Wind Down Bourbon Heritage Month With These Classic Bottles


September is Bourbon Heritage Month. That means you only have one week left to enjoy bourbon in the month dedicated to America’s native spirit. Tomorrow is also the beginning of fall. That combination makes it the perfect time to try some of your bucket list bourbons. But just because they’re high-quality, well-known bourbons, they shouldn’t leave you broke. There are many iconic offerings within even the most budget-minded drinker’s price range (and others that aren’t).

From Bulleit, to Old Forester, to Booker’s, there are a handful of bourbons everyone should add to their liquor cabinet or home bar. Check out our must-haves below. Don’t agree? Tell us in the comments what bourbon you can’t live without.

Bulleit 10-Year-Old

Bulleit has made a name for itself in the whiskey world in the last decade. If you’re going to try one offering from this well-known brand, make it the 10-year-old. This is founder Tim Bulleit’s baby. It’s matured in charred American oak barrels for 10 years. This extra maturity results in a rich, smooth, sweet bourbon with hints of vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon with an added kick from a higher-than-normal rye content.

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

No “must have” bourbon list is complete without an offering from Woodford Reserve. This Versailles, Kentucky distillery that is located in the heart of horse racing country has a whole line of high-quality, must have bourbons. One of the best is its Double Oaked. This bourbon has hints of vanilla, leather, dried fruits, and caramel sweetness that comes from maturation in two different charred oak barrels. The first is charred the regular way, while the second barrel is toasted before a light charring.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

This bourbon definitely isn’t cheap. But, if you really want to get the most out of the month, you’ll find yourself a bottle of this 12-year-old 101 proof whiskey. The first Birthday Bourbon to be bottled at the new Old Forester Distilling Company in Louisville, it’s warming, sweet, and very smooth — with hints of honey and caramel.

The experience doesn’t end after the first sip, either — the longer you drink, the more you noticed the charred, toasted flavors and a subtle creamy mouthfeel.


Bourbon fanatics seem to live and die with whether or not they have a bottle of Blanton’s on hand. Produced at Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s is said to be the first single-barrel bourbon. This extremely well-balanced bourbon hits you right off the bat with rich caramel and subtle spices on the first sip. That’s not all in the flavor department, either. You’ll also be treated to subtle sweet corn, dried orange peel, cinnamon, toffee, and oak flavors.

Eagle Rare

This bourbon cabinet staple is aged for no less than 10 years before making its way into the iconic bottle. Part of the appeal of this offering is the fact that, based on when you buy a bottle, you’ll have a subtly different drinking experience since every barrel is picked to offer the same flavor with slightly nuanced differences.

It’s rich and bold with flavors of caramel, leather, spicy herbs, and an oaky, dry finish.

W.L. Weller 12 Year

This 12-year-old wheated bourbon is unique because the time it spends in a barrel is much longer than most wheat-based bourbons. More than a decade of maturation creates a smooth, well-balanced, sipping whiskey. It’s sweet yet not overwhelming, with hints of vanilla and dry spicy finish. The balance between sweet and dry is perfectly suited to slow sipping on a chilly fall day.

Buffalo Trace

Famed whiskey writer Jim Murray called Buffalo Trace, “One of the world’s great whiskies.” He’s right. This not to be missed bourbon is made to pay tribute to the Buffalo and the pioneers that came after them. It’s not overly pricey, but it is extremely complex and smooth with hints of molasses, vanilla, and caramel that move into subtle Christmas spices, dried fruits, and brown sugar.


One of our favorite whiskies on this list, Booker’s is a small-batch, barrel-strength bourbon made by Jim Beam. It’s aged between 6 and 8 years and is bottled at its natural proof around 130. It’s uncut and unfiltered with no water added to it to cut the alcohol content. It’s brash and bold and not for bourbon novices. For those with a taste for the spirit, this offering will give you hints of roasted sweet corn, caramel, butterscotch, and toasted oak.