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The Best Whiskey You’ll Find Just About Anywhere

The Best Whiskey You’ll Find Just About Anywhere

We love bourbon. You love bourbon. Everyone loves bourbon. Unfortunately, this love of all things brown magic water has also led to an incredible influx of collectors, flippers, armchair quarterbacks, and all-around assholes that aim to make a buck on a quick flip when they can’t make money on their NFTs. We’re not going to pretend like having to line up in the freezing cold for an Eagle Rare store pick is something we enjoy. But that’s just the state of the bourbon world right now. If you’re as sick of the nonsense as we are, there are plenty of great “whiskey shelfies” you’ll find just about anywhere. Skip the nonsense, fanfare, and calamity in favor of cracking one of these great bottles of regularly available whiskey.

Before we get into these particular great deal options you’ll find on most shelves, there are a number of things we’re not going to address. Check out this piece to read more about the difference between bourbon and whiskey. Check out this piece to learn more about Scotch/Irish Whiskey/Canadian Whisky/Japanese Whisky/American Whiskey. You should also read the Cool Material Guide to Bourbon in the meantime because there’s a lot of crossover.

What to Look For When Buying Whiskey

Now that you’re armed to the teeth with all the available whiskey knowledge, what do you buy from the local liquor store? The answer to that depends a lot on whether you want to enjoy it straight, on the rocks, or as part of a cocktail. A good sipping whiskey should be complex and unique, it’s a beverage all its own. But when using whiskeys in cocktails, you want them to play nicely with the other components of your drink. Also, consider the price. None of these whiskey options should break the bank but set your own limits for how much you want to spend.

The Best Whiskey to Buy Right Now


Wild Turkey 101

After tens of thousands of hours of debate on all the popular whiskey discussion boards, WT101 is the option that time and time again always comes out on top. It’s fragrant. It’s spicy. It’s high-proof enough to hold up on ice or mixed in a cocktail. Most importantly, it’s never allocated. So it’s available damn near everywhere at around $20 for a 750 or $45 for a handle. If you don’t have this at your home bar, you’re doing it wrong.
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Jack Daniels Old No. 7

While the Single Barrel Barrel Strength, Coy Hill, and other Limited Edition options are certainly deserving of a place on the bar cart, there’s always a spot for the black label whiskey we all grew up with. Do we drink the stock option straight? Hell naw. But when it comes to a mixed drink, there’s a reason you order Jack and Coke and not whiskey and coke. Put a bottle on the shelf of your bar cart.
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Maker’s Mark

The most popular wedding whiskey–because who the hell actually enjoys Dewar’s? Maker’s on the rock or mixed is another rock-solid, affordable drinker and mixer. If you have the means/availability to upgrade to a Cask Strength or Store Pick option, all the better. If not, the OG Maker’s Mark is a fine option and will serve you well in mixed drinks and cocktails.
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Buffalo Trace

We’re not even going to pretend like anything that comes out of the Buffalo Trace shop hasn’t become incredibly difficult to get your hands on–unless you’re willing to wait for hours in the gift shop or local line–including the base 45% / 90 proof bottle. While we’ll always take E.H. Taylor or “The Wellerz” when they’re offered, the base bottle of Buffalo Trace is a solid sipper that even the most newbie palate will love. And, good news for you, it should pop up on your local liquor store shelves relatively frequently. If you had to buy one bottle of whiskey, buy this one.
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Willett Family Estate Bottled 4-Year Rye

Anyone that’s spent any amount of time in the whiskey game will know WFE (aka Willett Family Estate) and their incredible line of spirits. With as many mortgage-backed bottles as the Van Winkle line has to offer, Willett puts out some incredibly fantastic whiskey. Their entry-level offering is the relatively available Willett Family Estate Bottled 4-Year Rye, a spirit filled with funky floral notes and botanical finishes that every whiskey fan needs to try at least once. Also it happens to make one of our favorite Old-Fashioned cocktails. At $70 for 750ml, it’s one of the pricier entries on this list but considering it pops up on liquor store shelves fairly frequently, we think it’s too good to miss.
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Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

132 years of history will change damn near anything for the better, but if that kind of change was NOT necessary it would be in the Four Roses Bourbon recipe. They’ve been around since long before any of us reading or writing about them were alive. Snd yet, they continue to impress with even their most basic option. Do we prefer the Small Batch Select or Single Barrel options over the standard option? Absolutely, but that goes without saying for damn near every other option on this list. Unlike most of the other options, we haven’t yet settled the debate on whether or not Four Roses Small Batch is The Best Budget Bourbon? (Unless you convince us otherwise, we’re still leaning towards yes.)
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