Bourbon Gift Guide 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Bourbon Drinkers (2015)

Bourbon Gift Guide 2015
Bourbon Gift Guide 2015

As a second annual tradition, I’ve updated my Bourbons for the holidays. My rules are first, each Bourbon has to be readily available or can be ordered from a respectable booze monger. Second, the prices can’t be stupid. This means I’m excluding special limited releases and distilleries that have limited geographic distribution. For pricing, I’ve offered three tiers to fit your budget. Pricing is based on suggested or near suggested retail pricing. Your pricing may vary a few bucks each way, and if you live in an area that permits discounts, you could find a good deal.

Since last year, prices have crept up, so a few bottles have been removed. I’m keeping the lowest price tier, but it’s a little tougher this year to recommend something I really like for less than $25. At the high end, however, I bumped up the upper tier $5 to $65. Also a couple bottles I think have become harder to find, so they’re also out.

Each section is ordered by my preference.

Under $25

  • Wild Turkey 101 – Wild Turkey has a distinct flavor that’s a little rough and tough, but quite lovable. A nice blend of different aged straight Bourbons give a range of flavors. Excellent value and a timeless classic.
  • Old Forester Signature – If you like Woodford Reserve or any of the Old Forester bottles, this is one to check out. Similar flavor profile to me as Woodford, but cheaper. Bottled at 100-proof and a nice value.
  • Old Grand Dad Bonded – OGD 114 got bumped up to the next tier, so I’ll just stick the cheaper sibling here. Similarly feisty as Wild Turkey and as good of a value.
  • Jim Beam Black – This used to carry an 8 year age statement, but we recently saw that go away. Still, Jim Beam Black is quality value.

Under $35

  • Four Roses Small Batch – I don’t think you can go wrong with either Four Roses Small Batch or Single Barrel, but Small Batch is about $10 cheaper. I think I like it better too. One of my overall favorites.
  • Maker’s Mark – Maker’s Mark is pretty mild and I think it has wide appeal, so something to consider if you’re shopping for someone who isn’t a regular Bourbon drinker. This is one of my favorites, especially in warmer months.
  • Elijah Craig Small Batch 12 Year – Generally I don’t like older Bourbons, but Elijah Craig 12 has some nice woody goodness for when I’m in the mood. This too saw a significant price increase this year, but still a great value.
  • Bowman Brothers – Last year I had Elmer T Lee in this group, but now it’s impossible to find. I think Bowman Brothers is a good substitute and nice price.
  • Old Grand-Dad 114 – Last year I thought OGD 114 was one of the better values out there. After a significant price hike, it’s still a good value, but no longer a hidden gem.

Under $65

  • Four Roses Private Selection – I would be happy drinking nothing but good private barrel picks from Four Roses. Basically stores pick their own barrel and sell 100+ bottles. You’ll have to hunt around a little to find a store in your area or perhaps search the Internet. This is the hardest to find because it’s not a standard item for ordering, but it’s worth a little searching.
  • Colonel EH Taylor Jr Small Batch – The EH Taylor Jr line I think might be my favorite from Buffalo Trace. The Small Batch is the better value vs Single Barrel, It think. It also comes in a fancy cardboard tube, which means it’s already gift wrapped.
  • Booker’s – Booker’s is a big barrel proof Bourbon. A little on the younger side and also generally aged higher up in the warehouses. It makes for a strong, fiesty glass.