Best Bourbon - Part 2
 

Best Bourbon Whiskey - Part 2

 

The Fifty Best Bourbon Tasting 2021


The Tasting: The Fifty Best held a "blind" tasting of 40 bourbon whiskies with 14 members of our spirits judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. The higher proof spirits (100+ prf) were tasted after the lower proof bourbons. Each of the bourbons were poured into fresh glasses from newly-opened sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. Medals are provided based entirely on merit and only to products judged worthy of such award.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin, distilleries and alcohol proofs are identified for each brand. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites


SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Belfour Bourbon Whiskey
Finished with Texas Pecan Wood

(Belfour Spirits, KY)  92° prf

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, caramel cream, chocolate, dark chocolate, cane sugar, maple, vanilla, honey, ripe apple, banana, plantain, olives, fennel, green leaves, grassy, mossy, hay, toast, roasted pecans, warmed almonds, walnut, nuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, spicy, minerality, leather, barnyard, musty, earth, pine, oak, toasted oak.
Palate: Dark chocolate, cocoa, fudge, creamy vanilla, burnt butterscotch, dark sugar, burnt maple, maple bacon, candied bacon, honey, mango, lemon, agave, fennel, floral, herbal, cereal grains, almond, hazelnut, café au lait, burnt coffee, clove, cayenne pepper, habanero, spicy, tobacco, leather, smoky, woody, cedar, oak, spiced oak, complex, good for mixing.
Finish: Sweet caramel, caramelized apple, rich banana, molasses, prune, wheat, grain, peppermint, lemon oil, cinnamon, hot pepper, black tea, tannic, leather, lingering earth, woody, pine, oak, cedar bomb, sherry, complex, robust, creamy, silky, graceful.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Belfour Bourbon Whiskey Finished with Texas Pecan Wood



Night Spirit Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(High Peaks Distilling, NY)  Aged 3 yrs. - 92° prf

Nose: Fudge, cocoa nibs, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla bean, cherry Coke, honey, candied apple, baked pears, Fig Newtons, dried fruit, sweet corn, blossoms, white flowers, peppermint, green leaves, grassy, hay, pecan, spiced nuts, nutty, tannic, wet leather, firewood, campfire, toasted pine, oak char, virgin oak, barrel, sherry.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, mocha, molasses, nougat, marzipan, sweet vanilla, black cherry, prune, strawberry, orange, orange zest, lemon, ginger, ripe mango, chutney, mango habanero salsa, sweet corn, wheat, toast, nutty, spicy rye, eucalyptus, basil, nutmeg, clove, pepper, white pepper, mineral, leather, woodsy, very smoky, heavy char, cedar, oak, barrel dominant.
Finish: Chocolate mint, buttery, Turtles caramel nut clusters, caramelized pecans, nutty, grain, toast, prune, green apple, eucalyptus, white pepper, spicy, musty, smoky, smoked wood, woody, pine needles, pine, oak, bold.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Night Spirit Straight Bourbon Whiskey



F.A Waldron Premier Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Lock 1 Distilling Co., NY)  Aged 2 yrs. - 105.38° prf

Nose: Toffee, vanilla, spiced vanilla latte, warm fudge, sugar cane, honey, poached pears, coconut, orange, citrus notes, root beer, cherry, cherry pits, nutty, biscuits, grassy, hints of hay, black tea, nutmeg, smoked bacon, smoke, char, pine, oak, fresh oak, cognac.
Palate: Toffee undertones, caramel, nougat, spicy vanilla, maple, honey, prune, raisin, dried apricot, mango puree, red apple, orange, orange zest, orange spice, lemon, herbaceous, mint, wheat, cereal grains, roasted almond, roasted pecans, nutty, clove, cinnamon, allspice, white pepper, salty, leaves, tobacco, tannins, oak, sweet oak, rich.
Finish: Dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, honey, banana peel, biscuits, wintergreen, mint, almond, spicy nuts, clove, mulling spices, spicy, white pepper, smoke, oak, nice balance, zesty, big & bold fire, pleasant.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

F.A Waldron Premier Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon

(Treaty Oak Distilling, TX)  Aged min. 18 ms. - 95° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, maple, molasses, honey, Honey Crunch snack, dried fruit, tropical fruit, charred pineapple, rose petal, dried flowers, floral, spearmint, cinnamon, nutmeg, smoked peanuts, dried chives, sweet leather, pine resin, maple wood, lightly toasted, light smoke, wood embers, char, oak, new oak.
Palate: Caramel, sweet caramel, toffee, vanilla, nougat, marzipan, pineapple slices, orange peel, orange zest, mint, peppermint, eucalyptus, grassy, green pepper, pepper, walnut, nutty, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, tobacco, leather, peat, char, toasted oak, young oak, very woody, sherry casks, could mix well.
Finish: Caramel, chocolate, demerara, maple syrup, light honey, dark raisins, apple, banana, eucalyptus, nuts, coffee, cinnamon, spicy, burning tobacco leaf, smoky, oak, toasted oak, cedar, balanced, full flavored.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon



Bespoken Spirits Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Treasure Island Distillery, CA / Distilled in Indiana)  Aged min. 2 yrs.
100° prf


Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, molasses, maple, whipped cream, vanilla, sweet grains, honey, banana, Asian pear, orange oil, root beer, mint, hazelnut, sandalwood, nutmeg, light clove, potatoes, nut shells, soil, forest, char, wood, oak.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, burnt molasses, whipped cream, vanilla, maple, honey, dried fruit, pear, orange, spearmint, dried mint, herbal, tea leaves, corn, rye, spicy, Korean BBQ sauce, leather, tannic, smoky, burnt toast, nice char, oak, toasted oak, cedar, Moscato, well balanced.
Finish: Vanilla, lemon crème, honey, sweet baked bread, banana, orange, mint, clove, nutmeg, slightly spicy, black pepper, tobacco, hints of leather, smoky, toasted oak, pine, soothing heat, perfectly balanced.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Bespoken Spirits Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Rabbit Hole Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Rabbit Hole Distillery, KY)  Aged over 3 yrs. - 95° prf

Nose: Caramel, toffee, sugar cane, vanilla, maple syrup, honey, carrot cake, cherry, guava, pear notes, citrus, green apple, fresh dough, biscuits, pretzel, popcorn, almond, walnut, coffee notes, espresso, clove, salty spice, flowers, cotton, cigar box, cedar, oak.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, vanilla, dark sugar, cola, sweet cherry, red apple, ginger, walnut, nutty, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange spice, smooth spice, spicy, pepper, tobacco, eucalyptus, peat moss, lightly charred, burnt wood, oak, cherry wood, amaro.
Finish: Chocolate & peanut butter, sweet molasses, honey, orange peel, tea, mint, nutmeg, spicy, pepper, toasty, tannic, oak, nice heat, smooth, lively, elegant, perfect.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Rabbit Hole Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Beanball Bourbon Whiskey

(Cooperstown Distillery, NY)  Aged min 18 ms. - 90° prf

Nose: Caramel, caramel chews, toffee, butterscotch, butter, cream, clotted cream, heavy cream, vanilla, molasses, candied fruits, pineapple, pear, green apple, mushroom, herbal, grain, hay, hazelnut, walnut, walnut bitters, nuttiness, hints of coffee, nutmeg, cinnamon, briny, char, light wood, soft oak.
Palate: Caramel, dark chocolate, fudge, cream, creamy vanilla, deep burnt vanilla, orange blossom, honeycomb, floral, mango, yellow pear, lemon peel, apple skins, root beer, anise, mint, cereal, crackers, toast, almond, walnut, clove, spice kick, spicy, wormwood, leather, tannin, smoky, oak, soft, velvety mouthfeel.
Finish: Marmalade, candied ginger, ripe banana peels, apple peel, hints of pear, anise, licorice, mint, basil, hazelnut, nutty, spicy, wood shavings, woody, oak, lingering cream, creamy, soft, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Beanball Bourbon Whiskey



Low Gap Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(American Craft Whiskey Distillery, CA)  Aged over 4 yrs. - 84.2° prf

Nose: Chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate malt balls, chocolate milk, Hershey’s, fudge, mocha, cream, toffee, butterscotch, caramel, maple syrup, cotton candy, vanilla, vanilla wafers, marzipan, coconut, banana, dried apricot, soft citrus, rose petal, hazelnut, hazelnut spread, nutty, coffee, chocolate spice, mustard seeds, spicy notes, pine, cedar.
Palate: Chocolate, dark chocolate, fudge, Cocoa Krispies, warm cocoa, coffee, café au lait, creamy, buttery, cane sugar, toffee, vanilla, apricot jam, apricot, ginger, grain, walnut, rye spice, peppermint, cinnamon, clove, clove, pepper, extra spicy, burnt coffee, peaty, char, wood, oak, toasted oak, engaging.
Finish: Caramel, unsweetened cocoa, mocha, dried vanilla, citrus, herbaceous, peppermint, nutmeg, spicy, pepper, hot pepper, toast, smoky, wood notes, oak, scotch, balanced, clean, complex, soft, silky, smooth, interesting, unique.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Low Gap Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Altered State Stout Barrel Bourbon

(Altered State Distillery, PA)  Finished in craft stout barrels. - 86° prf

Nose: Butterscotch, caramel, molasses, fresh whipped cream, sweet vanilla, honey, honeysuckle, Graham cracker, banana, cocoa bean, nutty notes, malt, wet grain, earth, light wood, oak, cedar, port wine.
Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, chocolate, dark chocolate, mocha, brown sugar, vanilla, honey, clover honey, honeycomb, dried fruits, orange, lemon peel, chamomile tea, nutty, clove, spice, light oils, leather, oaky, soft.
Finish: Vanilla, chocolate, lingering nougat, rich raisins, herbal, orange spice, touch of spice, peppery, woody, soft oak, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Altered State Stout Barrel Bourbon



King's Family Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Wheated

(TN / Distilled in Indiana)  100° prf

Nose: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, warm fudge, butter, vanilla, nougat, maple, honey, banana, pear, orange, orange blossom, honeysuckle, candied pecans, dried corn, toast, rye, mint, almond, nutty, spiced nuts, soft cinnamon, clove, woody, oak, allspice dram.
Palate: Caramel, brown sugar, sugar cane, buttery, vanilla, spiced orange marmalade, orange develops, orange peel, dried pineapple, pineapple, mango, lemon, citrus, star anise, corn, rye, toasted almond, sweet nuts, green tea, licorice, strong clove, spice, saline, funky, smoke, light char, wood, cedar, oak.
Finish: Caramel grows, cooked honey, orange, orange peel, citrus, anise, spearmint, basil, toasted almond, nutty, pepper, tarragon, big spice, oak, high alcohol, balanced, sweet, zesty, lively, big, rich.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

King's Family Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey Wheated



Cantilever Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Voyagers Reserve

(Cantilever Bridge Distillery, MN)  Aged min 2 yrs. - 80° prf

Nose: Butterscotch, cane sugar, maple syrup, creamy, vanilla, marzipan, candied oranges, dried fruits, baked apple, bright peach, banana, r cherry, ed berries, Asian pear, green apple, wheat, rye, nutty, straw, hay, black tea, mint, light cinnamon, tobacco, leather, earth, char, fresh wood, pine wood, cedar, oak, grappa, sherry notes.
Palate: Caramel, burnt honey, honey, maple, creamy, vanilla, pecan pie, corn, tropical fruit, banana, raisin, green apple, orange, lemon, citrus, citrus peel, rose, biscuit, almond, bamboo, eucalyptus, peppermint, green olive, grassy, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, spicy, peppery, black pepper, mineral, earth, pine resin, cedar, oak, well balanced.
Finish: Toasted almond, bitter almond, coconut, chocolate, cold coffee, ginger, mint, grassy, creamy au poivre pepper sauce, black pepper, spicy, salty, saline, deep wood, pine, cedar, oak, well balanced, flavorful, easy drinking.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Cantilever Straight Bourbon Whiskey Voyagers Reserve



Seven Jars Preamble Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Seven Jars Distillery, NC)  Aged over 2 yrs. - 80° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramelized apples, pineapple, lingonberry, cherry, buttered toast, wheat bread, bread dough, orange blossom, tea leaves, mint, anise, basil, cinnamon, coffee beans, leather, slight char, new oak, sherry.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, molasses, demerara, brown sugar, maple, vanilla, chocolate, honey note, dates, figs, apricot, buttered popcorn, cereal, lightly malty, toasted hazelnut, coffee eucalyptus, clove, black pepper, tannic, char, oak barrel, oak, wood spiked, creamy, rich, pleasant.
Finish: Chocolate, mocha, malty, lingering honey, berries, pear, orange, citrus notes, floral, nutmeg, clove, spicy, pepper, cedar, oak dominant, wood, well rounded, balanced, reminiscent of scotch, creamy texture, pretty, easy drinking.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Seven Jars Preamble Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Wise Men Bourbon Whiskey

(Wise Men Distillery, MI)  Aged 6 ms. - 85° prf

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, cane sugar, vanilla, buttery, croissant, Wheaties, cereal, grain, malt, filbert nuts, pear, apple, green apple, orange, citrus, ginger, grassy, dried leaves, hay, wet hay, Murphy’s oil soap, leather, musty, earth, peaty, subtle smoke, very woody, new wood, fresh wood, lumber, oak.
Palate: Caramel, molasses, dark sugar, honey, creamy, vanilla, pastry dough, biscuit, toast, baked goods, cereal, black cherry, red apple, pear, apple cider, spiced applesauce, green apple, orange, lemon, citrus, ginger, straw, eucalyptus, spices, spicy, pepper, white pepper, black pepper, tobacco, leather, tannic, barrel, woodsy, fresh wood, pine, oak, velvety.
Finish: Caramel, creamy, soft butter, clover honey, dough, toast, apple pie, green apple, grassy, light mint, eucalyptus, peppered eucalyptus, almond, walnuts, nutmeg, spicy, peppery, salty, leather, musty, tannin, wood, oak, soft, surprising.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Wise Men Bourbon Whiskey



Forefathers Heritage Bourbon

(MLH Distillery, PA)  Aged 4 yrs. - 96° prf

Nose: Caramel, cane sugar, vanilla, cream, crème brûlée, French toast, cocoa puffs, cereal, shortbread cookie, biscuits, dried fruit, pineapple, banana, tropical fruit, pear, kiwi, green apple, citrus, elderflower, blossom, floral, grassy, wintergreen, peppermint, ginger beer, ocean breezes, river rocks, char, pine, oak, fresh.
Palate: Caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, sweet cream, honey, mango, banana, dried apricot, sweet apple, red apple, cherry, pear, orange, light citrus, ginger, cherry blossom, floral, tea leaves, tea, mint, licorice, black olive, filbert nuts, nutty, nutmeg, black pepper, peppery, spicy, spiced leather, tobacco, char, toasted oak, soft oak, smooth.
Finish: Butterscotch, creamy, clotted cream, pear, mint, eucalyptus, allspice, spicy, pepper, fresh tobacco, tannic, oak, nice smoke, good heat, soft, easy, lush.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Forefathers Heritage Bourbon



BRONZE MEDAL WINNERS


Crostwater Bourbon Whiskey
(Holy Water Distillery, PA)  Aged min. 1 yr. - 80° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, molasses, vanilla, chocolate, cream, clotted cream, butter, banana, banana peel, green apple, coconut, cashew, nutty, hints of green pepper, new blossom, wet leaves, toast, cigar box, oak, pine, sherry barrel.
Palate: Toffee, cream, clotted cream, milk chocolate, caramelized sugar, burnt sugar, peanut brittle, coca cola, root beer, orange marmalade, lemon, light citrus, green apple, banana, coconut, almond, walnut, nutty, mint, peppermint, rose, green pepper, green grass, pepper, nutmeg, clove, tannic, leather, pine, oak, crisp.
Finish: Caramel, vanilla, sweet cream, chocolate, walnut, nutty, peanut shells, clove, cinnamon, pepper, leather, smoky, oak, soft, smooth, edgy, rich, elegant.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

 

Crostwater Bourbon Whiskey



Treaty Oak The Day Drinker Texas Bourbon
(Treaty Oak Distilling, TX)  Aged min. 12 ms. - 80° prf

Nose: Fudge, molasses, buttery, vanilla, coconut, pear, sour apple, cider, iced tea, black tea leaves, peppermint, biscuit, toast, hazelnut, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, tobacco, leather, hints of brine, slightly peaty, earth, cedar box, sawed wood, oak.
Palate: Toffee, cane sugar, vanilla, maple, peanut brittle, candy cane, dates, banana, apricot, pear, orange peel, elderflower, tea leaves, grass, straw, hay, tobacco leaves, mint, peppermint, cinnamon, allspice dram, spicy, smoky, charred wood, cigar box, virgin wood, oak, creamy, delicate.
Finish: Honey, orange blossom honey, citrus, eucalyptus, green leaves, peppermint, nutty, cinnamon sticks, slightly spicy, white pepper, dried leaves, light smoke, new wood, bitter oak, crisp, cozy, pleasant.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Treaty Oak The Day Drinker Texas Bourbon



Mine Hill Bourbon Whiskey

(Mine Hill Distillery, CT)  82° prf

Nose: Corn mash, dough, honey, berries, almonds, cinnamon, grassy, wet grass, dried leaves, wet soil, wet stones, potting soil, saline, resin, new wood, cedar, pine, oak.
Palate: Caramel, dark sugar, vanilla, cream, honey, sweet corn, grain, floral, herbal, vegetal, olive, allspice, spicy, peppery, nutty, dried leaves, earth, subtle smoke, woody, fresh wood, cedar, balanced.
Finish: Raisin, toast, cloves, peppery, mineral, wet leaves, earth, oak, mildly sweet, soft, savory.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Mine Hill Bourbon Whiskey

 


Best Bourbon Part 1
Best Bourbon - Part 1

 

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