2017’s Top 5 Bourbons & Whiskies Under $100

I’m using the secondary prices (which are very close to MSRP for these picks) for this list as nothing bothers me more than someone saying at $89.99 MSRP Sazerac 18 is their favorite bottle under $100.  Get real guys!  The secondary market is here to say and you might as well just get used to it. Also… only two here are actually Bourbons, I have one rum, one rye and one corn whiskey… but who’s really counting?


Barrell Bourbon is the winner here, although it is the most expensive of this list.  Usually retailing for around $80, they consistently beat out bottles that you can’t touch on the secondary for 2-4x the price.  While they still are priced under $100, stock up. MSRP $80.

Pikesville is my favorite rye under $100.  115 proof, delicious.  Thank you Heaven Hill!  Second year in a row it continues to be available, awesome and affordable.  MSRP $60.

Foursquare Rum 2004 Exceptional Cask Selection… Exceptional Cask Selection Mark III Single Blended Rum aged 11 years in ex-Bourbon casks, distilled in 2004, released in 2015.  It’s full proof, 59%.  Thanks for Fred Minnick for tipping me off to this one.  Yes, it’s not a Bourbon, but it’s aged in ex-Bourbon casks and is just as delicious. Order one today! MSRP $60.

Old Weller Antique 107 Store Pick Non-Chill Filtered.  Make friends with your local liquor store owner.  Beg them to get a bottle of OWA NCF, ask to buy 4 of them when they come in.  Best $35 you can spend.  MSRP $35.

Mellow Corn.  I’m sorry, you may think I’m nuts by putting this on the list, but for $9.99, bottled in bond, again, thank you Heaven Hill.  This is my go-to after I’m three sheets to the wind and shouldn’t be touching the top shelf stuff, because it holds up and still has a good taste. MSRP $9.99.

Honorable mention goes to Old Forester 1920 Prohibition.  It should have been the number five on the list, but I just couldn’t help myself by putting on Mellow Corn instead.

Agree?  Disagree?  Continue the discussion on my Twitter @newbourbondrink or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/newbourbondrinker/








http://www.heavenhill.com  http://www.barrellbourbon.com  https://www.rumsixtysix.comfoursquare-rum-distillery.html/


Old Weller Antique Ninety 9 single barrel

Those in the know, are aware that in terms of value Wheaters OWA tops the chart. What some people may not know, is that some of the Old Weller Antique 107 single barrels are significantly better than the standard issue. This is one of those situations.

I’m not going to review it like normal, but the characteristics are the same as regular OWA, but there are subtle differences. The mouthfeel is much more interesting: it has more tannins and flavor. The finish is longer. Butterscotch, cinnamon and sugar and butter keep going. The heat is lower. Whoever picked this barrel clearly knew what they were doing.

At $34.99, this was one of best bargains of the year. If you live in CT, be sure to go to Ninety Nine and grab one of these single barrels while they are still available! 94/100


Barrell Bourbon Batch 006 vs BB Caskers Pick Single Barrel 6

I have been hooked on Barrel Bourbon ever since I tried Batch 006, wanting to try more. I did some online research and I believe some of the recent single barrel releases have the same mash bills of Batch 006, but have slightly different ages, proofs and are from different parts of the rickhouse. Why are these single barrels instead of part of a batch? Good question, my guess is that it is because they have special characteristics that certain retailers liked and requested to be bottled specially for them.  In general the way single barrel programs work for most whiskey companies is a retailer will get a bunch of single barrel samples and will pick the one they like the best.  Ultimately, the only way to determine how good these single barrel picks are, is the old fashioned way–you need to drink them.

Batch 006 was amazing and my original 96/100 review is here:

I did a side by side analysis using the same Batch 006 bottle as the original review which is good to observe four months of evolution in the bottle:  I’m still getting the same peanut butter flavor with the sweet campfire complexity. The strong oils and complex mouthfeel are just as present as when I first tried it. Months later, my original review is confirmed.

Barrell Bourbon Single Barrel 006 is bottled at 62.55% abv vs 61.45% for the Batch 006. The Single Barrel release is also older clocking 8.5 years vs straight 8. I also didn’t realize it before I opened the bottle (actually a friend opened the bottle and ripped off the top before I even saw it) but I was the lucky recipient of bottle #1!  If I saw it, I’m such a sucker for collecting, I probably would have kept it and bought a new one. This is a Caskers Members barrel pick, and from what I know of them, they tend to pick pretty good single barrels.

The nose is similar but there are definitely subtle differences–it’s obvious that this comes from the same source, but it’s amazing what slightly different aging in different parts of the rickhouse will do. The nose is a little sweeter, more like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Golden Grahams cereal, and French toast brioche. There also is a touch of candied and dried fruit, that I was not noticing in the Batch 006.  The nose isn’t as powerful either, but there are more layers of flavors.  The palate is also excellent with the Reese’s and dried fruit coming through. Although the oils and less present in the mouthfeel, there is more grittiness. Single Barrel 006 is extremely enjoyable.

Both of these Bourbons are excellent and it is almost impossible to pick a favorite; it comes down to subtle styles. If you like the bigger peanut butter with oils, then go with Batch 006. If you like the slightly more subtle with candied fruit, less oil and more grittiness then Caskers single barrel pick 006 will be your favorite. Either way, you can’t go wrong.  96/100

If anyone has access to other Barrell Bourbon single barrel releases I would be very interested in trading bottles or samples and please reach out to me via Twitter @newbourbondrink  thanks!!




Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 12yr #9622

I bought this bottle when I was at the Willett Distillery a couple weeks ago. They have a beautiful facility and I highly recommend everyone visit; they are distilling amazing products there. While I was there I also picked up the 11yr bottle #438 (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/willett-family-estate-single-barrel-bourbon-438-holy-moley/). When I first opened the bottles, 438 blew this one out of the water, but now that it has been a couple weeks I’m coming back to it and reviewing it–I’m glad I waited because it has really evolved.

Willett bottles always look great, this one was bottled at 118.8 proof. Dark amber.

When I opened this a couple weeks ago it was a little stale and rich mushroomy like a lesser Eagle Rare 10 aroma. Now that it has had the chance to open up there are more baking spices coming through and a very mild nose.

The palate is extremely enjoyable with nice oils and grip on the tongue with an enjoyable follow through. It is a complete and complex flavored bourbon.

This isn’t as good as bottle 438, but it’s very good in its own right, especially after being opened for a couple weeks. I love these Willett single barrels and wish I didn’t have to go to the gift shop or trade for them to be able to get them. Those who live nearby are very lucky indeed!  93/100.  I’m excited to see what it will be like in another month–probably will be even better!