American writer Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” We couldn’t agree more. That’s why MAGNETIC compiled this list of five American made bourbon whiskeys for you to try right now. These selections are award-winning, excellent for the money, and generally easy to buy. Cheers to that!
Four Roses Single Barrel:
Named American Whiskey Distiller of the Year three years in a row, in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Four Roses Single Barrel is a straight bourbon whiskey that’s full-bodied and smooth with a enjoyable, pleasant finish. At 100 proof, it’s excellent neat and on the rocks. On the nose, Four Roses Single Barrel is fruity, spicy, floral, with notes of caramel, vanilla, cocoa, maple syrup, and wood. Then it tastes of ripe plums and cherries. This excellent whiskey is favored by many and recently won a Gold Medal in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery has been making bourbon whiskey for more than 200 years and today reigns as one of the most awarded distilleries in the world. Their signature straight bourbon is rich and complex, with hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit with a smooth and tasty linger—it’s a bottle that competes way above its price. Buffalo Trace recently won a Double Gold Medal in the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and two Gold Medals in the 2017 American Whiskey Masters.
Elijah Craig Small Batch:
Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof produced by Heaven Hill bears the name of Rev. Elijah Craig, a bourbon pioneer known as “the father of bourbon” credited with being the first distiller to age whiskey in charred oak barrels—a defining characteristic of many whiskies today. The story goes, Craig accidentally discovered whiskey stored in charred barrels (normally a process used for cleaning wood) tasted pretty damn good. Today, charred, toasted, or “caramelized” barrels generally impart more complex flavors from the wood to the whiskey while the resulting carbon helps filter undesirable compounds like sulfur during maturation.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof is evidence of this pedigree in innovation and excellence. Winner of Double Gold at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and named 2017 Whiskey of the Year by Whiskey Advocate, this bourbon is loved for its vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch flavors with notes of apple and orange—although there’s variation from batch to batch. Bottles range from 128.0 to 140.2 proof depending on bottling window—which is certainly reflected in its collectability and high price. For something more affordable, Elijah Craig Small Batch is excellent as well—winning a Silver Medal at the 2017 San Francisco competition, too.
Widow Jane 10 Year Straight Bourbon:
The only one on this list that’s not a Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Widow Jane 10 Year Straight Bourbon whiskey is actually sourced from elsewhere (Kentucky, perhaps) and bottled by hand in Red Hook, Brooklyn, brought to proof using mineral rich water from the Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale New York (the same place builders mined limestone for the city’s early construction, including the base of the Statue of Liberty), making Widow Jane 10 Year Straight Bourbon a New York City bourbon that honors the Kentucky greats. This excellent whiskey recently took Gold in both the 2017 World Whiskies Awards and 2017 World Wine Championships. Read MAGNETIC’s review of Widow Jane 10 Year Straight Bourbon here.
Wild Turkey 101:
You might know Wild Turkey as the last shot you remember taking at your local dive, nonetheless Wild Turkey 101 is the company flagship product for one of the largest whiskey brands in the world and a beloved favorite of everyday bourbon sippers. Smooth, balanced, and richly-flavored at 101 proof with plenty of caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and rye spice, Wild Turkey 101 is crafted by Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. With over 60 years of active experience, Russell is now the longest-tenured master distiller in the world. Wild Turkey 101 was awarded Double Gold at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.