eauty before age. That’s the consensus of Cocktail.com’s panel of small-batch bourbon tasters. Our experts put a highly-decorated 15-year-old blend ahead other older (and more expensive) bourbons. Old Rip Van Winkle’s got high marks for its complex nose, mellow palate and smooth finish. Second-placed Knob Creek wasn’t far behind, winning accolades for its sweet, full flavor and subtle, somewhat smoky finish.
Our bourbon-sippers were impressed by the overall quality of these spirits. The products were, without exception, first-rate. Even Maker’s Mark, which the editors of Cocktail.com put at a significant handicap, exceeded expectations. In fact, we would gladly stock our personal bar with the lowest-rated of the small-batch bourbon’s, the Elijah Craig 12-year-old – which, we believe rated poorly only because it tasted so different from the others.
When the quality of small-batch bourbons is this uniform, the only real differentiator becomes price – and by that criteria, we’re sold on Maker’s Mark, which easily wins our price-performace award.
|Rank||Brand||Price||Score||Tastes Like …|
|1||Old Rip Van Winkle 15-year-old||$49||99||Caramel|
|2||Knob Creek Aged 9 years||$35||98.5||Vanilla|
|3||Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23-year-old||$171||98||Brown Sugar|
|5||Basil Hayden’s Small Batch||$38||96||Cherry|
|6||Booker’s Small Batch||$54||95.5||Molasses|
|7||Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon||$29||94||Cinammon|
|8||Woodford Reserve, Distiller’s Select||$45||93||Walnut|
|9||Baker’s Aged 7 years||$42||92.5||Maple|
|10||Jefferson’s Reserve, very small batch||$47||92||Candy|
|11||Sam Houston, very small batch||$27||90||Cherry|
|12||Elijah Craig 12-year-old||$20||89||Citrus|
The editors of Cocktail.com would like to thank the manufacturers of the aforementioned bourbons for allowing us to evaluate their products.