Bourbon whiskey is distinctly American, even if the name references the great dynasty that ruled France from the 13th to the 18th century. And like many American commodities, bourbon whiskey has found its way around the world and into the restaurants, bars, and homes of millions of people, It has never been more popular than it is right now. When blending is used to achieve something headier, like to celebrate one of the most important figures in whiskey today, the creation of a unique expression of a much-loved bourbon stock is something that bourbon enthusiasts should certainly get excited about. This definitive guide of the best bourbons of 2019 explores everything you need to know about our favorite brown spirit.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
Elijah Craig certainly knows how to create superb small-batch, cask strength Kentucky bourbon. Strong creamy vanilla, maple butter, and candy corn sweetness seamlessly penetrate the spirit’s high ABV, along with a hint of oak spice and sawdust. Their Barrel Proof editions are bottled at 62.1% ABV (making it one of the lighter expressions compared to the rest), so you’ll probably need to add a drop of water if you want to fully enjoy this beauty.
Old Forest 1920 Prohibition Style
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style is a straight bourbon whiskey, which means the bourbon is at least four years old (and maybe 4.5 years). 1920 Prohibition Style went into the bottle at 115 proof. On the front palate, a very brief berry note leads off the taste as the flavor transitions to caramel and toasted nut notes. In the mid-palate, the caramel note drops off and seasoned oak and caramelized sugar lead into a light cream and delectable seasoned oak finish.
Barrell Craft Spirits 15-Year-Old Bourbon
This complex 15-year-old bourbon, Barrell Craft Spirits, is blended and bottled at peak maturity so you can experience its true flavor. A blend of straight bourbon whiskeys from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, it is a perfect union of grain and barrel, with an old, oaky nose and a deep, honey- maple palate that reveals the lushness of the grain.
Buffalo Trace William Larue Weller
The Buffalo Trace William Larue Weller whiskey is perfect for the classic bourbon lover. It hits all the right notes and would be easily picked out as a favorite when putting up against the standard back bar picks. It has a sweet spot that doesn’t burn but allows some wiggle room if you prefer your whiskey on ice. Sweet honey crisps and fresh plums. Slightly herbal and minty. Wood comes through with a wisp of smoke.
Four Roses Al Young Limited Edition
Most whiskeys are blended for optimal quality and flavor consistency. In the case of Al Young’s commemorative batch, it’s the bottle of Four Roses that has the strongest influence. Not because it’s rare or special, but because it marries together so many of the elements in a masterful spectrum. A hint of maple syrup fights to the surface, as well as notes of dried date and prune. A soft dustiness, leather, and a heaping helping of raw earth and clay round out the perceived sweetness in the nose. The palate is clean in terms of excessive bitterness and astringency but leaves behind just enough seasoned oak spice and a sting of alcohol to allow for a long yet unobtrusive finish.