Best Bourbons For Beginners- Bourbon is the traditional American style whiskey that is at least 51% corn mash, old in new burnt oak barrels, and has a deep color and a slightly sweet taste. This is a unique and delicious style of whiskey but can be intimidating for those who are just starting out. Don’t worry if it’s you, we’ve got you covered. For those looking to enter the world of bourbon, we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 best bourbons for beginners. Not only are these approachable whiskeys blended by themselves or into your favorite mixer, but they can also be purchased for less than 100. There’s no reason to go out for more expensive bourbon unless you can really appreciate it.
What makes the best beginner bourbon? The answer will depend a bit on your personal tastes.
We’ll cover some of the key considerations to keep in mind, including:
- Aroma: how does it smell?
- Taste: what sensations or flavor notes might you detect?
- Finish: what flavor notes do you get after swallowing, and how long does the flavor linger?
Table of Contents
Smoothest Bourbon For Beginners
1. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is best sweet bourbon for beginners and it is a balanced, plush whiskey with well-combined notes of vanilla, caramel, and toast. The spicy, lingering finish promises you to come back for more.
Pros -The soft, spherical structure of this bourbon remains intact against the heat of alcohol. Many layers of fruit, sweet notes, spices, and spicy toastiness control its richness.
Cons– Its rich taste and texture can be considered very sweet for some bourbon lovers and definitely for Scotch fans.
Color: Deep, rich chestnut honey color, 8 to 12 years old in new American oak barrels
Nose: Only ripe bananas, ripe apples, butter cookies, vanilla bean
Scalp: For whiskey with 47% ABV, it manages an effective balance of taste and heat directly from the bourbon bottle. It is round, luxurious, and sweet on the scalp, with good notes of pepper spice.
Finish: Starting from the first sip, vanilla and caramel linger on the finish, with a sweet toast and spice dryness.
2. Makers Mark Bourbon
Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey and W have always come out on top as the smoothest bourbon whiskies on the market. A 7-year-old Bourbon Whiskey known as Weller Special Reserve. In the first type, there is a mellow, soft flavor that lingers. It is also said to have a hint of spice and oak to it.
Maker’s is a good starter bourbon that pleases beginners and whiskey elites. While most bourbons are sourced from rye grain, Maker’s uses soft red winter wheat. The wheat base gives this bourbon an incredibly smooth, full, slightly sweet flavor that’s never bitter.
Nose: A big bang of sweetness immediately greets you with this. There are notes of vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and even a little strawberry. This is an amazingly strong scent for 90-proof bourbon. Unfortunately, just outside the bottle it also gives off an intense ethanol odor that gratefully dissolves over time and further reveals its sweet core. It’s a great start that makes me wonder how enjoyable it is.
Palate: Definitely less sweet than the nose, but still pleasant and unpretentious. Toffee, vanilla, and oak notes are the most prevalent, with pale hints of toasted nuts and cinnamon. Overall it has a thin but battery mouthfeel that goes down smoothly. Pleasant but not mind-blowing
Finish: Initially, the finish is almost non-existent due to the thinness of the bourbon, but then it reappears. I wouldn’t call the finish hot, but I wouldn’t call it humble either. The flavors of the palate that reach the end are by no means deep and layered, but overall they are pleasant and hard to find flaws in.
3. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
The Woodford Reserve is famous for its flagship bottle, labeled the Kentucky Strait Bourbon Whiskey. The brand also makes other bourbons and whiskeys. At the core of the portfolio is a special barreling technique and three expressions that use dominant grains in addition to the corn required for bourbon.
Woodford Reserve, it is the best beginner bourbon and official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, is one of the many well-known bourbons from Brown Forman, who also owns Jack Daniel’s and Old Forester.
Nose: Quite thick and creamy. There are notes of honey and spice, leather, a touch of cocoa, a little smoke, toasty oak and vanilla cream with a hint of butterscotch.
Palate: Thick and full. There are notes of espresso beans, winter spice, cereal sweetness, plenty of rye, ground ginger, almond oil, toasty oak and a little rum.
Finish: Long and mature with notes of cereals and toasty oaken spice.
4. Weller Antique 107 Bourbon
W.L. Wheeler is a good beginner bourbon. The wheat bourbon originally made by the Steasel-Weiler distilling company. The brand is named after William Laru Weller, a distiller who has been credited by some with using wheat as a secondary grain in straight bourbon as opposed to the commonly used rye.
Color: Burnt gold.
Nose: The aroma of greenish dark fruit wafts through the glass and combines with vanilla and caramel. There is a healthy dose of seasoned oak that provides dimensionality.
In the mouth: In the long, long, dull finish, there are some subtle hints of wood flavor and toasted and buttered wheat bread.
Palate: The first thing that was noticed was how full and oily the bourbon felt in the mouth. Cinnamon spice captures the flavor buds, followed by cherries, dark fruits, raw sugar, and aged oak.
Finish: A crescent of cinnamon spice introduces the finish. Sweet notes of caramel and vanilla follow. The taste is as subtle and difficult to articulate as the hints of tobacco in the background. The undercurrent of cinnamon stays everywhere and then lingers. Very enjoyable.
5. Four Roses Bourbon
It has a smooth and long finish, which provides the perfect entrance to anyone knocking on the Bourbon Trail’s front door, While bottles will vary based on what barrel they come from, Four Roses is consistently a good choice. It is the best starter bourbon you will ever have.
Color: Golden Caramel — Bourbons are prohibited by law from using artificial colors, so the color comes entirely from the barrel.
Nose: It is heavy on rye, and is also a fruit dominated by plums, apricots, and bright citrus.
Scalp: Rich and sweet but not smooth, it contains caramel with hints of vanilla, cherry candy, chocolate sage, cinnamon spice powder, and mild oak-like dryness when rubbing against the tonsils.
Finish: Finish means oak-dry, black pepper spicy. A beautiful aftertaste lingers, with sweet orange peel and toffee tips.
6. Evan Williams Bourbon
Evan Williams is best smooth bourbon for beginners and brand of whiskey that has been around since 1783. The Evan Williams Extra Aged Variety is a new addition to the line and is made by Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, signed by Evan Williams. This whiskey is at least seven years old in new, burnt oak barrels.
Nose: Caramel apples, spearmint, black pepper. A light hint of corn sits in the background. A slightly spicy kick of clove.
Palate: Raisins and walnuts. Creamy vanilla at the core, with an underpinning hint of vegetal oak. Zesty orange oil.
Finish: Quite spicy, with drying notes of cinnamon bark and pine nuts.
7. Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon
Old Forester Bourbon was the first to be sold in sealed glass bottles in the United States, so no unpleasant people should tamper with their carefully thought-out recipe. It was first seen on the shelves in 1870, and rye-rich bourbon is still enjoyed today.
Old Forrester Bourbon 86 Proof is a shelf staple offered by Brown Foreman, famous for the Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels. Due to the Whiskey Row series and the recent expansion of the Old Forrester line to include 100 proofs and Cask Strength Old Forrester single barrels, the 43% ABV version is the most affordable entry point to Old Forrester Bourbon at a rate of around 18$-25$ per Bottle.
Smell: In Old Forrester Bourbon it is oak, roasted and sweet caramel, vanilla, and lightly smoked grains, followed by dried citrus peel, apples, sweetened fruits, cinnamon, and then licorice.
Taste: Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon starts off with roasted caramel, apple, vanilla, and citrus with toasted oak and cinnamon that follow close behind. There is a little bit at first, but it’s nothing major.
Palate: Mouth Feel: It’s watery, but there’s an effervescence that makes it interesting.
Balance: Unexpectedly good. Maybe a little mint-heavy, but not bad.
Visual: Russet muscat in color, there are long, thick, clinging legs, but not much of a crown
Also Read- Difference Between Vodka And Whiskey
8. Redemption Wheated Bourbon
In 45% winter wheat and 96 proof, this unique spirit is the discovery of the subtlety and characteristic that can be found and discovered in the wheat of the mash bill. Redemption Weighted Bourbon is an exceptional expression of our continued commitment to bringing you a different, interesting whiskey. Its complex flavors have won it many awards, as well as among whiskey lovers.
Nose: Honied graham, fruit, caramel, melon rind, cocoa, marshmallow, grain, and wood. The scent is so light, there’s not much going on and everything that’s happening is watery and wooded.
Honied graham, fruit, caramel, wood, melon rind, marshmallow, and some cereal sweeteners. It’s oddly even light, it’s like whiskey-flavored water, not much is happening in this redemption-weighted bourbon, and I found myself straining and looking for a few more signs.
Finish: Small -> Honey Graham, sweet fruit and cereal that disappeared in an instant.
Balance, body, and feel: OK for whatever it is, a watery body and a super-light feel from start to finish.
9. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Buffalo Trace is a solid bourbon that has good but unusual flavors, but surprisingly some rye-forward fragrances have helped. While the flavors aren’t too complicated, they do have some intensity and character that are interesting and enjoyable to drink.
The Buffalo Trace is a bourbon that is at least eight years old. This flagship bottling is marked by flavors of butterscotch, toffee, nutmeg, cinnamon and cracked peppers, a silky caramel note that wraps itself around all those zing and punches on the finish.
Color: Rich mahogany-golden golden brown, as should appear in bourbon barrels for at least eight years
Nose: The rye comes out strongly and gives clear notes of vanilla bean, burnt cinnamon, and spices.
Scalp: Rich butterscotch and toffee notes, with the presence of rye, along with nutmeg, cinnamon, and cracked pepper notes, quickly transform into a spice on the tongue.
Finish: While the spice and four predominate, a silky caramel note is present.
10. New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon
This bourbon certainly shows consistency with the distillery’s bottled in bond version—amped up here at barrel proof. Almonds and berries lead the nose, but it boasts voluminous depth with notes of peanuts, iced tea, orange blossom, tobacco leaf, and baking spice. Dark fruit, textured spice, savory peanuts, dark chocolate, mint oil, orange, almond, and cherry on the palate; adding water is a good idea. The finish extends all the flavors with seemingly boundless length. Every sip is thrilling.
Nose: Freshly baked bread, cinnamon peel, and brown sugar rise to the top to close things down with a subtle baking aroma. Light notes of toasted oak, grass, roasted cinnamon apples, and vanilla bean are layered below. Its distinct but subtle aromas are inviting, giving a nice introduction to the overall sip.
Palate: Sweet caramel, vanilla powder, and light baking spice are at the forefront. A closer look reveals more sweet flavors in the form of light marshmallows and sweet oak. A twinge of spice is added by ginger candy and rye spice notes. For small bourbon, it avoids the whole taste which is characteristic of the sip.
Finish: Bold rye masala delivers cuts to get things started. Trying to fight through light vanilla spice with dry leather and oak dabs. The warmth of the spice carries with it faint notes of sweet vanilla. This makes for a great combination and a perfect way to sip off the cap.
Bourbons For Beginners Video Summary
FAQ- Best Bourbons For Beginners
1. Is bourbon good for first time drinkers?
– Yes bourbon is actually good for the first time drinkers.
2. Is Maker’s Mark good for beginners?
– Maker’s is a supremely drinkable bourbon that pleases beginners and whiskey elites.
3. Do you take shots of bourbon?
– Don’t take shots of high-quality bourbon.
4. How should a beginner drink bourbon?
– Just pour a glass of bourbon into a glass, take a small sip, then add a few drops of water, then swirl it again in the glass. Then, try sipping the bourbon again.