillery O.G. Wild Turkey, Russel’s Reserve has a more refined body and smoother flavor than the flagship Wild Turkey offering. The profile has shifted a bit over the years, but it’s still a worthy contender.

Vanilla-forward, sweet, nutty, oaky, and spicy; enjoy it neat or on the rocks.

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Courtesy of Total Wine Total Wine-Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey

Price: $21.99

Most truly noteworthy Irish whiskeys have a higher price point, but this spirit has a fruity nose, smooth vanilla taste, and spicy citrusy finish worth trying.

Best enjoyed neat, reviewers point out it lacks the burn of comparable Jameson, giving it the edge.

Bottom line

Atlas/Adobe male hands clinking whiskey glasses

This collection of affordable whiskey proves that great quality and affordability can go hand-in-hand. From classic Kentucky bourbons to mellow Canadian blends, there's a range of spirits to sample without exceeding your budget, so you can keep more cash in your wallet.

That said, we know you have some higher-end whiskeys in your cabinet that set the bar high. But everyone needs those more affordable staple bottles for that Thursday evening nightcap or hot toddy.

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Author Details

Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.