Innovation is the name of the game in bourbon these days. Producers of America’s native whiskey are tinkering with every aspect of the spirit, from sourcing grains to fancy barrel finishes. The result is even more new bottles worth your attention. These are the six bold new bourbons you should pour now.
Bottled-in-bond is back, baby! This highly regulated category means, among other things, that the whiskey must be aged at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse and bottled at 100 proof. The upshot? That translates into robust flavor, as in this topaz-hued sipper, which opens with mellow vanilla and oak before drying into pleasing notes of cocoa, leather and grapefruit peel.
Released in June 2018, this is a small-batch, six-year-old bourbon named in tribute of Jim Beam master distiller Booker Noe’s love for hosting bourbon-soaked cookouts, aka “bourbon-ques.” Look for rich butterscotch and maple. Some tasters claim to detect a distinct whiff of barbecue savoriness or smokiness. It’s cask strength (128.8 proof), so enjoy with a drop of water or cube of ice.
The Jefferson’s Ocean line of whiskeys are famously sent around the world by boat, where the rocking of the ocean helps accelerate the aging process. This one, released in April 2018, stopped at more than 30 ports while crossing the equator four times. Look for cookie dough notes on the nose and palate and a cinnamon-y finish that suggests red-hot candies. Sip neat while contemplating your own future travel plans.
Released in late 2017, this 100-proof bourbon has not gone through chill filtration, a mostly cosmetic process that prevents the whiskey from taking on a cloudy haze but can also tamp down flavor just a bit. Expect big, bold flavor from this unfiltered whiskey, aged five to six years.
New from Brooklyn’s Breuckelen Distilling, this wheated bourbon is made using malted barley grown on New York farms. It opens with caramel and cedar, finishing long and warming with cinnamon, juicy orange peel and black pepper heat. It’s ideal for the locavore-minded whiskey lover.
Aged 12 to 15 years in American oak, then finished in oloroso sherry barrels, this special bourbon offers concentrated layers of spiced caramel, hazelnut and mocha, finishing with dazzling candied ginger heat. It clocks in at just over 100 proof, so reach for the branch water to help cool the alcohol heat.
Mixing your cocktail