Distiller’s Bourbon Gift Guide 2023By Stephanie Moreno
It’s gift giving season once again so that means it’s also time for our Holiday Gift Guides! As is the case each year, we’ve done the tough part of tasting to make our recommendations. For the most part, the top picks in our Bourbon Gift Guide are widely available bottlings.
In addition to availability, we’ve suggested who on your shopping lists the picks would best suit. Of course, in-demand bourbon brands like Michter’s, George T. Stagg and Pappy Van Winkle are not included. Their popularity — and their high mark-ups as a result — make them out of the running for most folks. But if you see a bottle within your budget, by all means buy away!
In addition to bourbon bottles that are new for 2023, we’ve also included some core expressions you can find year-round. But if you can’t find the bottle we’ve recommended, we have alternatives listed as well. Please note that prices listed are the suggested retail prices (SRP) for purchases in the US. However, prices may vary depending on your location. Happy shopping!
Budget Bourbon Picks (Under $35)
Green River Wheated Bourbon
What to Know: Green River Distilling Co. was originally founded in 1885 in Owensboro, KY. After fires and Prohibition, the distillery subsequently closed but was revived in 2020. This wheated bourbon is brand’s second expression since the relaunch.
Tasting Notes: Brown sugar and doughy wheat bread notes with a rich, sweet and spicy profile.
Beginner Bourbon Picks (Under $50)
What to Know: This high-rye bourbon is made from a recipe focused on having a balance of both light & spicy and rich & fruity profiles. In celebration of its 135th anniversary this year, the brand refreshed its packaging for its core products.
Tasting Notes: Velvety mouthfeel with flavors of raspberries, honey and cinnamon sugar.
Best Gift For: Your younger sibling looking to graduate from shots to sips.
AFICIONADO PICKS (Under $200)
What to Know: Bardstown Bourbon Co.’s Discovery Series highlights the art of blending. Here, five straight bourbons with different recipes, ages (6-13 years), and sources (Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia) are blended.
Tasting Notes: Warm spices, toasted grains and a touch of dark chocolate leads to a complex and enjoyable finish.
Best Gift For: A loved one who enjoys thoughtfully-created, unique gifts.
Splurge Bourbon Picks (Over $200)
What to Know: This collection explores the idea of whiskey terroir with selections chosen from different aging environments. Master Distiller Eddie Russell selected barrels aged over 10 years from the center-cut of the seven-story building which sits lower than its peers at the Camp Nelson grounds.
Tasting Notes: It makes a grand entrance on the palate with sweet spices, caramel and vanilla along with a leathery note
Best Gift For: Your significant other who is growing their whiskey collection.
Other Splurge Bourbon Picks: Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon ($249.99), Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels (2023 Edition) ($229.99)
Bourbon Picks for Mixing Cocktails
Woodford Reserve Bourbon
What to Know: First introduced in 1996, this high-rye bourbon is the flagship expression from the brand. The rickhouses are heat-cycled during the winter which helps speed up the maturation process. It’s aged for around 7 years and is bottled at 90.4 proof, which is a signature for the brand.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of freshly baked cornbread and baking spices leads to flavors of caramel popcorn, tart cherry and toasted oak.
Best Gift For: Your coworker who likes to shake things up!
Unconventional Bourbon Picks
What to Know: This unique bourbon traveled to Japan from Kentucky where it was blended and finished in three different casks, including sherry casks that had previously held Japanese Yamazaki single malt whisky.
Tasting Notes: Begins with light char smoke and delicate fruit notes and moves to a rich and complex, layered finish.
Best Gift For: Your best friend with an adventurous spirit.
Other Unconventional Bourbon Picks: Jefferson’s Tropics Aged in Humidity ($99.99), Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Tale of Two Islands (Release 001) ($89.99)
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