These Are the Only 5 Bourbon Bottles You Need

Old Forester 100 Proof

Thanks to that elevated ABV and high-rye mashbill, it’s ideal for cocktails or sipping on the rocks. Plus, even in New York, I can find a bottle relatively easily for under $40. And there’s a real history behind the brand — Old Forester has been around for 150-plus years and is considered the first bourbon to be sealed in a glass bottle.

Daily drinker

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series

These limited-edition releases utilize a multi-stave approach to unlock or emphasize different flavors and even mouthfeel; for example, the 2021 Limited Release FAE-02 concentrated on texture.

Impress Your Guests

Elijah Craig Small Batch

Everyone’s been talking up the Elijah Craig Small Batch barrel proof releases, but for a lot less money and effort you can simply pick up a this solid Heaven Hill staple, which is modest in price ($30-ish) but big on flavor (the oak shines here, along with a hint of smoke — which makes sense, as history suggests Elijah Craig was the first to age its whiskey in charred oak barrels).

Cheap Mixer

Barrell Bourbon Batch 021

Barrell Craft Spirits launched in 2012 and, very transparently, sources and blends all their whiskey, rye and rum in lieu of distilling their own juice. That said, every single release by Barrell is extremely limited, cask strength and “intentionally unique,” often with unusual finishes or spirits sourced from unlikely places.

Something Great

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep One

The Russell family has presided over a remarkable run for the bourbon brand for six decades; in that time, WT has become the best-selling American whiskey, and both of WT’s Master Distillers, Jimmy and Eddie Russell, have been enshrined in the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

a Special Occasion Bottle

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