Drinks

10 Essential Bottles of Bourbon

Rare and delicious bourbons you should try

We’re not the only ones who appreciate a fine glass of bourbon. In 2007, Congress officially declared September National Bourbon Heritage Month; eight years later, the allure of the South’s historic spirit is stronger than ever. As a last call for this toast-worthy month, we’ve enlisted American-whiskey expert Teddy Nixon—the drinks manager at Charleston, South Carolina’s just-opened-yesterday bar, Mash—to help us craft a list of classic bottles that deserve a place on any well-stocked bar. Here are ten of his favorites from some of the South’s most established bourbon makers, including a few making comebacks. Cheers!

 

  • Old Forester Limited Series 1897 ($60)

    “This represents a revival in what’s known as “Bottled in Bond” bourbon, named for a quality control measure Old Forester initiated back in the late 1800’s. To be Bottled in Bond, you have to be made from a single distillery, in a single year, then aged at least four years in a government bonded facility.”

  • Four Roses Private Selection (price varies)

    “I’m a big Four Roses fan. Hard to go wrong with any of the bottles because their process involves mixing different yeast strains and mashbills. At Mash, we have a special barrel we hand-selected. It was aged 6 years 11 months and is 60.6% alcohol. It’s big, rich, chocolatey—and more than little bit dangerous.”

  • Michter’s US1 ($51)

    “Michter’s is an old label that’s coming back. It’s small-batch and really, really solid.”

  • Eagle Rare 10 Year ($30)

    “This isn’t an expensive bottle, but it’s made by Buffalo Trace and is always good. It’s the whiskey I have when I want a drink.”

  • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked ($57)

    “This twice-barreled bourbon is the result of a proprietary toasting process. It has a higher sugar content than most bourbons, which gives it an incredible oaky sweetness.”

  • Blanton’s ($56)

    “Blanton’s was the first to come out with a single barrel product in 1984, and I think they’re responsible in a lot of ways for bringing bourbon back.”

  • Blade and Bow ($54)

    “This goes back to the old Stitzel-Weller distillery and is made from some of the last remaining whiskey stock. They use what’s called a “solera” aging process, which is usually reserved for things like sherry and scotch, in which the barrels are never fully emptied. As a result, in each bottle, you might find a 22-year-old bourbon blended together with a 6-year-old bourbon, which makes for something really smooth. The older oaky nuances mingle with the heat of the younger stuff.”

  • Jefferson’s Presidential Select 30-Year (price varies)

    “This is one of the rarest and priciest bourbons we stock, somewhere in the $250–300 range. People have been going nuts that we have this.”

  • Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old ($350)

    “Insanely delicious—expensive, but insanely delicious.”

  • Beam Signature Quarter Cask ($48)

    “It’s really fun to have products from Beam that you’re not familiar with. The Signature series includes a 12-year-old bourbon, as well as bourbons with some really cool finishes. I particularly like the one aged in quarter casks.”

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