in

16 Top Shelf Bottles of Whiskey You Should Try

top shelf whiskey bottle of the Bulleit brand

Top shelf whiskey is a category of premium spirits that are known for their exceptional quality and craftsmanship. These are the kinds of whiskeys that are often reserved for special occasions or enjoyed as a luxurious treat. What sets top shelf whiskey apart from other types of whiskey is the attention to detail that goes into its production, from the selection of the finest ingredients to the meticulous aging process.

This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy

One of the key factors that distinguishes these whiskies is their aging process, which often takes place in oak barrels for an extended period of time. This results in a smooth and complex flavor profile that is highly sought after by whiskey enthusiasts. Additionally, high end whiskey is often made by distilleries with a long-standing reputation for excellence, adding to its allure and prestige. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as part of a craft cocktail, top shelf whiskey offers a drinking experience that is truly unparalleled.

Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Reserve

15 year
Source: oldripvanwinkle.com

This reserve variety contains more flavor than standard bourbons, partly from the wheated grain mash used in this old family recipe. A 15-year aging process influences the taste as well. Oak barrel aging creates rich sweet tones of toffee paired with hints of spice. Wood notes become more apparent through a long-lasting complex finish.


Blanton’s Single Barrel

Original Images Long FINAL 29a5c268 8cb9 477e 9266
Source: blantonsbourbon.com

Like most other single-barrel varieties, Blanton’s stands out as a top-shelf whiskey. Spirits like this provide lots of character in composition. This whiskey’s unique complexity first shines in the nose with heavy vanilla notes and burnt sugar undertones. Spicy flavors like cinnamon and clove come through on the palate, with bright citrus notes providing a contrast.

See also  10 Must-Try Frozen Whiskey Drinks

Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye Whiskey

ac sazerac18 front cmyk
Source: buffalotracedistillery.com

This rye whiskey shares a name with America’s First Cocktail, created in New Orleans. The aged rye mellows the intense heat notes building more nuanced flavors, like oak and baking spices. Sweet tones carry through the spirit, highlighting the building spice in a warm finish accompanied by some fresh herbal undertones.


WhistlePig

63d124229c5e189fedca1de7 Frame%205
Source: whistlepigwhiskey.com

WhistlePig offers types of whiskies, though their passion for aged ryes shines on the brand’s product list. Vermont oak makes the most profound difference in flavor in these spirits. The company uses these barrels for aging its blended and farm-to-bottle offerings. Each top-shelf whiskey tastes different, but each shines with bold flavor.


Michter’s

Michters Single Barrel
Source: mitchers.com

When it comes to small batch offerings, Michter’s brand spoils customers for choice. You’ll find sour mash varieties along with more common rye and bourbon. For top-shelf whiskey, look to aged from Michter’s. These limited-production bottles result from allowing only the best barrels to age in the ideal Kentucky climate.


George T. Stagg

George T. Stagg
Source: buffalotracedistillery.com

The deep amber tones of this Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey hint at the boldness of the spirit. Sweet notes play the most prominent role, with dark chocolate overtones enhanced by hits of vanilla and molasses. More complex flavors of tobacco and spearmint come through in the undertones, making each sip more intriguing than the last.


E. H. Taylor

E. H. Taylor
Source: buffalosourcedistillery.com

E. H. Taylor provides another example of top-shelf straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey. This brand bottles its spirit in small batches, ensuring quality and flavor of these whiskeys. Like similar products, there is a decent amount of sweetness here, with rich licorice undertones. The spirit leaves a soft mouthfeel through the finish with building elements of heat.

See also  11 Must-Try Flavored Whiskeys

Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon

Four Roses Small Batch
Source: fourrosesbourbon.com

This award-winning small-batch bourbon ages up to seven years, developing the distinct flavors desired by the brand. Four Roses’ spirit has a sweet and expressive nose with notes of raspberries and cloves. More fruit flavors come through on the palate, with delicate apricot and vanilla tones. Spicy mint and cinnamon linger in the warm finish.


Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon

Eagle Rare
Source: eaglerare.com

10-year aging makes this one of the smoothest Kentucky straight examples that makes it to the top shelf. While other bourbons of this kind taste sweet, Eagle Rare stands out as bold and oaky with subtler sweet notes of cocoa and candied almond. This whiskey finishes dry but leaves a lingering flavor.


Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
Source: elijahcraig.com

Creating this extensively awarded option takes nearly two decades, so you know the whiskey has to be worth the wait. Expect a rich texture from the spirit paired with honey tones building up to deeper wood notes. Finally, a flavorful finish mellows with notes of pepper and vanilla.


Bulleit

Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey
Source: bulleit.com

Bulleit crafts its bourbon using a 150-year-old family recipe with high-quality ingredients. Part of what defines this top-shelf whiskey is the unique grain mash, blending barley malt along with corn and rye. The bourbon picks up the rye heat melding it with oaky notes and sweet undertones of maple and baking spice.


Knob Creek

Knob Creek
Source: knobcreek.com

This brand offers several selections of whiskies of different ages and varieties, any of which would make an excellent addition to your whiskey collection. There are many high-end options to consider, especially if you like rye. Knob Creek also showcases several single-barrel whiskies. Each variety is enhanced by the brand’s charred white oak barrels.

See also  Apple Pie Martini

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace

This great bourbon boasts an attractive rich amber color, impressing even before you take the first sip. Sweetness dominates the palate in this whiskey, with bold brown sugar notes building to woody tones. Dark fruit and toffee undertones build and linger through the smooth, complex finish. Buffalo Trace wins awards nearly every year for its consistently superior product.


Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon
Source: heavendistillery.com

The balanced character of this bourbon makes it a good candidate for mixing and sipping. An oaky flavor hits the palate first, building a distinctive heat while introducing overtones of sweetness and honey flavor. The sweet and spicy taste lingers through the finish of this bourbon, perfecting its craft through aging and single-barrel production.


Basil Hayden

history
Source: basilhaydenbourbon.com

While many aged spirits may seem bold to the uninitiated, Basil Hayden’s bourbon is approachable and doesn’t overwhelm the palate. Charred oak flavor balances with sweeter characteristics, bringing out notes of dried fruit and hints of pepper. The appealing aroma of caramel and vanilla invites a second sip.


Russell’s Reserve

Russells Reserve 10 Year
Source: russellreserve.com

Bottles of Russell’s Reserve represent decades of dedication to the craft from two Master Distillers. Father and son duo Jimmy and Eddie ensure the quality of the spirit by hand-selecting barrels for aging. The resulting whiskies shine as flavorful and diverse, with rye and bourbon options.


Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Leave a Reply

Avatar

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Follow them on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Google Guide and MuckRack.

casamigos brand display their top shelf tequila bottles

20 Top Shelf Bottles of Tequilas We Recommend

Glenlivet top shelf scotch presents their bottles

16 Bottles of Top Shelf Scotch Whisky to Try