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The 13 Best Bourbons of 2021

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A prodigious 13 Bourbons made our Top 100 Spirits list this year. Those from Kentucky lead the way with six selections on this list, however it’s not the only state that can produce this hallmark American whiskey. Selections from CaliforniaIndiana, Texas and Tennessee are spotlighted as well, yet contenders in the style can come from anywhere within the country.  

Bourbon must be made from a minimum 51% corn, distilled at no higher than 160 proof and bottled at a minimum of 40% alcohol by volume. It must be aged in new charred oak barrels, however the type of barrel is up to the discretion of the distiller.  

Here are the 13 best Bourbons we tasted this year.

18th Street Distillery Spirit Thief Selection Bourbon; $100. Buy on Total Wine & More
Complex aromas include dried fig, dried cherry and vanilla. The palate opens with spice and dark fruit…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Angel’s Envy Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks Bourbon; $350. 
This was released in September 2020 to celebrate the brand’s 10th anniversary. Look for a copper… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Barrell Private Release A01A Bourbon; $110. Buy on Mash & Grape
Concentrated toffee aromas entice on the nose. While this cask-strength beast opens fiery, adding just enough water… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Blue Note Juke Joint Bourbon; $30. Buy on Total Wine & More
Butterscotch and maple aromas meet with candied orange peel on the nose. The palate is similarly bold and rich… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Four Roses 2020 Limited Edition Small Batch Barrel Strength; $150. Buy on Drizly
A blend of whiskies aged 12, 16 and 19 years, this Bourbon has a rich toffee aroma. Add plenty of water to this overproof bottling… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

George Remus Bourbon; $40. Buy on Total Wine & More
Bold oak and vanilla aromas lead the nose. The bright palate sizzles with cinnamon spice around a caramel core… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Kuiper Belt Aged 8 Years Straight Kentucky Bourbon; $85. Buy on Gary’s Wine & Marketplace
Named for a ring of icy bodies that orbit the sun, this small-batch whiskey is aged, as the producer says, “eight earth orbits around the sun.”… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Milam & Greene Single Barrel Straight Bourbon; $55. Buy on Mash & Grape
Expect a light honey hue, with maple and almond aromas. The palate echoes that maple note, alongside clove… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Navigator Straight Bourbon; $40. Buy on Drizly
This is a Kentucky Bourbon aged three years in American oak, then finished in Cabernet Sauvignon casks… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Spring 2020 Edition; $90. 
The mild caramel aroma is just a preview for what is to come. The palate is deep and bold, showing toffee… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Peerless Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon; $70. Buy on Total Wine & More
The bold, slightly smoky aroma teases the nose. The palate opens with ribbons of toffee sweetness intertwined with clove… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon; $45. Buy on Drizly
Mild oak and vanilla aromas lead the nose. The robust palate opens with a dusting of cocoa… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Winchester Double Oak Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished With Sherry Cask Staves; $30. Buy on Total Wine & More
This Bourbon finished with Sherry cask staves drinks almost like a rum. Brown butter mingles with banana… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW