John E Fitzgerald Larceny
Like we said, some bourbons on this list will be pricey, very pricey, but not all are. Want a tremendous bottle thats less than 30 bucks? Get yourself some John E. Fitzgerald Larceny. From Heaven Hill, this wheated bourbon gets its name from John E. Fitzgeralds propensity to sneak into warehouses and steal the best barrels for his use. The taste is approachable but still full of flavor. Its like a Makers Mark killer. Seriously, this is a small batch bourbon you can, and should, get. $25
Colonel Eh Taylor Bottled In Bond
From the respected and formidable Buffalo Trace distillery comes a two-for-one small batch and bottled-in-bond special. Doesnt hurt that its a Colonel E.H. Taylor either. Typically, we see bottled in bond whiskeys found on the lower end of the totem poll mainly due to the cost and regulation involved to produce them. Not here, for this fine expression hosts the prized tasting notes of caramel, sweet corn, butterscotch, and just the right amount of licorice. As for the finish, how about some subtle pepper and tobacco to help bring out your inner southern aristocrat at the next garden party.
How Its Made: Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon whiskey is produced through a very delicate process of refining and restraining. It all begins with the bourbon whiskey being scouted for the right type of grains which should be used in the mash bill of the entire whiskey option. Bourbon whiskey also goes through many other processes and a lot of other ingredients are added before the bourbon is officially ready to be bottled and sold.
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Best Bourbons In The World + Awards
There is something special about bourbon.
For years I was a Scotch drinker having tried only a few lower-end bourbons but I never really got into it properly and never tried any of the best bourbons.
I was not one of those snobby Scotch drinkers that look down their noses at bourbon , but I think Id just never sampled anything that really grabbed me and forced me to explore the sweet and wonderful bourbon world.
That all changed when I went on holiday with a friend of mine and he brought with him a little unlabelled bottle.
It contained some George T Stagg .
Needless to say, as I would imagine is the case with most people on their first Stagg experience, it blew my proverbial socks off!
In fact, it blew them so far off I never saw those socks again.
Shame, I loved those Winne the Pooh socks. But it was ok, as I had a new love:
More Of The Whiskey Releases Available Now
This is a murderers row of my favorite bourbons and ryes. The WhistlePig 15-Year Rye Whiskey is arguably my favorite pour on the planet. This 92-proof Rye from Vermont is one of the highest-rated Rye Whiskeys of all-time . I celebrate with this Rye and I turn to this Rye when I want to show a non-whiskey lover what theyre missing. If I close my eyes an envisioned the perfect Rye it would be WhistlePigs 15-year but I understand the $239 price tag can be a lot.
Ive listed the Bookers Bourbon 2021-02 Tagalong Batch here for the latest from Bookers. but I have to admit that I truly fell in love with the Donohoes Batch which came earlier in the year. You cant write a list of the Best Bourbons in America without mentioning Bookers.
Theyve had a seat at the head of the table since Day 1. And if youre curious how Bookers Batch Bourbon came to exist then youre in luck. I caught up with the man who was integral in the brands creation and its an awesome story that wll whiskey lovers will appreciate.
To give you an idea of how good the Heavens Door x Redbreast Master Blenders Edition is, it was submitted it in an unmarked bottle to the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and its already been awarded a Double Gold medal in a blind taste test.
- Im a simple man, when I see this on the shelves I buy two bottles. I love it. Always willl.
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What Do You Like About Whiskey
Not every whiskey drinker begins their journey knowing what they like about whiskey.; I think it would be a misstep to assume they know what they like in their earlier daysthe same way I wouldnt expect a beginner to create illustrative notes about nuanced flavors in their whiskey.; Simply stating if they like or dislike a product is a great first step to discovering the underlying factors that drive that like or dislike.
Trying traditional bourbons is something I recommend to everyone.; While its alluring to hit your local liquor store and grab a handful of bottles from the top shelf, its likely going to lead a newer drinker to throw money down the drain as they havent built a foundation of personalized whiskey knowledge to lean on.; This all ties back to the original question of this article if you consider the inherent subjectivity of tasting.
As a whiskey drinker tries more products and begins to establish a clearer understanding of the aromas, flavors, and more detailed components in their whiskey they will likely begin to gravitate toward products under a particular brand/portfolio or distillery.; Its usually at this stage where the question comes up again: Ive had ___ and ___.; I like ___ but what is the;best;bourbon out there?.; Now the question is no longer coming out of the dark, so much as its coming from the position of someone who wants a silver bullet to their dilemma of what to buy.
Blantons Single Barrel Bourbon
This is the original single barrel bourbon. Buffalo Traces Blantons is hand-selected single barrels that meet the sky-high standards of former Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee, who created the expression back in 1984.
Theres a clear sense of Christmas spices right away, leaning towards eggnog spiked with vanilla. The taste holds onto the spice, especially nutmeg, as caramel kettle corn, fresh honey, and vanilla husks dominate the palate. The end doesnt overstay its welcome as hints of eggnog spice, dry vanilla, and popped corn fade away.
The Neat Experience:
This whiskey is built at Buffalo Trace to be the ultimate single barrel sipper. The juice is just so damned refined and accessible on its own. Sure, we like being a little cheeky and making cocktails with this one, but really, this is the perfect neat dram of bourbon.
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How We Decided What Made The List
This article is aimed at everyone but we didnt want to put out a list of the best bourbons in the world and for;them;to all be ridiculously expensive or rare to the point where youd have to sell a kidney to get hold of one.
We dont have the funds to purchase a lot of those kinds of bottles anyway and Im sure most people reading this dont either.
Some really good bourbons out there will be expensive though.
So we decided to split the list into two with the following criteria:
Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey
This was devised as a more approachable and mixable version of Wild Turkey 101 . The juice is rye-forward and aged from six to eight years in heavily charred alligator barrels. Finally, its brought down to proof with that famously soft Kentucky limestone water.
This is truly classic bourbon through and through. The nose has hints of that oak with sweet pears covered in caramel with a slight spice and plenty of vanilla. Hints of buttery kettle corn mix with more pear and maybe a touch of peach too. The spiciness edges towards a Christmas spice boldness as the oak, vanilla, and caramel slowly fade out.
No list of cheap bourbon is complete without a little Turkey. This pared-down version of 101 is designed specifically for mixing behind the bar. Its bold-yet-easy, making it the perfect cocktail base but it also works as an on the rocks sipper in a pinch.
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Basil Haydens 10 Year
In a sea of cask-strength offerings, Basil Haydens stays true to its 80 proof roots. The high rye content of its mash bill charges the nose and palate with notes of caraway and spice, while 10 years in the barrel have added leather and an attractive nuttiness. If you arent looking for high proof, this is a remarkable bourbon just dont add ice. Average price: $87.
The Tastes Of Bourbon Neat On The Rocks Or In A Cocktail
The discerning gentleman understands there is no such thing as a favorite bourbon. There are only favorite bourbons.;
The connoisseur should have a favorite bourbon to sip, one to mix and one to share.
You may enjoy lower proof or sweeter, wheat bourbons in a cocktail or highball for something light. You may also prefer something with higher proof and age on a chilly night by the fire. The bourbon explorer will seek out the right expression to fit with various foods, climates and occasions.;
All this is only possible when you truly taste bourbon.
As you do so, make notes of the aromas and flavors each brings to your palate. Study the mouthfeel, body and aftertaste. Notice the impact on your throat and belly as well as that upon your tongue.;
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Michter’s 25 Year Rye
Michter’s seems to be finally hitting its stride as one of the most valuable whiskey brands in the world. After numerous appearances on the TV show Billions,;as well as selling a cask of its coveted 10-year-old bourbon at a COVID-19 charity auction for an astronomical $210,000, the brand is starting to be viewed by collectors in a similar light as Macallan. Don’t believe me? A bottle of this delectable juice from 2014 just sold for $22,000 in California.
Abv: 45%tasting Notes: Maple Oak Nutmeg
Next on the best bourbons for beginners list is a whiskey pioneered by Augustus Bulleit over 150 years ago – Bulleit Bourbon. The brand only uses the finest combination of rye, corn, barley malt, particular strains of yeast, and Kentucky limestone-filtered water.;
If you are fond of anything spicy and robust, you would love this bourbon. Since the mixture is mainly composed of rye, it has powerful heat and kick with a smooth finish. The mid-palate gives off tones of maple, oak, and nutmeg, whereas the finish is long, dry, with a bit of toffee flavor.
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The Different Expressions Of Bourbon
Finally, you should explore bourbon brands with different expressions. Sometimes called flavors, these variations on a brands recipe or process produce interesting alternatives.
The brand also offers six other limited edition expressions, including Sweet Wheat, Single Barrel, Port Finish and Bottled in Bond.
Fighting Cock: Caramel And Toasted Nuts
Don’t let the name and less-than-stylish appearance put you off. This is an unsung hero among budget bourbons, mainly because it delivers a powerful 103-proof without the overwhelmingly hotness that characterizes most cheap whiskies. It’s got plenty of spicinesses, caramel, and toasted nuts in the taste followed by a long fade. It’s perhaps a touch too spicy for me, but it’s still a bargain.
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Best Tennessee Bourbon: Heavens Door
Region: Tennessee | ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Cinnamon, Honey
The 90-proof Tennessee bourbon proves the most memorable thanks to a big, round mouthfeel, strong butterscotch, cherry, and honey notes. It also spends a minimum of eight years in American oak barrels for a smooth, lasting taste.
Region: Kentucky | ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Cocoa, Maple Syrup, Stone Fruit
One of Kentuckyâs proudest and most tenured producers, Four Roses has been around since the 1800s. Its single barrel might be the strongest offering in its decorated portfolio thanks to an uncanny balance of potency and smoothness from spending 10 years in barrels. Better yet, aromas of maple syrup and vanilla on the nose give way to ripe stone fruit on the tongue. Straight-up or on the rocks, it carries a delicate and lengthy finish thatâs surprisingly nuanced.
This bourbon has also earned a treasure trove of awards including multiple golds and double golds at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Region: Kentucky | ABV: 57.15% | Tasting Notes: Coffee, Vanilla, Raisin
Known As Poor Mans Pappy This Bourbon Whiskey Just Got A Lot More Interesting
Larceny has been a go-to for wheat-obsessed bourbon drinkers for years. Now theyve got options.
Theres a new consolation prize for bourbon hunters giving up the hunt for bottles of Pappy or Weller.
The barrel proof version of Heaven Hill Distillerys affordable, well-loved Larceny bourbon is made with the same mashbill as its predecessor and therefore falls in the category bourbon drinkers call wheaters. Where most bourbon recipes are comprised of corn, rye and malted barley, a select few substitute wheat for barley. The category has experienced a small whiskey nerd renaissance as its rode the coattails of Pappy and Weller.
Retailing between $20 and $25 and available yearround, Larceny has long been known as one of two great entry points into wheated bourbons . Its in our guide to best wheated bourbons and best overall bourbons, where bourbon expert Fred Minnick called it a good, inexpensive, wheated everyday sipper.
Its barrel proof variant will retail for $50 and release three times a year, with each release bottled at different proof points . Heaven Hill says the whiskey in the bottle will be aged between six and eight years and is rolling out to retailers this month.
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Top 10 Smoothest Bourbon Whiskeys
Smoothness is a perception, rather than a flavor, and basically indicates the amount of burn that you feel when the whiskey goes down. Based on over 75.000 whisky tasting notes and 250.000 whisky ratings, these are ten of the best smooth bourbons and American whiskeys. Easy to drink and easy to love. Use our Whisky Finder to refine the search results, or to search for additional flavors or whisky characteristics.Can’t find any of these rare and delicious bourbons? Download the Whisky Suggest app on Android or iOS, rate and review 10 whiskeys, and presto! You’ll have recommendations tailored to your tastes so you can find your favorite and sip confidently!</br />Looking for smooth Scotch whiskies? The 10 best smooth Scotch whiskies are listed here.</br />;</br />-> Ready to order? Try ReserveBar , Drizly , The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt . Or for more shops.</br />
Ezra Brooks Bourbon Whiskey
Luxcos Ezra Brooks is a throwback to the Mad Men days of bourbon. The juice is a standard rye-infused bourbon without an age statement. Its made as a workhorse whiskey thats easy to find and cheap when you do find it.
Classic yet mild notes of caramel corn, vanilla, and oaky spice lead the way. Theres a continued sense of those notes on the palate, with a hint of dark chocolate and spice when a little water is introduced. The end is short, caramel sweet, and has hints of kettle corn.
This is complex but will still have that cheaper vibe going on, making it the perfect mixer. A classic highball will bring out more of those mild dark chocolate notes with a hint of orange.
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Old Forester Signature 100 Proof
100 Proof Wide Release Louisville, KY
Prohibition was a dark time for bourbon distillers . Most closed up shop, but Brown-Forman, distiller of Old Forester, was granted permission by the Feds to continue making their bourbon for medicinal purposes. Today its the oldest bourbon distillery still run by the founding family and their Signature 100 Proof is probably the ideal spirit for making an Old Fashioned. The high proof will hold up to the bitters and sugar, while the strong, spicy flavor balances the sweetness. No prescription required. Buy It
Pappy Van Winkle 25 Decanter
I know that it comes as no surprise that a PVW bottle would be on anyone’s list, but there is a vast difference between this and other PVW bottles out there, even the 23-year-old. This whiskey was barreled in 1989 and fully aged at the now-closed Stitzel-Weller distillery. This is important to note because as values of bottles go, juice from SW is more valuable than the current product, which is made at Buffalo Trace. The bottle comes in a limited-edition crystal decanter that was numbered out of just 710 bottles, and each number is hand-etched into the bottle. Originally retailing for $1,800, this bottle is on the market for a minimum of $27,000, with some prices as high as $36,000. It’s easily one of the most expensive bourbons out there.
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Kings County Straight Bourbon
Virtually any product from Kings County can be hard to track down, so expect to do some work to get a bottle of this one, especially if you cant readily get yourself to the Brooklyn distillery. That trip might be worth it if you pride yourself on your ability to decipher the flavors in a whiskey. Weve heard more flavors traits listed for this particular whiskey than for most weve encountered. It seems like this is a bourbon you have to sit with and sip slowly to really pick apart whats in there. $50