Spirits & Liqueurs Bourbon

8 New Bourbons to Try Right Now

You’ll want to taste them all.

8 New Bourbons to Try Right Now
Liquor.com / Laura Sant

While the world hunkered down last year, bourbon-makers were busy blending and bottling plenty of new expressions for all to enjoy. 

Even a handful of producers who don’t issue new bourbons very often found the time to set up new releases. For example, George Dickel added a bright, fruity bourbon to its excellent lineup of Tennessee whiskeys, while Basil Hayden launched its unusual brown rice-laden “Toast” bottling, the first permanent addition to its lineup since 2017.   

Meanwhile, other labels that tend to crank out new bourbons on a regular basis continued to produce new bottlings to contribute. Stalwart Evan Williams released its 1783 small batch, back to its original 90-proof strength, while Bardstown Bourbon added not one but two serial releases, the fifth iteration for each of its “Fusion” and “Discovery” lineups.

Although some of these bottlings were conceived during hard times, this year it’s likely that many bourbon pours will commemorate happier occasions, whether celebrating at home or out and about. These are eight new bourbons to sample.

  • Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series #5 ($59); Bardstown Bourbon Discovery Series #5 ($130)

    Bardstown - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Bardstown specializes in complex bourbon blends. The first of a pair of new bottles released in June 2021, Fusion Series #5, blends three Kentucky straight bourbons aged between three and 11 years, including two mashed and distilled at Bardstown’s Kentucky facility. The blend suggests “bread pudding and caramelized plantains,” its producer says, accented by dark chocolate and bing cherries. Meanwhile, Discovery Series #5, which focuses on old and rare bourbons, blends four whiskeys: two from Kentucky and two from Tennessee, with ages that range from six to 17 years. Its producer describes the flavor as “ripe, vibrant cherries over rich caramel and roasted marshmallow, accented by a touch of orange zest."

  • Basil Hayden Toast ($50)

    Basil Hayden - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Basil Hayden doesn’t release many new bottlings. In fact, this one, launched in August 2021, is the first permanent addition to its lineup since 2017, created by eighth-generation distiller Freddie Noe. It’s an interesting study in how bourbon can be tweaked while still remaining within the confines of what legally makes a whiskey “bourbon.” It’s mostly corn, as required to be called bourbon, but the remainder of the mash bill is U.S.-grown brown rice (and, notably, no rye; Basil Hayden’s core offering is a high-rye bourbon). After aging in a charred barrel—again, a requirement for bourbon—the whiskey is then finished in a secondary, gently toasted barrel. The end result is notably nutty, with soft brown sugar and spice tones.

  • Blue Run Spirits 14-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon ($200)

    Blue Run - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    It was only last year that Blue Run launched, fostered by a group including a Nike designer, Facebook’s first director-level employee, a hospitality executive, a political advisor, and a philanthropist. But bourbon lovers paid more attention to another participant: whiskey veteran and “liquid advisor” Jim Rutledge, who created this 14-year-old small batch released in July 2021. According to its producer, tasting notes include “buttery, French toast cooked in a pan that recently fried breakfast sausages,” shored up by white pepper, tart Rainier cherries, and “a pop of caramel.”

  • Dickel Bourbon ($33)

    Dickel - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    This eight-year-old bourbon from Cascade Hollow Distilling, released in June 2021 and bottled at 90 proof, is a permanent addition to the Tennessee whiskey-maker’s lineup, created from stocks of whiskey selected and blended by general manager and distiller Nicole Austin. The producer describes the liquid as having vanilla sweetness, leading into cherry and orange and balanced by almond, toffee, and oak.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Epoch Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($50)

    Epoch - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    The first bourbon from Baltimore Spirits Company is a wheated bourbon made with malted rye, aged for two years, and bottled at 100 proof. Its producer describes the flavor profile as grassy and sweet, with pronounced tropical notes. July 2021 marks the initial limited initial release of two barrels, with a second release planned for the end of 2021. The bourbon is expected to become a regular part of the distillery’s product line. 

  • Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch ($20)

    Evan Williams - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    This bottling, named after the year Evan Williams first opened his distillery on the banks of the Ohio River, features the bourbon at its original 90-proof strength. Made with Heaven Hill’s traditional bourbon mash bill (78% corn, 12% malted barley, 10% rye), this is a mix of barrels aged six to eight years for an “extra-aged quality,” its producer says. Here, “small batch” signifies that the bourbon inside is mingling of 300 barrels or fewer. The packaging also has changed: It’s a new glass bottle with gold foil accents on the label.

  • Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2021 ($100)

    Yellowstone - 8 Bourbons to Try Now

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    This new offering from Limestone Branch Distillery features “the most mature and flavorful” seven-year-old and 15-year-old bourbons selected by master distiller Stephen Beam. The previous iteration included a measure of bourbon finished in armagnac casks; this version plays up a portion finished in barrels that previously held amarone, an Italian red wine.