Introduction – The World of High-Proof Bourbons
I don’t need to tell you that the bourbon industry is exploding, do I? Craft distilleries are popping up left and right, big brands are launching exclusive, rare bottles, and demand for this quintessentially American spirit has reached a fever pitch. But among the barrel-aged, corn-based whiskeys, there’s one category that stands out for those who like their drinks a bit stronger; the world of high-proof bourbons.
High-proof bourbons pack a punch – in a good way, of course. They engage your senses with a more robust flavor, a more pronounced warmth, and yes, a higher alcohol content. So grab a glass, sit back, and take notes, as we delve into the 10 best high proof bourbons currently making waves in the whisky world.
1. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon
If there’s one bourbon that truly represents the power and allure of high-proof offerings, it’s Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. The alcohol content varies between 65 and 70%, depending on the batch, but rest assured, each swig brings a deeply satisfying, full-bodied taste. Think brown sugar and vanilla, mingled with spicy oak and a hint of fruit. It certainly sets the bar high, not just for high-proof bourbons, but for bourbons of any proof.
2. Booker’s Bourbon
Another classic when it comes to high-proof bourbons is Booker’s Bourbon. It’s an uncut and unfiltered whiskey that holds a varying degree of proof, usually hovering around the 63% mark. The taste? It’s as layered and complex as you’d want, with a distinct nuttiness surfacing alongside caramel and fruit undertones.
3. Stagg Jr. Bourbon
Stagg Jr. is the more approachable cousin of the famous George T. Stagg Bourbon. Available at around 66% proof, Stagg Jr. is known for its potent oak, toffee, and spice flavors. This sweet and hit-the-spot flavor profile makes it a go-to choice among high proof bourbon aficionados.
4. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
Offering a proof of around 60%, the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is somewhat mellower than others. Despite this, it does not lack in hearty bourbon flavor. Expect a spicy, warming sensation tempered by sweeter notes of vanilla and caramel.
5. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
For those who can handle the big leagues, nothing beats the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. Typically swinging between 54% to 56% proof, this bourbon is as authentic and undiluted as it gets. The tasting notes reveal a balance of sweet caramel, dried fruit, and a hint of spice fusion.
6. Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Wild Turkey Rare Breed hovers around 58% proof but provides an exceptional drinking experience. It unfolds gently, flirting with your senses with hints of honey and citrus before introducing stronger notes of pepper and oak.
7. Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof
This uncut, unfiltered bourbon ranges from 63% to 65% proof, designed for those brave enough to handle its potency. It is noted for its rich flavors of dark chocolate, dried fruit, and strong punches of oak. It takes no prisoners and is proudly high-proof bourbon at its finest.
8. Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon
Angel’s Envy Cask Strength is a small batch bourbon with its proof usually hiding around somewhere in the 60s. The whiskey is port barrel-finished, culminating in a sophisticated blend of caramel, raison, and a toasted nut aftertaste.
9. Baker’s 7 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon
This 53% proof bourbon provides an exceptional flavor despite its slightly lower proof. It’s packed full of smoky oak, fruity notes, and a sweet finish of syrup and vanilla. Baker’s proves that you don’t always have to go extremely high in proof to still pack a flavor punch.
10. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
Last but not least, the Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon usually reigns around the 50% proof. Don’t be fooled, though; it matches its higher-proof brethren with a full-bodied, complex profile, rich with creamy vanilla, dried fruit, and a welcoming spicy finish.
Conclusion – Savoring the High-Proof Experience
There you have it, a definitive list for all you high-proof bourbon lovers out there. These bottles bear testament that quality lies in every drop, regardless of the potency. So, next time you decide to treat yourself to a high-proof bourbon, remember to savor every drop. After all, these bourbons were created with the intent to be savored, appreciated, and – above all – respected. Cheers!