The Best Spirit at Every Price Point

Since I frequently get asked for recommendations, I thought it might be fun to look through K&L’s spirits inventory and find what I would recommend at every price range for each of the major brown spirits.  I especially like the idea of doing this during the summer before all the high-profile special release come out. What’s on the shelf now tends to be standard releases that can be acquired year-round.

For each of the price ranges listed below, I picked out the one bottle that I would recommend to a friend looking for bourbon, American rye, Scotch, peated Scotch (I broke that out since it’s such a distinct category), other whiskey, French brandy, other brandy and rum. 

The rules I set for this little game are that I can pick only one bottle from each category for each price range, and no distillery can appear more than once on the list. The decision was hardest in the $20-$50 and $50-$100 categories where there are tons of options. For the lowest and highest price ranges, pickings were much slimmer, and I didn’t always make a recommendation if there weren’t enough choices in a given category. All of this is, of course, solely my opinion...what do you think?

Under $20


George Dickel #12  $19.99

Yes, I know it’s Tennessee Whiskey, which may or may not be bourbon depending on how much you like to argue. Either way, I’ve always been a fan of the standard Dickel #12 – with its distinctive mineral notes. Evan Williams BIB would be a close second in this category of budget bourbons.


Golden Devil Dark Overproof $19.99

I’ve sung the praises of this stuff before; it’s delicious in its own right and at this price, it’s one of the best deals in rum anywhere.



Four Roses Single Barrel $34.99


Rittenhouse 100 $23.99

There’s a lot of good rye at this price point; this pick could easily have been Sazerac, Bulleit or High West Double Rye.


Glenfarclas 12 $49.99

Scotch (peated):

Ardbeg 10 $44.99


Other Whiskey:

Lot 40 Canadian Rye $31.99

This is probably my favorite Canadian Whisky – it’s as good as any rye on the market.

French Brandy:

Domaine Pacory 8 yo Calvados $39.

Pear heavy Pacory is one of my favorite Calvados.

Other Brandy:

Laird’s 100 Proof Apple Brandy $29.99


Smith & Cross $29.99



Old Forester 1920 $54.99

One of the best newer bourbons out there from the “most improved” distillery in the bourbon


High West Rendezvous Rye $54.99

The first, and in my opinion still the best product from High West, combining Barton Kentucky Ryes with MGP’s Indiana rye.


Clynelish 14 $52.99

Scotch (peated):

Lagavulin 16 $64.99

Other Whiskey:

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt $59.99

Gone are the days of easy to find Japanese single malt and age stated whisky, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up hope. This blended malt includes whiskies from Nikka’s Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries.

French Brandy:

Domaine du Cardinat Armagnac 1992 $69.99

This was one of my favorite Armagnacs when K&L brought it in a year ago, a great balance of spicy, earthy and sweet.  Now they have a new batch that’s a year older.

Other Brandy:

Copper & Kings Butchertown Reserve $54

Another one I routinely recommend – bold, cask strength brandy that’s one of my favorites.


Real McCoy 10 yo $59.99

Foursquare in disguise!



Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades $129.99

There’s actually not a lot to choose from in this price range. Good bourbon is either under $100 or big bucks.  At this range, it’s hard to beat Wild Turkey Decades for a good, bold bourbon.


Highland Park 18 $119.99

Scotch (peated):

Talisker 18 $179.99

Hmm, I’m noticing my Scotch choices are a bit Diageo-heavy.

Other Whiskey:

Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey $179.99

French Brandy

Adrien Camut 18 yo Calvados $199.99

As far as I’m concerned, Camut sets the standard for Calvados, and the 18 year old is their centerpiece: the Macallan 18 of apple brandy.

Other Brandy

Osocalis XO $109.99

Osocalis continues to work away in obscurity, making fantastic California brandy that no one knows about.


Enmore 25 yo Golden Devil $199.99

This one is a K&L special. Enmore is for the traditional rum fans – it nails that sweet and rich profile.



Glenmorangie Signet $250

This has been out for over ten years now, and it’s still my favorite Glenmorangie expression with it’s thick, rich palate.

French Brandy:

Jacky Navarre Vieille Reserve Cognac $209.99

My favorite Cognac of all time!