Here Are The 5 Best Bourbon Brands To Try Next, Ranked

Forget the dusty bottles lurking in the back of the liquor cabinet – it’s time to embark on a journey into the world of truly exceptional bourbon! Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious newcomer, navigating the vast landscape of bourbons can be daunting. Fear not, fellow sippers! This guide cuts through the confusion, unveiling hidden gems and tried-and-true favorites to elevate your bourbon experience. From smooth sippers boasting intricate flavor profiles to bold expressions perfect for cocktails, we’ve curated a selection that caters to every palate. So, dust off your favorite glass, settle in, and prepare to discover the best bourbons that will tantalize your taste buds and redefine your expectations. Let’s raise a toast to smoky notes, hints of caramel, and the satisfying burn that makes bourbon truly special!

While studies on bourbon boasting health benefits are very much up for debate, if you’re going to drink in moderation, bourbon is a great liquor choice as it contains antioxidant properties and is low in sugar and carbohydrates.

Say you’re in good health and decide to enjoy a cocktail; try enjoying a healthy snack on the side! A recent study found that booze could actually help people shed extra pounds — as long as you’re nosing on nuts and other healthy bar snacks. The University of Sydney study finds that drinkers who opted for high-protein, lean foods consumed fewer calories overall than people who abstain from drinking entirely. Such snacks include olives, popcorn, cocktail onions, deli meats, cheeses, raw veggies, dips and dried or fresh fruit. A bourbon old-fashioned and a side of popcorn? Sign us up!

Entering the world of bourbon as a beginner can be a bit daunting with the endless options, blends, and brands that litter liquor store shelves. It all comes down to knowing your stuff, which is why we have compiled a guide to help you the next time you are on the hunt for a bottle.

How to choose a quality bottle of bourbon:

  • Explore Reputable Distilleries: When seeking the best bourbon, start by exploring offerings from well-established distilleries. Reputable brands with a history of crafting high-quality spirits are more likely to produce bourbons that meet or exceed your expectations.
  • Check Expert Reviews: Leverage expert reviews and ratings, like in our list below. These reviews can guide you toward bourbons with exceptional flavor profiles and craftsmanship.
  • Consider Mash Bill Variations for Unique Flavors: The mash bill, or grain recipe, significantly influences bourbon flavors. Opt for bourbons with varying mash bills to discover unique taste profiles.
  • Prioritize Well-Aged Bourbons: For a truly exceptional experience, consider well-aged bourbons. Aging in charred oak barrels imparts nuanced flavors, richness, and complexity to the spirit. Bourbons aged for extended periods often stand out as the best choices for those seeking a refined and mature taste.
  • Explore Small Batch or Single Barrel Offerings: Diversify your bourbon exploration by considering small batch or single barrel options. These limited-edition releases or carefully crafted blends often showcase unique characteristics that set them apart as some of the best bourbons available.
  • Set a Realistic Budget: Finding a quality bottle doesn’t always mean breaking the bank. Set a realistic budget and explore bourbons within your price range. There are outstanding options at various price points, allowing you to enjoy a premium bourbon experience without overspending.

In order to help you in your search for the perfectly concocted cocktail on or off the rocks, StudyFinds set out to find the finest bottles available. StudyFinds visited 10 of the leading expert websites to find the best bourbon whiskeys that were rated the highest. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended flavors across these sites. Let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments below. Cheers! 

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

Bartender pouring an old fashioned, glass of whiskey alcohol
Old fashioned cocktail (Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash)

The List: Best Bourbon, According to Experts

1. W. L. Weller, 12-Year-Old Bourbon

If you’re looking for a top-notch bourbon and willing to search high and low to get your hands on a bottle, W.L. Weller’s 12-Year-Old Bourbon is one of the best money and time can buy. “The Weller 12 YO is an outstanding whiskey. On the nose, it’s creamy, with a hint of caramel and a bit of anise. On the palate, it has the characteristic smoothness of wheated bourbons. It’s slightly drying, and sweet, with distinctive tropical fruit notes. The finish is long and sweet, with lingering fruit notes of stone and tropical fruit,” writes Forbes.

W. L. Weller, 12-Year-Old Bourbon
W. L. Weller, 12-Year-Old Bourbon (

With aromas of lanolin, almond, creamed corn and toasty vanilla, bourbon experts highly recommended this choice for its layers and moderate sweetness and intensely smooth finish.

“Buffalo Trace makes some of the best bourbons in the world, including Pappy Van Winkle, Eagle Rare, Weller, EH Taylor, Stagg Jr., Blanton’s, and more. Unfortunately, demand has made these bourbons difficult to find in stores,” adds Insider. “If you find one of the above brands on shelves in a liquor store at a reasonable price, I encourage you to pick it up and try it.”

2. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon 

If you like it hot, Elijah Craig’s Barrel Proof Bourbon will surely get the job done. “This bourbon is delicious and, depending on the barrel, registers between 128 and 140 proof. That’s not just high-octane, that’s rocket fuel. So obviously, this whiskey can run a bit hot,” says The Spruce Eats. “While some may take it neat, there’s no shame in adding a small ice cube or a splash of water so you can appreciate the robust caramel, vanilla, cinnamon spice, and chocolate that make this a truly excellent bourbon without melting your palate.”

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon 
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon (

As the story goes, The Baptist minister Elijah Craig is said to be the “inventor” of Bourbon when he “accidentally” charred oak barrels before storing his whiskey in them, according to Food Network.

“It has none of the harshness you’d expect from a 133.2 proof bourbon, and doesn’t undergo chill filtering — instead just using light filtration to remove barrel char flakes. Tasting notes include Heath Bar and leather on the nose, with cinnamon candies, roasted vanilla and rye coming through in the palate,” notes Gear Patrol

3. Old Ezra 7-Year-Old Bourbon

If you’re looking for an award-winning bourbon with sweet floral notes and a warm, buttery finish, Old Ezra’s 7-Year-Old Bourbon will do just the trick. “Luxco’s Old Ezra line could be one of the best-kept secrets in whiskey. Bourbon with an age statement and available at barrel strength for a good price? That’s nuts in today’s whiskey world. It’s got a good amount of heat on account of being 117 proof, but you’ll still be able to make out classic bourbon tasting notes,” mentions Gear Patrol.

Reviewers note that though the Kentucky producer only dates back to 1957, the end-product stands up against even the most iconic names in the business. “On the nose, it offers up creamy vanilla, along with dried fruit notes. There is a pronounced caramel flavor on the palate, along with dried fruit notes and some pepperiness. It’s slightly drying on the palate, likely because of the high proof. The finish is long, sweet and peppery, with lingering dried fruit notes,” adds Forbes.

4. Widow Jane 10-Year-Old Bourbon

Widow Jane’s 10-Year-Old Straight Bourbon is highly rated as one of the top sipping whiskeys, with a complex yet well-balanced flavor profile. “Blended in New York from bourbons distilled in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, Widow Jane has a distinct, rich flavor profile. When you sip it, this pricey bourbon coats your tongue with a cherry and maple sweetness plus almond notes. The charred oak comes out in a long, mild finish,” states Insider

The bourbon is only ever made in five-barrel batches and is non-chill filtered and proofed. “Its team wanted to add something that ‘had the intense taste of New York in each sip,’ so it cuts that blend with limestone mineral water from the famous Rosendale Mines in upstate New York. The distillery’s signature 10-year-old bourbon presents a nose of nutmeg, cream, vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon, and a palate that flirts with maple syrup, almond, cherry, and orange,” explains

5. Four Roses Single Barrel 

Looking to get into the world of bourbon but not sure where to start? Like anything in life, you’re not going to want to go super low budget, but Four Roses is an excellent and affordable quality find. 

“If it isn’t already, Four Roses should be your go-to budget bourbon. It’s great in cocktails, you can sip it on its own, and it is hands down one of the best bourbons you can find for the price. The Single Barrel is an excellent whiskey too, but for something tasty and more moderately priced check out Four Roses Small Batch. The distillery uses two mash bills and five yeast strains to create 10 different recipes to work with, and four of these recipes are used to make Small Batch,” writes Esquire

The producer is one of Kentucky’s finest, dating back to the 1800s. “Its single barrel might be the strongest offering in its decorated portfolio thanks to an uncanny balance of potency (100 proof) with a rich smoothness resulting from spending 10 years in barrel. Aromas of maple syrup and vanilla on the nose give way to ripe stone fruit on the tongue. Straight-up or on the rocks, it presents a delicate and lengthy finish that’s surprisingly nuanced,” describes


YouTube video

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

Follow on Google News

About the Author

Meaghan Babaker

Meaghan Babaker is a journalist and freelance writer previously based out of New York City while working for CBS New York, CBS Local and MSNBC. After moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 2016, she went on to write for Digital Luxury Group, The Travel Corporation and other international publications before joining the editorial team at StudyFinds.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer


  1. I wish these tasters would give the breakdown of corn and wheat or corn and rye . I am not a rye person,wheated is my go to sipping bourbon .

  2. Hands down, Blanton’s is the best bourbon.
    Four Roses tastes like turpentine. Avoid it like the plague…

    1. I agree. I really was surprised, but I didn’t care for four roses. Blanton is great, but it is $150 in central Florida. I really like Eagles rare and Elijah Craig.

    2. Everyone’s tastebuds are different. I think Blanton’s is fine but the SB way, way overrated. Four Roses – for me – is excellent, especially the Small Batch Select, Single Barrel and Barrel Proof version. I find Four Roses needs air. Right out of the bottle it can be underwhelming. Knob Creek has a chemical smell and taste right after opening that dissipates with air, then I can enjoy it. But again, everyone has different taste. Cheers!

    1. Technically due to the Lincoln process it is not. There are arguments about the impact of the process…cleaning up JD flavor vs imparting flavor but it is resultingly Tennessee Whiskey. Same for George Dickel which I actually think is better than JD these days. Interestingly enough, Dickel has made some bourbon in recent years, i.e. dropping the Lincoln process for those barrels.

  3. Blanton’s is good but ridiculously overrated. You obviously have never actually tasted Four Roses Single Barrel. One of my favorite drams. If that’s what turpentine tastes like, sign me up.

  4. I would scratch Old Ezra and Four Roses and add Eagle Rare and Angels Envy . I agree Weller 12 is the top dog

    1. That substituion makes sense if you prefer lower proof bourbons. Angel’s Envy is what – 80-ish proof?

    2. Jim

      I agree wholeheartedly ! Eagle Rare, buffalo Trace, and Angels Envy are top self bourbons. I had a chance to try Pappy Van Winkle on a cruise a few years back. I thought it was good but Angels Envy is similar but a hell of lot cheaper.
      Happy New Year

  5. As other commenters have already written the four roses bottles that you mentioned probably should not be in this list. I recommend if you’re going to write about things like this you at least try them first. Second hand information is just that.

  6. There has never been a time I could not start a war among my tastebuds should I pop back and forth between Russells (10 year) and Buffalo Trace
    (single barrel). I’m probably in a minority here but my tastes tend to go for nuances so the farther I can sit away from “pop”, “burn”, “pepper” or whatever you want to call the impact of Alcoholic content the better I like it. Sorry, but there is a reason that the cocktail was invented and I am a “sipper” not a “slaker”. Just sayin

  7. I own a bottle of Weller 12 year. It’s excellent. Top bourbon. I have to say Four Roses Select is very close.

  8. I have a bottle of that Old Ezra 7 year and it is very good, in my opinion. And Elijah Craig of any kind has always stood up for me. Weller? Yep. Also always solid. I had Wifow Jane years ago and didn’t like it. Perhaps I should revisit. A couple here that aren’t noted that I am currently very fond of are Heaven Hill BIB and Penelope Toasted. Had a an impromptu tasting at my house the other day and Penelope Toatsed was the unanimous winner amongst some stiff competition.

  9. As Subjective Lists go, this one is as good as any, and I applaud the effort. As a Bourbon aficionado, who teaches Bourbon workshops, and acknowledging the Subjectivity of Taste, Stagg Jr. by Buffalo Trace would be at or near the top of my personal list, greatest combination of Proof and Taste! As well as a decent value just under $100, since some Commenters bring up Cost-Value as part of the decision matrix. The List, and Commenters, also overlook another favorite from my cabinet of 70 or so labels, Knob Creek Single Barrel, although I confess my taste is shaped by my interest in Abraham Lincoln, since one of his 3 boyhood homes was Knob Creek (although of course Mr. Lincoln was a teetotaler!).

Comments are closed.