Taster’s Club Best Kentucky Bourbon in 2023
Written by Emma C | Updated August 2023
Kentucky bourbon is classic American whiskey at its finest, and the vast majority of bourbon still comes from the bluegrass state itself. So, it’s no wonder there are nearly endless bottles to consider when you’re hunting for the best Kentucky bourbon. From the hard limestone water and ideal climate to a long, deep history with the spirit, there are plenty of reasons why Kentucky produces so many amazing bourbons. Whether you’re into the classic full-bodied, sweet vanilla profile or prefer something heavier on wheat or rye, there are many options. To help you out, we’ve tasted many bourbons and prepared this list of the top bottles from Taster’s Club in 2023, all available in our bottle shop.
Top 10 Kentucky Bourbon: Available in our Bottle Shop
1. Wilderness Trail Small Batch
Wilderness Trail’s Small Batch Bourbon contains 64% corn, 24% rye, and 12% malted barley and is made with the maker’s own yeast strains. Carrying herbaceous, minty, and spicy notes, this bourbon is incredibly balanced and smooth enough on its own or added as a delicious kick to your favorite cocktail.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Herb, Mint, Spice | ABV: 50%
2. E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch
A true sipping bourbon, this small batch spirit honors the uncompromising legacy of bourbon’s founding father, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. It’s handmade and has been aged inside century-old warehouses built by E.H. Taylor, Jr. The maker evaluates and selects barrels to create a perfect blend of distinct character in this small batch expression.
2023 Double Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition Winner
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Caramel Corn, Butterscotch, Pepper | ABV: 50%
3. Four Roses Single Barrel
Four Roses’ single-barrel bourbon is complex, full-bodied, and incredibly smooth. You’ll get aromas of oak, caramel, vanilla, fruit, and mint, followed by similar flavors on the palate, plus honey, cinnamon, and clove before a delicate, long, mellow finish kicks in.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Oak, Caramel, Cinnamon, Vanilla | ABV: 50%
4. Jefferson’s Ocean Wheated
Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea is fully matured for a four-year minimum, then placed in rickhouses on ships to travel the world, hyper-aging the spirit. It’s the constant agitations, weather conditions, and sea-salt air that create a unique flavor. And, since wheat is softer than rye, it amplifies the flavors of ocean voyages, in a way that rye spice never can.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Clove, Pepper, Grain, Caramel | ABV: 45%
5. Rabbit Hole Dareringer
Named for the prominent Louisville individuals who traveled down their own rabbit holes, Rabbit Hole’s Dareringer is crafted in small batches from unique mash bills with unordinary specialty grains and distilled without compromise. The result is a sherry cask-finished Bourbon that’s elegant, sweet, and charming.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Cherry, Almond, Raisins, Vanilla | ABV: 46.5%
6. Noah’s Mill
Noah’s Mill Kentucky bourbon is one of the lushest, richest whiskeys on the market. On the nose, you’ll get walnuts, prunes, and floral notes. The palate mimics the nose with walnuts, prunes, and spices, intertwined with lavender and balanced with the perfect amount of acid that leads you to lingering burnt caramel.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Walnut, Prune, Spice, Lavender | ABV: 57.15%
7. Bulleit Barrel Strength
Distilled in Kentucky from the highest quality ingredients, Bulleit’s Barrel Strength expression has the same high-rye mash bill as the original Bulleit. This multi-award winner (Best Straight Bourbon, Double Gold Medal from the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and a score of 92 at the 2017 Ultimate Spirits Challenge) – continues Bulleit’s history of sharing award-winning whiskeys.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Spice, Pepper, Oak | ABV: 58.3 to 62.7%
8. Woodford Double Oak
An innovative approach to twice-barreled bourbon creates the rich and colorful flavor of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Uniquely matured in separate, charred oak barrels – the second barrel deeply toasted before a light charring – extracts additional amounts of soft, sweet oak character and creates the unique flavors of a smooth, full-bodied bourbon with a long, rich finish.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit | ABV: 45.2%
9. Old Forester 1897
Old Forester’s 1897 Bottled in Bond is crafted to honor the U.S. Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. In 1870, Old Forester introduced the idea of ‘sealed in quality’, as America’s first bottled bourbon. This expression follows the Bottled in Bond standards that whisky must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years, the product of one distillation season, one distiller from one distillery, and bottled at 100 proof.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Dark Fruit, Caramel, Vanilla, Oak, Spice | ABV: 50%
10. Elijah Craig Small Batch
Expertly aged in level 3 charred oak barrels, this award-winning small-batch bourbon is known for its signature warm spice and subtle smoke flavors. Each barrel is hand-selected by Elijah Craig’s master distillers.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Peach, Toffee, Spice | ABV: 47%
As this 2023 Taster’s Club list of the top Kentucky bourbons clearly shows, there is no single best Kentucky bourbon – only many amazing choices. With all the great bourbon options out there, you can’t go wrong with any of them when it’s time to restock your bar or catch up with an old friend, and the best part is they’re all available 24/7 in our bottle shop. If you’d prefer a more curated experience though, we’ve got you. Just sign up for our Bourbon Club, sit back, and let us do all the work as you await a brand-new award-winning bottle delivered each month.