When someone asks us about an inexpensive rye whiskey we alway make sure to let a buyer know that it’s all relative. There are quality rye whiskey at most price points. Rye whiskeys are sophisticated and flavorful — a class of their own. While most of the rye whiskeys out there will run you well over $30 per bottle (and some up to $100 and more), there is the opportunity for cheap rye whiskeys that are perfect for sipping and will not break the budget.
In fact, more great rye whiskeys are entering the market with a price tag of $35 or less, making it easier for whiskey lovers and novices to get their hands on quality whiskey.
7 of the Best Cheap Rye Whiskey Brands to Try Immediately
- Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey is legendary, which is why many are surprised to find that this whiskey is in the “affordable” category. It is a go-to rye bourbon that can be drank neat anddoes not need the addition of water or chill to enhance the natural flavors.
The 81 and 101 versions of Wild Turkey are solid for neat and cocktail uses. The 101 offers a higher alcohol content, but the 81 is perfect for sipping. Both offer an expert blend of four and five-year-old ryes, and both are spicy with a unique floral kick that settles on the tongue as it finishes.
- Jim Beam Rye
Another popular cheap rye is that of Jim Beam. In fact, the 80-proof four-year version is affordable and flavorful. It is one that you cannot often sip due to the high alcohol content. However, the fruitiness recalls a fresh fruit cake combined with smooth, rich caramel — making it perfect for sipping after a long day.
- Rittenhouse Rye
This 100-proof cheap rye whiskey will certainly help you relax, but what is amazing is that it is a 100-proof whiskey for under $30. Add it to an Old Fashioned, because Rittenhouse is best served chilled or mixed into a cocktail. You will notice that Rittenhouse is spicier than other whiskeys, and it offers woody notes that come from the barrel. As it finishes, you will get a flicker of caramel, vanilla, and cocoa.
- Pikesville Supreme
For an 80-proof under $20, you cannot find much better than Pikesville Supreme. Pikesville is a Maryland-style rye whiskey that is lighter and offers grassier notes than other varieties of whiskey made on the East Coast. You will notice that it does not have the same smooth, grassy sweetness of Pennsylvania versions, but it is a real bargain sipping whiskey all the same.
- Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey
For under $35 you can get a Bulleit rye MGP-distilled whiskey. It is 95 proof and boasts a very high rye mash content. It is very stiff and spicy, and it is one rye whiskey that is well ahead of the competition with creativity and the use of significant amounts of rye.
- Woodford Reserve
This 90-proof whiskey is just over $35, but it is well worth the extra money. It contains 53% rye mash, 33% corn mash, and 14% malted barley. It is aged to perfection, and the complicated ratios of three grains lend this whiskey a smoothness that finishes with a sharp note of spice.
- George Dickel Rye
While it is a Tennessee brand, do not assume that it is a bourbon. Instead, this is an excellent rye whiskey that is charcoal filtered. It also has a 95% rye mash, so you would assume that it would be aggressive on the palate. However, you will be pleasantly surprised at how mellow, smooth, and light this whiskey is. Furthermore, it offers finishing notes of rich wood, cherry, and sweet citrus.