Recently, I was asked what whiskey a group of folks should give to a departing, well-liked co-worker. Of course, anyone would like an allocated difficult-to-find bourbon or rye, and more and more brands of good-gifting whiskeys are falling into that category. It’s no longer easy to find Weller, Henry McKenna, and Michter’s 10 year old whiskeys to name a few.

I believe that there are still easily attainable whiskeys that any bourbon or rye drinker will appreciate receiving. Here are five such whiskeys that cost less than $75 (at our local Louisville liquor store):

  1. A private barrel selection from Westport Whiskey & Wine, or your favorite, trusted liquor store. Westport Whiskey & Wine is our favorite Louisville liquor store and former owner Chris Zaborowski, who still helps out with barrel picks, has one of the best palates I know. I picked up an MB Roland Rye barrel selection from Westport the other day and it is rich in caramel and fruit flavors. A definite winner at $61.99.
  2. Old Grandad 114: This whiskey from Jim Beam continues to be a reliably delicious bourbon that gives value for money. You should have little difficulty finding it on shelves, at about $33.99.
  3. Old Overholt 114: Jim Beam also produces this Rye Whiskey, a more flavorful expression than the 80 proof and Bottled-in-Bond versions. It will stand up in a cocktail but is also a good sipper. It comes in at about $35.99.
  4. Four Roses Single Barrel: This is Four Roses’ 100 proof bourbon made with their delicate fruit and rye yeast and the higher rye mashbill B and aged between 7 and 9 years. It is a complex bourbon with stone fruit flavors that will not disappoint the gift recipient. Add beautiful packaging and it’s a bargain at $49.99.
  5. Wild Turkey Rare Breed: This is Wild Turkey’s barrel proof version, a bourbon with notes of caramel, corn, vanilla and apricots with a bit of pepper spice and oak. Another reasonably priced whiskey that works well in a cocktail but can also be appreciated neat. It will run you about $49.99 for a 750 ml.

Bourbon and Rye whiskeys make very good gifts even when your budget is less than $75 or $50. These whiskeys are exceptional choices.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller