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The Best Bottles Of Bourbon (You’ve Probably Never Heard Of)


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Even if you’re not a bourbon drinker, you’ve likely sipped the likes of Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace. These are some of the best-selling bourbon brands on the market, so it’s no surprise that you’ve heard their names, at least in passing. If you’re a bourbon aficionado, your knowledge of brands likely goes much deeper, but if you’re a whiskey novice, you might not be aware of some of the lesser-known, high-quality bourbons available on the market.

And that is something we can’t abide. Not one damn bit.

That’s why we decided to ask some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the best bottles of bourbon you might never have heard of. Some are lesser-known expressions made by bigger names and others come from smaller craft distilleries. Either way, these bottles should be added to your sipping list as soon as possible.

Let’s get drinking!

Widow Jane 10-Year

Faith Alice Sleeper, Left Door in Washington, DC

Widow Jane 10-year from Red Hook, Brooklyn is one of my favorite ‘secret’ bourbons to introduce to guests. Warm caramel and toffee flavors welcome your palate to a unique bourbon experience that finishes with a spice bomb of peppercorn, cinnamon, rye and burnt orange; it is delicious on its own or in a cocktail.

Hudson Baby Bourbon

Douglas da Cruz Jr, bar manager at Nico Osteria in Chicago

You might have already heard about it, but my pick is Hudson Baby Bourbon (I recommend the whole family). Try it and let me know what you think, because I’m a serious fan.

Barton’s 1792 Full Proof

Chris Patino, co-owner of Raised By Wolves in San Diego

It’s too hard to keep good bourbons a secret these days. Barton’s 1792 Full Proof is one of the most underrated whiskey’s out there. I almost didn’t want to mention it, because I like that it’s accessible, and at a great price. 1792 Full Proof is so good, that we bought an entire barrel of it for Raised by Wolves.

Henry McKenna 10 Year Bottled In Bond

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Henry McKenna BiB

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Stephen George, beverage manager at 20|Twenty Grill in Carlsbad, California

Again, in spite of their recent accolades, Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon Bottled In Bond will continue to be passed over on a bourbon list. It deserves more attention.

Angel’s Envy Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon

Darren Fabian, national beverage manager for Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Drinkers probably know all about Angel’s Envy, but do they know about Angel’s Envy Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished? They should, because it’s an amazing taste profile.

Koval Four Grain Bourbon

Chris Burmeister, bartender at Citizen Rail in Denver

If I was to recommend a lesser-known bourbon it would be Koval Four Grain Bourbon out of Chicago. Super flavorful, well-distilled spirit. If you can find it, buy it.

Blade & Bow Bourbon

Brandon Lockman, lead bartender at Red Star Tavern in Portland

Blade & Bow is one that I like to show people. With so many options on the shelf, it’s easy for people to miss lesser advertised bourbons.

Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon

Sean Stangle, bartender at Estiatorio Milos in Las Vegas

Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon is one of those rare gems that gets lost in the “collectable / secondary market” enthusiasts embrace so much. This four-year aged Kentucky Straight is Heaven Hills Flagship expression and should not be overlooked.

Writer’s Pick: Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon

Even though our friends in the Bluegrass State might disagree, bourbon doesn’t need to be made in Kentucky. In fact, one of the best lesser-known bottles comes from the Lonestar State. Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon has won numerous awards for its pot distilled bourbon.

With hints of oak, vanilla, dried fruits, and aged leather, this is truly a can’t miss bourbon.

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