Premium bourbon offers a rich and complex flavor that everyday drinks just can’t replicate. Unlike regular bourbon, premium varieties use aging techniques to ensure the final product tastes more mature. This process leads to deeper molasses and caramel flavors, creating a remarkable drinking experience.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a bourbon connoisseur, premium bourbons will have your taste buds singing. Consider it an upgrade from your traditional whiskey straight up or in an old-fashioned. Trust us when we tell you that your drinking habits may be forever changed once you try premium bourbon.
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How to Choose the Right Bourbon for You
Start by understanding your palate. Are you looking for something sweet or spicy? A smooth, sippable whiskey? Something complex and oaky? Once you have an idea of your taste profile, narrow it down further by price range and age preference. Both of these determine the bottle’s flavor profile.
Once you’ve sipped enough bourbons, you may develop your own unique “palate legend” and your own lingo and tasting notes. So go ahead and start sampling. We’re not judging!
The Difference Between Low-Grade Bourbons and Premium Bourbon
When it comes to sipping on a nip of bourbon, sometimes a premium brand is necessary to really experience the depth of flavors and complexities that make every sip special. But what’s the difference between low-grade bourbons and premium ones?
Well, for starters, not all bourbons are made with rye or wheat grain mash. Frequently, lower-grade bourbons will be made with corn mix, resulting in a sweeter-tasting drink that may lack sufficient body to make it worth even a little of your hard-earned cashola.
On top of this, low-grade brands often contain additives like caramel coloring that don’t come close to making up for the taste. In contrast, premium bourbons are created from carefully selected rye or wheat grains that add a spicy flavor profile full of deep sensations and aromas.
And premium bourbons are distilled multiple times and then aged in barrels crafted from oak wood. The barrels are only used once and contribute heavily to the bourbon’s balanced structure and characteristic oaky notes.
Where Can I Buy Premium Bourbon?
If you’re looking for premium bourbon, you’re in luck! With the rise of craft spirits, there are plenty of places to find the perfect bottle of bourbon.
Local liquor stores almost always carry a variety of small-batch bourbons, and even some major chain stores now carry more craft spirits. That means you can dwell in dreamy Kentucky fields without ever leaving town.
Thanks to modern technology, you can also order from specialty liquor shops from all over the country to get your hands on premium bourbons that aren’t available locally. And if all else fails, there’s always road-tripping and buying it straight from its source at the distilleries. Bottoms up!
Top 5 Premium Bourbon Brands
If you’re a whiskey fan, bourbon is your iconic drink. But with so many labels available, deciding which one to buy can be overwhelming. Here are our top five premium bourbon brands.
1. Pappy Van Winkle
Pappy Van Winkle is one of the world’s most iconic and coveted bourbon brands. The brand’s flagship bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve, is aged for a minimum of 15 years and has an intensely rich flavor profile beloved by bourbon aficionados. While Pappy Van Winkle bourbons are notoriously tricky to find, they are well worth the effort for anyone looking for an exceptional bourbon experience. (Just don’t start a crime ring in search of this bourbon!)
Booker’s bourbon is another highly regarded premium bourbon brand. The brand’s flagship bourbon, Booker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, is aged for at least six years and has a deep amber color and rich flavor profile. Booker’s bourbons are also known for their high proof, ranging from 100 to 120.
3. Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace is a widely available premium bourbon brand that offers excellent value for the price. The brand’s leading bourbon, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, is aged for at least eight years and has a complex flavor profile with vanilla, oak, and caramel notes. Buffalo Trace bourbons are also relatively high-proof, with most bottlings being around 100 proof.
4. Knob Creek
Knob Creek is another widely available premium bourbon brand that offers great value for the price. The brand’s flagship bourbon, Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, is aged for a minimum of nine years and has a rich flavor profile with oak, vanilla, and caramel notes. Knob Creek bourbons are also fairly high-proof, at or around 100 proof.
5. Elijah Craig
Elijah Craig is an award-winning premium bourbon brand that offers an exceptional experience. Their signature Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey has been expertly aged for 12 years, resulting in its smooth and indulgent flavor profile bursting with oak, vanilla, caramel, and spice notes. For the more daring connoisseur looking to explore higher proofs from this distinguished distiller, each bottle clocks in at 94 proof.
The Best Cannabis Strains to Pair with Premium Bourbon
When you want to enjoy the best of both worlds, it’s a great idea to pair premium bourbon with one of the many strains of cannabis that are available today. While some may argue that there is no such thing as a perfect cannabis strain to pair with premium bourbons, we think there can be some winners depending on your personal taste.
For those who want a sedative and dreamy experience, White Widow or Maui Wowie might be the way to go.
And finally, for those with more adventurous palates, Blue Dream or Pineapple Express will surely give you an out-of-this-world experience.
Treat Yourself to the Ultimate Nightcap
As with many things in life, premium bourbon is all about finding the right flavor profile and level of complexity that best suits your individual tastes.
You don’t need to take a sip of every bottle on the shelf to find out what’s good. Whether you’re looking for a spirit to share with some friends or simply want something special on hand, premium bourbon can provide an elevated experience that lasts long after the first sip.