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The Best Bourbons For Fans Of Fruit-Focused Flavors, According To Bartenders

It’s no secret that bourbon can be pretty sweet. This corn-based whiskey is known for its caramel, honey, butterscotch, vanilla, and sometimes sweet oak flavors. We’ve written about spicy bourbons in the past, but today we’re turning our attention to the fruitier side of bourbon.

When it comes to “fruit” flavors in bourbon, it really depends on what kind of fruit you’re smelling and tasting. Yeasts can impart bright, almost vibrant stone fruits, orchard fruits, sweet florals, berries, fresh citrus, and more. Meanwhile, the barrel (and finishing barrel) can impart darker fruity notes like dates, plums, raisins, dried berries or cherries, candied or dried citrus, and so much more. There’s a lot going on when it comes to fruit in bourbon.

To find the best examples, we asked a handful of notable bartenders and bar professionals to tell us their go-to fruit-centric bourbons to drink this fall (and literally any time of year). Keep scrolling to see all of their cherry, ripe berry, dried apricot, and sweet sherry-filled selections.

Widow Jane 10

Widow Jane 10
Widow Jane

Seamus Banning, bartender at The W Hotel in Philadelphia

ABV: 45.5%

Average Price: $80

Why This Bourbon?

For fruity and rich flavors, my bourbon of choice is Widow Jane 10. The proof of the whiskey isn’t super high and it’s very approachable for any level of a whiskey drinker. The vanilla and holiday spice on your first nose amplifies the almond, cherry, and tropical fruit notes dramatically. Plus, its minerality makes for a smooth sipper this fall.

Maker’s Mark 46

Maker's Mark 46
Maker

Emily Franchy, bartender at Uffda Hospitality in Louisville

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $40

Why This Bourbon?

Maker’s Mark 46 enhances the cherry notes of classic Maker’s with apple and pear. It’s perfect for fall. The extra stave finish brings out even more caramel and oak as well. Get the cask strength version for even more richness, dark fruits, and sweet woodiness.

Angel’s Envy

Angel's Envy Bourbon
Angel

Austin Jacobs, bartender at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, California

ABV: 43.3%

Average Price: $50

Why This Bourbon?

For fruity, rich flavors I love Angel’s Envy Bourbon. What makes them unique is they finish their bourbon in port wine barrels, so it adds notes of those complex, fruity port flavors into the bourbon. The result is delicious with a spicy citrus nose, a thicker mouthfeel than most bourbons, and some fruity flavors like apples, plums, and peaches coming through in the taste.

Four Roses Small Batch

Four Roses Small Batch
Four Roses

Christopher Rodriguez, lead bartender at Lucy Bar in Yountville, California

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $30

Why This Bourbon?

My go-to bourbon for people who are into fruity, rich flavors is Four Roses Small batch. It’s smooth and sweet with a hint of spice that would be perfect for the season (or any season for that matter).

Old Grand-Dad 114

Old Grand-Dad 114
Old Grand-Dad

Mike Fayad, general manager at Hearth and Hill in Park City, Utah

ABV: 57%

Average Price: $30

Why This Bourbon?

Old Granddad 114 is my favorite bourbon for daily drinking. It’s reasonably priced (when and where you can find it), great for cocktails, and packs a flavorful spicy, fruity punch that you’ll go back to again and again.

Blanton’s Single Barrel

Blanton's Single Barrel
Blanton

Lauren Navarro, head bartender at Apothecary 330-A Cocktail Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 46.5%

Average Price: $75

Why This Bourbon?

Blanton’s Single Barrel is my go-to bourbon for smooth, rich, and fruity flavors. It has vanilla and caramel notes with big cherry and orchard notes too. It’s a great higher-priced introductory bourbon.

Rabbit Hole Dareringer

Rabbit Hole Dareringer
Rabbit Hole

Nicholas Karel, director of bars, lounges, and beverage at Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans

ABV: 46.5%

Average Price: $100

Why This Bourbon?

This Rabbit Hole bourbon is finished in sherry casks. It has intense depth with a soft sweetness and notes of raisins and currants. It’s not overly sweet but rich, delicious, and fruity.

Horse Soldier Signature

Horse Soldier Signature
Horse Soldier

Mohamed Khald, food and beverage manager at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida

ABV: 47.5%

Average Price: $65

Why This Bourbon?

Horse Soldier, a local bourbon from St. Pete, is hands down one of the best bourbons. It’s carefully crafted with sweet and spicy notes of caramel, vanilla, honey, dried cherries, and nutmeg and has an undeniably smooth, mellow, and fruity finish.

Eagle Rare 10

Eagle Rare 10
Eagle Rare

Chevy Farrell, beverage director for No Man’s Land in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $50

Why This Bourbon?

Eagle Rare is an approachable expression with a solid age statement. On the first approach, toast and caramel notes take over and subtly melt into vanilla, dried fruits, and orange blossom honey finish. This bourbon is a fantastic pick for both new and seasoned drinkers alike and does a good job at highlighting fruit notes.

W.L. Weller Special Reserve

W.L. Weller Special Reserve
Buffalo Trace

Christian Taibi, head mixologist at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Honolulu, Hawaii

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $83

Why This Bourbon?

Buffalo Trace Distillery is my go-to for most of my American whiskey. The one that stands out (when available) is W.L. Weller Special Reserve. At 90 proof, this wheat bourbon is absolute perfection. It’s soft, sweet, and loaded with fruity, rich flavors.

Knob Creek 9 Year

Knob Creek 9
Knob Creek

Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $30

Why This Bourbon?

Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon has some lovely dried apricot notes that come through. It’s a nine-year barrel-aged whiskey that makes for a complex yet mellow pour that really leans into those stone fruit notes.

Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel
Four Roses

Christy Bradley, spirit guide at Virgin Hotels in New Orleans

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $50

Why This Bourbon?

For a great, relatively inexpensive, and fruity bourbon, I tend to lean towards Four Roses Single Barrel. It has some lovely pear and cherry hints on the palate along with vanilla and maple syrup.

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Buffalo Trace

Darron Foy, bar manager at The Flatiron Room in New York City

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $25

Why This Bourbon?

Buffalo Trace Bourbon is a true crowd-pleaser. I don’t think I’ve ever given this to a patron and they didn’t like it. Stone fruit with demerara sugar plays with oak and a subtle yet slightly sweet spice note. It works great neat, on ice, or mixed into a cocktail.

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