Whiskey Review: Jay Cutler, Shannon Terry & Outsider Staff Pick 20 of the Best Whiskeys, Bourbons & Ryes Under $70

by Jim Casey
whiskey-review-jay-cutler-shannon-terry-outsider-staff-pick-20-best-whiskies-bourbons-ryes-under-70
photo by Outsider

Outsider rounded up its motley crew of whiskey lovers for a high-proof review of everything in our sipping glasses. With more than 100 bottles in play, we tasked our five-person panel to pick their four favorite whiskeys under $70.

And you won’t hear any of us use the offensive “S-word.” That’s right, this is a smooth-free review.

In addition, we included the proof and suggested retail price. However, keep in mind the secondary whiskey market has exploded, causing some jacked-up prices depending on your location. Fortunately, in Tennessee, we’ve got access to some great deals, so we tried to pick whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes that are readily available across the country.

Take at look at Outsider’s 20 favorite whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes under $70.

Jay Cutler, Chief Design Officer

First Four

  • Four Roses Single Barrel KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 100 Proof, $49
  • Widow Jane 10 Year Old KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 91 Proof, $70
  • Blanton’s Original Single Barrel Bourbon – 93 Proof, $65
  • Michter’s Small Batch Unblended American Whiskey – 83.4 Proof, $51

Favorite: Four Roses Single Barrel

Jays says: While Four Roses Single Barrel may be the least expensive of my four picks, it’s still the bourbon I regularly fill my glass with—over one large ice cube. And it’s because of the taste. It’s such an easy sipper, with sweet notes of fruit (I usually get apple or plum, but it varies from bottle to bottle), an oaky finish, and a tinge of heat that pairs perfectly with my cigar.


Brandon Chesbro, Producer

First Four

  • Col. E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon – 100 Proof, $38
  • W.L. Weller Special Reserve KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 90 Proof, $29
  • Willet Family Estate Bottled 4-Year Rye – 110 Proof, $60
  • Redwood Empire American Whiskey – 90 Proof, $40

Favorite: Col. E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bonded

Brandon says: I’ll never forget being introduced to bourbon. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I started really enjoying it, but the one that really sucked me in was Weller Special Reserve (back when you could find it on any shelf in the country). As my taste has evolved, I’ve really dialed in on 100–107-proof bourbons, and E.H. Taylor Small Batch has become my staple. A caramel-filled easy drinker that is bottled-in-bond at 100 proof (a touch more robust than Weller), it’s not only a favorite to drink, but a great one to share with new bourbon lovers.


Caroline Bynum, Executive Editor

First Four

  • Old Grand-Dad Bonded KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 100 Proof, $25
  • Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof – 116.8 Proof, $50
  • Bulleit Bourbon Single Barrel KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 104 Proof, $60
  • New Riff Single Barrel Bourbon – 110 Proof, $55

Favorite: Old Grand-Dad Bonded

Caroline says: I grew up thinking only two types of liquor stores existed: North Carolina ABC stores and sketchy looking huts on the side of the highway. That’s because my father stopped at said huts during every out-of-state trip, in search of the rare bourbons and fair prices he couldn’t get back home. My number one pick may be in part because I can find it back home at an ABC store and I can find it here in Nashville and I can find it in a scary side-of-the-highway hut. And for $25, Old Grand-Dad Bonded is hard to beat: strong cinnamon, a bit of caramel and a smidgen of burnt oak. It is also what my future children will be calling my dad.


Jim Casey, Content Creator

First Four

  • George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel 9-Year Tennessee Whisky – 103 Proof, $36
  • Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky – 93 Proof, $54
  • 1792 Small Batch Bourbon – 93.7 Proof, $29
  • Elijah Craig Barrel Proof KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 118.2 Proof, $65

Favorite: Old Forester 1910

Jim says: A neat glass of three five fingers of Old Forester 1910 is my go-to late-night sipping whiskey right now when I’m spinning some vinyl. Personally, I love the layered notes of cherry, caramel, and toasted oak from the double barrelling. It’s not overly charred, but it does have a peppery kick. At 93 proof, Old Forester 1910 still has the happy bite I need on the back-end with a pleasant tobacco finish that pairs nicely with my pipe. In fact, last night, I had a glass of 1910 with a grilled rib-eye. Absolute perfection. And the price point is right in my wheelhouse.


Shannon Terry, Co-Founder

First Four

  • Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered Straight Bourbon – 115.78 Proof, $65
  • Four Roses Small Batch Select – 104 Proof, $60
  • Buffalo Trace Kosher KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey Wheat Recipe – 94 Proof, $40
  • Eagle Rare Bourbon 10 Year – 90 proof, $40

Favorite: Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered

Shannon says: I love an easy-drinking yet higher-proof bourbon, and Smoke Wagon has become a recent favorite. Their standard Bourbon and their Small Batch are really great, but their high rye, high proof (Uncut/Unfiltered) is undeniably fantastic. As a fairly new brand, it’s fun to introduce something not everyone has tasted, and the results are always positive. Spicy on the front end with a quick transition to citrus and cinnamon with caramel notes. Also doesn’t hurt that their bottles are total works of art (I’m a sucker for good-looking glass).


Top 20 Picks by Price

  1. Old Grand-Dad Bonded KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 100 Proof, $25
  2. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon – 93.7 Proof, $29
  3. W.L. Weller Special Reserve KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 90 Proof, $29
  4. George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel 9-Year Tennessee Whisky – 103 Proof, $36
  5. Col. E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon – 100 Proof, $38
  6. Redwood Empire American Whiskey – 90 Proof, $40
  7. Buffalo Trace Kosher KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey Wheat Recipe – 94 Proof, $40
  8. Eagle Rare Bourbon 10 Year – 90 proof, $40
  9. Four Roses Single Barrel KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 100 Proof, $49
  10. Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof – 116.8 Proof, $50
  11. Michter’s Small Batch Unblended American Whiskey – 83.4 Proof, $51
  12. Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky – 93 Proof, $54
  13. New Riff Single Barrel Bourbon – 110 Proof, $55
  14. Bulleit Bourbon Single Barrel KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 104 Proof, $60
  15. Willet Family Estate Bottled 4-Year Rye – 110 Proof, $60
  16. Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered Straight Bourbon- 115.78 Proof, $60
  17. Four Roses Small Batch Select – 104 Proof, $60
  18. Blanton’s Original Single Barrel Bourbon – 93 Proof, $65
  19. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 118.2 Proof, $65
  20. Widow Jane 10 Year Old KY Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 91 Proof, $70
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