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We Requested 18 Bartenders: Which Cask-Power Bourbon Affords the Greatest Bang for Your Buck? (2022)


Cask-strength bourbon, generally labeled barrel-proof or barrel-strength, is a potent, uncut, and unfiltered subcategory beloved by whiskey aficionados. Bottled straight from the barrel with out the addition of water, the ensuing product is as near a pure, untouched expression as yow will discover.

With an alcohol content material better than 50 % ABV, these punchy treasures are coveted by bartenders for his or her daring and concentrated flavors that shine in cocktails. For individuals who want to sip their whiskey straight, cask-strength bourbons are sometimes diluted with ice or water to suit the drinker’s desired energy.

Typically launched in small batches, high-proof bourbons can typically include intimidating worth tags. To search out out which manufacturers specialists flip to for that candy spot in between worth and worth, we requested bartenders from across the nation to share their go-to bottles. Preserve studying for his or her suggestions.

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Cask-Power Bourbons That Provide the Greatest Bang for Your Buck:

  • Outdated Grand-Dad 114
  • Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof
  • Booker’s Bourbon
  • Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
  • Maker’s Mark Cask Power
  • W. L. Weller Full Proof
  • George Dickel Single Barrel 15 Yr Outdated
  • Wild Turkey Uncommon Breed Barrel Proof
  • Legal guidelines Whiskey Home 4 Grain Straight Bourbon Cask Power
  • Angel’s Envy Cask Power Bourbon Completed in Port Wine Barrels
  • Brother’s Bond Unique Cask Power Straight Bourbon

Old Grand-Dad 114 is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

“Bourbon that’s heavy on the rye, Outdated Grand Dad 114 is remarkably clean for its energy. Spicy with a contact of candy, this spirit packs a punch and isn’t for the faint of coronary heart.” —Karl Paredes, head bartender, Massive Alma, San Francisco

“If we’re solely basing ‘bang on your buck’ on proof versus worth, you possibly can’t go incorrect with Outdated Grand-Dad 114, Jim Beam Distillery. It is a huge, daring whiskey that, at 114 proof, can sneak up on you when you’re not cautious. It may possibly usually be discovered for below $30, however the complexity and rustic attraction of this whiskey, due partially to a a lot larger rye mash invoice in comparison with most bourbons on this vary, positively makes it a fantastic bottle so as to add to any dwelling bar.” —Mathew Resler, bartender, Bar Goto and Bar Goto Niban, NYC/Brooklyn

Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

“I’m keen on Colonel E.H. Taylor Cask Power for not simply its worth level worth, however the way it maintains a smoothness to the mouthfeel regardless of the upper ABV.” —Kai Wilson, beverage director, Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago

Booker's Bourbon is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

Booker’s at all times makes good whisky. It is a nice cask-strength bourbon for the value!” —Ferit Ozergul, bar director, Cranes, Washington, D.C.

Booker’s Bourbon: available, from an iconic distillery, and a part of a variety of small-batch bourbons that broke the class large open lengthy earlier than it was cool to be above the common bonded mark. Are there newer, cheaper ones available on the market? Certain, however Booker’s is a legacy model — and for excellent purpose.” —Iain Griffiths, inventive director, Hidden Leaf, Midnight Cafe, and Midnight Theatre, NYC

“I’m an enormous fan of Booker’s Bourbon. It’s by no means too sizzling. It’s at all times tremendous balanced between baking spice, sweetness, and warmth. It’s at all times scrumptious, regardless of the style through which it’s served (neat, rocks, with mixers), and it’s at all times altering, as they make 4 to 6 completely different batches every year. Often by the point I end a bottle of 1 batch, the subsequent batch is correct across the nook, prepared to offer a completely completely different consuming expertise. Whereas I drink mine neat, drink it the way you take pleasure in it.” —Charles Friedrichs, principal bartender, The Jones Meeting, Oklahoma Metropolis, Okla.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

“It’s arduous to beat Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. At 12 years previous, round $70 at most retailers, this overproof bottle hits all these traditional historic bourbon notes completely displayed in Heaven Hill merchandise. Simple to search out; simpler to drink.” —Laura Unterberg, head bartender, The Fox Bar & Cocktail Membership, Nashville

Maker's Mark Cask Strength is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

Maker’s Mark Cask Power Bourbon is the subsequent step up from common Maker’s Mark (a fantastic entry-level bourbon with candy and clean flavors) with all of the wheat-y goodness amplified.” —Mary Ellen Angel, proprietor, Angel Share, Houston

“My go-to for a excessive worth, excessive proof is at all times Maker’s Mark Cask Power. Whereas some might imagine Maker’s is simply too candy, these emotions are tempered by the warmth of this 113 proof bourbon. The model has their very own water supply on the property that renders a superbly tender completed product.” —Clay Reynolds, beverage director, Uccello Lounge, San Francisco

“With regards to greatest worth, Maker’s Mark Cask Power is unquestionably my choose. It’s an extremely wealthy bourbon, with flavors of caramel, vanilla, and oak. The flavors mix seamlessly, and it will probably simply be utilized in any of your favourite bourbon-based cocktails, from an Outdated Usual to Manhattan to Julep, or just to sip on the rocks or neat. The ABV ranges from 108 to 114 proof, so it’s positively not a newbie bourbon.” —Federico Doldi, director of meals & beverage, Gansevoort Meatpacking, NYC

W.L. Weller Full Proof is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

“I like W. L. Weller Full Proof (after I get my palms on it) for a fairly priced cask-strength bourbon choice. It is available in at 114 proof and isn’t chill filtered, which results in a very distinctive bourbon. It has lots of creamy pastry notes on the nostril and powerful oaky vanilly tones on the palate. It has a wealthy and opulent and spherical mouthfeel that has a daring, lengthy end. Total, it’s a very balanced and distinctive bourbon, and it’s an actual deal with when it’s accessible.” —Michael Fifelski, bar supervisor, The Harvey Home, Madison, Wis.

George Dickel Single Barrel 15 Year Old is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

“I’ve at all times been an enormous Dickel fan — the Single Barrel 15 Yr is one in every of my favourite of their expressions. All bottled by hand at cask-strength. Whereas every bottle might range barely in taste, the core elements of what makes Dickel particular are capable of shine tremendous shiny of their single barrel expressions. Bonus: It’s pleasant sufficient to your checking account to not solely sip with a giant rock, however combine to take pleasure in a bolder cocktail.” —Phil Collins, beverage director, TableOne Hospitality (Mom Tongue, Los Angeles/La Société Bar & Cafe, San Francisco), NYC

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

Wild Turkey Uncommon Breed Barrel Proof: Bottled at 58.4 % ABV, a slight improve from earlier years, it’s a mix of 6- to 12-year-old barrels, which is thought to be Jimmy Russels’s most popular age for bourbon. I believe it’s one of many longest-running barrel-proofs available on the market. With its price ticket operating across the $40 to $60 greenback mark, it’s protected to see why folks come again to this expression. Notes of orange, citrus, tobacco, and leather-based intertwine with toffee and maple. Sit again and savor the goodness!” —Darron Foy, bar supervisor, The Flatiron Room, NYC

“Wild Turkey Uncommon Breed: To me, bang on your buck means the most effective versatile spirit at the very best worth with out sacrificing high quality, energy, or character — one thing you possibly can actually take pleasure in by itself with out breaking the financial institution. Wild Turkey Uncommon Breed does precisely that. On the nostril, you get a bouquet of aromatics predominantly consisting of spice, toasted vanilla, and cracked black pepper with lingering toasted wooden mid-tones. Caramel and peppery spice dominate the tasting notes, whereas heated spices and honey end off this magnificence and set it aside from the remainder inside its vary.” —Cristian Ocampo, bartender and bourbon grasp, Alma Cocina Latina, Baltimore

“There are such a lot of bourbons available on the market as of late, it may be arduous to choose a horse to place your cash on. When unsure, I at all times attain for the tried and true. Initially launched in 1991, Wild Turkey Uncommon breed has modified proof through the years however stays a best choice for me when reaching for a barrel-proof bourbon. I like that this whiskey is on the decrease finish of the 125 cask-strength restrict. I like having fun with this with a couple of rocks after a protracted shift, and it’s not going to finish my evening after one. It’s bought nice honeyed and almond notes on the nostril with a protracted, spicy end.” —David Muhs, head bartender, Sama Avenue, Brooklyn

Laws Whiskey House Four Grain Straight Bourbon Cask Strength is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

“For me, Legal guidelines Whiskey Home 4 Grain Straight Bourbon Cask Power is the best choice, coming in at just under $100. I’ve been privileged with the chance to fulfill the crew behind this stunning bourbon — their distillery is definitely a couple of blocks from my bar. To style Colorado is to drink Legal guidelines, their grains being sourced instantly from the Whiskey Sisters on the Japanese Plains and the Cody’s in San Luis Valley. Every expression is completely different attributable to using native heirloom grains, however the present bottle I’ve open has robust rye notes on the nostril, with clove and ginger on the palate. Orange blossom and vanilla be part of for a lingering end that completely captures the essence of Colorado.” —Michael Sievers, bar supervisor, Pleasure Hill, Denver

Angel's Envy Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrel is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

Angel’s Envy Cask Power Bourbon Whiskey is my favourite whiskey that meets the mark of a fantastic whiskey at an affordable worth. This bourbon is completed in ruby port casks, which subtly provides distinct taste nuances that improve the whiskey with out difficult it. It’s a various bourbon that may stand alone, neat, and even carry out properly in your favourite whiskey cocktails just like the Outdated Usual or Manhattan, and even makes a gorgeous Whiskey Bitter (don’t overlook the egg). On the palate, you’ve gotten notes of raisiny darkish fruit, cocoa, peanuts, and baking spice. That is by far among the best whiskeys you would sip on with out breaking the financial institution.” —Angelo Medrano, beverage director, Mister French & Asiatique, NYC

Brother's Bond Original Cask Strength Straight Bourbon is one of the best cask-strength bourbons to get the bang for your buck, according to bartenders.

Brother’s Bond Unique Cask Power Straight Bourbon is made of remarkable high quality and on the similar time provides outstanding worth. It’s made out of three completely different mash payments to create a four-grain straight bourbon that’s richly nuanced and harmonious — and in contrast to many cask-strength bourbons that scorch the palate, this bourbon strikes an beautiful stability with hints of honeysuckle and orange, together with a cereal grain profile that makes this bourbon really feel acquainted. Completely comfortable at household barbecues or a companion on rugged adventures; pleasing by itself or in a blended drink.” —Jason Hedges, licensed sommelier and director of beverage, Laurent Tourondel Hospitality’s L’Amico, The Vine, Skirt Steak NYC, NYC



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