It can be frightening to enter the bourbon category, especially for whiskey newcomers. Nowadays, bourbon is extremely popular, and everyone has an opinion on the greatest bottle, the worst purchases, and the various bourbon flavors you should look for when tasting. But regardless of your level of experience, bourbon is a whiskey style that is available to everyone. In fact, you might already be familiar with Knob Creek, our top pick. We talked to various professionals in the bar business to find out which bottles are the best for novices and what makes them special. Here are some of our recommended best bourbons.
Knob Creek – 50% ABV – Vanilla, Corn, Fruit
The Small Batch Collection of Jim Beam includes Knob Creek. Anyone interested in the category should start with this 9-year-old bourbon. Although there is some oak flavor on the palate, it does not overshadow the traditional flavors of vanilla, caramel, and dried fruit. This bourbon tastes just as good mixed into a drink as it does straight up.
Four Roses Single Barrel – 50% ABV – Spice, Cherry, Chocolate
The Single Barrel expression from Four Roses is something many people suggest sampling. It has a lengthy, smooth finish that provides the perfect entry to anyone knocking on the front door of the Bourbon Trail. Although the bottles will differ depending on the barrel they are from, Four Roses is always a nice option.
Wild Turkey 101 – 50.5% ABV – Oak, Spice, Vanilla
Given its lower cost and greater proof, Wild Turkey 101 is a great bourbon option for those on a tighter budget. Do not let the high alcohol content deter you. This whisky supports its heat with a nuanced taste and a silky finish. Even though the brand offers a variety of other expressions to sample, we suggest beginning with the 101. Wild Turkey is a classic for a reason.
Woodford Reserve – 45.2% ABV – Caramel, Molasses, Pepper
The best bourbon for sipping is Woodford Reserve, which is also a simple introduction for whiskey newcomers. This is due to the bourbon's palate's sweetness and softness, which are complemented by a faint hint of spice. The proof is just strong enough to enhance the tastes without making drinking too hot.
Eagle Rare – 45% ABV – Vanilla, Orange, Honey
Eagle Rare is a smooth drink that leaves behind amazing light caramel and toasty notes. The Buffalo Trace Distillery produces this bourbon, which is matured for at least ten years. Although it might be a touch more expensive than other bottles, who is to argue that bourbon novices do not deserve the best?
Buffalo Trace – 45% ABV – Anise, Vanilla, Orange
Buffalo Trace is the greatest bourbon for novices as exclaimed by many. It is 90 proof when it is bottled, which gives it the structure to hold up in a cocktail without being too strong to drink on its own, even with a few ice cubes. In contrast to bourbons with higher rye levels, this whiskey has a lot of structure, is quite sweet, and has a reduced spice factor. Its high amount of maize in the mash bill is estimated to be between 80 and 90%. Drinkers who are new to the category will find it to be quite user-friendly due to this mix of qualities.