Old Grand-Dad Bonded might not have the snazziest packaging design, but at $25, this quality, storied bourbon should have a place on every bourbon drinker's shelf.
Old Grand-Dad seems like a brand that everyone respects, but rarely talks about. Maybe it’s the name, the packaging design, or the fact that its low price and general availability make it somehow seem less exciting. However, the quality of Old Grand-Dad Bonded is hard to argue with. At only $25 or so for a bottle, it’s worth visiting, or revisiting, if you don’t already have it in your regular rotation.
A Good Match For: Value-based bourbon drinkers who appreciate a full-flavored pour
Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a light, easy sipper or high-proof scorcher
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon’s ability to not deviate from the tried and true has allowed it to remain a consistent staple on the shelves of whiskey drinkers for years and years.
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is everything one would want out of a bourbon. It contains a tried and true sip that sticks to classic bourbon flavors, that is versatile and easily sipped neat or mixed into a cocktail. Not one to deviate from the norm, the Wild Turkey 101 brand, which was created in the 1940’s and enters its 9th decade, continues to deliver a reliable pour. It’s this simplistic and back to basics of the brand that affords it a spot in whiskey drinkers' hearts both young and old. Wild Turkey 101 is not vying to be the best bourbon available at any given moment, but it doesn't pretend to be either. Instead, it’s a staple that all bourbon lovers should have on hand, and offered at a price that allows everyone to do just that.
A Good Match For: Those looking for a bit of spice in their sip
Not a Good Match For: Those who like fruitier bourbons
Buffalo Trace is the quintessential bourbon: smooth, well balanced, and extremely drinkable.
Everything about Buffalo Trace bourbon feels like it’s been masterfully engineered to be the perfect example of what a bourbon should be. It’s hard to find any faults with this one and that’s by design. A flagship brand 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, Buffalo Trace Bourbon is a solid pour that will appeal to any level of whiskey drinker. For someone new to bourbon, it’s extremely accessible with its sweet nose and palate, and 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.
A Good Match For: Those looking for a classic bourbon sip
Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a challenging sip
Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon is a classic Texas-style bourbon through and through, delivering an approachable sip that is rich and of full flavors due in part to the hot climate it was aged in.
Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon features roasted blue corn, Texas wheat, Texas rye, and malted barley. This helps the bourbon deliver a darker flavor profile consisting of pecans, molasses, brown sugar, and fudge. Its 2 year age may seem young, but the company has found the hot Texas heat changes their whiskey much faster than distilleries north of it tend to. That said, there is a touch of youth present, but it nicely contrasts its roasted flavor profile. Texas Pot Still Bourbon is a fine example of how climate impacts the aging of bourbon, and those that are intrigued by the sound of it, will find a lot to like here.
A Good Match For: Those who like unique, bold, robust flavors
Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a traditional tasting bourbon
Newer to the bourbon scene, Green River Straight Bourbon nails it out of the gate with their standard bourbon.
What makes Green River Bourbon work is that it’s an incredibly easy sipping bourbon thanks to an agreeable flavor profile. Despite being only 90 proof, it still packs ample intensity and a pop of heat. It’s not overly complex and the finish is on the shorter side, yet it only takes one sip to know this bourbon works. If you’re looking for very drinkable bourbon at a very reasonable price, Green River Straight Bourbon is a fantastic place to start.
A Good Match For: Those looking to branch out and try something new
Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a complex sip
Russell's Reserve 10 Year may not be the most talked about Wild Turkey bourbon, but it offers a tremendous value for those seeking a higher-aged and lower-proof bourbon from one of the nation's best distilleries.
Russell’s Reserve is a brand under the Wild Turkey umbrella of whiskeys. Wild Turkey offers less in the range of bourbons than other big Kentucky distilleries, largely because they use only one bourbon mashbill and their distillate enters the barrel well under the maximum 125 proof allowed by law. However, each of their products offers something unique, and Russell's Reserve 10 Year is no exception. Just as important, it's readily-available and typically found within range of its MSRP. While it’s not often cited as people's favorite Wild Turkey product, it's a must-have for anyone seeking a traditional higher-aged, lower-proof sipping bourbon.
A Good Match For: People who like traditionally-inspired, higher-aged bourbons
Not a Good Match For: Those who like variety on their bar
Don’t let the “Classic” name completely fool you, while its base features classic bourbon flavor notes, above them is a completely different and worthwhile affair.
Nelson Brothers Classic Bourbon isn’t quite what the name implies it to be. While traditional notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak can be found throughout, it's the whiskey’s fruitier notes that help elevate this bourbon from being simply a standard fare. Leaning sweet throughout makes it an easy sipper even though it surprises you with an unexpected dash of pepper that lingers during its finish. The bourbon works because it leans on its classic side just enough while bringing something exciting to the mix in the form of its tropical fruit note. With a pound cake note mixed in for good measure, the palate comes together quite nicely. The finish ends abruptly and is largely a straightforward affair that is saved by its minor mint note. Taken as a whole, the bourbon comes together well in the end. If you’re looking for a bourbon that will appeal to a broad range of drinkers that leans sweet and is an easy sipper overall, you can’t go wrong with what Nelson Brothers Classic Bourbon offers. Don’t overlook this hidden gem.
A Good Match For: Those looking for the unexpected
Not a Good Match For: Those who like a long finish
Chattanooga Whiskey 111 Cask delivers a full-bodied unique pour that’s unlike most bourbons out there.
Chattanooga Whiskey 111 Cask showcases just how well Chattanooga Whiskey is distilling, and at only two years old, the proof is already in the bottle...no pun intended. Would aging longer make it taste different? Absolutely. Better? Maybe. The point is, the bourbon is really good as-is and succeeds at delivering a different, yet really enjoyable drinking experience. Chattanooga Whiskey 111 Cask is definitely one to pick up.
A Good Match For: Those who like high-proof bourbon
Not a Good Match For: Those who prefer higher aged products