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The Best Bourbon Whiskeys From MGP Of Indiana, Ranked

“Sourced” bourbon elicits a wide range of reactions from whiskey drinkers. Some still think it’s a dirty word (or practice) in the industry, others look down on brands that don’t create their own mash. In reality, sourcing whiskey is commonplace and has been going on as long as we’ve been making whiskey for commerce in this country. Period.

Also, much of it is incredibly good. Ask any whiskey judge, reviewer, or aficionado.

One of the biggest sources for bourbon (and rye) in the U.S. is MGP of Indiana in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, just over the Ohio River from Kentucky. MGP juice ends up in a lot of bottles of whiskey on your local shelves — just look for “Made in Indiana” somewhere on the label. In part, this is because they allow distillers to come into their facility and contract distill their own whiskey without having to spend millions on a facility. On top of that, distillers at MGP make a long list of mash bills and aging/finishings that are ready to be blended and proofed by master blenders (also known as non-distiller producers) — giving creative upstart brands a ton of flexibility.

It’s kind of like the chance to set up a micro-distillery inside a massive industrial distillery. A chance to be legit (and even content for awards) without having to start from scratch.

With all of that in mind, we’re calling out 20 MGP bourbon whiskeys that we love drinking. The only real litmus with the list below was whether or not the bourbon tastes any good. For those who really get bourbon and the power of blends, that’s all that should matter.

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of 2021

20. Brother’s Bond Bourbon

Brother's Bond Bourbon
Brother

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $44

The Whiskey:

This celebrity whiskey comes from Vampire Diaries actors Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder. The juice is from an “undisclosed” source but from Indiana (so, that’s all you need to know). The mash bill is a four-grain recipe of corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley that’s aged for an undisclosed amount of time before proofing all the down to 80 proof and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is light but distinct with hints of apple cider, soft caramel, a touch of singed oak, and plenty of vanilla. The palate leans into notes of marzipan with a fairgrounds caramel apple on a stick that’s just touched with salt and a distant hint of tobacco. The finish is short and sweet (and a bit thin) thanks to that low ABV, but does leave you with a nice sense of lush marzipan and applewood tobacco just touched by vanilla.

Bottom Line:

This is super easy to drink, which is the point. It’s accessible, even for the casual bourbon fan, and affordable, which makes it a pretty good candidate for highballs.

19. Cathead Old Soul Bourbon Whiskey

Cathead Distillery

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $45

The Whiskey:

This is a blend of two bourbons. The base is a five-year-old, high-rye mash bill bourbon from MGP. That’s cut with a four-year-old bourbon distilled in Mississippi that’s also has a high-rye mash bill.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel and vanilla greet you in classic bourbon form. Then the sip veers into an old library with a pall of tobacco smoke and the lingering presence of old leather. Ripe cherries take you in another direction altogether before the caramel sweetness returns along with the rye spice to finish things off.

Bottom Line:

I can’t overstate how classic this feels from top to bottom. The slightly higher ABV makes this a great candidate for bright and citrus-forward cocktails as well. It might be time to start shaking up those whiskey smashes and sours.

18. Oak & Eden Bourbon & Spire

Sanctified Spirits

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $44

The Whiskey:

This Texas whiskey is planning on being fully and truly from Texas very soon. For now, the juice is primarily sourced from MGP. Oak & Eden ships those barrels down to Texas where they blend their whiskey and then add the oak spire to recreate a sort of double-barrel finish in the bottle.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a Red Hots cinnamon-sweet opening, with plenty of oak, hints of caramel, and a slight touch of woody vanilla and pine. The extra oak creates a dry mouthfeel with a continued spicy/sweet edge that’s welcoming, while hints of orchard fruits mingle with butterscotch and a hint of bitterness. The finish is fairly short, dry, oaky, and resurfaces the Red Hots note for a warming end.

Bottom Line:

I know this feels like a huge gimmick, but the whiskey 100 percent delivers on the taste and mouthfeel. That all being said, I’d still say we’re squarely in cocktail mixing territory with this one. It’s fine over the rocks but a little sweet vermouth and bitters help it really shine.

17. Savage & Cooke The Burning Chair

Savage & Cooke
Savage & Cooke

ABV: 44%

Average Price: $58

The Whiskey:

This whiskey marries Napa Valley winemaking to Ohio Valley whiskey. Winemaker Dave Phinney sources four-year-old bourbons from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana and brings those to Napa. Once there, the bourbon is filled into Cabernet barrels for final maturation. Finally, the bourbon is cut with pure spring water from California’s Alexander Valley before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Those barrels come through with a note of a dry lumber yard next to caramel apples, butterscotch candy wrappers, and a sliver of vanilla bean. That vanilla drives the palate and comes creamy and thick as apples stewed in eggnog spices kick in with a slight woody maple syrup sweetness and sweet red grapes. That sweet note drives the mid-palate towards a finish that warms with the holiday spices and almost hot apple cider next to a vanilla cookie with a dusting of maple brown sugar.

Bottom Line:

This is a solid example of what a master blender can do with a unique finishing. It’s complex, easy-drinking, and clearly built. It works pretty damn well in a cocktail but is also a nice end-of-the-day pour over some rocks too.

16. James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon

James E. Pepper Bourbon
James E. Pepper

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $34

The Whiskey:

James E. Pepper whiskey has a long and tumultuous history as a brand that was on top of the whiskey world until the late 1950s when everything started falling apart for bourbon. The brand was resurrected in the 2010s and currently sources its high-rye bourbon — 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and four percent malted barley — from MGP in Indiana and Bardstown Bourbon Company in Kentucky. That three to four-year-old juice is vatted and then proofed with water from the old James E. Pepper limestone water well.

Tasting Notes:

The nose draws you in with hints of dry cloves soaked in fresh honey with touches of vanilla bean, cinnamon-stewed pear, a hint of popcorn, and mild chocolate powder. The palate adds a nutty base to the chocolate as more warming spice kicks in and leads towards an echo of wet grain, damp wicker, and old vanilla pods. The finish sweetens again thanks to that chocolate-nut vibe as a spice kicks back up with plenty of cloves, a hint of orange marmalade, and vanilla-laced tobacco.

Bottom Line:

This is an excellent old fashioned bourbon. It has a nice spice and orange hint that pairs perfectly with the old-school cocktail.

15. Pinhook Bohemia Bourbon High-Proof

Pinhook Bohemian Bourbon
Pinhook

ABV: 57.25%

Average Price: $53

The Whiskey:

Pinhook’s contract distilled bourbon is all about refinement. The expression is made from 100 barrels that are matured for 34 months before being small-batched by Pinhook’s Master Taster Sean Josephs. The juice is barely touched with that soft Kentucky limestone water to take the edge off.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a lemon curd vibe with a buttered bread — nearly croissant — feel next to a mild dose of spiced fruits. The taste is toffee sweet but is countered by a powdered dark chocolate bitterness, marzipan smoothness, and plenty of that creamy citrus. The sip ends quietly and fades quickly, leaving you with a nice touch of lemon oils next to dark chocolate powder and a hint of spicy stewed oranges.

Bottom Line:

This, again, is so unique. It’s a little young but the breadiness you get from that youth is well-layered into the overall vibe of the sip and makes perfect sense. Regardless, try it on the rocks and then start mixing up some killer cocktails.

14. Nulu Single Barrel

Nulu Single Barrel Bourbon
Nulu

ABV: 52.1%

ABV: $56

The Whiskey:

Nulu is barreling hand-selected barrels from MGP for barrel clubs, retailers, and their own brand. Their single barrels — which tend to be four to five years old — are bottled at cask strength with no fussing or filtering whatsoever.

Tasting Notes:

Expect a nose that’s nutty, full of oatmeal raisins cookies with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a spicy cedar vibe that leans towards peppery tobacco leaves. The palate really amps up the oatmeal raisin cookie vibe with plenty of almost sweet cinnamon, brandied raisins, dark Caro syrup, and a rush of dried tobacco leaves jammed into a cedar box. That dried tobacco adds a layer of cherry on the mid-palate and leads towards a finish that has a layer of suede next to firewood bark with a hint of black soil as it fades away, leaving you with that cherry tobacco and a hint of peppery spice.

Bottom Line:

This is a great example of how beautiful a single barrel from MGP can be. These single barrel picks tend to have serious depth, layered flavor profiles, and almost always go in interesting directions. Just make sure to add a rock or a few drops of water to really dig into this one.

13. Penelope Bourbon Barrel Strength

Penelope Barrel
Penelope Bourbon

ABV: 57.6%

Average Price: $66

The Whiskey:

Penelope Bourbon is another great example of what a master blender can do with MGP whiskey. In this case, three barrels were blended — aged three to five years — to create a barrel strength expression that highlights the quality of those casks. The final product ended up being a four-grain bourbon with a mash bill of 74 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, seven percent rye, and three percent malted barley.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this bursts forth with peaches, red berries, blueberry, and an almost savory gooseberry next to cotton candy, a touch of toffee, and very light-yet-sweet oak. The palate shines as the peaches and berries combine to make a sort of summer fruit crumble with plenty of butter, dark sugar, and spice alongside a thin line of soft leather, rich vanilla, and more of that sweet oak. The mid-palate sweetens with more cotton candy before diving into a warming and spicy finish that keeps the spice sweet and subtle.

Bottom Line:

The fruitiness of this bourbon is outstanding (even neat). I dig this on two or three rocks, but will easily drink it from a Glencairn with a drop of water. It also makes a hell of a Manhattan.

12. Old Elk Wheated Bourbon

Old Elk Distillery

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

This whiskey — bottled in Colorado — takes the idea of wheated bourbon to the very edge of its limits. The mash bill carries a whopping 45 percent wheat, pushing this very close to being a wheated whiskey. The sourced juice is then aged for an undisclosed amount of years before it’s batched and cut down to proof with that soft Rocky Mountain spring water Colorado is known for.

Tasting Notes:

You’re drawn in by a big bowl of vanilla ice cream drizzled with salted caramel sauce next to a very faint hint of dried florals. The palate builds on that ice cream, creating a sundae with crushed almonds, creamy toffee brittle, and a hint of eggnog spice. The end is medium-length with a touch of that buttery sweetness carrying the sip to a warm end.

Bottom Line:

I think the best description of this whiskey is that it is just “nice.” It’s so nice to sip, mix, and enjoy. There are no rough edges whatsoever and it feels warming without being “spicy.” It’s just … really nice.

11. High West American Prairie

High West

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

American Prairie is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after sourced whiskeys. The whiskey in the bottle is a blend of two to 13-year-old barrels rendered from high-rye, low-rye, and undisclosed source mash bills. The release supports the American Prairie Reserve by highlighting the project and supporting it financially.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with caramel apples next to new leather, vanilla pudding, and sweet buttered corn with a touch of salt. The palate has a nougat svelteness next to creamed corn and Southern biscuits dripping with butter and honey. The mid-palate to finish starts to dry out with vanilla husks and cedar bark but then veers into apple candy.

Bottom Line:

This is a very direct and easy-to-drink bourbon that feels both bold and classic. I really dig this on the rocks to let the leather and buttery underbelly shine through, especially when I’m looking for a corn-forward and mildly sweet bourbon.

10. Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered Bourbon

Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered
Smoke Wagon

ABV: Varies

Average Price: $75

The Whiskey:

Smoke Wagon’s meteoric rise can be attributed to their crew masterfully sourcing and blending some of the best barrels from MGP of Indiana that were made available in the modern era. Case in point, the latest batch from the company was a high-rye bourbon (60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and four percent malted barley) that was an instant hit and was filled into bottles with no fussing at all.

Tasting Notes:

Based on Batch 29, expect a nose full of classic bourbon notes of orange oils, cinnamon stewed apples, caramel with a touch of salt, and peachy wood chips. The palate really embraces the fruit and moves from that peach vibe towards a blackberry crumble that’s just kissed with nutmeg and clove that leads towards a hint of old leather, singed cedar planks, and a late hint of cherry-touched tobacco. That leather, berry tobacco, and cedar drive the finish towards a dry end.

Bottom Line:

I tried this again last week and it’s just freaking delicious. Drink it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into your favorite cocktail. You will not be disappointed.

9. Stellum Bourbon

Stellum Bourbon

ABV: 57.49%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

The juice in this bottle is a cask-strength blend of whiskeys from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This whiskey is all about the blending process that Stellum employs to make this special and award-winning juice. Basically, the process is a sort of hybrid reverse solera technique where the blend gets more juice to keep the proof high and consistent in flavor as the batch is drained off. It’s a delicate balance of mixing great whiskeys to make something better than the individual parts.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is a holiday cake with fatty nuts next to woody spice barks — think anise, clove, and cinnamon — with a nice dose of dried red fruits and honey-dipped over-ripe Granny Smith apples. The palate edges away from the spice towards a powdered sugar sweetness with a hint of dry vanilla. Then a counterpoint bursts onto the scene with a hit of spicy, dried chili pepper flakes next to blackberry pie with a nice dose of cinnamon and nutmeg. The end lingers for just the right amount of time as the spice fades back towards the honeyed sweetness and a final touch of vanilla tobacco buzz lands in the back of the throat.

Bottom Line:

This is a damn near-perfect everyday bourbon. It’s just complex enough to keep your attention while being so easy to drink, you’ll keep coming back for more. All that spice also makes it perfect for Manhattans or Sazeracs.

8. Smooth Ambler Old Scout

Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon
Smooth Ambler

ABV: 49.5%

Average Price: $41

The Whiskey:

Old Scout is MGP’s classic high rye bourbon — 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and four percent malt barley — that’s aged for five years. The juice is batched in small quantities and proofed down with West Virginia’s Appalachian water.

Tasting Notes:

The nose draws you in with a soft masa vibe with a mix of Tex-Mex spices (think chili powder and a hint of cumin and garlic powder) that’s countered by cedar park and chocolate-laced tobacco leaves (the nose takes me straight back to my favorite childhood Tex-Mex joint). The taste veers more towards a classic bourbon with cherry tobacco and bales of damp straw next to a smooth vanilla foundation cinnamon-infused dark chocolate and a touch of dry oak. The finish lingers for a bit as vanilla toffees, a smidge of marshmallow, and spicy cherry tobacco round everything out.

Bottom Line:

That nose! It blows me away every time. I’ll admit that the palate is very classic, spicy, fruity bourbon (that’s perfectly good), but that Tex-Mex nose really does it for me as being both unique and nostalgic.

7. Redemption 10 Year Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon

Redemption Bourbon

ABV: 57.2%

Average Price: $102

The Whiskey:

Redemption has a knack for sourcing some of the best barrels from MGP. This multi-award-winning bourbon starts off with a base mash bill of, you guessed it, 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and four percent barley. After ten years of maturation, the barrels are expertly vatted to make a highly sippable bourbon experience. That marriage of bourbons then goes into the bottle, uncut and unfiltered.

Tasting Notes:

There’s woody vanilla and floral honey vibe on the nose with a touch of almost burnt toffee and worn leather. Espresso beans mix with a dab of smoky bacon fat that leads towards a slightly bitter black peppercorn. Slight creamy vanilla leads towards a hint of soft cherry sweetness as the pepperiness edges towards lemon pepper soaked in honey, with a slight note of green reeds at the end. The finish dries out and amps up the spiciness as a hint of dark chocolate lingers on the very finish.

Bottom Line:

This is so drastically different to the other barrels/blends on this list of the exact same mash bill that’s it almost feels like magic. That aside, this is one of the easiest sipping bourbons on the list. Add a rock or drop or two of water and really dig in.

6. Belle Meade Single Barrel

Nelson Green Brier

ABV: 54.65%

Average Price: $89 (Limited)

The Whiskey:

This expression is all about the prowess of the team at Nelson Green Brier. Each of these barrels is hand-selected for its beauty and then bottled at cask strength to let that barrel shine through in the finished product.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with deep vanilla that mingles with hints of dark chocolate sugar cookies with a touch of mint. The palate centers the creamy vanilla while adding in a cinnamon bark vibe with notes of black pepper and floral honey moved into the background. The end is long-ish and carries more of that vanilla cream while that cinnamon becomes slightly chewy with a dried choco-mint tobacco buzz on the tip of the tongue.

Bottom Line:

This is a bottle you save for special occasions (if you can find one). It’s an incredible sipper that, again, is so unique. That chocolate-mint vibe is delectable.

5. Widow Jane Aged 10 Years

Widow Jane

ABV: 45.5%

Average Price: $77

The Whiskey:

This is sourced from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee bourbons. The hand-selected barrels are sent to New York where they’re blended in small batches (no more than five barrels), proofed with New York limestone mine water, and bottled. What you’re paying for here is the exactness of a whiskey blender finding great barrels and knowing how to marry them to make something bigger and better.

Tasting Notes:

This has a matrix of rich vanilla pudding next to oranges infused with mulled wine spices and … Irish Spring soap. It definitely works and draws you in. The palate is all marzipan and dark chocolate-covered brandy cherries that lead towards a dry maply syrup mid-palate. The finish dries out a bit more while still holding onto the cherry, bitter dark chocolate, and almost woody maple syrup.

Bottom Line:

Every time I taste this I wonder where’s it been all my life. It’s such an easy-drinking bourbon with nice, approachable complexity. Pour some over some rocks and just enjoy it.

4. Joseph A. Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon

Joseph Magnus Bourbon
Joseph Magnus

ABV: 50.35%

Average Price: $230

The Whiskey:

This sourced bourbon is built from eleven and 18-year-old bourbons. The real star of the show with this whiskey is that those bourbons were finished in Armagnac, Cognac, and sherry casks before vatting and bottling as-is.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with sticky toffee pudding that really amps up the cinnamon and nutmeg next to black-tea-soaked dates next to some stewed prunes wrapped in chili-chocolate-laced tobacco leaves and dripped in honey and then walnuts. A savory fruitiness opens the palate with figs and pumpkin that leads towards an apricot jam with a hint of clove and cinnamon next to light touches of old library leather and cobwebs. A faint hint of dark berries arrives on the mid-palate before the finish luxuriates in burnt toffee, almond shells, more of that leather, and dried-out apricots.

Bottom Line:

These releases are consistently delicious. They will challenge your palate while expanding it, all while tasting damn near perfect. Make sure to add a little water to really let this one bloom in the glass.

3. Nashville Barrel Co. Single Barrel Bourbon #1114, Selected by Fred Minnick

NBC Single Barrel Bourbon
Nashville Barrel Company

ABV: 59.32%

Average Price: $125

The Whiskey:

Nashville Barrel Company is going some of the most interesting work with barrels “from an undisclosed distillery in Indiana.” In this case, the single barrel was a seven-year-old bourbon that was bottled as-is. The hook here is that the bottle was personally selected by famed bourbon expert Fred Minnick to support the Spina Bifida Association, which is helping families deal with the condition nationwide.

Tasting Notes:

Expect classic notes of brown sugar and cherry crumble with light vanilla, hints of leather, and a touch of baking spice. The palate is velvety with a ride through soft spices (think nutmeg), a light toffee brittle, hints of spicy tobacco, and a very light echo of marshmallow. The spice, vanilla, and brown sugar drive the finish towards a light but warming end that lingers on the senses.

Bottom Line:

Having tasted through tons of barrels at Nashville Barrel Company, I can attest that their crew is pulling some of the best barrels available on the market. This barrel pick is no different and will make a great addition to any home bar (plus, it tastes damn good).

Also, if this sells out (which it is likely to do very soon), keep an eye on Seelbachs.com for more Nashville Barrel Company picks.

2. Remus Repeal Reserve Series V Straight Bourbon

Luxco

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $94

The Whiskey:

Last year’s Remus Repeal Reserve V is a hell of a whiskey. The MGP of Indiana (now Ross & Squibb) signature bourbon is comprised of nine percent 2005 bourbon with a 21 percent high-rye mash, five percent 2006 bourbon with a very high-rye mash of 36 percent of the sticky grain, 19 percent 2006 bourbon with the same 21 percent high-rye mash, 13 percent 2008 bourbon with that 21 percent rye mash, and 54 percent 2008 bourbon with the 36 percent high-rye mash.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this is brilliantly fruity with touches of fresh raspberries, strawberries resting in dry straw, candied cherries, freshly peeled mandarins, apple cores and stems, and a touch of caramel malts. That caramel sweetness merges into a fresh honeycomb next to Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda vanilla flavor and pep while the fruit dries out, leaving you with meaty dried figs, dates, and prunes driving the midpalate toward the finish. A touch of candied ginger spices things up as a fruity but dry tobacco leaf rounds out the end with the faintest touch of walnut shells.

Bottom Line:

Okay, this isn’t “sourced” since it is MGP’s own brand. Still, this is an MGP whiskey and a delicious one at that. This is so easy-drinking while also being perfectly complex and palate expanding.

1. Barrell Craft Spirits Bourbon Aged 15 Years

Barrell Craft Spirits

ABV: 52.5%

Average Price: $250

The Whiskey:

Barrell Craft Spirits is another craft blendery that’s sourcing some of the best barrels in the game and expertly marrying those barrels. This expression blends 15-year-old bourbons from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennesse into a final product that reaches new heights for blended bourbon.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lot to draw you in with this nose of rich tobacco spiciness next to soft cedar, tart cherry pie filling, saffron stewed pears, salted toffee, and what almost feels like the salted water left after boiling artichokes (seriously). The fruitiness really builds as the cherry leads towards a bowl full of ripe raspberries swimming in cream with a dusting of dark spices and brown sugar that’s countered by a dose of floral tea leaves, culminating with a mildly bitter coffee bean. The end is long and really holds onto the cherry and raspberry fruit while a note of that soft cedar dips back in with a hint of menthol tobacco buzz.

Bottom Line:

These silver label drops from Barrell Craft Spirits are always going to wow. This is a perfect whiskey, full stop. Pour it neat, add a drop or two of water, and enjoy the ride.

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