Yep, a good 80% of what I have in the cabinet at any time is less than $30 a bottle. Heck, usually half is even under $20. I guess I'm a cheap whiskey guy. It's still tasty though!
If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.
I have been there for quite a while, boss302. While I still have several very fancy bottlings bunkered and even a couple open, about all I buy anymore are WT 101 and OGD 86.
Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur
It seems to me, taking a "step up" doesn't necessarily require paying more. A neighbor, who only drinks good ole JD, stopped by while I was enjoying a pour of OWA. So, I got another Glencairn and poured him some. His eye lit up at the nose even before he took a sip. I suggested that if he really liked Tennessee sippin' whiskey, he should give Dickel a try. He had never heard of OWA--which is not surprising because we can't get it in Ohio. But he had never heard of Dickel either. Both OWA and GD are way better than JD (IMHO) but are in the same price range.
If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.
Regular purchases are WT 101, GD #12, EC 12, OGD BiB, and FRSB (not really a low budget pour, but I have to have it!)
I have always enjoyed finding a quality pour at a valued price [VOV BIB]. But, you have to be willing to try the valued brands to find the ones you like/value. There are certainly times for cracking open a premium pour, usually when they add to the event being celebrated.
The only way to really know if you prefer bottle X over Y at any price is with a blind tasting, or as I like to call it, The Great Equalizer. We're too often lured by factors other than the whiskey alone. I'm no exception. Good stuff is good stuff, but sometimes other things get in the way.
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."
I have a lot of premium bottles but I reach for WT 101 most of the time.
[Liberty Valance lays shot in the street]
(Dr) "Quick whiskey!"
[ Dr drinks from whiskey bottle, kicks over Liberty Valance]
(Dr) "He's Dead"