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Small-Batch Bourbons You Need To Try Now
Author William Faulkner, who was known to throw back quite a few mint juleps in his day, once said "there is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some just happen to be better than others." READ: After 5: The Cocktails You Need To Make Now And we suspect Faulkner would be turning cartwheels over the current crop of small-batch bourbon whiskeys that are helping the original southern spirit make a big comeback. READ: Rye Whiskey Makes A Comeback Riding the wave of an artisanal food and drink revival across the country, small, craft distilleries are returning to the pre-Prohibition way of making bourbon. (Confused about the difference between bourbon and whiskey? Bourbon is always whiskey, but not vice versa. According to federal regulations, to qualify as bourbon the spirit must be made in the USA, contain a grain mixture with at least 51 percent corn, be stored in new, charred oak barrels, distilled to no more than 160 proof and bottled at no more than 125 proof. ) READ: After 5: Cocktails To Make Your Evenings More Interesting As Fred Noe, Jim Beam's 7th Generation Master Distiller says, "Bourbon is special and unique because it's 'America's Native Spirit' (thanks to President LBJ's legislation 50 years ago.) Bourbon has such great character and body, with a pleasant aroma and taste that can be enjoyed so many different ways. The traditions of bourbon date back to the early days of our country. My family began distilling in 1795. To me, bourbon is more American than apple pie." MIX IT NOW: The Bourbon-Cider Sipper According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, bourbon production has increased more than 120 percent since 1999. In fact, the number of bourbon barrels aging in the state of Kentucky right now outnumbers the state's human residents and their horses, the association says.  The following small-batch bourbons stand out from the pack.  Bottoms up!
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Booker's

Knob Creek Distillery, Claremont, Ky. Price: Around $100 (limited quantities available) This one may be a splurge, but if you’re looking for a truly exclusive bourbon, Booker’s might be just the ticket. Named after Knob Creek founder Booker Noe, Booker’s is a  limited-edition bourbon that’s bottled at barrel strength, 121-130 proof, for a distinctive taste. These bottles come from among the last barrels that Booker Noe set to age before he died in 2004.

Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Knob Creek Distillery, Claremont, Ky. Price: Around $40 Knob Creek founder Booker Noe certainly has the pedigree for making quality small-batch bourbon: his great-grandfather was legendary distiller Jim Beam. Knob Creek bourbon is 100 proof, aged 9 years and has a rich, sweet taste. Available nationwide, check here for availability in your area.

Bowman Brothers Pioneer Spirit Virginia Straight Small Batch Bourbon

A. Smith Bowman Distillery, Fredericksburg, Va. Price: Around $40 This 90-proof Virginia bourbon is named after four brothers who fought in the Revolutionary War and led 30 pioneer families to settle in Kentucky in 1779. It is distilled three times to give it a warm, mellow flavor .Bowman Brothers Virginia Straight Bourbon is available in the following states: Colorada, Delaware, Florida Gerogia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon,  Pennsylvania, South Caroliina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington, as well as the District Of Columbia. Check with your local liquor store for ordering information.

Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey

Breckenridge Distillery, Breckenridge, Co. Price: Around $50 This has the distinction of being the highest-altitude bourbon on the list: it’s brewed at an altitude of 9600 feet (by comparison, Louisville’s elevation is 488 feet.) The distillers use fresh snowmelt water in the process, giving the 86-proof bourbon a deep, unique taste. Available through online retailers or at liquor stores. Click here for a store locator or online distributor.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Ky. Price: Around $70  Named after one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry, 100-proof Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch has a golden amber color with a sweet, caramel taste. Buffalo Trace Distillery also produces the limited-release cult favorite Pappy Van Winkle Whiskey, which made headlines last year when 64 cases of the liquid gold were stolen (worth roughly $26,000). Available everywhere except Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia. Check with your local liquor store for ordering information.

Noah's Mill Bourbon

Willett Distillery, Bardstown, Ky. Price: Around $45 Noah’s Mill is the second-strongest bourbon on the list, clocking in at 114 proof. Despite its incredible alcohol content, devotees adore it for its smooth, toffee-like taste and rich mahogany color. In addition to Noah’s Mill, Willett’s small[batch bourbon collection includes Kentucky Vintage, Rowan’s Creek, and Pure Kentucky varieties. Click here for a list of stores that carry Noah’s Mill.

Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Blanton’s Distilling Company, Frankfort, Ky. Price: Around $60 According to Blanton’s, this bourbon was designated for “ambassadors, dignitaries, and Colonel Blanton’s family and friends.” It is 93 proof with a sweet citrusy taste and one of the most unique bottles to boot (collect all eight different bottle stoppers to spell out BLANTONS.) Click here for a list of distributors in your area.

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Distillery, Lawrenceburg, Ky. Price:  Around $30 What could be more appropriate than Kentucky bourbon named in honor of a Southern belle? The lady in question wore four roses on her dress to accept distillery founder Paul Jones, Jr.’s proposal back in the 1860s, and Four Roses Distillery was born. The 90-proof small-batch bourbon has a mellow, sweet taste, and during 2014 you can also try the Limited Edition Small-Batch Bourbon in honor of the distillery's 125th Anniversary. Available nationwide. Click here to find the distributor near you.

Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon

Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, Ky. Price: Around $40 Woodford Reserve’s Distiller’s Select bourbon is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, so if it’s going in their legendary mint juleps you know it has to be good. This 90.4 proof bourbon has a light toffee color and rich, oaky taste. Click here to find Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select in your area.

Small-Batch Bourbons You Need To Try Now

Author William Faulkner, who was known to throw back quite a few mint juleps in his day, once said "there is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some just happen to be better than others." READ: After 5: The Cocktails You Need To Make Now And we suspect Faulkner would be turning cartwheels over the current crop of small-batch bourbon whiskeys that are helping the original southern spirit make a big comeback. READ: Rye Whiskey Makes A Comeback Riding the wave of an artisanal food and drink revival across the country, small, craft distilleries are returning to the pre-Prohibition way of making bourbon. (Confused about the difference between bourbon and whiskey? Bourbon is always whiskey, but not vice versa. According to federal regulations, to qualify as bourbon the spirit must be made in the USA, contain a grain mixture with at least 51 percent corn, be stored in new, charred oak barrels, distilled to no more than 160 proof and bottled at no more than 125 proof. ) READ: After 5: Cocktails To Make Your Evenings More Interesting As Fred Noe, Jim Beam's 7th Generation Master Distiller says, "Bourbon is special and unique because it's 'America's Native Spirit' (thanks to President LBJ's legislation 50 years ago.) Bourbon has such great character and body, with a pleasant aroma and taste that can be enjoyed so many different ways. The traditions of bourbon date back to the early days of our country. My family began distilling in 1795. To me, bourbon is more American than apple pie." MIX IT NOW: The Bourbon-Cider Sipper According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, bourbon production has increased more than 120 percent since 1999. In fact, the number of bourbon barrels aging in the state of Kentucky right now outnumbers the state's human residents and their horses, the association says.  The following small-batch bourbons stand out from the pack.  Bottoms up!

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