Summer is drawing to an end on what seems like an eternal 2020. However, all this craziness hasn’t stopped us from trying some fun, new whiskies that we’ve loved alongside old classics.
From timeless classics, to fun new finds, we’re counting down our 5 favorite bourbons you can actually find on your local shelf with a little searching to end the summer on a tasty note.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Chattanooga 111 Tennessee Bourbon
We figured we’d start on a newer note. Chattanooga Whiskey has started serving up its own, no-longer-MGP whiskey.
While that statement might be alarming to some, after tasting this bourbon you’ll be a believer (queue Smash Mouth guitar riff).
This bourbon is delicious with notes of sweet butterscotch, dried dates, honey, caramel, and dried tobacco, you can’t go wrong either including it in your favorite cocktail or enjoying it neat. And, at less than $45 per bottle, it’s a readily available and tasty pour.
Just make sure that if you’re ever in Chattanooga you swing by the experimental distillery just a stone’s throw away from the historic Chattanooga Choo-Choo. And bring a designated driver to Choo-Choo you home, because you’ll want to sample everything they have to offer.
Shout out to Chris Helmly for bringing us bottles to sample and introducing us to this tasty dram!
Michter’s American Unblended
If you follow the blog here, you know we’ll never miss a chance to blast out Michter’s. Their whiskey is the real deal and we haven’t run into a release we didn’t like.
Every time we’re in Louisville we stop by, say hello, and enjoy their incredible bar on the top floor of the distillery.
The American Unblended is easy to get your hands on, and, in our opinion, is one of the best “under $50” bottles you can find hands down. With bold and savory notes of warm oak, leather, and spice underneath overtones of vanilla crème brûlée, toasted butterscotch, and winter fruit, it’s a solid sipping bourbon while you seek shelter from the heat.
Peerless really impressed us when we visited earlier this year. We also didn’t hesitate to take a couple of bottles down with us. They have an incredible single-barrel program with mind-blowing selections you can only get from the distillery.
Luckily, you can find their bourbon and rye most everywhere.
Master Distiller Caleb Kilburn pours his heart and soul into their delicious bourbon so that we can pour it into our glass to enjoy. With notes of sweet corn cakes, honey nut cheerios, vanilla cream, stewed winter fruit, and baking spices, it’s a sweet pour that’s sure to go great after a meal or whenever you need something sweet and delicious.
This is going to be the most controversial choice on the list. As Buffalo Trace products get harder to find, Sazerac Rye has recently become easier to come across. With a little driving or shipping, you can typically snag one of these delectable bottles.
Though most go bananas over some of the other picks from the line, like Blanton’s and Eagle Rare, Sazerac Rye shouldn’t be overlooked.
The pour is delicious, with peppery notes and an earthy rye body that holds up well both in cocktails and in a Glencairn glass.
If you seek out this bottle you should expect to pay less than $40 and enjoy every last drop.
Traverse City – North Coast Rye
Traverse City in Michigan has been putting out some great bottles. However, we’ve found a really unique and enjoyable pour with their North Coast Rye release.
There is a very unique rye “twang” we’ve really enjoyed. It’s something that’s difficult to describe, but easy to love.
Some of the more classic flavors we found were bright summer fruit, vanilla, citrus, singed oak, and toasted hay.
It’s definitely one of the brighter picks here. Over ice it’s cool and crisp, and straight it’s bright and sweet.
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.