Bourbon for Beginners


Friends who are interested in bourbon often ask me where they should start and what bourbons they should be looking to try. Below is a list of bourbons that I think most people should try and that are fairly readily available. There is no reason for somoene newly interested in bourbon to chase after big names. Instead, try a bunch of different bourbons with different mashbills from different distillers and see what you like and what you don't like.

These are in no particular order.

Picture of Elijah Craig Small Batch

Elijah Craig Small Batch

~$26
94º
8-12 years
78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye

Picture of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

~$60
Varies by release
12 years
78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye

A little harder to find than the Small Batch, but if you find yourself liking higher proof whiskeys this is one to look out for.

Picture of Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark

~$23
90º
~6 years
70% Corn 16% Wheat, 14% Barley

Picture of Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

~$22
90º
~6 years
68% Corn, 28% Rye, 4% Barley

Also available in a barrel strength version.

Picture of Four Roses Small Batch

Four Roses Small Batch

~$35
90º
6-7 years
A blend of Four Roses’ two mashbills which are 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Barley and 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Barley

Picture of Knob Creek Small Batch 9 Year

Knob Creek Small Batch 9 Year

~$26
100º
9 years
75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley

Also available in a 12 year 100º version and (my favorite) a 12 year 120º Single Barrel version.

Picture of Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace

~$28
90º
~6 years
90% corn, 10% or less rye, remainder malted barley

Picture of Blanton’s

Blanton’s

~$65
93º
~6 years
85-88% corn, 10-12% rye, remainder malted barley

Picture of Old Grand-Dad 114

Old Grand-Dad 114

~$20
114º
~6 years
63% Corn, 27% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

Picture of Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

~$58
101º
~8-9 years
75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley

Picture of Booker’s

Booker’s

~$93
Varies by release
~6 years
77% Corn, 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

Picture of Old Forester 1920

Old Forester 1920

~$50
115º
~5 years
72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley