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The Top Twelve Straight Bourbons 2023
In the fiercely competitive world of bourbon, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) and the New York World Spirits Competition (NYWSC) stand as premier showcases of excellence. In 2023, these esteemed events witnessed a record-breaking influx of entries in the bourbon category, with over 500 submissions. Reflecting the bourgeoning landscape of craft distilleries, the bourbons showcased a remarkable array of quality and diversity, showcasing innovative approaches to grain selection, maturation environments, and cask finishes. With the number of bourbon producers soaring from a handful in 2009 to approximately 1,000 today, bourbon enthusiasts are spoilt for choice, offering a wealth of superb expressions to elevate any home bar.
W. L. Weller Full Proof, 57% ABV
William Larue Weller, a veteran of the Mexican-American war, returned to Kentucky after his service to join his family's distillery business. In 1849, he introduced the first bourbon to use wheat as its secondary grain instead of rye, creating a softer and sweeter flavor profile. This innovation, still reflected in brands like Pappy Van Winkle and Larceny Bourbon, earned him immense popularity in antebellum America. Today, his legacy lives on through the William Larue Weller Bourbon, bottled at the original 114 proof without chill filtration. This preserves the whiskey's natural oils and flavors, resulting in a rich mouthfeel with robust notes of vanilla and oak. A tribute to Weller's pioneering spirit, this bourbon satisfies enthusiasts of non-chill filtered whiskey. Buy it now!
This robust bourbon whiskey, aged for nearly a decade, captures all the rich and complex flavors characteristic of barrel strength. Uncut and unfiltered, it embodies the bold character reminiscent of the legendary Mr. George T. Stagg. Buy it now!
Brother’s Bond, Original Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 57.55% ABV
Brother's Bond Original Cask Strength Bourbon is a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the distillers. Hand-selected from 70 exceptional barrels, this expression represents the bourbon in its purest form—undiluted, unfiltered, and at 115.6 proof. Complex aromas of ripe banana, walnut, leather, and vanilla greet the senses, along with subtle hints of smoke. On the palate, bold flavors of dried fruits, caramel, and honey unfold, complemented by a luxurious texture and lingering rye spices on the finish. With remarkable smoothness and balance, this limited release is a must-have for bourbon enthusiasts, inviting them to savor each sip and cherish every moment while strengthening bonds. Buy it now!
Old Forester, King Ranch Edition, 52.4% ABV
The Old Forester King Ranch Edition Bourbon Whiskey is a special collaborative release with King Ranch, offering a 105-proof Kentucky Straight small batch experience. Crafted with a mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% barley, this unique bourbon undergoes filtration through King Ranch Mesquite Charcoal, adding a distinct smoky oakiness to its classic Kentucky whiskey profile. This one-off release pays homage to American ranching heritage while delivering a bold and flavorful drinking experience. Buy it now!
William Heavenhill, 9th Edition Bourbon, 54.5% ABV
The nose of this whiskey is rich and inviting, with deep aromas of caramel, cigar box, and leather blending harmoniously with the sweetness of rich red fruit. Additional layers of complexity emerge, with hints of toasted grains, furniture polish, and hedgerow berries adding depth and intrigue. The finish is savory and smoky, leaving a lingering impression that invites further exploration of its nuanced flavors. Buy it now!
George T Stagg, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 69.35% ABV
The 2023 release of George T. Stagg Straight Bourbon Whiskey is indeed highly anticipated, joining the esteemed Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Recognized as the Best American Whiskey in the 2023 International Whisky Competition, this uncut, unfiltered Kentucky bourbon offers a bold and daring profile. Aged for over 15 years in virgin white oak barrels with a #4/55 second char, it boasts a robust 135-proof (67.5% ABV). Distilled in the Spring of 2008 and selected from select barrels, it features a mash bill of undisclosed proportions of Kentucky corn, Minnesota rye, and North Dakota malted barley. With enticing aromas of toasted cinnamon and sweet cherry cola, and a palate characterized by leather, cola candies, vanilla, and melted chocolate, George T. Stagg 2023 Straight Bourbon is a supremely collectible whiskey of exceptional quality. Buy it now!
Heaven’s Door Decade Series Vol. 1 10-Year Bourbon
Unveiling the limited edition Heaven’s Door Decade Series, a ten-year-old bourbon, inaugurating an audacious collection of sublime whiskeys. A testament to time, age, and maturation, each drop narrates a captivating story that you are warmly invited to partake in. A collaboration with legendary musician and artist Bob Dylan, Heaven’s Door is an award-winning anthology of artisanal American whiskeys. Each bottle is an artistic marvel, adorned with Dylan’s unique iron gate designs from his Black Buffalo Ironworks studio. Best savored at room temperature, on the rocks, neat, or with a hint of distilled water. A symphony of refined taste awaits. Buy it now!
Pursuit United Straight Bourbon
Pursuit United Straight Bourbon embodies the harmonious amalgamation of barrels from three distinct states. The marriage of rye and wheated bourbons gives birth to a remarkably unique whiskey. This blend unveils an engaging dance between fruity and spicy notes. Savor this captivating pursuit, a delight designed for the refined palate of a true connoisseur. Buy it now!
Sweet Grass Bourbon
Hailing from historic Charleston, South Carolina, Sweet Grass Bourbon exemplifies a superb, small-batch bourbon of the highest caliber. Its notable mash bill, featuring 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley, imbues this bourbon with unrivaled smoothness. With its well-rounded finish, this sublime spirit exudes outstanding richness, profound depth, and a character that enchants the discerning palate—a unique indulgence in the world of fine whiskey. Buy it now!
J. Rieger & Co. Straight Bourbon Whiskey Bottled in Bond
J. Rieger & Co., Kansas City’s pioneer distillery, take immense pride in presenting their latest bottled-in bond bourbon—a distinguished double gold laureate at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Crafted by one distiller, in a single season at the historic Electric Park District, this bourbon reflects the unique rhythm of its surroundings—seasonal changes, aging barrels, and even the resonant vibrations of trains gracing its threshold. This bourbon, a six-year aged symphony of corn, rye, and malted barley, is the second offering of Rieger’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey Bottled in Bond since their celebrated resurgence in 2014. Buy it now!
The Kentucky Owl Wiseman Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Kentucky Owl unveils The Wiseman, an exquisite Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey meticulously crafted from a blend of four handpicked bourbons. Its aromatic bouquet delights with luscious notes of caramel, allspice, and citrus, paving the way for a luxurious palate experience. With the fading of allspice, a lingering finish emerges, adorned with the sweetness of caramel and delicate oak undertones. Tailored for the discerning palate, The Wiseman exemplifies Kentucky Owl's mastery in the art of whiskey making. Buy it now!
Our signature bourbon is a rye-based blend, crafted with Yellow Corn, Elbon Rye, and Malted Barley, all sourced from Texas. Aged for a minimum of three years, this bourbon boasts a 100% Texas grain bill, ensuring a unique and authentic flavor profile. On the nose, expect notes of cherry cola, caramel, vanilla, oak, and a subtle hint of floral sweetness. The palate reveals flavors of black tea, cinnamon, citrus, floral undertones, and a touch of tannins, creating a complex and well-balanced tasting experience. Bottled at 100 proof, our signature bourbon offers exceptional quality and value for discerning whiskey enthusiasts. Buy it now!