A Guide to Popular Brands of Whiskey

  • 01 of 08

    How to Choose a Whiskey

    Lone Barrel of Littlemill Scotch Whisky
    The Littlemill distillery produced some fine scotch. Though the buildings were destroyed by fire, barrels and bottles remain at a steep price. Photo: Loch Lomond Group

    The world of whiskey is filled with a complicated collection of various styles, bottles, ages, and specialties and every bottle is priced differently. It can be difficult to navigate all of the choices available and this guide is designed to help you get started.

    In the following page you will find a listing of popular whiskey brands and the general price range you can expect to find them at. It is, by no means, a complete guide to every whiskey available, but should give you a general idea of...MORE what to expect.

    The whiskies are listed by style (Irish, Scotch, bourbon, Candadian, etc.) and within each are different price points.

    When choosing whiskey, remember that price will often (not always) reflect quality. The less expensive to mid-range whiskies will be good for your everyday drinking and are probably your best choices for whiskey cocktails. The high-end whiskey is typically reserved for sipping straight, though everyone will have a different opinion based on their own budgets.

    A few notes about pricing whiskey:

    • All price ranges are an average of what a bottle may sell for at a retailer.
    • Whiskey prices do change over time. For instance, a rare or limited bottling may go up in price as the supply dwindles.
    • Some bottlings may have similar offerings that will be at a different price. For instance, an 18YO from a brand may also be available as a "Limited Reserve" bottling with a higher price range.
    • Climate has a large impact on time needed to age a whiskey. You may notice that some Scotch and Irish whiskies spend 3-5 decades in the barrel, while American whiskies may max out at just around 10 years. It depends on the distiller's desired whiskey within their regional conditions.
    • Single malts tend to be higher priced than blended whiskies (especially under the same brand).
    • "YO" is an abbreviation for 'Year Old" which indicates how many years the whiskey has aged in a barrel. In the case of some blended whiskies, it may refer to an average of the individual whiskies in the blend or, in rare cases, the oldest whiskey in the blend.
    • "NAS" is an abbreviation for "no age statement" and while this is typically not on the label, you will find it in many pricing guides and retailers. Some style of whiskey are not required to indicate an age and some distillers choose not to. Maker's Mark is a good example, as Bill Samuels once told me, "It ages until it's done, which is about 9 years."
    • Whiskey is an ever-changing market.

    While I do my best to keep this guide up to date, it is only a guide to give you a general idea of what to expect when searching for whiskies. It is also impossible for me to list every brand and label.

    Please note: I am not an expert in whiskey prices and I will not be able to tell you what that dusty bottle you found in Grandpa's tool shed is worth. While I would like to help, there are resources and people who would be much better qualified to do so.

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  • 02 of 08

    Irish Whiskey Brands

    Barrels at the Old James Irish Whiskey Distillery
    Jameson is one of the best known brands of Irish whiskey and they offer a variety of bottlings. Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Irish whiskey is generally thought of as one of the smoother styles of whiskey available. No matter the price range, you will find that these whiskies are good either straight, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.

    One of the more interesting aspects about Irish whiskey is that all of these brands are produced at one of just three distilleries in Ireland: Bushmills, Cooley, and Midleton. Yet, each brand has their own distinct characteristics.

    Around $30 and Under

    $30-40 Range

    $50 and Up

    Luxury Over $100

    Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.

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  • 03 of 08

    Scotch Whisky Brands

    Scotch whisky bottles on the bar.
    Scotch is divided into single malt and blended whiskies and, while often thought of as luxury whisky, there are some bargains to be found. DreamPictures/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    If you thought that whiskey in general was complicated, allow me to introduce you to the crazy web that is Scotch whisky. Beyond the fact that Scotch is the whiskey without an 'e,' we also have single malt versus blended, regional differences, and many, many limited edition releases to contend with.

    Scotch is a complex line-up of whiskies, but they are very fun to explore. Despite this style's reputation as a sophisticated spirit, there are many budget-friendly options available and...MORE there is no reason why you should not mix Scotch into cocktails.

    Single Malt Scotch Whisky

    Around $30 and Under

    $40-50 Range

    $60-100 Range

    Luxury Over $100

    Blended Scotch Whisky

    Around $20

    $30-40 Range

    $50-70 Range

    $80-100 Range

    Luxury Over $100

     Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Bourbon Whiskey Brands

    Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey Distillery
    Inside the front steps of the distillery house at Maker's Mark Bourbon Whisky Distilery. Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham

    Bourbon is one of the most popular styles of whiskey and there is a great range of brands available. From budget-friendly brands for everyday mixing to reliable brands that are great in any cocktail, and even those fine, high-end bottlings that are best reserved for sipping straight, there is a bourbon out there for everyone.

    Though the majority of these brands are distilled in Kentucky, it is only a requirement by law that bourbon be produced in the United States. There are some craft...MORE distilleries throughout the country who are producing wonderful bourbons as well.

    Around $20

    $30-40 Range

    $50-60 Range

    $70 and Up

    Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.

    More Bourbon Reviews...

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Tennessee Whiskey Brands

    Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Mural on Beale Street
    Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Mural on Beale Street. Richard Cummins / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

    Tennessee whiskey is extremely more limited than any other style because of the distinct "Lincoln County Process" of charcoal filtering. There are only two distilleries in the state of Tennessee that produce this whiskey, George Dickel and Jack Daniel's, though each produces a variety of bottlings.

    Under $30

    Over $30

    • Gentleman Jack
    • Gentl...MOREeman Jack Rare Tennessee
    • George Dickel 14 YO
    • George Dickel Special Barrel
    • Jack Daniels Single Barrel

     Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Rye Whiskey Brands

    Whiskey Barrels Aging
    Just like all whiskies, rye whiskey requires a little time in the barrel, though there are no regulations about aging. Toby Maudsley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Rye whiskey is a classic style of whiskey that fell out of favor for a number of years, but it is back in full force.

    In recent years, the list of rye whiskey brands went from just a few to a growing list of fantastic whiskies that are fun to explore. One of the best things about this rye explosion is that we can taste many of the classic whiskey cocktails the way they were originally made.

    Under $30

    • Bulleit Rye
    • Old Overholt
    • Jim Beam Rye
    • Pikesville Rye
    • Rittenhouse Rye
    • Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye
    • Wild...MORE Turkey Rye

    Over $30

     Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Canadian Whisky Brands

    Ingredients used to blend Canadian whiskey
    Ingredients used to blend Canadian whiskey. Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham

    Typically thought of as smooth and cheap, the blended Canadian whiskies are a quiet, often looked over bunch of spirits. While a number of the bottlings available do fall into these two stereotypes, there are some very nice Canadian whiskies on the market.

    Most brands of this style of whiskey have a vast range that includes their affordable and reliable label, which is perfect for almost any cocktail. Then, that same brand will release special, high-end editions on a regular or rotating basis and...MORE these are the whiskies that you really want to look for because they are often spectacular.

    $20 and Under

    $30-40 Range

    • 8 Seconds
    • Canadian Club Sherry Cask 8 YO
    • Crown Royal
    • Forty Creek Three Grain
    • Tangle Ridge Double Cask
    • Seagrams VO
    • Wisers Deluxe 18 YO

    $50 and Up

    Luxury Over $100

    Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.

    More Canadian whisky reviews...

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    More Whiskey Brands

    Replica of a circa 1864 army whiskey barrel. Whiskey was used to treat wounds and disease.
    Replica of a circa 1864 army whiskey barrel. Whiskey was used to treat wounds and disease. Phil Cardamone / E+ / Getty Images

    North America, Scotland, and Ireland may be the best known and highly regarded locations for whiskey production, but whiskey can be made anywhere in the world. There are also a growing number of American craft distilleries that produce whiskey that rivals anything found within the defined styles.

    Around $20

    • Bain's Cape Mountain Whiskey (South Africa)
    • House Spirits White Dog (United States)
    • Derevenski Samogon Single Rye Pot Still (France)
    • Three Ships Select (South Africa)

    $30-40 Range

    • Bastille 1789...MORE Blended (France)
    • Dry Fly Straight Whiskey (United States)
    • Dry Fly Washington Wheat Whiskey (United States)
    • House Spirits Cask Strength (United States)
    • (The) One Deluxe Blend (United Kingdom)
    • P&M Blended and Single Malt (France)
    • Three Ships Single Malt 5 YO (South Africa)
    • Yamazaki 12 YO (Japan)

    Over $50

    • Adnams Single Malt (United Kingdom)
    • Amrut Single Malt (India)
    • Armorik Classic (France)
    • English Whisky Co. Classic Single Malt (United Kingdom)
    • Kavalan Single Malt (Taiwan)
    • King Car Single Malt (Taiwan)
    • New Zealand Whisky Collection (New Zealand)
    • Sullivans Cove Single Malt (Australia)
    • Three Ships Single Malt 10 YO (South Africa)
    • Yamazaki 18 YO (Japan)

    Please note: I have not listed every brand or label available and price ranges are based on the average price that a 750ml bottle sells for.