Lifestyle Jun 14 2017 / 0 Comments
by The Whiskey Library
June 14th is National Bourbon Day, a celebration of America’s “native spirit”! There is something captivating about bourbon and it is a wonderful time in the spirit’s history. There are distilleries that have been around for decades still producing some fantastic whiskey, distilleries that are breathing new life into old recipes, and even brand new distilleries creating delicious pours.
Whatever your favorite bourbon, here are a few that we think are worth taking a closer look at. We didn’t choose rare or limited releases, but instead today is about celebrating and finding the awesomeness in every bourbon on the shelf!
Named after Col. Edmund Haynes (E.H.) Taylor, Jr. this line of whiskies from the Buffalo Trace Distillery are fantastically delicious and have a full bodied feel with lots of caramel, vanilla and butterscotch aromas and tastes. Col. Taylor is probably best known for his work in passing the Bottled-in-Bond Act, which is one of the reasons all of this line up (except the barrel proof) are Bottled-in-Bond and come in at 100-proof.
One of the newest expressions from Heaven Hill Distilleries, Larceny is a wheated bourbon. This means that the second most popular grain in the mashbill (second only to the more than 50% corn) is wheat instead of the more common rye. This results in a softer and maybe even sweeter bourbon.
One of the older distilleries in Kentucky, Four Roses is known for their two separate mashbills and 5 different yeast strains. The result is 10 unique recipes they can create. For their Small Batch expression they blend 4 of them together. The result is a well balanced, classic bourbon.
One of our favorite barrel proof bourbons is Booker’s, from the Jim Beam Distillery. Named after the late Master Distiller, Booker Noe this bourbon was one of the first barrel proof whiskies to be mass marketed. A high proof (between 121-131) bourbon that is still well balanced with a sweet vanilla makes this one worthy of Booker’s name.
Jimmy Russell was the Master Distillery at Wild Turkey for 60 years before passing the torch to his son, Eddie Russell. The “Russell’s Reserve” line from Wild Turkey is a homage to the legendary family and this 10yr Bourbon is perfect. It has just the right balance of vanilla and spice, with a subtle hint of toffee that just makes this a perfect sipping bourbon.
The Smooth Ambler Distillery in West Virginia is known for creating some amazing expressions from ‘sourced’ barrels. This means they, like most start-up distilleries, purchased barrels from other distilleries, most often Midwest Grain Products (MGP) in Indiana. However these guys picked some of the best barrels and batched them together perfectly to create not only some great bourbon, but an almost cult like following. This is just another great example of the diversity within the bourbons you find on the shelf today.
Still sporting the same bright red wax top, Maker’s 46 is a close cousin to the original. This bourbon starts off the same way that regular Maker’s Mark does (using Red Winter Wheat instead of rye), but is aged a bit longer before being introduced to seared French oak staves for a couple months. The result is a more complex oaky bourbon with cherries and ripe fruit flavors.
Part of Brown-Forman’s Whiskey Row Series, this bourbon pays homage to the prohibition style whiskey. During prohibition Old Forester was made for medicinal purposes and this bottling is to mimic what a bourbon would have tasted like during this era. This is a strong reminder that even during prohibition, great bourbon’s were being made!
There are a ton of great local distilleries, so many that there is really no way for us to know about them. But go out and enjoy what they are distilling and putting on the shelves. It is this distilling spirit that keeps Bourbon alive and the passion burning. So grab a pour or a bottle, but be sure to share it with a friend or two! And if there happens to be a favorite of yours, let us know – we’d love to give it a try.