With fall well on it's way, cooler evenings provide a great opportunity to enjoy a bourbon with a little extra heat on it to help warm things up a bit! As the last number of years have seen a lot of higher proof expressions come to market we have lined up the Bourboneur top 10 for 2022 below. These represent a variety of different flavor profiles from big name brands to craft distilleries and bottles that you can pick up easily today or that you may have to work to find. In no particular order, as they're all pretty darn enjoyable, here we go....
Angels Envy Cask Strength
With the 10th anniversary of Angel's Envy Cask Strength bottlings just released recently, this port wine finished bottling has been one of my new found favorites. The packaging for this bottle is pretty incredible as well, coming in a large wooden box that is not only heavy, but quite stout. The palate finds ribbons of caramel and raspberries combining with earthy notes like tobacco and leather to create a really unique experience. If you see this at the store, buy it.
Still Austin Cask Strength
Still Austin you may not have heard of, but it's one to keep your eye on. Unsurprisingly located in Austin, Texas this craft distillery has earned a spot on my shelf and is a bottle I'll be buying some extras of to have on hand. There's a lot to enjoy in this pour which definitely does not register as being a cask strength bourbon given how smooth it goes down.
EH Taylor Barrel Proof
The first time I ever had E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof I was sitting with a friend who was working the drive up window of a local liquor store in my hometown. As college kids passed by getting shooters and cheap beer, we sat pouring fingers of this quite satisfying bottle. Although individual bottlings vary, it is relatively consistent in its quality and is a very bourbony-bourbon, delivering all the classic tastes and flavors you'd expect but with the high proof gravitas that puts a fine point on the experience. An increasingly difficult bottle to come by, it's a go-to sipper for those lucky enough to add it to your shelf.
Old Carter Bourbon
Offering a series of small, limited batch straight bourbon's Old Carter's lineup has an undisclosed mashbill. The juice is thought to be between six to eight years in age and delivers a deep, dark nose and palate. Rich flavors balance out nicely together and culminate in an enduring finish that leaves you ready for the next sip. This is one of those bottles that you crack and then next thing you know it seems like it's got a hole in it as there's nothing left. Not the easiest to come by, but a great pour for those that find their way to one.
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 2022 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.
Old Forester 150th Anniversary Bourbon
Released in 2020, the Old Forester 150th Anniversary series can still be found for the lucky few out and about, but expect to have a bit of a lighter wallet on the other side of the pour...150 barrels were set aside by Brown-Forman that were divided into three batches, with each having a unique composition, though all drink hot. Batch 3 is our favorite of the mix and has a really complex character...it's like a riot of flavor with a spunky bit of heat. Definitely an experience you need to have.
Blanton's Straight from the Barrel
Regular ol' Blanton's is a super popular pour, and as noted in our recent post on the Most Flipped Bourbons of 2022, is fiercely sought after. The Straight from the Barrel flavor profile is like an amped up version of Blanton's, enhancing the palate and finish with a heaping helping more heat which imho takes away a bit from the experience. That said, it's a really unique bottle and some folks have even suggested that it could be an edition to the BTAC lineup as a sixth bottling...although I don't see that happening, definitely scoop this up if you have the chance!!
1792 Full Proof
A high-rye bourbon, the 1792 Full Proof offering provides a bit of fire and a bit of flavor that's easy to enjoy at its full proof (being watered down slightly). This is the highest proof offering available from 1792 and has a great palate that is a bit sweeter than the nose would let on. It finishes hot and with an interesting juxtaposition of flavors that's a bit musty in composition...maybe not for everyone, but a great pour on a cold day nonetheless.
Booker's 2022-02 "The Lumberyard Batch"
Booker's in 2018 moved to named batches with several offerings coming out each year. I'm currently trying to drink through some of mine to make room on the shelf before buying more. The 2022-02 batch, named "The Lumberyard Batch" is a stand out in the litany of Booker's releases because it delivers a very unique among Booker's palate which is quite sweet with a great burnt toffee note before delivering that typical Booker's "jet-A" style heat.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
Elijah Craig first released its barrel proof line in 2013 and although year to year the proof varies the general profile of the bourbon has remained fairly consistent. The flavor profile of this bourbon is terrific, imagine caramel covered marshmallows toasting over an oak campfire...totally lulls you into a false sense of security before...BAM!...a rush of spicy heat which lingers on your tongue. It's a great bottle, that leaves an impression!
Bourbon Blue Book
Although a couple of these bottles are tough to come by, a number of them you should be able to find out and about at your local liquor store. For those that are a bit on the unicorn side of the equation, you may have to purchase on the secondary market if you want to give them a try. Bourboneur has began tracking secondary sales to provide our readers with the latest pricing for bottles using our free service, the Bourbon Blue Book. Updated regularly, we've done the leg work in tracking what bottles are selling for on the market today. With retail stores catching on to pricing and marking a lot of bottles up, use this to gut check if you're paying too much for that bottle you just found that you want to buy. Happy Hunting friends!