The 6 Best Bourbons Not from Kentucky
If anyone ever tells you that bourbon can only be made in Kentucky, he or she is a foul-mouthed liar. Even though there’s a high-concentration of distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the spirit can actually be made anywhere in the United States. And while we love the Southern bottlings, there are a multitude of excellent bourbons being made all over the country. Here, six of our favorite non-Kentucky bourbons.
Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon ($40 for 750 ml)
This bourbon is Wyoming in a bottle. The Mead family, who independently owns the Wyoming Whiskey distillery, came to the state as ranchers way back in 1890, so they know the land and its crops better than almost anyone. Their light and smooth Small Batch Bourbon tastes of browned butter, baking spices, caramel and a hint of cinnamon. It’s equally delicious sipped neat as it is mixed into a cocktail like a Whiskey Sour.
High West American Prairie Bourbon ($38 for 750 ml)
This limited-edition blend of two-, six- and thirteen-year-old bourbons is finished in American white oak casks with a char #2 on the heads and char #4 on the staves, giving it a complex flavor profile. Classic notes of caramel and vanilla complement its unique tang of blood oranges and dark cherries. As a bonus, the distillery donates ten percent of each sale to the American Prairie Foundation—an organization that’s working to assemble the largest wildlife preserve in the United States—so you can feel good about buying this bottle.
FEW Spirits Bourbon Whiskey ($50 for 750 ml)
For nearly 100 years, Evanston, Illinois—once home to the Temperance Movement—was distillery-free. But then, in 2011, FEW Spirits’ master distiller swooped in and changed everything by overturning century-old Prohibition laws and opening the first distillery within Evanston city limits. Their bourbon gets some Great Lakes character from a three-grain mash bill, which includes a spicy northern rye and a touch of malt for smoothness. It’s made in small batches, aged in charred oak barrels, and is perfect for mixing up an Old Fashioned.
Van Brunt Stillhouse Bourbon Whiskey ($35 for 375 ml)
This distillery operates right on the waterfront of Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, but they source all of their wheat, rye and corn from upstate New York farmers. Every bottle within their selection of bold, flavorful spirits is deserving of your attention, and their bourbon is no different. Crafted from organic corn, it has a rich flavor and aromatic nose. Drink this one on its own.
Hudson Whiskey Four Grain Bourbon ($43 for 375 ml)
This bourbon is the first pot-distilled whiskey to be produced in New York’s Hudson Valley since Prohibition. Fiercely local and sustainable, distillers source 90% of the grains that go into the whiskey from within 60 miles of the distillery. The Four Grain is a perfectly smooth and balanced spirit distilled from a mash of corn, rye, wheat and malted barley. It’s sweet, peppery and rich all at once—with just a hint of salted caramel. Sip it on a cold day to instantly warm up from the inside out.
Hillrock Solera Bourbon ($88 for 750 ml)
This whiskey is pretty special. It’s the world’s first solera-aged bourbon, meaning the barrels are always filled with a mix of whiskeys of various ages and topped off with new whiskey as needed. Finished in 20-year-old oloroso sherry casks, which provide notes of walnut, fig and candied fruit that perfectly complement the bourbon’s buttery caramel flavor, it’s masterfully complex.