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18 Best Bourbons in the World + Awards [2021 Edition]

There’s something particular about bourbon.

For years I used to be a Scotch drinker having tried just a few lower-end bourbons however I by no means actually received into it correctly and by no means tried any of the very best bourbons.

I used to be not a type of snobby Scotch drinkers that look down their noses at bourbon (no person likes these guys proper), however I believe I’d simply by no means sampled something that basically grabbed me and compelled me to discover the candy and fantastic bourbon world.

That every one modified once I went on vacation with a pal of mine and he introduced with him a little bit unlabelled bottle.

It contained some George T Stagg (it was both the 2015 or 2016 I believe).

Evidently, as I’d think about is the case with most individuals on their first Stagg expertise, it blew my proverbial socks off!

Actually, it blew them to date off I by no means noticed these socks once more.

Disgrace, I cherished these Winne the Pooh socks. But it surely was okay, as I had a brand new love:


How Bourbon is Made

I’ll write this in layman’s phrases as, to be trustworthy, I don’t correctly perceive the method myself so I don’t need to get too technical and write a load of inaccurate nonsense.

I reserve that for the remainder of the web site – however I merely gained’t enable it right here.

All varieties of whiskey/whiskey are made by the fermentation of various grains (corn, malted barley, rye and wheat).

The predominant ingredient (at the very least 51%) determines the kind of whiskey it’s.

The method is as follows:

  1. The principle ingredient for bourbon is corn and different grains are utilized in various portions. This combination of grains is named the mash invoice.
  2. The grains are then cooked to kind the mash.
  3. That is then combined with “set-back” (mainly the leftovers from the earlier distillation course of). This is named Bitter Mash and is a singular component in American whiskey.
  4. The mash is then fermented to supply a clear spirit (generally often called White Canine).
  5. The spirit is lastly added to new charred oak barrels (normally American white oak) for the ageing course of. The barrel ageing course of is what provides bourbon each it’s coloration and most of its taste.

FACT: To be known as a bourbon the whiskey should be produced within the USA. It doesn’t must produced in Kentucky (opposite to well-liked perception). Roughly 95% of bourbon is produced in Kentucky nonetheless.

Why We Love Bourbon

I believe the primary factor is it simply has an incredible core taste profile that runs by means of all the very best bourbons.

Two glasses of bourbon on a table in the sunset

The corn used provides it that traditional caramel sweetness that isn’t actually present in any Scotch whisky, candy Scotch is a normally completely different sort of sweetness extra akin to honey.

Then there are different nice flavors such because the vanilla you discover in lots of bourbons.

There may be additionally an enormous selection to select from. There are lots of bourbons which might be excellent or higher so you’ll by no means get bored.

Add into the mixer that there are a great deal of excessive proof bourbons which might be absolute taste bomb monsters and you may see there are numerous causes to like bourbon.

What Makes A Good Bourbon

This can be a tough query as to reply it could be a little bit pretentious. What is nice within the whiskey world is completely subjective.

Principally, when you like the flavour whenever you drink it and it makes you’re feeling good it’s a good bourbon and nobody has the precise to let you know in any other case.

With that in thoughts, writing a listing of the very best bourbons on the earth could also be troublesome, proper?

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Effectively, this can be a listing of our private preferences for what we take pleasure in essentially the most however lots of the decisions do correlate positively with well-liked opinion.

If you’re utilizing this listing to search out your self a pleasant bottle, we’re pretty assured you gained’t be upset by any of the alternatives, however you must most likely have a learn of the next:

How We Determined What Made the Record

This text is aimed toward everybody however we didn’t need to put out a listing of the very best bourbons on the earth and for them to all be ridiculously costly or uncommon to the purpose the place you’d must promote a kidney to pay money for one.

We don’t have the funds to buy a variety of these sorts of bottles anyway and I’m positive most individuals studying this don’t both.

Some actually good bourbons on the market will probably be costly although.

So we determined to separate the listing into two with the next standards:

1. Obtainable bourbons

  • Available to the common particular person by way of worth
  • Not significantly troublesome to pay money for
  • Break up into finances bourbons and better of the remaining

2. Not so obtainable bourbons

  • May be costly however not tremendous uncommon outdated bottles
  • Have to be one thing we’ve tried ourselves

Now you’re armed with this essential data, let’s get all the way down to enterprise…

7 Finest Bourbons That Are Not So Obtainable

Four bottles of Pappy Van Winkle

These are the bottles that could be both exhausting to pay money for as a result of there isn’t sufficient provide they usually promote out immediately upon launch or are too costly for the common particular person to afford.

None of us has tried the likes of Michter’s Celebration or Pappy 25 so that you gained’t discover them on right here and we’ve solely tried the next in bars therefore there aren’t any bottle images or full evaluations to share as we don’t do evaluations based mostly on drams tasted in bars.

Most of those can be within the high 10 bourbons of all time with a couple of from the obtainable listing combined in.

WL Weller

That is simply unimaginable.

Between us, we’ve tried the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and they’re all superb. It’s only a complete taste assault on the senses and a reduce above anything we’ve tried in our opinion.

A worthy winner and if you’re fortunate sufficient to discover a bottle at retail or can afford the secondary costs you merely should get a bottle. Most likely the very best on the earth proper now.

George T Stagg

We’re massive Stagg followers. It’s simply so daring and brash with an superior taste in fact however it’s the character that basically makes it stand out.

Unchillfiltered, uncut and straight from the barrel, a really highly effective bourbon that takes no prisoners

Pappy Van Winkle 15

Some individuals fee this as the very best Pappy, personally, the 23 simply edges it for me however this scrumptious too.

Pappy is the head of the bourbon world by way of demand and it’s not simply hype, the whiskey is superb too!

Pappy Van Winkle 23

The massive daddy, that is actually beautiful. By no means had the respect of proudly owning a bottle however have tried it a few instances in bars and it’s simply so refined.

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It does have an oakiness to it from these additional years within the barrel that some might not like, however I believe it provides to the maturity of the flavour profile.

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That is massively hyped as a consequence of its shortage however it backs the hype up.

4 Roses Al Younger

A mix of 4 completely different 4 Roses recipes from 12-23 years outdated, this has been blended to perfection.

Al Younger has been working at 4 Roses for 50 years and that is in honor of that service and it truly is phenomenal, it simply has every thing you may need in a bourbon.

Michter’s 20

Some say the candy spot for bourbon age is within the 12-15 years vary however this magnificence positively goes in opposition to that. Actually mature flavors and an distinctive drop.

4 Roses Restricted Version Single Barrel

This one is indubitably essentially the most obtainable on the “Not So Obtainable” listing however might be fairly costly. The 4 Roses Single Barrel is a superb bourbon.

Multiply that by 10 and that’s how good that is. It is best to be capable to get a bottle to strive when you have the Benjamin’s to spare and we urge you to take action if that’s the case.

12 Finest Bourbons That Are (Fairly) Obtainable

These are the very best bourbons which might be usually available. Clearly, this can differ relying on the place you’re positioned however we’ve tried to select bottles which might be normally on common sale in each the US and UK.

In no particular order listed below are our decisions:

Weller 12A bottle of W.L. Weller 12 Year Old bourbon

The pondering man’s bourbon! It was a detailed name between this and the Vintage 107 however that is refined and complex and that’s what edged it. Nice wheated profile with gentle, candy caramel, toffee, apple pie and cherry. See the total evaluation right here.

1792 Full ProofA bottle of 1792 full proof

Rated the very best bourbon of 2018 on the World Whisky Awards, we’re unsure it’s the easiest however it’s glorious with some superior flavors at play together with a wealthy chocolatey component combined in with traditional bourbon caramel and vanilla. Learn the total evaluation right here.

Insurgent Yell 10A bottle of Rebel Yell 10 Year Old whiskey

An excellent alternative when you like a wheated bourbon that is up there with Weller 12 in that respect. One other deliciously candy bourbon with hints of cashew nuts and spicy rye. Is usually a little tough to search out generally however it’s a must to seize a bottle when you do see it. It’s an amazingly well-rounded drop, see the total evaluation right here.

Easy Ambler Previous Scout 10A bottle and glass of Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10

Easy Ambler don’t make dangerous whiskey or in the event that they do it’s information to me. This 10-year providing is one among their greatest and a giant favourite right here at Whiskeybon. It has oodles of taste with caramel and butterscotch combined with oak and spice, an beautiful dram and one among our highest rated bourbons. Full evaluation right here.

Previous Forester 1920

That is supposedly utilizing the identical recipe that was used throughout Prohibition within the 1920’s therefore the identify. Unsure how true that’s however it’s an incredible bourbon, that we do know! Wonderful candy profile with banana and baking spices.

Blanton’s Gold

Personally, I want this to the extra full-on Straight From The Barrel (others right here disagree), it’s a tremendous clean bourbon with a deliciously candy taste profile. Some beautiful cinnamon and vanilla mix with an virtually sickly candy caramel. A winner for positive.

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Blanton’s SFTB

An excellent cask energy bourbon from Blanton’s which has a ton of traditional caramel and vanilla flavors to take pleasure in in addition to deep vanilla and brown sugar. This s the epitome of a “flavor bomb”. Watch out although, as a consequence of it’s excessive ABV/Proof this one will knock your socks off!

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

A beastly powerhouse of a cask energy bourbon that packs a punch and has an awesome taste profile of caramel, darkish fruits and vanilla. There have been a number of excellent incarnations of this however The Hazmat, particularly, was a private favourite and was positive to place hairs in your chest.

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4 Roses Small Batch Restricted Version

This is a bit more costly than others on the listing however I’ve tried variations 2015-2018 and they’re all persistently glorious. The flavour profiles differ significantly from 12 months to 12 months. I only in the near past received a bottle of the one hundred and thirtieth birthday version and that’s phenomenal. See the total evaluation right here.

Finest Price range Bourbons (usually beneath $/£ 50 – 60)

4 Roses Single Barrel

A bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel

This is among the contenders for the very best pound for pound bourbon on the earth (see beneath to search out out if it gained). It has a heavy caramel and fudge profile with a very good quantity of spice from its excessive rye content material. Extraordinarily nicely priced and at all times out there, it’s one to at all times have on the shelf. Full evaluation right here.

A bottle of Eagle Rare 10

Eagle Uncommon 10

A deliciously fruity bourbon with darkish fruits combined right into a traditional caramel profile. It’s also distinctive worth for a 10-year-old and up there with 4 Roses Single Barrel as probably the greatest pound for pound drams. See the total evaluation right here.

A glass of whiskey with the ace of hearts and diamonds

Particular person Awards

In addition to the lists we determined it could be cool to present out some awards for the very best bourbons in numerous classes so if you’re in search of one thing particular this can be useful.

Chances are you’ll discover some contradictions like W.L. Weller being chosen as the very best general however not the very best wheated bourbon or Kings County Barrel Proof being chosen as greatest craft and Balcones Child Corn as greatest non-Kentucky bourbon when each are from non-Kentucky craft distilleries. Effectively noticed!

A few issues to notice:

  • The primary 2 classes embody all bourbon and for the remaining, we tried to select available and fairly reasonably priced stuff.
  • We additionally wished to select one thing completely different for every class

With none additional journeys to the waffle home, listed below are the awards:

Finest general:

W.L Weller (BTAC)

Finest excessive age (15 years +):

Pappy Van Winkle 23

Finest pound for pound:

Weller 12

Finest worth finances bourbon:

Eagle Uncommon 10

Finest barrel proof:

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Finest for newbie / first timer:

Buffalo Hint

Finest from a small craft distillery:

Kings County Distillery Barrel Proof

Finest single barrel:

4 Roses Single Barrel

Finest small batch:

Elijah Craig 12

Finest bottled in bond:

Colonel EH Taylor Bottled In Bond

Finest wheated:

Insurgent Yell 10

Finest excessive rye:

Wild Turkey 101

Finest clean bourbon:

Blanton’s Gold Version

Finest non-Kentucky bourbon:

Balcones Child Corn


This publish was initially revealed in 2018 after which up to date for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Picture attribution: Dale Cruse on Flickr

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