7 Barrel-Proof Bourbons To Try Now

Over 100 whiskies are reviewed in the Spring 2020 Buying Guide, and this group of bourbons accounts for some of the highest scores, and highest proofs, in the bunch. All bottled without water added, these heavy hitters provide big flavor and flexibility: You can drink them as-is, enjoy them with ice or water, or even use them in a hefty cocktail. If adding water, do some experimentation to find your personal perfect proof—our proof calculator makes it easy.

No matter which way you drink them, though, these bourbons are all a must-try.


Weller Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
93 points, 57% ABV, $50
Fragrant lemon and dried herbs on the nose, along with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a hint of licorice. The palate offers deep notes of blackberry compote, tiramisu, and milk chocolate, all underpinned by earthy tones of cedar and polished oak. A rich symphony of flavor punctuates the long, impressive finish—mocha, almond, and cooked dark fruit, draped in notes of gooey caramel and pepper spice, set against balanced oak. —David Fleming

Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch A120)
93 points, 61.6% ABV, $50
Powdered sugar, vanilla frosting and other bakery shop notes on the nose, as well as leather, iced tea, dark chocolate, cherries, and plums. The palate offers spiced chocolate, toasted almonds, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla cream, and well-integrated oak. The finish is spicy and powerful, with semi-sweet chocolate, raisins, walnuts, leather, and pipe tobacco. A big whiskey that carries its proof remarkably well—savory and sweet, but with subtlety and balance. Editors’ Choice —David Fleming

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Port Barrel-Finished Bourbon (2019 Release)
93 points, 61.2% ABV, $200
An enchanting and somewhat racy nose, with blackberries, cherries, concord grapes, brown sugar, apple crumble, leather, iced tea, and polished oak; though the port finish is evident, it doesn’t smother the bourbon’s core character, which comes through with corn muffin and peanuts. Nutty grain asserts itself on the palate as well, set off by dark fruit and chocolate, ample spice, pecan pie, and cherry cough syrup. The lengthy finish is peppery, and pops with chocolate, cough syrup, roasted pecans, and warm spices. (14,000 bottles) Collectibles —Susannah Skiver Barton

Barrell Cask-Strength Bourbon (Batch 23)
92 points, 53.89% ABV, $90
This is heaped with toasty oak, notes of wood shavings, and nutty-sweet butter pecan ice cream. There’s a touch of herbal antiseptic and tarragon, but it’s kept in check, letting the caramel sweetness and baked marshmallow permeate the palate. Water unleashes dark cherry and candied peanuts. A really well-balanced whiskey, with sweetness, spice, and fruit working in harmony. —Jeffery Lindenmuth

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch 19-01)
92 points, 54.4% ABV, $50
The nose offers bold notes of cocoa powder, brown sugar, peanuts, licorice, cherry pie, vanilla ice cream, and baking spice. The palate is creamy, with chocolate fudge, almonds, and shortbread, along with earthier notes of drying oak, old leather, and tobacco leaf. Cracked walnuts on the finish, along with almonds, chocolate, toasted oak, orange, and tea leaves. Lots of sweetness, spice, and nuttiness, all ringed by a hint of black pepper. (12,000 bottles) —David Fleming

Booker’s 2019-04 “Beaten Biscuits” Kentucky Straight Bourbon
92 points, 63.05% ABV, $80
Fragrant oak on the nose, along with powdered sugar, vanilla fudge, cherry pie, and accents of orange peel and leather. The palate offers notes of orange Creamsicle, pepper, dried oranges, and cigar wrapper. The finish is a long ride of spice and chocolate-covered almonds, melding with cooked fruit notes of orange and black cherry, as well as cracked pepper. A robust whiskey that carries its heft gracefully, and offers balanced complexity. —David Fleming

Four Gate Split Stave by Kelvin Cask-Finished Bourbon
91 points, 57.8% ABV, $175
A straight bourbon that was finished in barrels made with alternating charred and toasted staves. There’s plenty of wood char and pencil shavings on the nose, along with dry leaves, pine needles, tea leaves, orange peel, clove, nutmeg, cedar, sandalwood, menthol, and licorice. It’s chewy and, naturally, quite oak-forward in the mouth, with complex flavors of spice, dark cherry, black tea, and herbs—mint, licorice, sassafras, and cinnamon. More spice, semi-sweet chocolate, tea leaves, and well-integrated oak into the finish. (2,700 bottles) —Susannah Skiver Barton

Want More Barrel-Proof Bourbons? Check Out Our Favorites Under $75

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