Maker’s Mark is one of the most mainstream bourbons on the market and because of this, people tend to write it off. The combination of rotating aging barrels and a wheated mashbill with an above-average amount of malted barley creates a very sweet palate that stands out from most bourbons on the market. No matter what your relationship with Maker’s is, give it a chance. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to bourbon, and if you’re a seasoned drinker it just might be better than you remember.
Old Grand-Dad 114 might not be for everyone. It’s a full flavored affair, and its 114 proof can taste stronger than other bourbons at a higher proof due to the intense heat that this bourbon gives off. Typically around $25, there are few bourbons in the price range at this high of a proofpoint. Old Grand-Dad 114 is certainly not the smoothest sipper, but its rich flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, and rye heat make up for it. If you’re new to bourbon and looking for something a little more challenging, this is a great place to start. If it’s too bold at first start with a few cubes in it and get to know it. Its unique flavor profile might really grow on you. Fortunately, despite talk of discontinuing the brand, Jim Beam has continued to offer it for the time being.
Evan Williams Single Barrel is a inexpensive way to get into aged single barrel products. While it’s age has started to decrease in recent years, a mellow flavor profile with a touch of heat makes it approachable for anyone just getting into bourbon as well as those who have enjoyed it for a long time. Even though the flavor profile will vary year to year, and barrel to barrel, Evan Williams tends to put out a consistently high quality product for the price. Everything about this bourbon makes you think that it should be selling for more than it is. From the tasty mellow flavor profile and the handwritten wax-dipped bottle to the actual vintage date, Evan Williams Single Barrel makes its presence known. It’s a great, inexpensive, well balanced bourbon that deserves a place in everyone’s collection.
The 101 proof expression is Wild Turkey's most well known bourbon and their flagship brand. This is a fantastic robust bourbon that deserves to be in everyone’s collection. It sports a surprisingly layered flavor experience for a budget bourbon with its nice mix of sweet and spicy flavors and a slightly dry, medium-length finish. The low price and above-average proof also makes it a great mixing bourbon. Wild Turkey 101 almost nails everything you want out of a budget bourbon. While it might be too hot for some, it will be near-perfect for others.
Everything about this bourbon tastes like its been crafted to be the perfect example of what a bourbon should be. As Buffalo Trace’s flagship brand, it needs to appeal to everyone while maintaining a good value. Sometimes that description can bring with it a negative connotation since mass appeal and quality don’t always go hand in hand. In this case however, Buffalo Trace Bourbon is a solid bourbon that will appeal to any level of whiskey drinker. For someone new to bourbon, it’s extremely accessible with its sweet nose and palate capped off with a finish that introduces a perfect mix of oak and spice. Although it may not challenge a seasoned bourbon drinker’s developed palate, they’ll still appreciate its overall quality and great value. This could easily become anyone’s everyday bourbon.