Five Bangin’ Bourbons (you can actually find)
As if I needed something else to geek out on and obsess over (craft beer, camping gear, ski gear, guitars), I recently fell in love with bourbon and all the rich history that accompanies it. As with most of my hobbies, I usually try to find the absolute top of the line, then start deciding if the price is worth the product.
In my initial research, and going down many YouTube rabbit holes, I quickly realized that most of the uber-premium Bourbon selections are so highly allocated, they never even hit store shelves. In the Bourbon world, these rare, hard to find gems are often referred to as “unicorns.” If you want one of these unicorns, you can hope to luck out in a store lottery, or pay eight to ten times the cost on the secondary market. Neither are extremely attractive.
The good news for Bourbon fans is that there are dozens of amazing offerings out in the wild that are readily available. I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Max Girardin, from Hazel’s Beverage World, to get an expert’s advice on what we should be adding to our collections.
Henry McKenna 10-Year Single Barrel
Max Says: A laundry list of things I look for in a good whiskey. The 100 proof gets tempered down nicely in the ten-year aging process. It’s also “Bottled In Bond,” which for Bourbon nerds, is very important.
Max Says: The port wine finish gives this selection a lot of depth and complexity. Smooth, easy drinking. Dark fruit, baking chocolate. This is also one of my favorite bottles to recommend as a gift, because of the bottle presentation.
Old Forester 1920
Max Says: This Bourbon dances across your tongue. While the high proof can be intimidating, there are so many good things going on, and the finish is long and satisfying. Much easier to drink than it’s proof would suggest.
A.D. Laws Four Grain Single Barrel
Max Says: This uses corn, wheat, rye, and barley, which most distillers aren’t doing anymore. 100% of the grains used to make this whiskey are Colorado sourced, including the water (Eldorado Canyon) to finish. We get to hand select the barrels of this that we put on our shelf, which makes it even more special.
Max Says: This wheated bourbon is for people looking for the classic, buttery, creamy notes, which are often found in the Weller lineup. Definitely the easiest drinker in this lineup, and a perfect entry level for someone dipping their toe in the world of Bourbon.
Visit HazelsBoulder.com for more information, or simply stop by the store and visit with Max and the staff to guide you through your next bourbon purchase.