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The most delicious and luxurious Bourbons to enjoy this season

The most delicious and luxurious Bourbons to enjoy this season

While it was once widely touted that 95% of all bourbon whiskey was produced in Kentucky, this claim may no longer hold true due to the remarkable growth of bourbon production in other states over the past two decades. In fact, some whiskey enthusiasts argue that the moonshine produced in these newer regions is even superior. Nevertheless, it's important to acknowledge that Kentucky remains the birthplace of bourbon for good reason. Despite the availability of expressions from Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, and beyond, Kentucky continues to lead the way. Here, we've compiled a list of our favorite bourbon whiskeys from the Bluegrass State.

The notion that bourbon can only be made in Kentucky is a common misconception. Other states like Indiana and Tennessee have also established their ability to produce high-quality moonshine. However, differences in agriculture, weather, and traditional methods of whiskey-making have led to distinct variations in flavor among different regions. Kentucky’s fertile soil played a significant role in the early days of bourbon production, as it yielded exceptional quality corn.

In addition to its fertile soil, the unique climate of Kentucky is also ideal for aging whiskey. With summer temperatures averaging nearly 90°F and winter temperatures occasionally dipping below freezing, the barrels go through cycles of liquid retention and release into the wood. This interaction between the oak and the whiskey results in distinctive flavor profiles.

Finally, water plays a crucial role in the process of whiskey-making, from distilling to filtering, and it is often overlooked by most people. One of the unique features of Kentucky is the abundance of limestone in its geology. Limestone is useful in removing iron from naturally sourced water, which enhances the taste and makes it sweeter. Moreover, it adds important elements like magnesium and calcium, which are essential for fermentation. Hence, the water in Kentucky has proven to be a significant factor in creating exceptional bourbon whiskeys.


Maker's Mark is evidence that an everyday, widely available bottle of bourbon can be as excellent as the high-end options. It's not a bargain bourbon, but it's not top-shelf either, and it has been refining its art since 1958. Bottled at a strength between 108 and 114 proof, this higher-proof variant of its signature high-wheat, no-rye bourbon allows drinkers to savor the warm flavors more intensely, including its signature notes of brown sugar, cereal, caramel, and orange peel.


Noah’s Mill is a bourbon brand produced by Willett Distillery, which remains a bit of a mystery among bourbon enthusiasts due to its limited batch sizes and lack of brand information. However, despite its scarcity, the price tag is not as high as one might assume. Packaged with a vintage label, this small-batch bourbon contains a blend of straight bourbons that have been aged between 4 and 15 years with a high-corn mashbill and bottled at barrel proof. The flavor profile of this bourbon is bold and intense, with strong notes of pecan pie, vanilla, and brown sugar on the palate.


The trend of cask-finished bourbons is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down. These unique spirits can be exceptional when executed correctly. One of the most sought-after releases from the past year is Basil Hayden's Red Wine Cask Finish. It has become an example of the perfect combination of tradition and innovation. This Kentucky bourbon blends the traditional Basil Hayden bourbon with bourbon that has been partially aged in barrels that previously held red wine from California. The result is a spirit that maintains the essence of bourbon but also features dynamic notes of cherry, strawberry, and other dark fruit. It's a reminder that whiskey drinking doesn't always have to be serious.


Pappy’s is often hailed as the benchmark of bourbons, but Larceny’s Very Special Small Batch could rival or even surpass it, and at a much lower cost. Produced by Heaven Hill Distillery, Larceny is a relatively new brand, but it has quickly earned a reputation for producing some of the finest bourbons available. Although it also includes rye and malted barley, wheat is the predominant secondary grain. Larceny’s small-batch bourbon is versatile enough for sipping or mixing in cocktails and boasts flavors of honey, butterscotch, and caramel.


For more than six decades, the recipe for Wild Turkey 101 bourbon has remained unchanged, making it a classic in the world of whiskey. This high-rye spirit, named after its proof, is a mainstay in Kentucky and popular both for sipping and mixing. Despite being a premium bourbon, it remains accessible and widely enjoyed. The distinctive rye spice is complemented by notes of pecan, cinnamon, and other baking spices, making Wild Turkey 101 a top contender among its peers.

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March 7, 2023
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