Some people believe that bourbon must be made in Kentucky. While that is not true, the best bourbon is made in Kentucky. Okay, that is not always true, but the state produces some fine bourbon. February is sort of a transition month for bourbon, as not much of the heavenly spirit is being released.
We wanted to put together an all-Kentucky bourbon list, so people from around the country can sample what Kentuckians have the privilege of tasting regularly.
- E.H. Taylor: What’s not to like about this low-rye bourbon other than its scarcity? Its collectability has put it out of most people’s price range, but it is worth the extra money if you locate one.
- Four Roses: A popular Kentucky bourbon, this spirit can handle ice or just drinking neat. A perfect flavor profile that drinks like a more expensive bourbon. This spirit can be found easily on most liquor shelves and will not hurt the wallet.
- Knob Creek 18-Year-Old: This bourbon will hurt the budget at over $150, but it is worth it. This is a perfect spirit when entertaining friends or just sipping in the backyard. For its age, fruit notes still come through, but like most Knob Creek, the nuttiness is still prevalent.
- New Riff: Wow, has this brand taken off? New Riff has created so many award-winning spirits in a few short years. If you have not tried a Bottled-in-Bond whiskey, this is the one with subtle baking notes, sweet vanilla and caramel flavors. You cannot go wrong here.
- Bulleit Barrel Strength: Cask strength bourbons have been all the rage for a while now and while most brands have released its iteration, Bulleit has hit the bullseye. Not too hot, but hot enough that you know you are consuming a cask-strength bourbon.
- Elijah Craig: A complex bourbon but approachable to newbies who want to enter the small-batch arena. Deep oak flavors give this bourbon its unique taste but beware; the cinnamon can be a little overpowering if you are not used to it.
- Eagle Rare 10-Year-Old: One of the GOATs, this 10-year-old is by far the best-sipping bourbon I have ever had. The only issue is that while it is great for everyday drinking, you cannot find it anymore; if you do, it is way overpriced.
On the Rocks
- Booker’s: A little water cools this smokey bourbon down. With no filtering or cutting, Booker’s initial heat may overwhelm some, but those who like high-proof bourbons will fall in love with this expression.
- Woodford Reserve Double Double Oak: What do you get when you Double Double something? Something amazing! Surprisingly oak is not the predominant flavor as malt chocolate coats your tastebuds—a true masterpiece from our friends at Woodford Reserve.
- Jim Beam: An old staple in the bourbon community. Mixing Beam is like settling into a favorite couch, watching tv or reading the newspaper. This bourbon mixes well with almost anything you could throw at it. While it does not take over the drink, it complements the flavors.
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