Reading through lists of great bourbons to try can be a little bit of a drag when you live in a state with relatively strict alcohol laws and few options.
This week on the Reckon Interview, I asked Clay Risen, the author of “Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey” for his recommendations of affordable – and findable – bottles to pick up.
Here were his picks:
- “I mean my go to Bourbon is always Russell’s Reserve. I think that it’s a brand that is made by Wild Turkey. Jimmy and Eddie Russell are the master distillers at Wild Turkey, a father and son team, but they make this really just fantastic lower proof, lower alcohol content, really balanced, really cocktail friendly, sippable brand called Russell’s. There’s a rye version, there’s a bourbon version, they have a different kind of standard as a 10 year old, and it’s affordable and easy to find, and fantastic. I will always endorse that.”
- “Another one that you know is usually you’re able to find it, is I like Old Grand Dad 114. You know, it’s again, it’s probably a brand that people have seen around and maybe passed up on because it’s you know, called Old Grand Dad. But the 114 especially is delicious. So it’s 114 proof. So that’s, you know, 57% alcohol, so it packs a punch, but it’s fantastic, especially in the winter, it’s a really great sip.”
- “Eagle Rare is another one from Buffalo Trace. It’s getting harder to find Eagle Rare, but you can still find it. And as far as Buffalo Trace says, it’s a 10 year old single barrel. So you know, pretty good, pretty good standards, a pretty pretty high bar right there. It’s just a really nice, round, approachable whiskey.”
- “Anything from Michter’s I would recommend. Their basic Michter’s Small Batch, Michter’s American whiskey, those are great. They get really expensive. Michter’s makes some of the most expensive whiskey in America, but their basic stuff is really good.”
“And then you know, and then to round it out. I like Old Forester. They do 100 proof — so 50% alcohol version — of Old Forester. It’s sweet and relatively smooth. And you know, I think it gets overlooked sometimes just because Brown Forman makes a lot of other stuff. They make Woodford, they make, they make Jack Daniels, but Old Forester is a really, really solid whiskey, and again, one that you can find pretty easily.”
Listen to the full episode for more about the rise of America’s top spirit and his recommendations for some rarer bottles and tasting tips.