Bourbon whiskey is considered by many as a typical American product as it relates closely to its culture. It is a hot favorite amongst the spirit enthusiasts, critics, and connoisseurs because of golden-amber color, smooth texture, and balanced flavors.
Bourbon is a spirit that is distilled and created with help of fermented grain-mash and is aged in oak barrels. It is actually an array of distinctive flavors that is the result of a perfect fit between distillation methods, climate, equipment, and ingredients. Good bourbon must be aged between seven to twelve years so that its actual flavor and texture comes out beautifully.
Which are the Best Bourbon Brands?
Blanton’s is a stand-alone and distinguished bourbon brand that has put its onus on creating something special. It has been the recipient of several awards. “Original Single Barrel Bourbon” was awarded a gold medal consecutively from the years 1999 – 2004 at the ‘International Wine & Spirits Competition’.
Blanton’s is a Kentucky based brand that was launched in the year 1984 as a single barrel. It is distilled at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort and is marketed and manufactured by the Sazerac Company.
Blanton’s is associated with the beverage industry as it deals in bourbon whiskey. Its high-profile product portfolio includes Gold Edition, Special Reserve, Original Single Barrel, and Straight From The Barrel.
2) Woodford Reserve
Woodford Reserve has been awarded double gold medal in the year 2013 and 2005 for its stellar performances at “San Francisco World Spirits Competition”. It has entered into a sponsorship deal with Churchill Downs and has been declared “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby”.
Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky based American origin brand that is manufactured by Brown-Forman Corporation in Woodford Reserve Distillery. It was introduced in the consumer market in the year 1996.
Woodford Reserve is associated with beverage industry as it deals in bourbon straight whiskey. Its product portfolio includes Woodford Reserve Master Collection Aged Cask Rye, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Woodford Reserve MC Four Wood, and Woodford Reserve Straight Kentucky Rye Whiskey.
3) Pappy Van Winkle
Pappy Van Winkle is a cherished and rare brand that is synonymous with quality and high demand. At the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in the year 2014, the 20 Year Old was the recipient of a double gold medal and the “Spirit of the Year” award was given in the year 2010 to 23-Year-Old Pappy Van Winkle.
Pappy Van Winkle was founded in the year 1874 by its founder Julian Van Winkle Jr. It is manufactured by Sazerac Company and is bottled and distilled at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.
Pappy Van Winkle is a bourbon whiskey brand made from barley, rye, and corn and is aged in charred and new oak barrels. Its product portfolio includes Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year bourbon, Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year Bourbon and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.
4) Jim Beam
Jim Beam is manufactured by Beam Suntory, a sub-brand of its parent company Suntory Holdings and distilled at Clermont in Kentucky. It was originally introduced in the year 1795 and has been handled by seven generations of the family. The products of this iconic company are available in nearly two hundred countries with Australia, Germany and United States as its primary consumers.
Jim Beam is a brand of bourbon whiskey with a product portfolio that includes Ultra-Premium Bourbons like Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Bourbon, Straight Bourbon Whiskey like Jim Beam Double Oak, White Whiskey like Jacob’s Ghost, Straight Rye Whiskey like Jim Beam Rye and Liqueurs like Jim Beam Red Stag.
Jim Beam Black Label earned a gold medal and “Gold Outstanding Medal” at 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and 2013 International Wine and Spirit Competition respectively.
5) Hudson Baby Bourbon
Hudson Baby Bourbon is produced and bottled by Tuthilltown Spirits and has the distinction of being the first bourbon brand since prohibition in New York.
Hudson Baby Bourbon as the name suggests is a bourbon whiskey brand that is stored in charred and new oak barrels. This deep-amber color smooth, woody and smoky spirit has light sweetness, great flavor, warm finish, and a refined taste.
Hudson Baby Bourbon was the recipient of Gold Outstanding Medal in 2013 at International Wine & Spirits Competition, a gold medal at 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a silver medal at 2014 The World Whiskey Masters.
6) Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery as the name suggests is the name of a prominent and one of the oldest distilleries situated in Kentucky and built in the year 1792. It is currently owned by the world-renowned Sazerac Company.
Buffalo Trace Distillery introduced its namesake bourbon whiskey brand Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight in the year 1999 and it is one of the most popular spirits in the consumer market. The product portfolio of Buffalo Trace Distillery includes other spirits like Col. E. H. Taylor, George T. Stagg, Eagle Rare, Old Charter, and McAfee’s Benchmark.
Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey has the aroma of molasses, mint, and vanilla with a sweet taste and notes of spice and brown sugar. This smooth whiskey has been the recipient of a gold medal each in the year 2018 at both events The American Whiskey Masters and New York International Spirits Competition.
7) Maker’s Mark
Maker’s Mark is associated with beverage industry as it deals in hand-crafted bourbon small-batch whiskey. The product portfolio of this bourbon brand includes Maker’s 46 Bourbon, Maker’s Mark 84 Proof, Maker’s Mark Mint Julep Liqueur and Maker’s Mark Cask Strength.
Maker’s Mark was introduced in the year 1958 by its founder Bill Samuels Sr. and is currently produced by its parent company Beam Suntory in Loretto at Kentucky. The products are sold in square bottles and are sealed with red wax that gives the bottles a distinctive look of its own.
Maker’s Mark has been the recipient of 90-95 score in the year 2007 from wine enthusiasts and a gold medal in the year 2010 at San Francisco World Spirit Ratings Competition. The brand was also awarded “Impact Hot Brand” and “Established Growth Brand Awards” in the year 2012.
8) Black Maple Hill
Black Maple Hill has been described as a rare and mysterious bourbon brand and has earned a cult status since its entry into the beverage industry.
Black Maple Hill is a smooth, full-bodied and well-crafted bourbon whiskey with a lasting spice finish. It was introduced in the year 2000 and is currently produced by CVI Brands and distilled at Oregon.
Black Maple Hill is a bourbon whiskey brand with a comprehensive product portfolio that includes Black Maple Hill 11-year-old Single Barrel, Black Maple Hill 14-year-old Premium Single Barrel Bourbon, Black Maple Hill 21-year-old Premium Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Black Maple Hill 16-year-old Premium Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Booker’s was introduced in the year 1988 and is currently owned by its owner company Beam Suntory, which in itself is a subsidiary company of its parent company Suntory Holdings. It is manufactured at Jim Beam Distillery and is aged for six to eight years.
Booker’s is associated with the beverage industry as it deals in small-batch cask-strength bourbon whiskey. Its product portfolio includes 2018-01 Kathleen’s Batch, 2017-03 Front Porch Batch, 2016-06 Noe Hard Times, 2016-04 Bluegill Creek and 2015-03 The Center Cut.
Booker’s has been able to carve a niche place for itself amongst the connoisseurs and enthusiastic drinkers. It has received a 95 rating score in the year 2014 from “Wine Enthusiast Magazine” and Booker’s Rye was awarded “World Whiskey of the Year” in 2017.
10) Knob Creek
Knob Creek was introduced in the year 1992 and is currently manufactured at Jim Beam Distillery located in Clermont at Kentucky by Beam Suntory. It has been the recipient of Best Bourbon Award in the year 2015 and was given 90-95 score ratings in the year 2005 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Knob Creek is associated with beverage industry as it deals in bourbon straight whiskey. Its popular product variants are Knob Creek 2001 Limited Edition, Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon, Knob Creek Rye, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve and Knob Creek Original 100.
Knob Creek is a small-batch brand of bourbon that has targeted premium market for its high-end products. It is available in rectangle shaped bottle with a corked top that is sealed by wax at the top. The full-bodied whiskey has a golden-brown color and woody, sweet and rich taste.
11) W. L. Weller
- L. Weller was introduced in the year 1849 by its founder Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company. In the year 1999, the company changed hands and its ownership passed on to the Sazerac Company. Currently, all the products are manufactured at Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort at Kentucky.
- L. Weller deals in wheated bourbon and its brand expressions include Weller Special Reserve, 90 Proof, William LaRue Weller, Weller 12-Year-Old – 90 Proof and Weller Antique 107 – 107 Proof.
William LaRue Weller from the Antique Collection earned a double gold medal in the year 2017 at San Francisco World Spirits Competition and W. L. Weller 12-Year-Old Bourbon was awarded “Ultimate Recommendation” at Ultimate Spirits Challenge in the year 2015 and a silver medal at International Wine and Spirits Competition in the same year.
12) Noah’s Mill
Noah’s Mill is manufactured by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers in Bardstown at Kentucky. It is small-batch bourbon that is hand-crafted and hand-bottled.
Noah’s Mill was introduced in the consumer market as one of the finest bourbon whiskey brands. It boasts of 114.3 Proof, 57.15% alcohol content and is aged in charred barrels of oak. Earlier it was aged for 15 years but the currently available products do not specify its age limit.
Noah’s Mill has been the recipient of several awards and recognition in the beverage industry. It earned a gold medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition in the year 2005.
13) Old Crow
Old Crow is a budget bourbon brand that has targeted the consumer market to increase its customer base. It is one of the oldest brands that have been associated with the manufacturing of bourbons. Old Crow has been a favorite amongst several famous personalities like Ulysses S Grant, 18th President of United States and General Jubal Early.
The Kentucky origin brand Old Crow was introduced in the year 1835 and was named after Dr. James C. Crow. It is currently manufactured by its parent company Beam Suntory.
Old Crow is a bourbon straight whiskey brand that includes 43% alcohol content. Its products are aged for at least three years in barrels and show 80 Proof, whereas Old Crow Reserve is aged for four years with 86 Proofs.
14) Eagle Rare
Eagle Rare is a popular bourbon brand that was introduced in the year 1975. It is manufactured, marketed and distilled by Buffalo Trace Distillery at Frankfort in Kentucky.
Eagle Rare deals in bourbon whiskey and has 45% alcohol content with 90 Proof. It is aged in accordance with its variety and it may vary between 17 years or 10 years.
Eagle Rare 10 Year Old was awarded several double-gold and gold medals between the years 2010 and 2005 at San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon was awarded a gold medal at Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition in the year 2014.
15) Elijah Craig
Elijah Craig is a super-premium bourbon brand with a strong presence in the worldwide liqueur market. “Elijah Craig 20-Year-Old Single Barrel” was awarded “American Whiskey of the Year” award in the year 2011 and “Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B517” in the year 2017 was awarded “Whiskey of the Year” by Whisky Advocate magazine.
Elijah Craig was introduced in the year 1986 and is currently produced by its parent company Heaven Hill Distilleries. It manufactures its products at Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery in Louisville at Kentucky and has set up headquarters base at Bardstown in Kentucky.
Elijah Craig deals in bourbon straight whiskey that is available in both single-barrel and small-batch glass bottles of 750 ml. Only the small-batch is available in 1.75 l and 375 ml besides the 750 ml bottle. Some of its popular variations are Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Small Batch Barrel Proof and Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel – 90 Proof.
16) Basil Hayden’s
Basil Hayden’s is a small-batch bourbon brand that was introduced in the year 1992. It is produced under the ownership of Beam Suntory and is named for its distiller and founder Meredith Basil Hayden Sr.
Basil Hayden’s is associated with the beverage industry as it deals in bourbon whiskey. It is a light-bodied spirit that is aged for 8 years and has a smooth finish and buttery flavor.
Basil Hayden’s has 40% alcohol content and is 80 Proof. The product was earlier labeled as Basil Hayden’s Aged 8 Years but later on, it changed it to Basil Hayden’s Artfully Aged.
Bulleit may be a newcomer in the world of straight bourbon whiskey, but it has been able to create a special place for itself in such a short time period. It has a wide market in the United States, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Bulleit is an American origin brand that was introduced in the consumer market in the year 1999. It is manufactured at Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses Distillery that is located in Lawrenceburg at Kentucky for the well-known beverage corporation Diageo.
Bulleit has a comprehensive product portfolio that includes Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon 10-Year-Old, Bulleit Rye, and Bulleit Barrel Strength whiskey. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in the year 2013.
1792 was introduced in the year 2002 and within a short time span has become a favorite of liquor market. At the onset, the products were sold under labels Ridgewood Reserve 1792 and later 1792 Ridgewood Reserve. Later it became 1792 Bourbon.
It is manufactured by Barton 1792 Distillery located in Bardstown at Kentucky. In the year 2009, the ownership of this company changed hands and came under the new owners Sazerac Company.
1792 is associated with beverage industry as it deals in small-batch bourbon straight whiskey of Kentucky origin. It is a premium bourbon brand and has targeted high-end consumers as its target customers.
19) Angel’s Envy
Angel’s Envy was introduced by Lincoln Henderson and is produced by Louisville Distilling Company. It is currently owned by its parent company Bacardi. “Angel’s Envy Cask Strength” was awarded “Best Spirit in the World” Award by Spirit Journal.
Angel’s Envy has been described as a super premium whiskey bourbon brand that is blended in batches ranging from eight to nearly twelve barrels. All its three expressions cask-strength, rye, and bourbon are developed naturally so as to create individual nuances year to year.
Angel’s Envy deals in hand-blended and hand-crafted straight bourbon and its impressive product portfolio include Angel’s Envy Port Finish, Angel’s Envy Rum Finish, and Angel’s Envy Cask Strength.
20) Four Roses
Four Roses have a widespread product reach in several countries that include places like Japan, the United States, and Europe its best markets. The brand organizes tours at its distillery for interested parties and to increase brand awareness amongst its patrons.
Four Roses is a highly acclaimed brand name that was introduced in the year 1888. It is a Kentucky origin brand owned by its parent company Kirin Brewery Company. Currently, its master distiller is Brent Elliot and the product is manufactured at Lawrenceburg distillery at Kentucky.
Four Roses is a bourbon straight whiskey that has a commendable product portfolio. It includes Four Roses Single Barrel 100, Four Roses Small Batch 90, Four Roses Yellow Label 80, Four Roses 40th Anniversary Bottle, and 2008 Four Roses Marriage Collection.