5 Very Drinkable High Proof Bourbons
High proof can sometimes be a bit intimidating to folks, especially those who may be new to bourbon and think that if something is above 100 proof you might as well be trying to ride the lightning. Truth be told, that's not always the case and frankly there are a number of high proof bourbons out there that drink at a much lower proof. In today's post we dive into some absolutely delicious bourbons that you should be on the lookout for to add to your shelf at home.
Redwood Empire 15 Year Haystack Needle
A recent Bourboneur favorite, this deep and dark dram has some great age to it and it really shines through in all the best ways in the glass. As one would expect, oak is very front and center with this pour, but perhaps unexpectedly balanced with dark fruit and baking spice notes coming along for the ride. I can't seem to stop pouring this bottle and am quickly realizing I need to find a replacement in relatively short order. Definitely a solid bottle and one that you shouldn't shy away from if you have the chance to pull the trigger on buying!
Remus Gatsby Reserve
Given I have a garage bar speakeasy, it's not a terrible surprise that a bourbon that happens to have a connection to the roaring 20's and comes in a really cool art deco bottle within a folding display box is on the list. Beyond looking cool though, this is a bourbon that really delivers and has a very complex palate to it that you'll want to take some time with to unpackage. A house brand from MGP of Indiana's Ross and Squibb Distillery in Lawrenceburg, the Gatsby Reserve is a 15-year-old bourbon that may be the apex of the Remus lineup. It's of course an ultra-limited expression, meaning this one may be a bit difficult to lay hands on, but oh so worth it if you get the chance!
E.H. Taylor Batch 11
I'm a big fan of this year's barrel proof release as a part of the E.H. Taylor line from Buffalo Trace. Of course, I say that every year as there's not a bad E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof expression that I'm aware of, though I've not had them all...yet. Each year's expression is usually identifiable by the proofing stated on the bottle, with this year's proof registering in at 129.0. But, this year's 129.0 proof is the same as batch 3 in the series (2014) so you'll have to now look at the laser code on the bottle to tell the two apart. For a complete review of the entire E.H. Taylor lineup, including a listing of the various batches, see our Definitive Guide to E.H. Taylor. What you'll love about this pour is the smoothness that comes with a relatively powerful bourbon, catching some sweet notes like chocolate that pull forward as you take in each drink.
Lucky Seven The Proprietor 14 Year
A brand that's starting to get a bit more buzz lately may be one which some of you have not heard much about, Lucky Seven Spirits. The Proprietor lineup consists of four bottlings, but the focus of today is on their 14 Year entry. A classic "bourbony-bourbon." It comes loaded for bear clocking in at a rather formidable 134.14 proof, and drinks like a dram that has some age, with ribbons of oak layered throughout each sip. Definitely one that you should consider picking up if you see it out and about on a shelf somewhere. If you want to learn more about the rest of the bottles in the Lucky Seven brand, take a deep dive with our recent post on this bourbon sourcing company.
Weller Full Proof
A beautiful high proof wheater, the Weller Full Proof bottling is still relatively new as a part of the brand, debuting in 2019. I recall a huge surge of demand and a rumor that we'd start seeing more of this product as production ramped...here we are in 2023 and I'm still waiting. With an exceptionally long finish this solid and well-balanced bourbon deserves a spot on your top shelf and will certainly have you pouring an extra finger or two...just for good measure.
Is Higher Proof Bourbon Better?
Bourbon cannot be distilled at higher than 160 proof, and it must go into the barrel at 125 proof or lower. Bourbon increases in proof as it ages and the angels take their cut of the barrel. The higher the proof a bourbon is matters little in terms of quality. It does however mean that there isn't as much water added to the spirit to dilute it down. With less dilution you can expect that these drams will deliver more flavor along with the extra kick that comes from the proof.
If Bourbon is Your Thing...
Each week we post up new content that explores the ever-changing world of bourbon, bringing fresh perspectives and the latest updates on all things brownwater. Make sure to navigate to our main blog page and sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you don't miss a beat. We'd suggest you also become a Bourboneur and join us on Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even TikTok.