Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month With These Stellar Whiskeys
From the latest releases to rare collectibles, these standout bourbons are worth sipping.
Bourbon is a spirit with a tale as old as time (or at least, a tale as distinctive as American history), so why set aside just one month to celebrate the good stuff?
Of course, there’s no limit on when you can (responsibly) enjoy an all-American bourbon (take a look at some of the best winter bourbons, for instance). And yet, National Bourbon Heritage Month seems as fitting a time as any to revamp your bar cart.
Formally introduced in 2007 by the U.S. Senate, there’s a plethora of ways you can mark the occasion, be it tipping a little extra at your favorite whiskey bar or crafting an Old Fashioned at home.
Before you can imbibe properly though, take stock of what “juice” you’ve got on hand. Feel free to splurge a bit with some of our favorites for this boozy, month-long holIday — bourbon is the gift that keeps on giving, after all.
Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month by adding these quality whiskeys to your liquor cabinet:
HIRSCH Whiskey Bivouac Straight Bourbon
If you want to go deep into the world of bourbon, start your journey with HIRSCH. Trek back in time to 1974, when A.H. Hirsch first developed the now-legendary A.H. Hirsch 16-Year-Old Reserve, a whiskey that’s famously been called the “best bourbon you’ll never taste.” Today, bottles of A.H. Hirsch 16-Year can go for more than $12,000 in some retail stores.
What does that have to do with the Bivouac? Well, everything — HIRSCH used a custom mash bill based on that legendary whiskey to develop this brand-new, stunning release (best enjoyed in bourbon’s world capital, Bardstown, Ky.). The good news is, this particular edition is much more affordable than its predecessor, yet no less premium. Look for it in select markets right now. $55, Learn More
Great Jones Straight Bourbon
Recall what we said about bourbon’s rich history, and then dive right on with Great Jones. That’s because Great Jones is New York City’s first legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition. They do a remarkable job at blending the past with the present, using New York-grown rye, malted barley and corn in this small-batch bourbon. It’s the rich soil of upstate New York that lends a peppery spice to this spirit, while the New York City distillery’s Art Deco digs are worth checking out when in downtown Manhattan. $45
Pappy Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year Bourbon
It seems there’s hardly a bottle of “Pappy” that isn’t highly coveted and exceptionally hard to find. And when you do manage to track it down, well, price is another matter entirely. Whether you’re a seasoned whiskey enthusiast or a newfound devotee, you’ve likely heard rumblings from every which direction about Pappy Van Winkle. If you’ve got the cash to splurge on a bottle of this (nearly) barrel-proof bourbon, you’re in for a treat — just make sure you make it last. $1,299
Old Forester 1870 Original Batch
Among the many wonderful things about imbibing a great bourbon is the sense of care and craftsmanship you can often taste in every sip. Take this release, which harkens back to the original batching process (as the name implies) pioneered by George Garvin Brown. We’re willing to bet the approach is a little more modern these days, but no less worthy of consideration when it comes to your bar cart. $48.99
Michter’s US-1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Special occasions call for special bourbon, no doubt, but what about when you want an everyday sort of sipper that’s just as special? That’s when we tend to reach for a highly reliable bottle of Michter’s. Caramel, plus a touch of vanilla and stone fruit tasting notes, lend themselves to a pleasantly smoky finish for rich depth of character. An everyday treat though this might be, it’s far from average. $49.99
Bib & Tucker 6-Year Small Batch Bourbon
A 6-year aging process in new American white Oak barrels is the key to unlocking the smoothness of Bib & Tucker’s flagship bourbon. They’ve racked up the accolades as a result (including a score of 94 in 2019’s Ultimate Spirits Challenge), and it goes without saying that this bottle blends accessibility with a premium aroma, taste and finish. For good measure, the bottle is handsome and pleasantly old-school in design. $52.99
Brother’s Bond Cask Strength
For those who like their whiskey imbued with purity and a sense of the original source itself (that’d be the barrel-aging process), there are cask strength varieties aplenty, like this award-winning Brother’s Bond option. It’s unfiltered and uncut, with a whopping proof of just over 115. For good measure, it boasts palate notes of caramel, vanilla and honey. Imbibe carefully and yes, savor each sip. $80
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof
Woodford Reserve is upping the ante every step of the way with its latest Master’s Collection release. This year’s edition uses the same grain bill as Woodford’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon, but it’s bottled from the barrel at its actual proof. The result is as distinct a whiskey as you’re apt to find for National Bourbon Heritage Month, with a premium price tag to match. $148.75
Looking for something even more unexpected for Bourbon Heritage Month and beyond? You’ve found it with Legent Bourbon. It’s the result of a lauded collaboration melding Kentucky straight bourbon with wine and sherry cask-finished bourbon using the art of Japanese whisky blending (thank whiskey masters Fred Noe and Shinji Fukuyo for the innovation). The fact that Legent has collaborated on items like a “bourbon” selvedge denim jacket with designers like Todd Snyder is just icing on the cake. Learn More
Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon
Bourbon is primarily a “land-locked” spirit, right? Jefferson’s turns that notion on its head by aging its bourbon in American Oak — initially on land, of course — before finishing it for up to 10 months at sea. Yes, that’s right: The process ends at sea, where the movement of the ocean, plus temperature and atmosphere changes, impart a unique character on this innovative bourbon. Taste the difference for yourself. $97.74