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In many ways, this signifies how the bourbon boom has broadened, particularly over the last decade. Bourbon’s made in seemingly every corner of the country, though some wondered when upstart craft distilleries across the country would master bourbon. In the early days, too many rushed out whiskey aged in small barrels, whether an attempt to speed up the aging process or just lack of experience. There was even a running industry joke that any “craft whiskey” was doomed to be overoaked, “like sucking on a stave.”
Happily, that’s no longer true. In addition to that Colorado barrel, look to carefully-crafted bourbons from Kentucky’s New Riff, for example, using a measure of heirloom wheat to create a bourbon tinged with toasted gingerbread tones, or New York state’s Coppersea, which has built a 100% NY-sourced bourbon, from grain to Hudson Valley oak barrels, that would be perfectly at home mixed into a Manhattan.
The rise of independent bottlers and blenders in America also merits attention. In Scotland, there’s a long tradition of independent bottlers, who purchase barrels from single-malt distilleries, then blend them and/or bottle them under their own labels. But in the U.S., this is new territory—and it’s yielding some excellent bourbons under the auspices of Barrell, Lost Lantern and others. Of note: Lost Lantern is the entity that hand-picked the barrel of Colorado bourbon that scored so well.
Of course, there are also some legacy names on the shortlist of great new bourbons: look to Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald and Elijah Craig for new limited editions worth snapping up, or Dickel’s eight-year-old, a value-priced workhorse from a producer better known for Tennessee whiskey.
Here are 11 Bourbons to Try Now!
Lost Lantern 2021 Single Cask #3 Boulder Distillery Colorado Straight Bourbon; $105. Buy at Lost Lantern. This limited-edition, single-cask bottling has a deep coppery hue and a creamy caramel aroma… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Hinterhaus Calaveras Cask Finish Bourbon; $39. Buy at Hinterhaus Distilling. The concept: a blend of bourbons finished in four California wine barrels, intended to replicate a popular… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
New Riff Distilling Red Turkey Wheated Bourbon; $50. Buy at New Riff Distilling. Look for rich toffee and mocha on the nose and palate, edged with clove and black pepper heat… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Watershed Distillery Aged 4 Years Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels; $40. Buy at Watershed Distillery. Vanilla and caramel aromas are echoed on the palate, leading to additional flavors of cinnamon, clove… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Last Updated: June 6, 2023