Top 5 Best Bourbons for the Perfect Holiday Gift
OUR AFICIONADOS GUIDE FOR 2020
Let me first be very transparent, I have been in the beverage industry for over 20 years on the buying side, owning restaurants and bars in New Paltz, New York. Since 2014 I have been on the sales and supply side. I have gotten to meet the owners of Bulleit & Peerless and have many friends that represent Four Roses, Blanton’s, and Michter’s. That said, there are many reasons that I have selected the following five as great choices for gift-giving this holiday season. All have great packaging, all have been recognized for their attention to detail, all don’t add any water to the finished product, and all are 90+ proof from Kentucky. Most of them are easy to find at your local liquor stores but keep in mind that there are 100s of bourbons on the market today and these are by far, my favorite five.
The DSP-K on every bottle is the number when each distillery received their license to distill in Kentucky. This numbering system is very much like how Masonic Lodges are given their lodge number. Currently, Kentucky is in the 20,000 just to give you some perspective. Many have gone the way of the Dodo bird considering there are only about 70 active licenses in KY as of today. Bourbon is America’s only native spirit, as declared by Congress in 1964. It must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn, aged in charred new oak barrels, stored at no more than 125 proof, and bottled no less than 80 proof. Now for my favorite part, the side by side tasting.
The Bulleit has a proof of 119.2 and on the nose has a lot of heat & spice. You can definitely taste the spice with the high rye mash bill. The Four Roses is 100 proof and much mellower on the front pallet. I get a lot of vanilla and caramel on the Four Roses. Next up is the Michter’s. This one is 91.4 proof and very floral on the nose. More smoke on the taste and much more heat on the side pallet. Neither falls flat or falls short on the overall mouthfeel. Now for the really hard to get Blanton’s. This one was 93 proof. The mouthfeel can only be best described as wonderful. It has spice, it has coffee, and I get a little nutmeg on this one. And I saved my very favorite and best for last. This bottle was 110.2, and it tastes more like 80-ish. There is almost no heat on Peerless at all. The high corn content is very obvious on the first sniff. Sweet toffy and dark chocolate are on the nose and on the front pallet. The last two are collectible for a reason. They are by far the best package and just over-deliver in every aspect. You can’t go wrong with any of my top 5 and they all will wow the person you are gifting them to. And whatever you do, don’t forget to get one for you!
I hope these suggestions aid in your search for that perfect Holiday toast. Please enjoy responsibly!
Happy Holidays, my Brothers!