The 10 Best High Proof Bourbon Whiskeys

There are many fantastic things that are truly American-made, and a refreshing glass of bourbon whiskey is absolutely one of them. The term “bourbon” is coined as an American-made produced whiskey, and legal requirements include being aged in newly charred oak containers, distilled to no more than 160 proof, bottled at 80 proof or higher, and made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. Such high standards result in the production of a smooth whiskey that makes for a perfect nightcap or to bring with you to a friend’s housewarming party.

The flavor complexity that bourbon whiskey offers is truly unique. Whiskey often contains smoother notes, such as chocolate, cherries, honey and caramel. Rye offers a spicy, black pepper sharp kick to each mouthful. As the bourbon process includes a mixture of rye and grain, bourbon whiskey offers the best of both worlds and results in a spice note upon first sip and relaxes into a smoother profile.

Every true whiskey lover has their preference of key palate and nose notes, whether bourbon should be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, and whether or not it should be mixed to create an Irish coffee or Old Fashioned. Regardless of how you prepare your whiskey or what notes you crave, it won’t take long to find a style of bourbon that is right for you. For newer whiskey fans looking to try out American made bourbon, we got you covered. If you are in the market to try something new, or you claim to be a bourbon whiskey connoisseur and want something to add to the cabinet, check out our 10 favorites below to spice up your life.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon WhiskeyWild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon Whiskey

Despite its high alcohol content, Rare Breed bourbon whiskey by Wild Turkey holds a rich yet mellow flavor profile. The rich spices are punched by a kick of citrus notes and sweetened with a caramel and green apple flavor. This bourbon whiskey is uncut with water, keeping a true and bold profile with each glass. A quick spin on the Wild Turkey website showcases the number of awards and competitions that Rare Breed has won, and reaching for a bottle of this stuff will prove the reason why.

  • ABV: 56.4%
  • Proof: 112
  • Notes: Caramel, pine, spices, citrus, green apple


Colonel EH Taylor Barrel Proof Bourbon WhiskeyColonel EH Taylor Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey

Kentucky born and raised, Colonel EH Taylor Barrel Proof bourbon whiskey is uncut and unfiltered for a maximum proof and flavor. Named after the renowned developer of innovative bourbon distilling techniques still in motion today, this fantastic Barrel Proof Bourbon is a beautiful way to honor him. The 67.3% alcohol by volume is perfect for the bold and sturdy whiskey lover. Knocking it back neat will amplify its bold spices, black pepper, and deep wooden notes, while adding a touch of water will produce a softer characteristic with dark chocolate, honey and vanilla notes.

  • ABV: 67.3%
  • Proof: 135
  • Notes: Bold spices, honey, dark chocolate, oak


Eagle Rare Bourbon WhiskeyEagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey

Receiving a gold medal in World Whiskey Masters and New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, Eagle Rare 10 year Bourbon Whiskey is the ideal choice for a beginner whiskey lover looking to avoid an overly sharp – but still equally bold – bourbon. The bold, dry and delicate notes infuse vanilla, spices, walnuts and rich cocoa to create a lingering taste. The lofty and distinct flavoring to this cult favorite bourbon whiskey is what keeps its followers coming back, and a 10-year aged profile speaks to its boldness. This bourbon is always priced to sell without compromising flavor complexity or quality, so if you are nervous about throwing your money at a more expensive bottle of bourbon, give this one a try.

  • ABV: 45%
  • Proof: 100
  • Notes: Vanilla, oak, spices, walnuts


Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (68%)Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey

Consistently ranked number 1 in blind taste tests against hundreds of whiskeys by Whisky Advocate, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bourbon whiskey delivers a smooth, deep and dark amber brown bourbon. Uncut, straight from the barrel and without chill filtering, this bourbon is in its purest form and contains hints of woody vanilla, black pepper, walnuts, cinnamon, caramel and new oak. Adding a few drops of water to your glass will open up the flavor profile completely, and can be moderated based on how much water you add.

  • ABV: 68%
  • Proof: 136
  • Notes: New oak, walnuts, caramel, vanilla pod


Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyWoodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Featuring a mashbill containing 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malt, the proof is exceptionally “low” considering the mixture creating this triple distilled bourbon whiskey. Originally created in 1812 on the Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight bourbon whiskey is an American-made standard that many types of bourbon try to live up to. It contains over 200 detectable flavor notes, most of them broadcasting smoke, vanilla cream, toasted oak and butterscotch hints in each mouthful. Kentucky Straight is the ideal combination of smooth, spicy and floral.

  • ABV: 45.20%
  • Proof: 100
  • Notes: Smoke, toasted oak, vanilla cream, butterscotch


Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon WhiskeyFour Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

A fantastic handcrafted and single barrel distilled whiskey; Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon is complex, full-bodied and shockingly smooth. Four Roses has been named American Whisky Distiller of the Year for several years in a row, and the Single Barrel bourbon has won gold medals in a variety of Spirits competitions worldwide. Perfect for drinking straight up or on the rocks, you will find notes of dark chocolate, deep oak, rich cocoa, spices and a fruity finish.

  • ABV: 50%
  • Proof: 100
  • Notes: Fruits, spices, cocoa, oak, chocolate


Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon WhiskeyBooker’s True Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Recognized as the first to coin the term “small batch” and to put it into use, Booker was a sixth-generation master distiller who grew up at a distillery in the heart of Kentucky. Distilling the first small batch of bourbon in 1992 created Booker’s True Barrel bourbon whiskey that many Americans enjoy to this day. After being tasted alongside over 1000 new whiskeys in 2017, Booker’s True Barrel was named “World Whiskey of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Uncut and unfiltered, True Barrel consists of toffee, mint chocolate, black pepper and woody cedar notes that come together and create a sharp but smooth flavor profile.

  • ABV: 62.7%
  • Proof: 125
  • Notes: Toffee, cedar, mint chocolate, black pepper


Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel Bourbon WhiskeyBlanton’s Straight From The Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

A non-chilled filtered deep dark Amber bourbon, Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel whiskey is best served neat or with a splash of water to open up the flavor profile. Made of corn, rye and malted barley, this strong 64% alcohol by volume rating easily pleases bourbon whiskey connoisseurs who are familiar with strong whiskeys. The scent is extremely powerful and contains hints of tobacco and fudge in the aroma. The flavor consists of smooth, honey, dark fudge, spices and wooded vanilla that all speak volume when a few drops of water is added to the glass.

  • ABV: 64%
  • Proof: 128
  • Notes: Honey, wooded vanilla, fudge, spices


George T. Stagg Stagg Jr. Bourbon WhiskeyGeorge T. Stagg Stagg Jr. Bourbon Whiskey

From the annual Antique Collection, Stagg Jr. bourbon whiskey is incredibly rich and sweet while still containing the spice kick that the rye provides. George T. Stagg built a dominant American distillery during the Gilded Age of Bourbon in the 19th century. Featuring flavor notes of dark chocolate, honey, clove, spices and a touch of smokiness, Stagg Jr. is the all-American bourbon that sells out quickly once it hits the shelves due to its flavor complexity and versatility. Last year, it won the gold medal title in the International Spirits Challenge, and silver in the International Wine and Spirits Competition; proving that Stagg Jr. offers a quality bourbon.

  • ABV: 65%
  • Proof: 130
  • Notes: Spices, honey, clove, dark chocolate


William Larue Weller 2016 Release Bourbon WhiskeyWilliam Larue Weller 2016 Release Bourbon Whiskey

Being the first to swap wheat for rye in the bourbon world, William Larue Weller has his name stamped to this beautiful 2016 release whiskey. The mahogany liquid carries a delicious balance of marshmallow, almond, figs, dates and a hint of clove notes, while the first smell speaks of burnt pepper. Mixing in a touch of water carries the flavor pallet even further, and lessens the “grit your teeth” factor with each sip.

  • ABV: 67.7%
  • Proof: 135
  • Notes: Marshmallow, almonds, figs, dates