Top Ten [Obtainable] Bourbons. Go!

We have been fully, fully engaged in drinking bourbon this year.  We've spent days and nights with our noses in Glencairn and NEAT glasses (and occasionally Solo cups) picking out colors and aromas and fruits and flowers and nuts and spices.  We've spent our hard earned money on this intoxicating habit. 

Below, we have identified our ten favorite bourbons that you can actually find at most stores.  While we didn't apply a rigid methodology to our selections, we did apply obvious factors such as flavor/depth, age, complexity, finish, price, and availability.

Whether you are a connoisseur and have tasted hundreds of whiskeys, a novice who is looking to learn more about America's Native Spirit, or a good person looking for a solid liquid gift, we hope you'll appreciate the notes below.  Click on any of the bourbons' hyperlinked name for a full background and review.  Enjoy!

Bourbon Scout's "Top Ten [Obtainable] Bourbon List"


Heaven Hill Distillery
Blend of bourbons aged 6-12 years
92 proof
$25 at Sam's Liquors in Columbia, SC

"Brown sugar and maple sweetness up front followed by a strong, but very pleasant cinnamon mid-sip; the wheat sweetness is balanced out by the woody aroma, an oak flavor, and long finish." 


Barton 1792 Distillery (old Tom Moore Distillery)
Approx. 8 years old
93.7 proof
$26 at Sam's Liquor in Columbia, SC

"Syrupy honey and rye spice at first sip.  The texture is really full, with a thick, oily quality.  There are clove spices, subtle oak qualities, and citrus zest and apple flavors.  The finish is a good balance of the spicy and sweet flavors with vanilla and oak sweetness at the back end."


Austin, Nichols Distilling Co.
101 proof
Approx. 8 years old
$10 for a pint at Green's Beverages in Columbia, SC

"Pow.  A heavy dose of spice right up front rounded out by syrupy, honey sweetness.  There is an undeniable butterscotch flavor, which is balanced by a light oak and cinnamon candy bite.  The finish is long and dry and woody."


Buffalo Trace Distillery
93 proof
Approx. 9 years old
$59 at ABC in Salisbury, NC

"Vanilla, smoky maple, brown sugar, oak, subtle floral notes, finishes a tad bitter.  Drinks hotter [spicier] than a 93 proof."


Maker's Mark Distillery
94 proof
Approx. 6.5 years old
$34 at Fort Jackson, SC Class VI

"Caramel, burnt brown sugar, charred oak, vanilla, cinnamon spice.  Really nice, tight mouth feel and a lingering, spicy finish."


Eagle Rare

Buffalo Trace Distillery
90 proof
Approx. 10 years old
$30 at ABC in Salisbury, NC

"Oak, toffee, honey, leather and deep caramel. The taste is bold and dry.  The finish is longish with a tobacco spice that I'm not always in the mood for, but on certain occasions it hits the spot."


Jefferson's Reserve

Castle Brands (Producer Unknown)
90.2 proof
No Age Statement
$39 at ABC in Salisbury, NC

"The entrance is silky smooth and generally sweet with classic caramel and brown sugar.  The sip is balanced by mid palate bite- baking chocolate, barrel char, cinnamon.  The finish was spicy, long and satisfying." 


Heaven Hill Distilleries
94 proof
12 years old
$29 at ABC in Columbia, SC

"Hot damn, a fair amount of alcohol burn and rye spice for a 94 proof bourbon, but there are sweet notes in there too.  Classic caramel, vanilla, and burnt brown sugar, but there is an oak punch and bitter chocolate finish that lingers nicely on the palate."


Four Roses Distillery
100 proof
9-11 years old
$45 at Four Roses gift shop in Lawrenceburg, KY

'"Red Hots" cinnamon candy right out of the gate.  Full bodied/syrupy mouthfeel.  Dark cherries, molasses, and a subtle woody finish."  


Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage

Heaven Hill Distillery
86.6 proof
9-10 years old
$28 at ABC in Richmond, VA

"The sip is sweet and gentle with maple syrup and brown sugar.  The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, reminiscent of its older cousin Elijah Craig 18 Year, but the oak and spices take hold for a lasting, pleasant finish."