Top Ten [Obtainable] Bourbons. Go!

Lots of people ask- where do I start?

There are hundreds of American whiskeys that we'd consider "worth" the money. If you're just starting out, or looking for a solid gift, we recommend you start with one of the ten bourbons listed below. While we didn't apply a rigid methodology to these recommendations, we considered obvious factors like flavor/depth/complexity, age, proof, 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 our selections.  Click on any of the bourbons' hyperlinked name for a full background and review.  


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." 


1792 Ridgemont Reserve
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."


Wild Turkey 101
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 46
Maker's Mark Distillery
94 proof
Approx. 6.5 years old
$34 at Fort Jackson, SC Class VI

"Caramel, bur

nt 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." 


Elijah Craig 12
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 Single Barrel
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."