Best Bourbon - Part 2
 

Best Bourbon Whiskey - Part 2

 

The Fifty Best Bourbon Tasting 2020


The Tasting: The Fifty Best held a "blind" tasting of 41 bourbon whiskies with seventeen members of our spirits judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. The higher proof spirits (100+ prf) were tasted after the lower proof bourbons. Each of the bourbons were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin, distilleries and alcohol proofs are identified for each brand.


SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Taconic Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Dutchess Private Reserve

(Taconic Distillery, NY)  Aged min. 3 yrs. 90° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, fudge, maple syrup, vanilla, toasted vanilla wafers, honey, spring honey, apricot, pineapple, pear, banana peel, lemon peel, flowers, eucalyptus, mint, green leaves, pecan, toast, spice, minerals, leather, wood, cedar, oak.
Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, sweet cream, treacle, light brown sugar, cake, prune, sweet beets, orange honey, orange, cherry, apricot, pear, apples, tart green apples, pepper, mint, cloves, cinnamon, leather, toasty, smoky, oak, cedar, good tannin, nice sweetness, rich, balanced.
Finish: Caramel, dates, demerara, honey, orange blossom, vanilla wafers, apples, grass, bay leaf, licorice, cinnamon, sherry, tobacco, peaty, smoky, good heat, great viscosity, smooth, balanced.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Taconic Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey Dutchess Private Reserve



David E. Premium Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Hidden Still Spirits, PA)  Aged min. 3 yrs. 91° prf

Nose: Caramel, chocolate, cane sugar, raisins, banana, lemony, toasty oats, toast, cereal, grainy, floral, grass, green leaves, hay, tea, nutty, hazelnut, old leather, musky, dogwood, oiled oak.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, demerara, cane sugar, vanilla, raisin, banana, pear, apple, apple juice, lemon, orange blossom, clover honey, oats, jalapeño cornbread, hazelnut, cinnamon, allspice, sage, eucalyptus, leather, musty, tannic, balanced, smooth.
Finish: Chocolate, cocoa powder, creamy, ripe bananas in honey, pineapple spices, spicy pear, oranges, orange peel, lemon, red pepper, clove, tobacco, nicely sweet, well-rounded, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

David E. Premium Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Driftless Glen Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Single Barrel

(Driftless Glen Distillery, WI)  Aged 44 ms. 96° prf

Nose: Caramel, treacle, white chocolate, molasses, honey, clotted cream, cheese danish, banana, orange, eucalyptus, anise, olive, green pepper, grass, green leaves, spice, nutty, tobacco, wet stones, heavy oak.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, cream, fudge, mocha, honey, marmalade, apricot, ginger, banana, apple, peppermint, cinnamon, mild canella, clove, spice, green pepper, crushed red pepper, peppery, maritime, smoky, pine, leaves, autumn.
Finish: Milk chocolate, vanilla, honey, corn, herbs, flowers, green tea, spearmint, nutty, mild clove, spicy, salt & pepper, black pepper, balanced, nice, soft.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Driftless Glen Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel



Lonerider Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Finished in stout casks.

(Lonerider Spirits, NC)  90° prf

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, honey, mango, pineapple, dried fruit, dark cherry, green apple, orange, orange blossom, toast, walnut, olive, cinnamon, nutmeg, port wine, smoke, delicate.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, sweet cream, creamy, sugarcane, marzipan, honey, apricot, berry jam, sweet cherry, orange, toasted coconut, corn, nutty, walnut, almonds, wheat, grain, pepper, spice, wood, cedar.
Finish: Ripe cherry, sweet cream, biscuit, orange, floral, herbs, minty, menthol, hazelnut, nutty, spices, very spicy, peppery, oak, delicate, satin.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Lonerider Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Stout Casks



J.R. Ewing Private Reserve Bourbon Whiskey

(Southwest Distillery, TX)  80° prf

Nose: Caramel, toffee, mocha, molasses, vanilla cream, vanilla, honey, honey blossom, lemon, citrus, orange zest, flowery, fresh meadow, green grass, grappa-like, coffee, cinnamon, oak, cedar.
Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, café au lait, spun sugar, butter, vanilla, doughnuts, honey, sweet summer corn, apples, pears, mild orange, orange zest, ginger, almonds, mint, clove, pepper, peppery.
Finish: Molasses, demerara, vanilla, butter, sweet corn bread, stone fruit, citrus rind, spicy, touch of pepper, woody, pine, extremely well balanced.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

J.R. Ewing Private Reserve Bourbon Whiskey



Irons One Bourbon Whiskey

(Irons Distillery, AL)  90° prf

Nose: Toffee, burnt toffee, toasted caramel, white chocolate, dark deep chocolate, cocoa, mocha, clotted cream, raw honey, dried cherries, raisins, sweet dried fruits, mango, sultana, pear, green apple, orange, sweet corn, honeysuckle, toast, oats, hay, eucalyptus, grappa, mineral, pipe tobacco, wood, pine, oak.
Palate: Caramel, sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar, white chocolate, vanilla, marzipan, honey, raisins, dried apricot, dried fruit, coffee, walnut, toast, buckwheat, eucalyptus, cinnamon, leather, tobacco, rum, strong oak, good balance, tangy, rich, smooth.
Finish: Caramel, creamy, cocoa, cane sugar, mesquite honey, sweet & sour, prunes, dried apricot, coriander, rye, leather, peat, nice smoke, wood, oak, balanced.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Irons One Bourbon Whiskey



SILO Bourbon Whiskey

(SILO Distillery, VT)  90° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, molasses, vanilla, fruit cream, raisins, mango, pineapple, apple, lemon, orange peel, blossom, roasted chestnuts, hay, spice, wet stones, sweet grass, pine needles, oak, sherry.
Palate: Caramel, sweet cream, vanilla, mocha, honey, prune, plum, strawberry, cherry, orange, lemon rind, sweet tea, black tea, tea leaves, Japanese mint, herb, grass, green pepper, mild cinnamon, allspice, licorice, cereal, hazelnut, green wood, oak.
Finish: Black tea, iced tea, rose mint, Japanese mint, dried leaves, herbaceous, grassy, deep fruit notes, treacle, sweet cream, licorice, pepper, spice, cedar, well balanced, interesting, unique.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

SILO Bourbon Whiskey



Lonerider Bourbon Whiskey
Finished in sherry casks.

(Lonerider Spirits, NC)  90° prf

Nose: Vanilla, cane sugar, Irish soda bread, honey, candied fruit, raisins, dried apricot, lemon, marinated lemon, citrus, lemon oil, floral, clove, peaty, oak, sherry.
Palate: Smooth chocolate, vanilla, demerara, burnt sugar, honey, orange Creamsicle, orange, pineapple, light cherry, apple, pear, lemon, elder flower, cinnamon, leaves, bit peaty, wood, oak, cedar, smooth.
Finish: Toffee, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, cane sugar, honey, pineapple, dark cherries, orange, apple, green apple, lemon, tea leaves, pine nuts, smoky, pine, sherry.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Lonerider Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Sherry Casks



Treaty Oak Distilling Red Handed Bourbon Whiskey

(Treaty Oak Distilling, TX)  95° prf

Nose: Caramel, cocoa dust, demerara, baked fruits, strawberry, green apple, banana peel, sweet peppers, mild orange, orange zest, rose, white flower, wheat, mocha, tea, matcha, eucalyptus, peaty, wet stones.
Palate: Chocolate, cream, molasses, sugar cane, banana, orange, marmalade orange, touch of pear, lemon zest, grainy, nutty, licorice, clove, spice, spicy, green olives, eucalyptus, straw, green twigs, peaty, smoky, tobacco, leather.
Finish: White chocolate, vanilla, cherry, orange, orange syrup, green pepper, pepper, mild clove, spices, mint, eucalyptus, grassy, dried leaves, pine, rich, interesting, very unique.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Treaty Oak Distilling Red Handed Bourbon Whiskey



Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Chicken Cock Whiskey, KY)  90° prf

Nose: Toffee, caramel, taffy, butter, molasses, cane sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, raisins, dried mango, dried dates, dried fig, strawberry jam, apricot, red apples, apple, green apple, light pineapple, mango skin, baked goods, nutty, nutmeg, anise, allspice, mint, ripe bay leaf, flowers, earth, pine notes.
Palate: Vanilla wafers, marzipan, creamy, buttery, honey, apricot, mango, applesauce, green apple, orange, elder flower, flowery, biscuit, grainy, coffee notes, hazelnut, nutmeg, mint, allspice, spice, peppery, musty, sherry, pine, smooth.
Finish: Sweet butterscotch, vanilla, dry chocolate, molasses, corn, rye, wheat, toast, walnut, nutty, tea leaves, eucalyptus, moss, green apple, rose, raw canella bark, cloves, spicy, peppery, black pepper, smoky, woody, zesty, smooth, elegant.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Original Appalachian Distillery
Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

(Appalachian Distillery, WV)  Aged 2 yrs 10 ms. 100° prf

Nose: Butterscotch, Kraft caramel, nougat, molasses, thick maple syrup, cane sugar, orange marmalade, roasted apple, black raspberry, almond, peanut, herbal, licorice root, sweet spice, earth, young wood, pine, oak, sherry.
Palate: Toffee, nougat, honey, mango, baked green apples, sour apple, lemon, mint, licorice, cereal, toast, peanut, mushroom, coriander seeds, spices, leather, tannic, woody, tree bark, sherry, zesty.
Finish: Baked green apples, orange zest, molasses, licorice, rice crackers, popcorn, burnt popcorn, peanut, nutmeg, bay leaves, spices, mushroom, earthy, soil, wood, oak, balanced, interesting.


Silver Medal
Silver medal

Original Appalachian Distillery Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey



BRONZE MEDAL WINNERS


Night Spirit Straight Bourbon Whiskey
(High Peaks Distilling, NY)  Aged 2 yrs. 92° prf

Nose: Toasted pound cake, toasted coconut cereal, buttered cinnamon toast, oats, brown sugar, prunes, banana, black cherry, green apple, grassy, tobacco leaves, dried leaves, hay, straw, mineral, earthy, wood.
Palate: Caramel, buttery, creamy, clotted cream, maple, mango, apricot, dates, prune, raisins, dried peach, plum, green apples, lemony, rose, herbaceous, bay leaf, sesame seeds, spicy cinnamon, musty, peaty.
Finish: Cocoa nibs, sweet molasses, powdered sugar, raisins, mango, lemon, rose, elderflower, toasty, biscuit, straw, hazelnut, licorice, bay leaf, mild canella, spicy, peaty, smoke, woody, oak.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

 

Night Spirit Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Smugglers’ Notch Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey
(Smugglers’ Notch Distillery, VT)  90° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, molasses, light maple note, cane sugar, cream, vanilla, honey, prune, Asian pear, lemon, citrus, mild bay leaf, leaves, toasted almond, nutmeg, tobacco, saline, briny, woody, sherry.
Palate: Toffee, molasses, maple syrup, honey, dried dates, raisins, ginger, mango, pear, lemon, orange, orange zest, floral, hazelnut, almond, straw, tea, black tea, tea leaves, eucalyptus, cinnamon, toast, smoky, cedar, oak, new oak, sherry, approachable.
Finish: Caramel, mild toffee, vanilla, sweet muscat, orange blossom, tea, grassy, green pepper, spice, leather, woody, oak, rye-like, soft, smooth, delightful.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Smugglers’ Notch Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Treaty Oak Distilling Ghost Hill
Texas Bourbon Whiskey

(Treaty Oak Distilling, TX)  95° prf

Nose: Chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate milk, mocha, caramel, toffee, penuche fudge, light vanilla, maple syrup, honey, baklava, dried pineapples, raisin, fig, peach, orange peel, blossom, grass, hay, nutty, leather, peaty, char, charred dark wood, sherry.
Palate: Sweet toffee, burnt sugar, maple, marzipan, creamy, clotted cream, vanilla, clover honey, orange marmalade, tropical fruit, white flowers, biscuit, straw, hay, bitter herbs, wormwood, cinnamon, nutmeg, smoky, peaty, cedar, sherry, rich.
Finish: Chocolate, vanilla, butter, biscuit, toast, clove, dry cinnamon, spicy, white pepper, dry pepper, tobacco, a touch of smoke, balanced bamboo, oaky, smooth.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Treaty Oak Distilling Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon Whiskey



Grand Traverse Distillery
100% Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Grand Traverse Distillery, MI)  92° prf

Nose: Butterscotch, demerara, butter, vanilla, raw coconut, mango, raisins, dates, cereal, grain, straw, hay, fresh cut hay, palm fronds, leaves, grassy, myrtle, vegetal, spice, hemp, black tea leaves, moss, musty, earth, wood, new wood, wet pine, pine, scotch whiskey.
Palate: Chocolate, caramel, honey, coconut, pear, orange, grain, cereal, hemp, nut, spearmint, spicy nutmeg, kumkum vermillion powder, spices, eucalyptus, earth, forest floor, peaty, wood ash, wood, sweet cedar, balanced.
Finish: Toffee, chocolate, vanilla, dates, mango, orange peel, elderflower, tea, pekoe note, hay, grassy, kumkum powder, pepper, touch of pepper, leather, peaty, earthy, dusty, wood ash, smooth, bold.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Grand Traverse Distillery 100% Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Stone Carver Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Sandstone Distillery, WA)  97° prf

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, brittle, cherry, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, butter, lace cookies, sweet oats, uncooked dough, Play-Doh, corn, barley, rye, nutmeg, spice, earth, soil, nice woodiness, oak, charred oak.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, butterscotch, semi-sweet dark chocolate, honey, vanilla, Cheerios, cereal, almonds, cherry, orange peel, herbal, pepper, spice, tobacco, tannic, light smoke, woody, oak, bitter oak, cedar.
Finish: Caramel, toffee, creamy, vanilla, cherry, orange peel, lemongrass, minty, herbal, pepper, black pepper, spicy, raw oak, bitter oak, balanced, smooth.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Stone Carver Straight Bourbon Whiskey



King’s Family Distillery
Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(King’s Family Distillery, TN)  Distilled in Indiana. 100° prf

Nose: Caramel, roasted caramel, toffee, chocolate, cane sugar, molasses, maple, honey, vanilla, raw cookie dough, ‘Nilla crackers, Marie biscuits, oats, orange, fruit blossom.
Palate: Toffee, sweet orange, orange jam, sweet cherry, raisins, clover honey, Graham cracker, biscuits, cereal, almond, walnuts, tea leaves, mint, clove, spice, pepper, oak.
Finish: Toffee, fudge, caramel, vanilla, honey, orange, almond, burnt toast, pepper, light tobacco, sherry, balanced, powerful, very smooth.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

King’s Family Distillery Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Bertie’s Bear Gulch Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Saint Liberty Whiskey, TX/MT)  Aged min 4 yrs. 87° prf

Nose: White chocolate, molasses, preserved plum, orange peel, buttered toast, cereal, roasted walnuts, green tea, nutmeg, pepper, wet stone, leather, musty, earthy, black salt, peat, smoke, burnt wood, barrel, oak, savory.
Palate: Sweet toffee, chocolate, s’mores, clotted cream, maple syrup, maple, coconut, raisin, banana, blueberry, orange, mint, nutty, tobacco, musty, roasted nuts, earth, peat, smoky, silky.
Finish: Caramel, burnt caramel, vanilla, honey, toast, almonds, roasted chestnuts, mild cinnamon, white pepper, pepper, oregano, peaty, smoky, perfection in every way.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Bertie’s Bear Gulch Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Elk Rider Bourbon Whiskey

(Heritage Distilling, WA)  Aged no less than 6 ms. 92° prf

Nose: Toffee, cocoa, cane sugar, molasses, maple, honey, ripe bananas, vanilla, cake, honeysuckle, chamomile tea, lemon blossom, lemon, grass, bay leaf, hay, leaves, cinnamon, leather, smoky, cedar, pine.
Palate: Butterscotch, fudge, maple syrup, cane sugar, creamed butter, orange Creamsicle, vanilla, banana, tropical fruit, cherry, apple, lemon zest, citrus, floral, elderflower, herbaceous, herbal, minty, walnut, cardamom, tobacco, sherry, charred, delicate heat, smooth.
Finish: Caramel, chocolate, vanilla, dried pear, dried fruit, biscuit, nutty, herbal, black licorice, pepper, burnt cinnamon, tobacco, dry leather, mineral, soft, great mouthfeel.


Bronze Medal
bronze medal

Elk Rider Bourbon Whiskey

 


Best Bourbon Part 1
Best Bourbon - Part 1

 

 

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