Why You Should Rethink Bottom Shelf Bourbon, According To An Expert

Two tilted glasses of whiskey
Two tilted glasses of whiskey - Krit Of Studio Omg/Getty Images

Many people think that you need to shell out a good chunk of change to get high-quality bourbon — in other words, they think that top-shelf bourbon is the only way to go. But does bottom-shelf bourbon deserve its bad rap? According to an expert who spoke with Tasting Table — Chris Blatner, an Executive Bourbon Steward and the creator of Urban Bourbonist — there are plenty of good bottom-shelf bourbons out there.

Blatner said, "I think bottom shelf has become an outdated term in today's whiskey aisle and should be replaced with 'low cost' or 'value' Bourbons. The connotations around the term 'bottom shelf' conjures up barely drinkable whiskeys of the past. With the absolute plethora of choices available to us today I think it is absolutely possible to find great Bourbon at a low cost or at a great value."

Further, as Blatner pointed out, an "expensive" whiskey is a subjective idea, since every individual has a different price range and idea of what constitutes cheap or pricey. One person may think affordable means a bourbon under $50, while another may be willing to spend up to $100 on a bottle of bourbon but still see it as a "value" bottle.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

How To Find The Best Low Cost Bourbon For You

Hands clinking bourbon glasses
Hands clinking bourbon glasses - Krisanapong Detraphiphat/Getty Images

Regardless of what you consider "low cost" or "expensive," the most important detail to know is how to pick out the right bottle for you — one that matches your taste and budget. According to Blatner, you can achieve this by figuring out exactly what you like.

Blatner explained, "Often the best way of finding out is trying multiple whiskeys at a local bar, or finding a friend with a large whiskey selection ... they will gladly share with you and help guide you to things that you like. Once you know what you like you can have a better understanding of what fits into your [budget] or what you are willing to spend on a bottle of Bourbon." If you need somewhere to start, Blatner suggests looking into brands such as Green River Distilling, Bardstown Bourbon Company (Origin Series), Pinhook Bourbon, Redemption Whiskey, and Knob Creek — all of which he says are released high-quality bottles that many would deem affordable. For example, bottles of Green River Distilling range from $34.99 to $49.99.

Blatner said, "The quality of lower cost whiskeys is better than it has ever been and not just for cocktails, but for sipping on neat or over ice as well ... It's a great time to be a Bourbon drinker." Once you've picked a bottle you think you'll like, try it by making yourself an old fashioned, a classic boulevardier, or another of our favorite bourbon cocktail recipes.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.