Selecting the right bourbon, much less the best for an Old Fashioned is complicated. It’s not as easy as simply finding the highest quality bourbon you can, buying it, then using it to make the best Bourbon Old Fashioned ever. Yes, quality is very important. But choosing the best bourbon for an Old Fashioned depends on many things, like your budget, how practical you want to be, and personal preference. For example, when you say “the best” do you really mean “the best” or do you just want the most for your money?
If you want “the best,” or a bourbon that’s among the best, why not grab a bottle of WL Weller Full Proof and have at it? But realistically, why would you want to defile such beauty with sugar and bitters…much less ice? I think it’s best not to offend the whiskey gods and pass on that idea. Instead, enjoy it neat or on the rocks with a few chilled whiskey stones.
Even still, are you willing to wait for “the best?” Do you want to wait for that perfect bourbon to arrive in the mail 3-5 days after your Old Fashioned craving hits, or would you rather read a few articles online, find a great bourbon that’s locally available, hop in your car, and drive to the nearest store to pick it up? See what I mean? This isn’t an easy game to play. So, let’s assume you’re the latter and looking for something we can all enjoy. Something practical and just around the corner, like a great single-barrel or small-batch bourbon that’s premium quality, well-priced, and Kentucky-made. Nice, I think that’ll do the trick.
The Best Bourbon(s) for an Old Fashioned
The Bourbon Old Fashioned is a great example of what an American cocktail should be, it’s right up there with the Manhattan and the Martini, both in terms of popularity and nostalgia. Accordingly, the simplicity of the cocktail is synonymous with its character: an apéritif that perfectly illustrates the profile of the whiskey it seats. Obviously, quality is very important here, even more so than many cocktails. However, with so many bourbons to choose from, where to start? Well, here’s a list of seven amazing bourbons that are all excellent options. They’re both readily available and of high quality. But most importantly, they’ll take your Old Fashioned game to the next level. So if you’re looking for the best bourbon(s) for an Old Fashioned…you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy!
The combination of exceptional quality and value makes Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year a step above the rest. This bourbon is made from the highest quality ingredients available and aged to perfection. Its unique blend of rye, corn, and barley malt offers a complex flavor like no other. Also, the pure Kentucky limestone-filtered water provides unadulterated authenticity. Bulleit Bourbon is the essence of what a high-quality bourbon whiskey should be: bold in character, perfectly balanced, and made with passion.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon is made at the most award-winning distillery in the world. The whiskey has everything you could ask for in a high-quality affordable bourbon: the finest ingredients and a refined aging process combined to form a rugged spirit with deep and complex aromas. In doing so, Buffalo Trace has delivered a true masterpiece. Buffalo Trace Bourbon is well suited in an old fashioned because of its one-of-a-kind combination of flavors including vanilla, mint, molasses, toffee, dark fruit, and anise. As a result, this top tier spirit is an absolute must-try bourbon. You won’t regret it.
A perfectly balanced whiskey with over 200 detectable flavors. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon gets the most out of the Kentucky soil it’s malt and rye derive from. The bourbon offers a sweet combination of fruit, floral, spice, and aromatic notes. Since 1812 Woodford Reserve has proudly produced some of the best bourbons in Kentucky. Their passion for quality and distinction is uniquely displayed in their Kentucky Straight. So if you’re looking for uncompromising quality, this is your bourbon.
The strength of this bourbon is in its distinct oaky taste. Maker’s Mark is known for its distinct combination of flavors including vanilla, caramel, and spice. This Cask Strength bourbon takes the Maker’s Mark signature taste to a whole new level, rest assured you’ll be satisfied with what it serves. Furthermore, the smooth feel of this bourbon is a significant improvement over the brand’s basic bourbon despite having a much higher ABV. Granted Maker’s offers a Private Barrel Bourbon that’s nicely made. However, it’s expensive and has a quality made for sipping instead of mixing. But, to each is their own. Regardless, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon is a great choice of whiskey for an Old Fashioned.
This 120 proof bourbon is 5th on this list only because of its price. Otherwise, it’d be a lot higher. It’s among the most expensive whiskey I’ve listed but it’s well worth a mention. Since each bottle of Knob Creek Single Barrel is (as you might guess) bottled from only one barrel, each can vary slightly in taste and aroma. Additionally, this powerful bourbon stands out from the crowd with a gentle nutty finish.
Oh Reverend Craig, thank you kindly. Elijah Craig bourbon is named after a Baptist preacher who lived in Kentucky in the 19th century, widely known as the Father of Bourbon. Keeping with tradition, this whiskey is a truly exceptional bourbon for its price. It’s a strictly maintained small batch, only being bottled from a dumping of 70 barrels or less. As a result, each batch is unique yet consistently smooth and sweet. The hints of vanilla, caramel, and fruit complete Elijah Craig bourbon in stellar fashion.
Old Grand Dad is a stout whiskey that’s not for everyone. However, for those that don’t mind a powerful full-bodied bourbon, it’s a liquor cabinet staple. The spirit is a rye-tinged bourbon, so it’s spicier than a lot of these other options. Even still, Old Grand Dad is ridiculously smooth for its strength. As the name suggests, it has a respectable ABV of 57%, perfect for mixing into cocktails. But most importantly, its flavor profile is great! Several unique notes combine to make this whiskey one-of-a-kind like caramel, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and cinnamon. In short, look no further if you’re looking for an unbelievably well-priced bourbon that you can be proud of.
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