Spirits & Liqueurs Bourbon

We Tasted Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon to Find Out If It’s Worth It

Ah, Trader Joe’s, how we love you. A favorite among the budget-conscious and healthy eaters among us, TJ’s is where you can grab quality produce, earth-friendly skin care products and toiletries without killing your bank account. But did you know you can stock up your liquor cabinet, too? And no, we’re just talking about Two-Buck Chuck. We mean the hard stuff, folks.

Most of you already know Trader Joe’s sells some good liquor brands (including Milagro and Hendrick’s), but some may not know there are also Trader Joe’s branded spirits. TJ’s has managed to have its own versions of everything from scotch to tequila, but there’s still one question: Are they any good? Even for their extremely low price?

To answer that question, we paired up with Crystal Chasse from San Francisco’s Blackbird and Dirty Habit and tasted them one by one. Our second installment is a review of the Kentucky bourbon straight whiskey ($14).

Aged a minimum of five years, TJ’s bourbon is a rich brown. Upon sniffing, there’s some cinnamon and caramel scents, but there’s really not a lot on the nose. (Chasse actually said it was kind of boring.) This bourbon tastes, well, fine, but we had a hard time finding any complexities beyond the initial maple syrup and sparse spicy flavors. As for a cocktail, a Gold Rush may be a good bet.

Verdict: Not too exciting but a good deal for a party punch.