Bourbon, America's native spirit, has witnessed a renaissance over the past few decades. This deep, amber-colored whiskey is celebrated for its rich history and intricate flavor profiles that can range from sweet and fruity to spicy and smoky. As interest in bourbon has surged, so too has the variety and quality of offerings. While it's a daunting task to narrow down the very best in the vast world of bourbon, here's a list of ten of the most highly-rated bourbons, each with its own unique charm.
Our Top 10
- Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 15 Year Old
Often regarded as the "holy grail" among bourbon enthusiasts, Pappy Van Winkle's offerings are celebrated for their nuanced flavors and limited availability. The 15-year-old variant offers a harmonious blend of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of fruitiness, with a luxuriously smooth finish.
- George T. Stagg
Part of Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection, George T. Stagg is an unfiltered, cask strength bourbon known for its robust character. With flavors of dark chocolate, toffee, and cherry, this bourbon is a true powerhouse, often clocking in at over 130 proof.
- Four Roses Small Batch Select
An expansion of the iconic Four Roses lineup, the Small Batch Select combines six of the brand's ten unique recipes. The result is a bourbon that's both rich and mellow, offering notes of raspberries, vanilla, and a hint of herbal spice.
- Blanton's Single Barrel
Recognizable by its unique grenade-shaped bottle topped with a horse and jockey stopper, Blanton's was one of the first to introduce the concept of single barrel bourbons. Each bottle is a snapshot of a single barrel's character, with common notes of apple, cinnamon, and a touch of oak.
- Booker's Bourbon
Named after Booker Noe, Jim Beam's grandson, this bourbon is bottled uncut and unfiltered. Known for its robust flavors and high proof, Booker's offers a symphony of caramel, nuts, and fruitiness, rounded out by a smoky finish.
- Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
Another gem from Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare is known for its consistent quality and affordability. This ten-year-old bourbon presents flavors of honey, toasted oak, and a hint of dark chocolate, making it both approachable for novices and appreciated by connoisseurs.
- W.L. Weller 12 Year Old
Often referred to as the "poor man's Pappy," W.L. Weller shares a similar wheated mash bill with its illustrious counterpart. The 12-year-old variant is velvety smooth with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, and a soft spice, providing an elegant sipping experience.
- Wild Turkey Rare Breed
A barrel-proof offering from Wild Turkey, Rare Breed is a blend of 6, 8, and 12-year-old bourbons. It boasts flavors of sweet caramel, baked bread, and a peppery spice, making it a flavorful journey from start to finish.
- Michter's US*1 Small Batch Bourbon
Produced in limited quantities, Michter's Small Batch is renowned for its sweet and spicy character. With flavors of caramelized sugar, toasted almond, and a touch of fruitiness, this bourbon is a testament to meticulous craftsmanship.
- Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style
Part of Old Forester's Whiskey Row Series, the 1920 Prohibition Style pays homage to the brand's history during the Prohibition era. Bottled at 115 proof, this bourbon delivers flavors of dark cherry, chocolate, and a hint of medicinal spice, evoking the character of bourbons from yesteryears.
The world of bourbon is vast and varied, with each bottle telling its own unique story. While this list captures ten of the most highly-rated bourbons, it's worth noting that individual preferences play a significant role in one's bourbon journey. What remains constant is the craftsmanship, passion, and history imbued in every drop of this iconic American spirit. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or just starting out, there's a world of flavors awaiting discovery. Cheers to exploring and finding your personal favorite!