About Top-Shelf Bourbons and Ryes
If you’re a whiskey enthusiast, you know there’s nothing quite like a top-shelf bourbon or rye. They may be a bit pricier than your typical bottle of whiskey, but they’re more than worth the investment with their rich, complex flavors and excellent craftsmanship. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious newbie, here’s a guide to some of the best top-shelf bourbons and ryes out on the market.
The Allure of Bourbons
Bourbon has a distinctive profile that sets it apart from other types of whiskey. Its grain mix must comprise at least 51% corn, it needs to be aged in brand new charred oak barrels, can’t be distilled to over 160 proof, and can’t enter the barrel higher than 125 proof. After aging it can’t be bottled at less than 80 proof. These regulations impart bourbon with a rich, full-bodied flavor that’s typically sweet, smooth, and a touch smoky.
Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon
Often considered the holy grail of bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve distills in limited quantities, making it somewhat of a scarce commodity. When you do manage to find a bottle, you’re in for a real treat. This bourbon is incredibly smooth with flavors of caramel, toasted oak, and just a hint of fruit. It’s no wonder that this bourbon has developed a cult following among whiskey enthusiasts.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
This is a Bourbon that more than lives up to its hype. Buffalo Trace Bourbon has a rich and complex flavor. Tasting it is like taking a journey from the front of your palate to the back. Expect initial notes of creamy vanilla and sweet molasses, followed by a hit of smoky oak, along with hints of mint and cocoa. It’s a well-rounded bourbon that will please any sophisticated palate.
Rye whiskey, on the other hand, boasts a more potent, spicy kick than bourbon, thanks to its grain mix comprising at least 51 percent rye. The remaining mix can include corn and barley. Their bold, robust character makes rye whiskies a staple in classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned.
WhistlePig 10 Year Straight Rye
WhistlePig is a renowned name in the world of rye, and their 10 Year Straight Rye is nothing short of impressive. It’s distilled and aged in Vermont, using 100% rye. This equation results in a robust whiskey with a warm, rich flavor. Expect notes of caramel, vanilla, and a peppery finish that’s characteristic of rye whiskies.
High West Double Rye
This rye from Utah’s High West is a blend of two rye whiskies, hence the “double” in its name. It has the boldness you’d expect from a rye, with a surprising hint of sweetness, plus plenty of earthy, spicy notes. It’s an excellent choice for cocktails or for sipping neat.
The world of bourbon and rye is vast and full of incredible options. While the choices can feel overwhelming, it’s important to remember the joy of whiskey lies in exploration. If you’re interested in bourbon and rye, these top-shelf selections are a great place to start. Cheers to discovering your next favorite whiskey!