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New York-Made Bourbon Whiskeys, Ranked On Flavor And Value

If you ask novice whiskey drinkers where bourbon is made, you’re sure to have a few folks tell you it can only be made in Kentucky. This answer isn’t shocking. 95 percent of the country’s bourbon does indeed hail the whiskey-drenched southern state. But bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States — from sea to shining sea.

While the industry is dominated by big Kentucky names like Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey, it should be noted that there are plenty of amazing, high-quality, and award-winning expressions coming out of other states, too. And one of the most notable among them is certainly New York with brands like Van Brunt, Hudson, Black Button, and Hillrock leading the way.

Below, you’ll find eight of our favorite bourbon whiskey expressions from the Empire State, ranked for your drinking pleasure. Check them out and get ready to savor NY’s finest!

8) McKenzie Bourbon

Finger Lakes Distilling

ABV: 45.5%

Average Price: $46

The Whiskey:

If you live outside of New York, you might not have heard of Finger Lakes Distilling, but if you’re a whiskey fan you should definitely have them on your radar. The brand’s McKenzie Bourbon is distilled using classic distilling techniques, is non-chill-filtered, and has a mash bill made up of 70 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and ten percent malted barley. It’s known for its sweet corn, oaky, rich flavor.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find notes of toasted vanilla beans, clover honey, and slight, peppery rye spice, but not much else. On the palate, you’ll be treated to more cloves, candied orange peels, buttery caramel, and more peppery rye on back end. The finish is warming, but a little too hot for our taste.

Bottom Line:

While this whiskey has a ton of flavor, it does have a little more heat than we’d like. It’s good as a sipper but shines brightest as the base for a cocktail.

7) Hudson Bright Lights, Big Bourbon

Hudson Whiskey

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $44

The Whiskey:

Recently, Hudson rebranded itself with new expressions and a new bottle design. It replaced its iconic Baby Bourbon with this new expression. This is a sweet corn fan’s dream with a mash bill of 95 percent corn and five percent malted barley both sourced from New York State. It’s aged in new, charred American oak casks for at least three years before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This whiskey’s nose is fresh corn all the way. Sweet corn, caramel, vanilla, and dried fruits are the dominating scents. It tastes young, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. There’s also a lot of caramel corn, oak, and vanilla flavors. The types of flavors bourbon fans look forward to. All in all, a decent sipping whiskey.

Bottom Line:

This is as close to a full corn bourbon as you can get. With 95 percent corn, it’s sweet, smooth, and very easy to drink or mix with.

6) Van Brunt Stillhouse Bourbon

Van Brunt Stillhouse

ABV: 42%

Average Price: $59

The Whiskey:

Brooklyn’s Van Brunt Stillhouse was named for a local farmer named Cornelius Van Brunt. Its bourbon is a complex four-grain bourbon made with a mash bill of New York-sourced corn, wheat, malted barley, and rye. The addition of wheat gives it a soft, sweet, mellow flavor.

Tasting Notes:

Complex aromas of spicy cloves, caramel corn, and oak are prevalent on the nose. Sipping it reveals hints of brown sugar, cinnamon, buttercream frosting, chocolate fudge, and rich oaky wood char. It all ends with a warming mixture of sweetness and spicy heat that leaves you wanting more,

Bottom Line:

This is a complex whiskey that has enough wheat to appeal to drinkers who appreciate the soft, sweet, smooth flavors of some much more expensive brands.

5) Widow Jane 10-Year-Old Bourbon

Widow Jane

ABV: 45.5%

Average Price: $75

The Whiskey:

This award-winning whiskey is also Widow Jane’s flagship expression. It’s a blend of sourced whiskey (from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee) aged at least ten years. They are married together, non-chill filtered and proofed using local mineral water from New York’s Rosedale Mines.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is highlighted by caramel apples, woody oak, vanilla beans, and cinnamon. The palate swirls with notes of dried cherries, sweet corn, vanilla and almond cookies, candied pecans, and slight peppery rye. It ends with more nutty sweetness that pairs well with a final spicy kick of rye.

Nutty, spicy, and highly memorable.

Bottom Line:

This is the type of whiskey you use to prove that sourcing whiskey isn’t a bad thing. It’s complex, nuanced, and well suited as a sipper neat or with a single ice cube.

4) Taconic Barrel Strength Bourbon

Taconic

ABV: 57.5%
Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

Founded in 2013, Taconic Distillery is located in New York’s Hudson Valley. One of its best expressions is its Barrel Strength Bourbon. This small-batch whiskey has a mash bill of 70 percent corn, 25 percent rye, and five percent malted barley. It’s high proof and known for its mix of sweetness and peppery heat.

Tasting Notes:

Breathe in the aromas of brown sugar, caramel candy, charred wood, and peppery rye before taking your first sip. Then delve into a palate of clover honey, sweet treacle, vanilla beans, almond cookies, peanut brittle, and more cracked black pepper at the finish. It’s a nice mix of caramel sweetness and spicy pepper.

Bottom Line:

This whiskey is big, bold, sweet, and spicy all rolled into one. It’s a great sipper but requires a few dashes of water to open it up.

3) Black Button Four Grain Straight Bourbon

Black Button

ABV: 42%

Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

In the last few years, Rochester, New York’s Black Button has begun to make a name for itself on the national stage. Now is the time to try its flagship expression, Black Button Four Grain Straight Bourbon. Made with a mash bill of locally grown corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley, Black Button Four Grain is a true farm-to-bottle expression.

Tasting Notes:

Before sipping take a moment to breathe in the aromas of dried cherries, caramel corn, sweet malts, crisp fall apples, and oak. It will only help to complement the flavors of candied pecans, buttery caramel, vanilla beans, and slight baking spices on the palate. It all ends in a warming, sweet finish that begs to be sipped neat.

Bottom Line:

This bourbon is only aged for two years, but it’s more than enough to make this a nice, gentle, sweet sipper on a cool fall evening.

2) Kings County Straight Bourbon

Kings County

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $69

The Whiskey:

This award-winning bourbon is very unique. It’s made with New York-grown corn from the Finger Lakes Region as well as English-sourced Golden Promise barley. It’s double-distilled in pot stills before being aged in new, charred American oak casks for 3-6 years.

Tasting Notes:

You’ll find a whole lot going on with this whiskey’s nose. There is a grainy, almost Scotch-like aroma along with citrus zest, butterscotch, vanilla, and charred oak spice. The palate is filled with notes of buttery caramel, dried orange peels, cinnamon, spicy nutmeg, and more toasted oak. The last few sips offer a warming cacophony of dried fruits and caramel.

Bottom Line:

With its use of UK-sourced barley that’s paired with New York corn, this bourbon is a transatlantic bridge between bourbon and Scotch and that’s a tasty combination.

1) Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Bourbon

Hillrock Estate

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $95

The Whiskey:

This is a truly complex sourced (source undisclosed) whiskey that is made with tireless detail, using the solera method of aging. If you don’t know what that means, it’s simply an aging process that utilizes a pyramid-like structure in which a portion of the lower-level whiskey is removed and new whiskey is added to the upper barrels. It’s a way of melding young and old whiskeys together while never fully emptying the barrels.

This unique bourbon is also finished in Oloroso sherry butts.

Tasting Notes:

This is an incredibly complex expression. The nose offers up a symphony of vanilla beans, maple candy, dried cherries, sweet sherry, and charred oak. The palate reveals hints of sweet sherry, chocolate fudge, dried fruits, more caramel, toasted vanilla beans, and a nice hint of spice at the finish. You’d have a tough time finding a better example of a whiskey with a mix of sherry sweetness, subtle spice, and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

This bourbon is rich, creamy, decadent, and almost dessert-like. It deserves to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks after a heavy meal.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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