It’s Bourbon Week! From June 14 to 21 we’re raising a glass of this fabled spirit to the dads who deserve the world; or at least the state of Kentucky! At this point, anyone who is mildly into whiskey knows the classic names of Blanton’s, Maker’s Mark, Eagle Rare, and the sought-after Pappy Van Winkle. But, there’s more to sip than the famed producers. Join me in leveling-up your bourbon knowledge and find what’s right for your palate (and wallet!) with this list.
“Just ask me how long I had my first bottle for”
Jim Beam Old Tub is the best-of-both-worlds bourbon! Bottled in bond, meaning it comes in at 100-proof (50% abv), makes this mouth-watering maraschino cherry libation perfect for a classic old fashioned or Manhattan. Of course, it can also be served neat with a simple ice cube!
“I wish my dad made bourbon”
One of my personal favourites, Russell’s Reserve 10 year old is great value. While it certainly isn’t new to market, it is one I recently rediscovered. For four generations, Russell’s and Wild Turkey Distillery have stayed true to tradition. Using natural ingredients and No. 4 “alligator” char barrels, there’s no doubt their bourbons will give you high quality and unique flavours. As one can assume by the name, the Russell’s Reserve 10 year old has an age statement of 10 years. While bourbons do get aged, it’s rare to see the distinction on the bottle. As such, I find this a direct competitor with a bourbon like Eagle Rare (another 10 year old). However, it is much easier to find and should be a part of any bourbon lovers’ collection.
“Cowboys make great bourbon too!”
A great buy for anyone looking to try something new. As the name implies, this bourbon hails from Austin, Texas and 100% of its ingredients are locally sourced. Inspired by the arts and music scenes Austin is known for, this bourbon is aptly named ‘The Musician’. And trust me, you’ll be singing after a couple of ounces of this salted caramel and vanilla delight!
“Just another reason to visit the windy city!”
Koval in many eastern European languages means blacksmith, or black sheep in Yiddish. Staying true to its novel name, Koval is one of the only United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic spirits on the market. This Chicago-based bourbon shows its unique quality being a mash-bill (51% corn, 49% millet), and with its organic background makes a great addition to any collectors shelf.
“Best kept secret”
Last but certainly not least, the Garrison Brothers Small Batch. Having a mash-bill that consists of corn, soft red winter wheat, and barley, this Bourbon is a treat for any belly! Being what I call a wheated bourbon style, it’s comparable to some of the big names such as Pappy Van Winkle and W.L Weller. A nice amount of wheat presence can often help with making a whiskey seem ‘smoother’ and is definitely one of my preferred styles. Made in sweltering weather conditions, with the Texas sun beating down on the distillery, enables this bourbon to soak in delectable flavours from the American oak barrels. A nose of butterscotch and nutmeg leads into tons of vanilla and fruit on the palate with a finish that’s going to have most dads (and moms) coming back for more!