These are the 5 best bourbons for under $30, according to bourbon expert Fred Minnick

Inflation is real and the world is expensive, but that doesn't mean your spirits have to stay down.

Actually, there are several decent bourbons on the market for $30 or less.

Earlier this year, world acclaimed bourbon expert Fred Minnick ― in a completely unscientific study ― asked his audience of bourbon connoisseurs to vote on the best bourbons around $40. More than 5,200 bourbon lovers responded. He announced his fans' picks in a video that he published on his YouTube channel, and then later Minnick ranked the Top 10 of that list in a blind tasting.

We took a closer look at his findings and picked out some big bargains among the throng. Turns out, you can get a quality bottle of bourbon for as little as $16.99.

Here are a few popular bourbons, in price order, to try if your bar cart is running low while you're pinching pennies this year.

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Prices may vary among retailers, and the prices in this list are based on the October 2022 listings at

Old Grand-Dad 114

Retail: $26.99

Delicate and smooth for a bourbon of its strength, Old Grand-Dad was ranked No. 7 by Minnick's audience. Meanwhile, Minnick ranked this No. 1 in his blind tasting. The nose on this bourbon is earthy and Minnick says it features scents of a fresh-cut tree branch, slight pine, cornbread, maple syrup and caramel. He identified the palate as "very grain forward" and that this bourbon is a "surefire winner if you love your grains."

Elijah Craig Small Batch

Retail: $25.99

This Heaven Hill product has a complex flavor with notes of vanilla bean, sweet fruit, and fresh mint. At 94 proof, Elijah Craig is smooth and warm and it has a pleasant woody component with accents of spice, smoke, and nutmeg. Minnick's audience ranked this bourbon No. 5, and it came in at No. 9 during Minnick's blind tasting.

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Buffalo Trace

Retail: $23.49

Buffalo Trace can be tricky to find in Louisville, but it's almost always on the shelves 50 miles to the east at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. This deep bourbon's aroma features vanilla, mint, and molasses. It is pleasantly sweet on the tongue and it has notes of brown sugar and spice. Minnick's fans marked Buffalo Trace No. 3 on its list of value bourbons, and Minnick's blind tasting put it at No. 6.

Old Forester 100

Retail: $20.49

Brown Forman's Old Forester 100 ranked No. 8 by Minnick's fans, but he put much closer to the top of the list at No. 4. This bourbon has a rich, deep nose with hints of cornmeal and cocoa. It's been called "powerful but refined."

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Evan Williams Bottled In Bond

Retail: $16.99

This Heaven Hill product rank No. 9 by Minnick's audience and No. 8 by Minnick himself. The Evan Wiliams Bottled in Bond 100-proof bourbon has a caramel nose with hints of vanilla, oak, and barley. The palate has citrus on top with vanilla and black pepper on the backend, followed by a warm long and dry finish.

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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: 5 of the best bourbons for under $30 in 2022