The 12 Best Kentucky Bourbons

Kentucky produces some of the best whiskey that you can currently find on the market. Maybe it’s the limestone that they have in the water or perhaps it’s just the incredible brewing processes that they use.

You can always be certain that you’ll have everything that you need for a solid vanillery drink.

The reason why Kentucky is one of the best places to filter whiskey is because of the limestone content in the water. This stuff will filter out some of the more unwanted elements such as iron, which is what gives the whiskey it's horrible taste.

The minerals in the water will also give the whiskey its quality, resulting in a bourbon that is of some of the highest quality on the market.

The calcium and magnesium also add richness to the flavors that you get in the whiskey, especially during the milling process. The distilling process is what results in its caramel texture after you have brewed it for a certain amount of time.

There are plenty of reasons to favor bourbon over malt whiskey, one of the main reasons is that the texture is a lot smoother and less harsh on the throat.

You can easily enjoy a nice bourbon with a cigar and find that the flavors will complement each other very well.

So what are the best Kentucky bourbons that you can get on the market? What unique flavors will you get in a bottle of this delicious whiskey? How does the manufacturer of this whiskey affect the final flavor? How much can you be looking to pay for a prime bottle of Kentucky bourbon?

Well, if you are looking to get yourself a bottle of this whiskey, then we would suggest that you keep reading. We have compiled a list of some of the best Kentucky bourbons that you can currently get on the market, along with some of their prices.

We’ll also give you a buyer’s guide that will highlight all the unique elements of bourbon and what to look for when you’re next buying.

OUR TOP PICK

Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon

This first bourbon whiskey is full-bodied, roasted with some of the best vanilla that you can currently get on the market.

This is brimming with wonderful flavors that you can be sure will give you everything you need for a rich and sumptuous flavor.

This is definitely a bottle to buy dad for Christmas - introducing Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon.

This is what we would describe as a mid-range bourbon, which means that it won’t break your wallet too hard, but it will also be expensive enough to show off to the family.

This bourbon will be perfect for anyone who is looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply someone who likes that vanilla taste at the end of a long hard day’s work.

Pros

  • In terms of flavor, this leaves you with a toasted vanilla flavor on the taste buds, with a smooth finish that will linger on the palate for quite some time.
  • This has caramel and fruit flavors too, which is perfect for enjoying with a smokey lunch or even as a little pick-me-up in the morning.
  • This comes in a very lavish bottle with a deep brown coloring. This will certainly be the pride of place in anyone’s whiskey cabinet.
  • This has a decent alcohol volume, which means that you won’t have to worry about getting too drunk after you have tipped a few of these back.

Cons

  • Some buyers have complained that the alcohol content of this whiskey is way too hard, so if you have a softer palate, we would recommend buying a smoother whiskey.

EDITORS CHOICE

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Next up, we have a famous Kentucky bourbon with a citrusy aroma that will sit perfectly in a Mint Julep.

This will give you a swirl of flavors on the tongue, whether it is grass or leather, it comes with a very piquant finish that resembles a lemon.

There is also a hint of mint to round off a complex palate of flavors - introducing the Eagle Rare 10-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

This whiskey will practically bounce off the tongue, so if you wanted to enjoy it neat, then you can.

However, we would certainly recommend that you put this whiskey in some cocktails, as it will really liven up your palate no end. This is a quality aged whiskey which is quite affordable.

Pros

  • You can pair this whiskey with some pale ale to make a classic Boilermaker drink, which will give you everything that you need for a very solid whiskey mixer.
  • The complex mix of flavors will be perfect for most whiskey connoisseurs. Whether you like the deep Earthy tones of a whiskey or the lively and zesty tones of a cocktail, there’ll be something for everyone with this drink.
  • This comes in a decent bottle with a slender neck that is a little different from the squat and chunky bottles that you normally associate whiskey with.
  • We would recommend that you get this whiskey if you like a cigar, as the taste is just springy enough to offset the smokiness.

Cons

  • This whiskey is a little on the cheap side, so if you want to really splash out and get your father or uncle something special, maybe look at some of the more refined brands.

BEST VALUE

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Next up, we have a whiskey that would feel very much at home in a low-rent bar filled with smoke and a skiffle band playing in the corner.

This comes with notes of dried orange peel along with vanilla, both of which are perfect complements for neat whiskey or as part of a cocktail - introducing Buffalo Trace Bourbon.

This is a favorite amongst whiskey drinkers, and we can see why.

When we tested it, it gave us a little kick with a dark and spicy finish that is full-bodied. This is a great sipping whiskey, so why not pour yourself a few measures and enjoy it with a few cubes of ice?

This comes at a decent price and you can pick it up at most stores that sell booze.

Pros

  • This comes with a unique blend of flavors that will sit perfectly in most drinks, whether it is an Old-fashioned or a Mint Julep.
  • This whiskey also goes well alone or with some ice, you can be sure that there will be a rich cavalcade of flavors that will really spice up your tongue.
  • This is pretty reasonably priced, so if you are stuck for something to get your partner or your father for this Christmas, then we would certainly recommend this one.
  • This is a great sipping whiskey, so if you are looking for something to savor a few glasses on when you are next by the log cabin, then definitely give bUffalo Trace a try.

Cons

  • This comes with a dried orange peel flavor that might be slightly contrary to that traditional whiskey flavor that you might be used to.

RUNNER UP

Town Branch Bourbon

This next brand of whiskey comes from a distillery that has been open since the Prohibition era. This is handmade whiskey, which will certainly give you plenty of reason to prefer it to the big brands.

They emphasize hand-made ethics, which is great if you want that human touch as opposed to one bottle out of a million automated bottles - introducing Town Branch Bourbon.

Pros

  • If you are looking for a whiskey that will not break the bank, then you can’t go wrong with this brand.
  • This comes with a nice subtle finish, which is great for those people who do not want those overwhelming kicks to the teeth with their whiskey.
  • Grab some ice cubes and enjoy this whiskey on a hot summer’s day. We would certainly recommend this one for the hotter weather.
  • This is great with sweeteners in it, so whether you are going for maple syrup some splendor, you can be sure of a nice flavor at the end.

Cons

  • This might be too sweet for a lot of whiskey drinkers who prefer the vanilla elements to shine through.

RUNNER UP

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Next up, we have a whiskey that will give your cabinet all the class and sophistication of some of the most luxurious whiskey cabinets in the world.

This is a limited-edition whiskey, which certainly accounts for its high price tag and luxurious flavor - introducing the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.

Pros

  • This will make a great anniversary or birthday gift for anyone that you treasure a lot. We would certainly recommend getting this as a gift for your father-in-law.
  • This stuff really has that luxurious flavor, coming in a squat bottle that will certainly have heads turning when people get a look into your drinks cabinet.
  • This comes with all those sumptuous flavors that you might get with a vintage whiskey. You’ll get almonds, dark cherry and caramel with this bottle.
  • This doesn’t really need any additional flavoring, as it brings the sweetness as well as the richness. Just add water to tone down some of the stronger flavors.

Cons

  • The price - saving money is not an option with this whiskey, so you’ll have to make sure that this is for someone you really think is worth it.

RUNNER UP

Wild Turkey 101

Next up is a whiskey brand that you might have heard of, coming as a very affordable straight-to-store counter whiskey that you can pick up more or less anywhere.

This comes with a warm and rich vanilla texture that you can be sure will blow you away on first sipping - introducing Wild Turkey 101.

Pros

  • This will really give you plenty of flavors as well as a real kick that you cannot really deny. This whiskey is perfect for drinking neat or with ice.
  • This can give you plenty of strong flavors in your whiskey, perfect for mixing with seasonal fruits and ginger beer flavors.
  • This one is one of the best whiskeys that you can get for the price, it is an extremely affordable whiskey to buy, which is why it is so popular.
  • This comes with a healthy dram of vanilla, perfect if you perfer that mellow flavor rather than a hard kick in the teeth.

Cons

  • This might be a little too weak for anyone who wants that traditional earthy taste to their bourbon whiskeys. Also, the wide availability of this might detract from its uniqueness as a gift.

RUNNER UP

Henry McKenna

Next up, we have a whiskey that is aged for 4 years in a decent warehouse, giving you everything that you need for a very potent whiskey taste.

This will give you that vanilla texture as well as packing a real punch when it gets to the taste buds - introducing the Henry McKenna.

Pros

  • This comes with toffee and spiced notes, which will be ideal for anyone who wants to have that signature sweetness in their whiskey.
  • We would recommend that you have this whiskey completely neat with maybe one or two ice cubes to really cool down the fire.
  • This comes in a very nice bottle that you can easily gift wrap for that special someone that you know loves whiskey.
  • If you like cinnamon, then you really are in luck, as this whiskey comes packed with this spice, making it the perfect whiskey to add to cake mixtures.

Cons

  • The price - this might be a little too expensive for some people, so make sure that you love the taste of whiskey before committing to this drink.

RUNNER UP

Maker's Mark Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This next whiskey comes with a very strong texture, full-bodied with overtones of caramel and sugar.

This is a whiskey for anyone with a sweet tooth, you can mix it in with a number of cocktails, adding both sweet and savory notes.

You can pair it with lemon and honey for a solid Mint Julep - introducing the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Pros

  • This is perfect for pairing with sour flavors, as the sweetness that is inherent in the whiskey will balance this out nicely.
  • This is a great whiskey for beginners, as it does not have the overpowering flavors that you might associate with stronger malt whiskeys.
  • This barrel comes with proof alcohol, making it one of the strongest brands of whiskey that we have available on this list.
  • This is a very popular whiskey, with hundred of drinkers complementing it on its flavor. This is a guarantee that you will have a decent flavor at the end of it.

Cons

  • This might be a little too commonly available for anyone who wants to gift a whiskey that is very rare to buy on the market.

RUNNER UP

Four Roses Small Batch

This next one is great for anyone who considers themselves a real nerd of the bourbon genre, with a blend that comes with a mash strain that you can be certain will give you a very smooth finish.

If you like geeking out on whiskey facts, then we would recommend that you pick up this whiskey - introducing the Four Roses Small Batch.

Pros

  • This comes with some unique flavors such as baking spices, caramel and sweet oak, making it great for anyone who is looking to savor that sumptuous taste.
  • This comes with all the facts that you might be craving regarding your new bourbon whiskey.
  • This comes with a semi-sweet full-body whiskey that will give you everything that you need for a decent flavor and taste.
  • You can add some sweetness to the mix of this whiskey, as it will perfectly complement the spices that come with it.

Cons

  • This might not be a great whiskey for expert drinkers, as it is seen as a kind of amateur whiskey with a very uncomplicated flavor palate.

RUNNER UP

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey

This next whisky is very easy to drink, made from charred oak barrels that give this whiskey its delicious texture.

If you like apple and candied ginger, then you can be sure that you’ll have everything that you need for a delicious whiskey-drinking session.

This also contains hints of marmalade and nutmeg - introducing Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey.

Pros

  • This bourbon is perfect for sitting by a roaring fire, it will coat the inside of your throat with a delicious and spicy flavor that you can be certain will really enliven you.
  • This is a flagship brand that you can be certain will have plenty of flavor, perfect for anyone just getting into whiskey or someone very familiar with it.
  • This comes aged in charred oak barrels, which is what gives this whiskey its smokey flavor.
  • This is one for anyone who is a fan of fruits such as apples and ginger, coming with a rich blend of both of these tastes.

Cons

  • This might be too much for anyone who would rather savor any peaty or smokey flavors in their whiskey.

RUNNER UP

Pinhook Bourbon

This next bourbon is a very robust one, with a rich and oaky flavor that you can be sure will give you everything that you need for a decent zesty taste and flavor.

This is a great vintage bottle that will make the perfect present for Christmas or someone’s birthday - introducing the Pinhook Bourbon.

Pros

  • This is made with a winemaker’s flare, although the principles of winemaking are applied to whiskey.
  • This distillery will produce various bourbons and whiskeys throughout the year, which is perfect for picking and choosing various flavors.
  • This brand aims to manufacture unique whiskies on a regular basis, which is great if you want something that is special to your bottle only.
  • This comes with plenty of fruit flavorings that you can be certain will really liven up your palate.

Cons

  • This might be a little too complex and expensive for a lot of whiskey newbies - why spend all that money when a bottle of Maker’s Mark will do?

RUNNER UP

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Finally, we round up with a smooth bourbon that will not be too harsh on the palate, made from a similar mash to that which goes into Blanton’s whiskey - introducing Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Pros

  • This comes with plenty of delicious sweet notes, coming with baking spices that you can be sure will wake up your palate.
  • This comes with enough sweetness to ensure a very enjoyable drink.

Cons

  • This might be a little too piquant for some whiskey enthusiasts who prefer that traditional flavoring.

Best Kentucky Bourbons Buying Guide

When it comes to getting the right Kentucky bourbon, there will be a few things that you’ll be looking for:

The 12 Best Kentucky Bourbons

How Smooth Is It?

The smoothness of the whiskey is often determined in the distilling process. The finish is how it feels on your tongue after drinking.

A hard finish is something that makes you smack your lips, whereas a subtle finish will be much easier for you to drink.

How Aged Is The Bourbon?

A good age for a bourbon whiskey is generally anywhere between 5 and 12 years.

Best Kentucky Bourbons - FAQ's

What Makes A Bourbon?

Bourbon does not strictly have to be manufactured in Kentucky, although it does have to come from the United States. It must have a mash bill of over 51% and be distilled from the finest corn.

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