There are truths that transcend time, culture, class and creed: Money makes the world go round, all you need is love and only pizza will always be there to comfort and listen to you. Adding to the ever growing list of truths to live by, is that Bourbon is good, really good. But where do you start? How does one go from simple consumer to learned connoisseur?
Answer: Hard work, dedication and a whole lot of tasting.
Our journey begins with two heavy weights and a hidden gem. Playing the role of the mega players today will be the classic Blanton’s Single Barrel and the ever popular Buffalo Trace. Taking the stage as the dark horse is Ezra B 12 with a cool wax seal promoting their 99 proof alcohol content. Each bourbon hails to us from the home of bourbon, Kentucky, however bourbon itself does not need to come from Bourbon County Kentucky, just somewhere within the US.
Ezra B Straight (12 years)
- Brown Sugar n
- White Chocolate
- Spiced cider
With roots in the bourbon business spanning back seven generations, Ezra B 12 packs a punch as it boasts about its 99 proof rating. This is a bourbon designed with a focus on balance and craftsmanship. It takes a full 12 years to achieve the subtle bending and melding of nutmeg and white chocolate. This was the first time tasting this and it couldn’t have been more impressive. For around $50.00 it can hold its own with the big boys easily.
Buffalo Trace Straight (10 years)
- Honied Almonds
- Fresh Roses
- Spiced Oak
- Brown Sugar/Almond Brittle
Buffalo Trace comes from the most awarded Bourbon distillery in the world. It’s made on the same hollowed grounds that produce the Van Winkle line, Eagle Rare, W.L. Weller and another brother in bourbon, Blantons, which we’l visit next. With its hints of honey and robust spices, Buffalo Trace has become a go to daily bourbon for casual bourbon drinkers and connoisseurs alike. Amazingly accessible and retailing around $25, or $48 for the handle, Buffalo Trace is a must have for an everyday bourbon.
- Dried Orange Peel
- Spiced Vanilla
- Soft Brown Sugar
- Charred Apricots
Where do you begin a review when the product has set the standard for decades? Blanton’s is a staple for celebrations, special occasions and in glasses for all of those who love the mystique that surrounds one of the world’s most beloved brands. The horse figurine has become a shining beacon, beckoning bourbon lovers to pick up a bottle. Blanton’s Original will set you back close to $60 bones, but the structure and quality demand that price, making it nearly a deal.
Bringing it Together
Bourbon has been riding a wave of popularity recently for a reason; it’s a damn good gift from the Gods of Libation. Quality craftsmen are producing premium spirits that are fueling the public’s thirst for not only the traditional greats, but for innovative and distilling processes and upstart distilleries willing to cut their teeth on the staves of the masters who have paved the way for them. Treat yourself to something a little sweet, a little smoky and a spirit that has helped shape our palates and our modern liquor landscape.