Bourbon whiskey, a beloved American spirit, has a fascinating history that intertwines with the country’s growth, culture, and craftsmanship. From its humble beginnings to its present-day popularity, bourbon has become synonymous with quality and tradition.
In this exploration, we delve into the origins of bourbon and highlight some of the best bourbons under $100, capturing the essence of this iconic drink.
The Birth of Bourbon
The roots of bourbon trace back to the late 18th century in Kentucky. While the exact origin is a subject of debate, it is widely believed that Baptist minister Elijah Craig, known as the “Father of Bourbon,” played a significant role in its creation. Legend has it that Craig stored his whiskey in barrels that had been charred by accident, giving the spirit a distinct flavor. Whether or not this story is entirely accurate, the fact remains that bourbon found its home in the Bluegrass State.
To be classified as bourbon, the spirit must adhere to strict regulations. It must be made from at least 51% corn, distilled to no more than 160 proof, and aged in new charred oak barrels. Additionally, it must be bottled at no less than 80 proof. These rules contribute to the unique flavor profile that distinguishes bourbon from other whiskeys.
The Aging Process
One of the critical factors influencing the taste of bourbon is the aging process. As the whiskey matures in charred oak barrels, it absorbs compounds from the wood, developing complex flavors and aromas. The aging duration varies, but to be labeled as “straight bourbon,” it must age for a minimum of four years. Some bourbons, however, age much longer, acquiring richer, more nuanced characteristics.
Best Bourbons Under $100
While the world of bourbon boasts a wide range of options, there are exceptional choices available at an affordable price. For anyone looking for the best bourbon under $100,here are some options:
1. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
A well-balanced and versatile bourbon, Buffalo Trace offers a smooth and mellow flavor profile. With notes of vanilla, caramel, and a hint of spice, it stands as a testament to the distillery’s commitment to craftsmanship. Priced modestly, Buffalo Trace is an excellent entry point into the world of quality bourbon.
2. Evan Williams Single Barrel
Known for its consistency and depth, Evan Williams Single Barrel is a top choice for those seeking a more refined bourbon experience. Aged for around seven to eight years, it boasts a complex palate with hints of honey, fruit, and oak. Its affordable price tag makes it a standout option for bourbon enthusiasts on a budget.
3. Wild Turkey 101
For those who appreciate a bolder flavor profile, Wild Turkey 101 delivers with a higher alcohol content. With a robust and spicy character, this bourbon offers a delightful kick without compromising on smoothness. Its affordability makes it an attractive option for those looking to elevate their bourbon collection.
4. Four Roses Small Batch
Renowned for its balance and elegance, Four Roses Small Batch combines the flavors of multiple bourbon recipes. The result is a well-rounded and approachable whiskey with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a subtle floral undertone. Its affordable price makes it a staple for bourbon connoisseurs seeking quality without the premium cost.
5. Maker’s Mark 46
Building on the success of Maker’s Mark, Maker’s Mark 46 takes the experience to a new level. With a unique finishing process using seared French oak staves, this bourbon boasts a rich and full-bodied profile. Notes of baking spices and vanilla add complexity, making it a standout choice under the $100 mark.
6. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
From the Jim Beam family, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve offers a higher proof and a more intense flavor experience. Aged for nine years, it showcases a robust character with a pronounced oak influence. Priced reasonably, it provides a glimpse into the bold side of bourbon without sacrificing quality.
How To Save Money When Buying Whiskey Online
In the digital age, purchasing whiskey online has become a convenient and popular option for enthusiasts seeking a diverse selection without leaving the comfort of their homes. However, with the wide range of options available, it’s essential to be savvy in order to save money while still enjoying your favorite spirits. Here are some valuable tips on how to save money when buying whiskey online.
First and foremost, research and compare prices across various online retailers. Not all platforms offer the same deals, and prices can vary significantly. Take the time to explore different websites, paying attention to both well-known retailers and smaller, specialty shops. Additionally, keep an eye out for promotional offers, discounts, and flash sales that can provide significant savings.
Timing is crucial when it comes to buying whiskey online. Many retailers offer special discounts during certain times of the year, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday sales events. By patiently waiting for these occasions, you can take advantage of substantial price reductions. It’s also worth subscribing to newsletters or joining loyalty programs of your preferred online liquor stores to receive alerts about upcoming promotions.
Consider buying in bulk or looking for value packs. Some online retailers offer discounts when you purchase multiple bottles or sets. While this may require a higher upfront cost, the overall price per bottle can be significantly lower, resulting in long-term savings. This approach is particularly beneficial for enthusiasts who enjoy collecting or stocking up on their favorite whiskey brands.
Take advantage of loyalty programs and rewards offered by online whiskey retailers. Many platforms have customer loyalty programs that provide points or discounts based on your purchase history. By consistently buying from the same retailer, you can accumulate rewards that translate into savings on future purchases. Check if the online store has a rewards program and sign up to maximize your benefits.
Keep an eye on shipping costs, as they can impact the overall expense of buying whiskey online. Some retailers offer free or discounted shipping for larger orders or as part of special promotions. Factor in shipping fees when comparing prices between different online stores, and don’t forget to check for any available promo codes or coupons that could offset these costs.
In the world of bourbon, history and craftsmanship converge to create a spirit that reflects the essence of American culture. From its humble beginnings in Kentucky to its present-day popularity, bourbon continues to captivate enthusiasts worldwide. As we explore the best bourbon under $100, we find that exceptional quality and affordability can coexist, allowing everyone to savor the rich flavors and aromas that make bourbon a cherished tradition. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a classic cocktail, bourbon remains a timeless symbol of heritage and craftsmanship.