Welcome to Bourbon Season

Fall into the best new batches of standout seasonal whiskeys.
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Fall into the best new batches of standout seasonal whiskeys.
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Let’s be clear: There is no bad time to drink bourbon. Whether we’re sipping it on a sun-drenched dock, in a dimly lit bar, or on the couch at day’s end in honor of battles won and lost, the sweet, oaky spirit is always welcome in our glass. But fall is our favorite whiskey-sipping season. The cooler weather seems to extract more of the spirit’s smoke-tinged, chest-warming charm, and it just so happens to be when bourbon makers roll out their most prized batches—special reserves they’ve been sitting on for years. We investigated the new releases and found the four best bottles to seek out, from limited-edition blends to barrel-aged offerings more mature than most millennials.  

Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary Bourbon

Forget what you know about Wild Turkey, whose spicy finish has earned it a rugged shot-and-beer reputation. This release, in honor of master distiller Jimmy Russell’s 60th year on the job, is far mellower, with a light, creamy body meant for slow sipping. [$125; wildturkey.com]

Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel

A whiskey that’s been sitting in the same barrel for more than 20 years should be savored during only the most deserving moments. This bottle’s bold, oaky nose and campfire-meets-caramel kick will make them all the more memorable. [$200; bardstownwhiskeysociety.com]

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask 

The third release of the Signature Craft series, which showcases variations of Beam’s most experimental batches, is a combination of sweet five-year-old bourbon and smokier bourbon from smaller barrels, creating a complex wood-heavy spirit. [$40; jimbeam.com]

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch

Every fall, Four Roses bottles a handful of special blends for the colder months. This year’s model is the best yet: a mix of four bourbons laced with flavors from orange zest to glazed maple. It’s smoother than a John Legend LP. [$99; fourrosesbourbon.com]

Photos by Zachary Zavislak