Bourbon can be wonderfully sweet and spicy, with a rich complexity and refinement. It is one of America’s best products, and for good reason.
We’ve gathered the best Bourbons available that are full of flavour and just waiting to be enjoyed!
1. Elijah Craig 18 Year Old
Bottle cost: £141.63
Aged in new charred oak, this is one of the best Bourbons hailing from Kentucky. The 18 Year Old is full of fruit and spice, with a lovely vanilla aroma tying it all together. The nose is packed with red apples and dark plums alongside dried raisins and oranges. These fruits are sweet and chewy. Drizzled over these is a delectable caramel sauce, flecked with cinnamon spice.
On the palate the caramel comes alive and is smooth and creamy. It is sweet and bursting with flavour, going hand in hand with a mouth watering vanilla note that is full of oak wood flavours. The caramel and vanilla are perfect with the tang of the fruits. Oranges and limes appear, with lots of zest. The finish is long and lingering, ending on a creamy caramel and chocolate note.
2. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel
This expression is from the Buffalo Trace Distillery and has been called after their Master Distiller, Elmer Lee, who came to Buffalo Trace in 1949. The oak casks play a big part in this Bourbon, and are immediately detectable on the nose. The oak is sweet and bold, with lots of tannins and vanilla.
There is also a herbal note, with fresh thyme and basil coming through. This adds a nice depth. On the palate the vanilla becomes more toffee in flavour, with extra sweetness and some bite. The char from the barrels can also be tasted, giving it a warmth and slightly charcoal flavour. There are orange and lemons, and even a hint of raspberries that add a zesty note. The finish is long and lingering, with lots of creamy toffee and oak wood.
3. blanton's original
Blanton’s Original is a sweet, vanilla filled Bourbon with lots of complexity and depth. The nose is full of oranges and lemons that are covered in thick, spicy caramel. The tang from the citrus fruits is refreshing and easy going, with a smooth feel to it. The caramel is full of oak wood and vanilla essence.
On the palate the oak becomes more like sweet nuts, with pecan and hazelnuts coming through. These are covered in yet more caramel that gives them a soft edge. The fruits are also present and are now joined by clementines and nectarines. These are bursting with flavour and give a nice juicy mouth feel. On the finish the oak comes into its own, separating from the caramel and becoming more wooded in tone.
4. Knob Creek 9 Year Old
Bottle cost: £29.75
Produced by Jim Beam, this Kentucky Bourbon is named after the creek where Abraham Lincoln grew up. This is easily one of the best Bourbons around. It is a spicy dram, with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg coming out. The nose is well grounded in these flavours, with their warmth and earthy aromas appearing. The cinnamon is deep and bold, evoking the oak wood of the barrel but remaining as its own flavour.
The wood does start to come out more on the palate where it is full of caramel and vanilla. Dark chocolate and amaretto also appear and give this dram a lovely creaminess. The oak and spices start to ix so the sweetness has strong warmth to it. The caramel becomes more like burnt white sugar and is very saccharine in flavour towards the end. The finish is long and lingering, with lots of sweets vanilla and one final kick of cinnamon.
5. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Bottle cost: £28.33
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon is fantastic Bourbon with lots of flavour and complexity. The nose opens with sweet aromas of vanilla, candyfloss, milk chocolate and marzipan. There is a fantastic creaminess to this dram. as well as sweets, there is also lots of spice, with cinnamon and allspice appearing and giving it a nice warmth.
The palate continues in this way, with more vanilla and butterscotch coming through. Here it is also full of bitter coffee and dark chocolate, giving it depth and refinement. The spices go hand in hand with these flavours and are perfectly complementary. The oak wood is also wuite evident here, with a lovely charred flavour that helps bring out the vanilla. The linger is long and brings back the oak wood one last time. Truly one of the best Bourbons.
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