Fall is in full swing, which means the most glorious time of year is upon us: whiskey season. We are unabashed whiskey lovers. The world of whiskeys has never been more interesting as the sheer variety of spirits from around the globe has exploded. While we love to explore new varietals, bourbon holds a special place in our hearts.
With the Holidays approaching, we’ve put together a list of bourbons that we’re enjoying right now. These make for wonderful gifts for the right person. We hope you can track down a bottle or two from this list and enjoy this season!
A note on sourcing: if not otherwise noted, we sourced the bottles on this list from Justin’s House of Bourbon in Lexington, Kentucky. We never visit Lexington without a pit stop at Justin’s. They have an incredible selection of bourbon, including a load of single-barrel selections and hard to find bottles. We’ve seen almost all of the bottles on the list below in shops around the country, but if you are looking for one-stop shopping, Justin’s is it. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. It’s a real Kentucky experience that you should put on your itinerary the next time you are in the area.
Bardstown’s Origin Series Wheated Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon has been our absolute favorite this fall. A six year old bourbon, we’ve found it eminently drinkable neat or on ice.
Tasting notes from the distillery: “Baked peach with cream meets cocoa with hints of lemon, an indulgent, smooth mouthfeel of stone fruit and toffee leads to an alluring and enduring finish.”
We’ve had a special place on our shelf for Pinhook ever since hosting Master Blender Sean Josephs in our Birmingham store a couple of years ago. Pinhook’s Flagship Bourbon (the “orange top”) and Flagship Rye (the “green top”) are widely available these days, but their vertical series are the real stars in the program. We have bottles of their 5, 6, and 7-year old vertical series bourbon already, and we are eagerly awaiting the newly released 8-year old. The best part of Pinhook? You can purchase bottles directly from Pinhook for home delivery (depending on where you live) and get text notifications when limited releases drop.
Tasting notes from Pinhook on their 8-year old vertical series bourbon: “With another year of maturation, this 8-year-old bourbon has a bright nose of orange curacao, oloroso sherry, clove, and brown sugar that leads to a full palate of dark cherry, plum, cinnamon, and burnt sugar.”
A real standout in our collection, we picked up a bottle of New Riff’s Single Barrel Select Bourbon from Justin’s in Lexington. New Riff’s bourbons are a high-rye, giving them a big, bold spiciness that we’ve enjoyed when the mood strikes. We’ve seen their Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon on shelves as far away as Calgary, Canada, so this is definitely a unique bottle from a great group of spirit up-and-comers that is widely available. See if you can find one in your neighborhood.
Another unique and absolutely wonderful bourbon, Ben Holladay’s Bourbon is a six-year old, bottled in bond bourbon from Missouri. Yes, Missouri. From the distillery: “Bourbon is by definition American-made. The spirit can only be made in the United States and it can be made in any state, but the finest bourbon results from an ideal combination of climate and geology that is rare outside of Kentucky but is found in the rolling hills of Weston, Missouri.”
Close your eyes and you would never guess this spicy, bold bourbon came from anywhere other than Kentucky. We’ve been enjoying this on cold nights and in a Manhattan, where it really shines with a spicy flavor that balances incredibly well with Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and a bourbon soaked cherry.
While not the fanciest bottle in our collection, Old Bardstown Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon is a truly delightful everyday drinker from Willett Distillery. We squirrel away a bottle or two every time we’re in Kentucky.
Tasting notes from Willett: “The nose is "Fun Dip" candy, that sugary stick dipped into cherry flavoring. The palate is a cherry hard candy, an oily mouth feel, vanilla caramel candies and notes of oak.”
This is definitely a unique whiskey that you won’t find in common circulation. If you are looking for a distinctive gift that won’t break the bank, here’s your solution.