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The Best Bourbon Brands

A Ranking of the Best Bourbon Brands and Companies

In 1964, the US Congress declared Bourbon to be a “distinctive product of the United States”. This measure would convert this humble whiskey into an American classic on par with baseball or apple pie.

Bourbon Whiskey is a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. While Bourbon may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the American South, and with Kentucky in particular.Bourbon must be aged in new, charred-oak barrels. Based on the number of years it aged it is given a distinctive flavor and color from the caramelized sugars in the charred wood.

The recipe of Bourbon is called the mash bill. It can be made up from different combinations of malted barley, rye, wheat and at least 51% corn.

The mash bill is only one of the keys to style, but not the only one used in making your Bourbon.

A lot of rye makes for a drier, spicier, peppery flavor. The rye will level off the corn’s sweetness. This style is distinctive in bourbons such as Knob Creek, Bulleit, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses Single Barrel, Basil Hayden and Wild Turkey.

Adding more wheat to the mash bill makes bourbon more elegant, smoother and sometimes nuttier. This is found in Old Fitzgerald,  Van Winkle, WL Weller and Maker’s Mark.

Which Bourbon works for you? This list helps determine which is the best-tasting Bourbon out there through votes from Old Liquors Magazine users. Award points to your favorites and subtract points from the ones that you don’t like. This is an open list so feel free to add Bourbons that are missing from the list.

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List Rules: Only true Bourbons – made in the U.S.A. – on this list.

#2 Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky. It has historically been known by several names, including most notably, the George T. Stagg Distillery and the O.F.C. Distillery. Its namesake bourbon brand, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, was introduced in August 1999......more on Wikipedia

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#3 Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve is the flagship brand of bourbon whiskey owned by the "Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery" company (which does not actually own or operate a distillery, but rather has it produced under a contract with another company).......more on Wikipedia

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  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    If I can’t find Weller 12yo I’m a big fan of Blanton’s. Both are harder to find now. After that I’m an Eagle Rare fan.

#4 Booker’s

brookers

Booker's bourbon is one of the small batch bourbons produced by the Jim Beam distillery, which is owned by Beam Suntory (a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan). Having the highest alcohol content of the brands in the Jim Beam "Small Batch Bourbon Collection", it is a cask strength bourbon........more on Wikipedia

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#5 W.L. Weller

W.L.Weller

W. L. Weller is a brand of wheated bourbon whiskey. The brand was originally owned by the Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company, which was sold several times after 1972. The brand is currently owned by the Sazerac Companyand produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky....more on Wikipedia

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#7 Knob Creek

Knob Creek

Knob Creek is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced by Beam Suntory at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. It is one of the four Jim Beam small batch bourbon brands targeted for the high-end liquor market.........more on Wikipedia

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#8 Elijah Craig

Elijah Craig

Elijah Craig is a premium brand of Bourbon Whiskey produced by the Heaven Hill Distillery company. The company is headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky, and its distillery (called the Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery) is in Louisville, Kentucky. The brand is sold as a straight bourbon. It is sold in glass 750ml bottles, and the Small Batch Bourbon is also available in glass 1.75L bottles.........more on Wikipedia

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#9 Basil Hayden’s

Basil Haydens

Basil Hayden's is the lightest bodied bourbon whiskey in the family of Jim Beam small batch bourbons produced by Beam Suntory. It is 80 proof, in contrast with its three sibling brands of higher alcohol concentration (Knob Creek, Booker's, and Baker's). The Basil Hayden's bourbon brand was introduced in 1992 and is named in honor of Meredith Basil Hayden, Sr. Hayden Sr. was a distiller, and he used a larger amount of rye in his mash than in some other bourbons...........more on Wikipedia

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#10 1792

1792

1792 Ridgemont Reserve is a Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey produced by the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. The brand and distillery are owned by the Sazerac Company.[1] It is part of a line of small-batchbourbons aimed at the high-end liquor market. When originally introduced, the bourbon carried a "Small Batch Aged 8 years" statement on the back label..........more on Wikipedia

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#11 Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey distilled and bottled by the Austin Nichols division of Campari Group. The distillery is located near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It offers tours, and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail...........more on Wikipedia

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#12 Jim Beam

Jim Beam

Jim Beam is a brand of bourbon whiskey produced in Clermont, Kentucky, by Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan. It is one of the best selling brands of bourbon in the world.[1] Since 1795 (interrupted by Prohibition), seven generations of the Beam family have been involved in whiskey production for the company that produces the brand, which was given the name "Jim Beam" in 1933 in honor of James B...........more on Wikipedia

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#13 Angel’s Envy

Angel's Envy

Angel's Envy. There’s bourbon. And then there’s divine inspiration painstakingly crafted into a spirit so sublime you’ll want to share it with the world. We make the second one. ANGEL’S ENVY is what happens when 200 years of bourbon tradition meet an independent master craftsman’s instinct to improve. It’s a total return to the art of craft-first, hand blended batches of 8 to 12 barrels at a time............more on Angel's Envy

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#14 Four Roses

Four Roses

Four Roses is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey brand currently owned by the Kirin Brewery Company of Japan. Effective September 1, 2015, Brent Elliott is the master distiller of Four Roses. The historical origin of the brand is not entirely clear. By some accounts, the brand was founded by Rufus Mathewson Rose and was probably named in honor of him, his brother Origen, and their two sons.............more on Wikipedia

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#15 Willett

Willett

Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon is brand of a bourbon whiskey produced in Bardstown, Kentucky by the Willett Distillery.[1] It is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey brand introduced in 2008 and bottled at 47% abv, with 8–10 year aging. It is sold in glass 750 ml and 1.75 liter bottles. The company is identified on the product label as the Willett Distilling Company, which was the original name of the company until its name was changed in 1984 to Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. (KBD)..............more on Wikipedia

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#16 Jefferson’s Bourbon

Jeffersons's Bourbon

Jefferson's Bourbon is a Louisville, Kentucky-based brand of bourbon whiskey which is blended and bottled in the US and Canada by Castle Brands. The brand was first released in 1997. Jefferson has used experimental blending and aging techniques, such as aging bourbon at sea, where wave action can affect the product's development. It also produces a rye whiskey. Jefferson's works in four-step process for making bourbon which is: Distill, age, cut to proof and bottle putting more time and focus on the maturation process...............more on Wikipedia

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#17 Evan Williams

Evan Williams

Evan Williams is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky[1][2] by the Heaven Hill company.[3] The product is aged for a minimum of four years,[3] consistent with its lack of an age statement on the bottle (more than the 2 to be called 'straight' bourbon).[4] It has been ranked as one of the world's best-selling whiskey brands...............more on Wikipedia

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#18 Baker’s

Baker's

The Small Batch Bourbon Collection—comprised of Knob Creek, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s and Baker’s—is a group of ultra-premium bourbon whiskeys handcrafted in limited quantities from unique recipes, some dating back two centuries. They are carefully matured for exceptional quality. Named after Baker Beam, grandnephew of the legendary Jim Beam, Baker’s® Bourbon honors the family’s long history and love for distilling............more on Beam Suntory

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#19 Larceny

Larceny

Larceny was hand selected by the Master Distillers to have a taste profile of a six-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Made with wheat as the secondary grain, instead of the traditional rye, Larceny is a smoother tasting Bourbon............more on Larceny Bourbon

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#20 Elmer T Lee

Elmer T Lee

Elmer T Lee named after Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee, this Whiskey is hand selected and bottled to the taste and standards of Elmer T. Lee himself.  Perfectly balanced and rich, as declared by the man who knows how great Bourbon should taste.............more on Buffalo Trace Distillery 

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#21 Pendleton

Pendleton

Pendleton Whisky is a brand of blended Canadian Whisky, distilled in Canada and imported, bottled, and distributed by Hood River Distillers, Inc., of Hood River, Oregon[1] and known as the largest and oldest importer, producer, and bottler of distilled spirits in the Pacific Northwest..............more on Wikipedia

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#22 Old Grand-Dad

Old Grand-Dad

Old Grand-Dad is a brand of Bourbon Whiskey distilled at the Jim Beam Plant in Clermont, Kentucky. The brand was created by Raymond B. Hayden and named after his grandfather Basil Hayden, Sr., who was a well-known distiller during his lifetime. A fanciful portrait of Hayden Sr. is depicted on the front of each bottle. Today, it is owned and produced by Beam Suntory..............more on Wikipedia

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#23 Rebel Yell

Rebel Yell

Rebel Yell is a brand of Kentucky straight Bourbon Whiskey owned and marketed by Luxco. Since Luxco does not own any distilleries, the 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof spirit is produced under contract by Heaven Hill at its Bernheim distillery in Louisville...............more on Wikipedia

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#24 Old Fitzgerald

Old Fitzgerald 12

Old Fitzgerald is a brand of wheated Bourbon distilled in Louisville, Kentucky by Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. Old Fitzgerald was first produced in 1870 for rail and steamship lines and private clubs located primarily in the south by John E. Fitzgerald in Frankfort, Kentucky................more on Wikipedia

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#25 Henry Mckenna

Henry Mckenna

Henry McKenna is sipping Whiskey, pure and simple. As comfortable and unpretentious as an old pair of jeans or well-worn leather gloves, it’s the perfect old-time quality Bourbon to share with friends. Henry McKenna brought his family’s Whiskey recipe with him from Ireland in 1837 and founded his U.S. distillery in Fairfield, KY in 1855................more on Heaven Hill Brands

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#26 Early Times

Early Times

Early Times is a brand of Kentucky Whiskey distilled in Shively, Kentucky by the Brown-Forman Corporation, one of the largest North American-owned companies in the spirits and wine business. While Early Times is marketed outside the U.S. as Bourbon, the Whiskey does not meet all the U.S. regulated criteria for Bourbon – and hence, is marketed within the U.S. as Whiskey (rather than as Bourbon Whiskey).................more on Wikipedia

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#27 Big House

Big House

Big House Bourbon is hand-crafted in small batches and “locked up” to mellow for 6 years in new, charred American oak. Big House Bourbon is brimming with rich, bold flavors of maple syrup, pecan and balanced by light nuances of fig and black pepper. The finish is long, smooth caramel and vanilla accented withy coffee bean and spicy clove..................more on Gemini Spirits Wine

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#28 Old Crow

Old Crow

Old Crow is a low-priced brand of Kentucky-made straight bourbon whiskey distilled by Beam Suntory, which also produces Jim Beam and several other brands of whiskey. The current Old Crow product uses the same mash bill and yeast as Jim Beam, but is aged for a shorter period of time and mixed to a more lenient taste profile before bottling...................more on Wikipedia

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#29 Corner Creek

Corner Creek

Corner Creek is only lightly filtered so that it retains all its complex flavor and is bottled in as natural and pure a state as possible. Few other Whiskeys can claim this. This 88 proof whiskey was produced under the strict supervision of our Master Distiller at Corner Creek, Bardstown, Kentucky...................more on Corner Creek

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#30 Wathen’s

Wathen's

Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon is a product of distilling expertise that goes back to the very beginning of Bourbon Whiskey. Charles W. Medley and his son Samuel Wathen Medley continue this proud eight generation, a 250-year tradition. Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon is a premium Kentucky Bourbon created by Charles W. Medley ..................more on BourbonEnthusiast

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#31 Heaven Hill

_thb_05049

Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. is an American, private family-owned and operated distillery company headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky that produces and markets the Heaven Hill brand of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and a variety of other distilled spirits. ..................more on Wikipedia

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#32 Hogs 3

361032

Hogs3. Nose: Grainy sweetness. Honey, cocoa and vanilla. Lightly toasted oak. Creamy caramel and light spices. Fruity – oranges, coconut and ripe peaches. Slightly flora. Taste: Light and delicate on the palate. A bit thin. Honey and rye. Fresh mint and black pepper. Dry oakiness. Not much going on..........more on here

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#33 Eagle Rare

Eagle Rare

Eagle Rare is a brand of Bourbon Whiskey distilled and distributed by the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Eagle Rare was originally a 101-proof ten-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey (not single-barrel) from Seagram created by master distiller Charles L. Beam..........more on Wikipedia

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#34 Bulleit

Bulletein

Bulleit Bourbon is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced at the Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky for the Diageo beverage conglomerate. It is characterized by a high rye content for a bourbon (at approximately 28% of the mash bill) and being aged at least six years..........more on Wikipedia

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