What is too much when it comes to bourbon? Like most things in life, it is what you can afford. Just because bourbon is expensive does not mean it is any good.
Do not be fooled when you see a bourbon on the liquor shelf marked premium bourbon. That means the price is higher than the norm. Also, be careful choosing a bourbon based on age. If you start with a bad batch, it does not matter how long you age the barrel; it will still be bad.
Here at The Bourbon Flight, we want to give you the best of both worlds, a great-tasting bourbon at a fair price.
Here is our list of bourbons that are worth the money.
- Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon: Always one of my top bourbons for the money, this easy-drinking bourbon is under $40 and worth every penny. The light-proof is easy on the palate. Citrus fruits and warm cream bring this bourbon to the forefront for taste and price.
- Four Roses Bourbon: Under $30, this is Four Roses entry-level bourbon, but don’t let that fool you. This complex bourbon stands up to other high-priced whiskeys. Baking spice and caramel permeate through the nose, but it does not end there as vanilla, honey, and a hint of corn round out the sip.
- Elijah Craig Small Batch: Another gem under $40, this small batch bourbon has always surprised my expectations. The buttery brown sugar aroma fills the air when you pop the cork, and that is just the beginning. The first sip will give you that warm Kentucky hug you miss, but in a way that allows you to enjoy the pepper, rye, and roasted corn flavors you expect.
- Knob Creek 9-Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon: An excellent price for a terrific bourbon under $30. Some people have recently soured on the brand, complaining that the quality has diminished over time, but I beg to differ. This bourbon is well-rounded that continues to deliver on taste. Gingersnaps and oak fill the nose, while the palate enjoys sweet vanilla and cinnamon. A very light finish, but it leaves you wanting more.
- Old Grand-Dad: Considered bottom-shelf at $25, this bourbon packs more punch than others, four times its price. It does not get the respect it deserves. Once you open the bottle, let it breathe for a bit, allowing the alcohol vapor to dissipate. Once that is gone, it is game on. Notes of Crème Brulee with honey hit the nose, and the finish is sweet and rustic all in one. Next time you have a blind bourbon tasting, sip this in and wait to hear the guesses.
- Woodford Reserve: A well-respected bourbon that is middle of the road. Around $35, Woodford stays in its lane, not trying to do too much. Butterscotch and vanilla escape the glass, while spice and oak sneak up later. The taste is exactly what you want in a full-tasting bourbon. Honey and mint start the process, as coffee and rye tickle your tastebuds. You cannot go wrong with this bourbon.
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