Eight Must Try Bourbons for Beginners

For those new to the bourbon market, diving into bourbon can be intimidating and expensive. Bourbon is so popular nowadays, and everyone has an opinion about the best bottle, which ones are overpriced, what is aged enough, and whether it should be finished. The great thing is that everyone loves something different, but one thing is for sure: nothing beats a good pour shared with good friends.

You may even already be familiar with a few of our top picks like the Bib & Tucker or Eagle Rare, but there are a few harder-to-find bottles on the list that might be worth checking out even if you have been around the bourbon scene for a while.

Best Bourbons for | Bourbons for beginners
Not all bottles shown represent the bourbons listed below, as some of them are no longer in our possession.

Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon

Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon is a new one for us, and it has been moved to the front of the cabinet. This small batch has been quietly earning top accolades from the most admired competitions worldwide and has also taken a liking in our office. Its name comes from the phrase commonly used to describe your finest attire in the 1880s, but it is best enjoyed in a t-shirt and flip-flops. Bib & Tucker is aged for at least 6 years with a bold, refined taste and is exceptionally smooth, double distilled and filtered through sugar maple charcoal. The brand proudly displays the age front and center, and this also helps distinguish their different bottles easily. Best of all, it is easily obtainable. A great bottle for the price.

Aged 6-years | 92 Proof | Retail: $65 | bibandtuckerbourbon.com

Wild Turkey Longbranch & Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Wild Turkey Longbranch is an 8-year-old, small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon, refined with American Oak and Texas mesquite charcoals. It was given the name Longbranch because of a reference to a business partnership between Wild Turkey and Matthew McConaughey but that is no longer in existence. This super approachable bourbon is 75% corn and comes in at 86 proof. If you see it on the shelves, it’s well worth the try and possibly the easiest siping in the line-up.

Be sure to check out the Wild Turkey Rare Breed and Kentucky Spirit. Both are great bourbons.

86 Proof | Prce $40.00 | longbranchbourbon.com

Frey Ranch Four-Grain Straight Bourbon

A true farm-to-table bourbon, Frey Ranch Four-Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey is 100% sustainably grown, malted, distilled, matured, and bottled on the Frey Ranch. Aged for 5 years, this 90-proof bourbon is smooth yet complex with oak and citrus aromas followed by vanilla, caramel, banana chips, and dried hay on the palate. With a 4-grain mash bill of non-GMO corn, winter cereal rye, winter wheat, and two-row barley-malted on-site, this is a flavorful bourbon that can easily be enjoyed on its own neat, yet also holds up in any whiskey-based cocktail.

Aged 5 Years | 90 Proof | Retail: $52,.99 | freyranch.com

Hooten Young 12 Year

This is the oldest and most expensive bottle on the list, but it could easily be your new go-to bottle. Distilled in Indiana, this bourbon (they call it American Whiskey) offers notes of maple, vanilla, ripe apple, and a long, smooth finish. The whiskey is aged 12 years and made with a mash bill of 99% corn and 1% barley. The spirit was distilled to 189 proof, barreled at 140 proof, and bottled at 92 proof from second-fill barrels.

Aged 12 Years | 92 Proof | Retail: $90.00 | hootenyoung.com

O.H. Ingram River Aged Bourbon

O.H. Ingram is not a common name in the bourbon world, but O.H. Ingram offers some amazing pours. The “Straight Bourbon” features a wheated mashbill at 105 proof and, overall, is a well-balanced whiskey with a sweet, bold profile with a cool story. The rickhouses for O.H. Ingram float on the Mississippi River. We aren’t talking barges here like other brands, but floating docks that help the whiskey absorb the oak flavors from the barrels. If you ever see a pour, be sure to give it a try.

105 Proof | Retail: $70.00 | ingramwhiskey.com

O.H Ingram River Aged Bourbo

Russel’s 10 Year Bourbon

An amazing bourbon for the price and easy to find. Made at the Wild Turkey Distillery. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year has carried the same specs for almost two decades now. The barrels are all aged at least 10 years before they’re divided into “small” batches comprised of around 200 barrels. The final blend is not chill-filtered (unlike a majority of Wild Turkey products) and it’s bottled at just 90 proof.

Aged: 10-years | 90 Proof | Price: 60 | russellsreserve.com

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

Part of the Old Forester Whiskey Row series, this bourbon is bottled at 115 proof, offering intense flavors of caramel, dark chocolate, and spice. Despite its high proof, it remains smooth and approachable.

The Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Kentucky Straight Bourbon takes a taste out of history and reinvents how to experience a classic! Composed from a mashbill containing 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley, this NAS whiskey is an ongoing release from

Aged 4-years | 115 Proof | Retail: $65 | oldforester.com

Buffalo Trace’s Eagle Rare

So, when we say Buffalo Trace, I’m referring to the distillery. They make a rather large selection of bourbons and ryes, and if you have a chance to try one, don’t hesitate. Out of its extensive portfolio, Eagle Rare stands out for its price, quality, and being semi-available. This is easily the hardest-to-find bourbon on this list. But it is also a perfect entry point into the world of highly sought-after Buffalo Trace bourbons. Eagle Rare has an age statement of 10 years and is a refined, smoother version of Buffalo Trace. Eagle Rare is a bourbon that is worth trying. Secondary prices seem to be around $80.00

Aged: 10-years | 90 Proof | $40 (at the distillery) | eaglerare.com

Eagle Rare, A Great Bourbons for Beginners

There are a myriad of other must-try bourbons for beginners, and please don’t let our list discourage you from trying others. Bourbon, much like wine, is a personal choice, and no two palates are alike. There are also a million bourbon blogs and websites out there to read reviews. Do your research, and enjoy responsibly with friends.

Also, be sure to follow our other brand, Distiller News, for bourbon releases, news, and reviews. Hanging out by the Smaker? Be sure to check our Komado Joe Konnected Joe review.



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