I am mostly a beer guy. But sometimes I like to mix it up. For regular readers of the Off Brand Guy, you know I rave about Trader Joe’s Vodka Of The Gods. I decided to try out some of the other Trader Joe brand liquors. In this review, I find out how the store brand compares to the name brand and where to find savings. Today, I put some ice cubes in a fancy glass and pour some Trader Joes Whiskey. More specifically Trader Joe’s High Rye Bourbon.
Trader Joes Whiskey
- Trader Joe’s High Rye Bourbon
- Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon
- Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned
As I searched the aisle at Trader Joe’s I saw a few different whiskey options. Being the Off Brand Guy I gravitated towards the cheapest option. Unfortunately, they were out of the cheapest store brand version, Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon. This was priced very reasonably at $16 per bottle. I instead had to settle for a bottle of Trader Joe’s High Rye Bourbon at $20 per bottle. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant with the price.
One shelf above, I saw that the name brand Jack Daniel’s was also priced at $20. Why pay the same amount for an unknown store brand version? Could this stuff from TJ’s be better than Jack Daniels?
Trader Joe’s Bourbon Review: Is Trader Joes Whiskey Good?
I am no whiskey expert. But like anyone else I can tell what stuff is shit. Ignore the chasers or mixers. The best way to evaluate liquor is to pour in a couple of ice cubes and sip on it.
I have found this High Rye Bourbon quite enjoyable. It’s as if you can tell it was aged in new charred oak barrels. At 42% alcohol this stuff is no joke. It is a mash of 70% corn and 30% rye. It goes down smoother than the real cheap whiskeys. The flavor is something than can be appreciated as you sit back and watch an MLB game on a nice spring afternoon. It does have a little edge to it. Maybe you could even describe this as an aftertaste. This is the only characteristic that may distinguish it from the really good stuff. In my opinion, with a nicer bottle this aspect would be more subdued.
Best Whiskey At Trader Joe’s
By the process of elimination this is the best Trader Joes whiskey brand. How do I know that? Well, a bottle of Trader Joe’s High Rye Bourbon is around $20 depending on the market. The Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon is around $15. Trader Joe’s is about value. You get what you pay for.
Trader Joe’s High Rye Bourbon
I love the packaging of this bottle. It is one reason I went with the Trader Joe’s variety over the similarly priced bottle of Jack Daniels. Every time I unscrew the cork to pour a glass I feel like I am enjoying some high quality stuff. I don’t like overpaying for marketing, but sometimes a nice container improves the experience. And with a glass of whiskey, it is all about the experience.
Think about it. You come home from a hard day of work. You get an hour to yourself to relax, unwind, and decompress. It is a nice summer day so you decide to put your headphones on and sit back on the deck. To make things even better you pull out a couple of ice cubes, a glass, and pour a little whiskey. Do you want some piece of crap bottle with one of those cheap spin off caps? Absolutely not. You want to pop out the cork which reminds you that this stuff is barred aged.
Best Affordable Bourbon
One of my favorite things about Trader Joe’s is I don’t have to think about my selection too much. I know whatever I decide upon will be a pretty good value. If I spend $20 on a bottle of bourbon it will be better if not equivalent to other similarly priced bourbons on the market. I don’t have to stand there and try to distinguish if the fancy Trader Joe’s marketing is trying to trick me into paying $20 for a $10 bottle.
Cheap Bourbon Brands
The real question is how does Trader Joe’s High Rye Bourbon compare to other cheap bourbon brands?
I do have not have experience with all of these. But I do have a quite of bit of experience with Black Velvet. Boy, is this stuff bad. It comes in one of those cheap plastic half gallon jugs. You can legitimately get a half gallon for around $20-25. Mixers and chasers are must. This stuff is for getting drunk with a bad hangover, not for enjoyment.
- Jim Beam
- Wild Turkey
- Evan Williams
- Black Velvet
Loyal Off Brand Guy viewers – Let us know your thoughts on best beat cheap whiskey…
Best Cheap Whiskey
Anyone going to Vegas soon? Everyone knows that Vegas is a complete shakedown. Regardless of how must research you do expect to pay $10 for a beer and $15+ for a cocktail. Here is a quick tip. Check a half gallon of liquor on the flight. That way you will be able to enjoy a couple of drinks at the hotel before going out. The challenge is finding a decent liquor that is produced in a plastic half gallon. As you don’t want to check a glass bottle in the event it breaks. Seagram’s Canadian whiskey is the perfect solution. It is tolerably to sip on, reasonably priced, and will save you a few bucks on your trip.
Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned one of my favorite cocktails. The ingredients are simple:
- Simple syrup
- Angostura bitters
- Orange peel or orange slice
- Luxardo cherries
For awhile, I got into making these. But honestly, it is just too much work. That is where Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Pre-Mix Cocktails comes in. I simply grab a few ice cubes and pour. Sometimes I pull out the orange peel, but you don’t even have to go that far.