All posts in “Bourbon”

Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen Bourbon

When it comes to fledgling American bourbon brands, there are really only two options–source whiskey from established producers like MGP or wait at least four years until you have great distillate of your own. In…

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Whiskey

It’s still just June but Old Forester is jumping the gun by releasing initial details of this year’s Birthday Bourbon. It won’t come out until Sept. 2, of course, but now is a good time as any to get whiskey lovers hyped up for its forthcoming offering.

The 2019 Birthday Bourbon will be 11 years old and bottled at 105 proof. That’s the highest proof tot date in the product’s 19-year existence, just so you know. The full allotment represents one day’s production of Old Forester. Here’s Jackie Zykan, Old Forester Master Taser, on the new lot:

“When selecting the barrels for this year, we found something truly exceptional in this lot and we’re proud to call it our 2019 Birthday Bourbon.”

Old forester bottled 120 barrels on May 15, 2008. But because evaporation year after year, only 2,200 six-bottle cases will be released nationwide. That is if you’re lucky enough to snag one. We’re sure this won’t stay shelves too long after coming out, so act fast. Each bottle will retail for a cool $99.99. As for the taste, Zykan says it’s rich in oak, blackcurrant, and caramel cake. There might even be traces of floral notes in there if you’re really degustating.

The birthday Bourbon has been an anticipated annual release ever since 2002. That was when Old Forester decided to release its first-ever celebratory bourbon marking its founder’s birth. It’s highly sought-after, selling at prices ranging from $500 to as much as $5,000. Hit the link below to know more.


Just 299 Bottles Of This Double Eagle Very Rare Bourbon

Buffalo Trace only made 299 bottles of its latest gem, the Double Eagle Very Rare Bourbon. Each going for $1,999 a pop, so you need to be quick — and rich.

This is also its oldest-release of the Double Eagle Very Rare yet, clocking in at 20 years old. That’s a full three years older than the 17-year-old version found in the distillery’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It’s also double the age of 10-year-old bourbon bottles found on most shelves.

If you think it’s got a weird name, you’re right on the money. But actually, “Double Eagle Very Rare” has a double meaning. It refers both to the bottle’s age and the two eagles inside the hand-blown container. Again, Buffalo Trace produced no more than 299 bottles. Act fast if you want one, and be prepared to have a $2,000 check at the ready.

A purchase also nets you its fancy packaging, which features a silver box with sliding doors that, when opened, trigger spotlights above and below the bottle. After all, a ridiculously expensive drink deserves all the opulence it can get, even if it means snazzing up the box with its own lights.

Now, for the alchemy. Buffalo Trace says each bottle boasts “hints of vanilla, toasted oak and caramel,” which they say makes for a “gracefully aged oaky flavor.” You’d have to take Buffalo Trace’s word for it.

“We’ve been waiting for this whiskey to mature for years. Even after two decades, these barrel are surprisingly balanced,” said Kris Comstock, senior marketing director for Eagle Rare.

$1,999 A Bottle

7 High-Proof Bourbon Whiskeys to Drink This Year

A bourbon myth for you, briefly: any 120 proof bourbon is somehow inherently better than your run-of-the-mill 80- or 90-proof stuff.

“There is a falsity that’s in the consumer base that cask strength is better,” says Fred Minnick, a spirits writer and the Editor-in-Chief of Bourbon+ magazine. “What’s really happening is, a lot of people can’t taste flaws at that strength. If they were to cut it with water and get it down to 90 or 80 proof, they would detect notes they wouldn’t necessarily care for.”

Don’t go pouring the strong stuff in your liquor cabinet down the drain, though. High-proof bourbon (it’s called “cask strength” when it’s unwatered, and therefore the same strength it was when it exited the bourbon cask) remains a beautiful spirit.

Weller first bottled a bourbon at “barrel proof” in the 1940s, but it was only 107 proof. The first bottles to breach the 115 mark came from Booker Noe, at Jim Beam, and a less-remembered bourbon from Willet called Noah’s Mill. Those bourbons weren’t just about firepower. They gave drinkers a chance to taste the bourbons like their blenders had, straight out of the barrel; they added a new tool to the bartender’s cocktail kit; and they introduced a new route — albeit a difficult one for distillers and blenders to traverse — to flavors intensified by the higher alcohol content.

Science backs this up. Ethanol, the alcohol in spirits, is an immense flavor enhancer, but its effects on the taste of a drink are not always straightforward. For instance, scientific studies have found that an increase in ethanol content in a spirit tends to decrease the release of aromatic compounds — higher alcohol, less smells. To a point, a well-balanced high-proof bourbon can amplify certain flavors, like caramel, Minnick says. When distillers control the beast, “you get those special bourbons, where the concentration of the flavor notes are much more powerful.”

It’s a fine line to walk for distillers, let alone buyers. The final lesson? Don’t buy high-proof bourbon for high proof’s sake, but prospect carefully and you’ll unlock liquid pleasures beyond the vale. Here are some high-proof bourbons that walk the line beautifully.

Booker’s 2018 04 “Kitchen Table”

The OG: Booker Noe was a visionary in the high-proof world, one of the first to bottle bourbon at cask strength, unwatered. (Booker’s also claims that he coined the term “small batch” when, really, he popularized it.) That bourbon was called “Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon.” Today, every bottle of Booker’s is bottled at barrel proof, and they pack a serious punch — usually, upward of 125 proof.
Proof: 128 (barrel proof)
Age: 6 years, 8 months, 7 days
Tasting Notes: honey, rye, molasses, spice

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

Juicy Bomb: Also the doing of Booker Noe, Knob Creek comes from the Beam Suntory distillery. It’s aged nine years, just like every other Knob Creek bourbon, which drinkers will find reflected in its classic vanilla and caramel notes. The extra ethanol seems to amplify the sultry caramel flavor without overwhelming the juicy, light citrus that comes from the rye.
Proof: 120
Age: 9 years
Tasting Notes: vanilla and caramel, with a touch of citrus

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Award Winner: Heaven Hill’s ubiquitously distributed gem has won serious awards. Elijah Craig small batch variety has been lauded by Whiskey Advocate, Whiskey Magazine and The Whiskey Bible, while the Barrel Proof version was Whiskey Advocate’s 2017 Whisky of the Year. It’s an incredibly dark bourbon, representative of a serious interaction between bourbon and barrel.
Proof: 131 (barrel proof)
Age: 12 years
Tasting Notes: caramel, butterscotch, spice

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

The People’s Champion: Even the widely accessible bourbons on this list cost upward of $80. Wild Turkey’s version goes for around 50 bucks. It’s been around since 1991, a blend of 6-, 8-, and 12-year-old bourbons. Its spiciness follows with Wild Turkey 101s.
Proof: 118 (barrel proof)
Age: 6 – 12 years
Tasting Notes: spice, rye, pepper, oak

George T Stagg

Dream Bottle: Much like Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. — more on him in a moment — George T. Stagg was not known as a great distiller or blender, but rather a salesman. He’d be happy to see a bourbon with his name on it that goes for upward of $800, if it can be found. But inflated as its price may be, this is truly a dream bottle for collectors, fawned over by experts worldwide: winner of Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible World Whiskey of the year from 2004 to 2006, and second in 2012, it was awarded three golds and three double gold medals by the San Francisco World Spirits Competition from 2006 to 2012.
Proof: 124.9 (barrel proof)
Age: 15 years
Tasting Notes: rye, coffee, fudge, dates, dark berries

Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof

Gentle Giant: Colonel Taylor was a benefactor of sorts for the bourbon industry in the 19th century — first as a banker and then as a modernizer of distilling equipment at what today is Buffalo Trace. The standard E. H. Taylor, Jr. bottle and the small-batch version are both bottled-in-bond without an age statement, which means they are at least four years old; the Barrel Proof version also has no age statement. All three use the distillery’s ubiquitous “mash bill no. 1,” shared with a number of other bottles, including Buffalo Trace and Stagg Jr.; get your hands on all three and you can compare how different barrels and proofs make for drastically different bourbons.
Proof: 125 (barrel proof)
Age: NAS
Tasting Notes: vanilla, citrus, plum

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength

Wheated Winner: There are few barrel-proof bourbons on the market that use wheat rather than rye. When Maker’s Mark Cask Strength was introduced in 2014, it gave wheated bourbon fans their first crack at a reasonably priced, widely available option. The home-run version for high-proof wheated bourbons is William Larue Weller, which is closer to 130 proof, wins loads of awards but it also costs an arm and a leg. Maker’s Mark is bottled at a much lower proof, which helps balance its sweetness, spice and alcohol heat.
Proof: 111.3 (varies)
Age: NAS
Tasting Notes: cherries, cinnamon, vanilla, dark fruit, molasses

The Best Bourbon Whiskeys You Can Buy

Everything you ever wanted to know about America’s favorite brown spirit, including, of course, the best bottles you can actually buy. Read the Story

8 Unique Whiskeys Worth Searching For

Whiskey is ripe for experimentation right now and distillers are switching up every step of the process. They’re using new grains, changing their casks, and taking the aging process mobile. Some of these experiments make…

Why Pappy Van Winkle Can Cost Over $2,000 a Bottle

Pappy Van Winkle is the unicorn of bourbons. People say it’s real, but we’ve only really seen it in pictures, and most of them probably had some image doctoring going on. For all we know,…

Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door Whiskeys

Bob Dylan does more than sing and play guitar. The multi-faceted artist is also a painter, a Nobel Prize-winning author, skilled metalworker, and now, a whiskey maker. He’s just released a trio of award-winning concoctions, called the Heaven’s Door Whiskeys.

Produced in collaboratrion with different master distillers and blenders from across the US, the collection of handcrafted whiskeys includes a Tennessee Straight Bourbon (90 Proof), aged for more than 6 1/2 years in American Oak barrels; a Double Barrel Whiskey (100 Proof) that blends three different whiskeys finished in hand-toasted, new American oak barrels for a secondary aging; and a Straight Rye Whiskey (92 Proof) that goes through a proprietary finishing in toasted oak cigar barrels, resulting in “a smoother, more approachable rye with notes of orange peel, coriander, and spice.”

The whiskeys are presented in beautiful bottles (adorned with drawings of the iron gates created by Dylan) and will be available mid-May, but can be preordered now.

Buy From Heaven’s Door $60-$90

Buffalo Trace O.F.C. Vintage Bourbons

This month, Buffalo Trace Distillery will be releasing a trio of extremely rare concoctions, the O.F.C. Vintage Bourbons.

The special release is limited to 61 bottles distilled in 1985, 18 bottles from 1989, and 63 bottles from the year 1990. Each straight bourbon whiskey comes in a hand-cut crystal bottle, in-laid with real copper lettering and packaged in a beautiful wooden display box that contains a provenance card noting the milestones for the respective vintage year. Learn More From Buffalo Trace $2,500