It might seem like blasphemy, but technically bourbon can be made in other states besides Kentucky. There’s even a well-known dispute as to whether the name comes from Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Bourbon County in Kentucky. Obviously, most of the best bourbons come from Kentucky—this is where Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve are located—but legally, the whiskey only needs to be made in the United States to be categorized as bourbon. It also must be made from a minimum of 51% corn in new, charred American oak casks.

Although the folks who make Buffalo Trace, Bulleit and Four Roses make excellent bourbon, there are many other great bourbons made all over the country. These are the ten best bourbons not made in Kentucky.


Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Bourbon

Hillrock combined their barrel-aged bourbon and matured seed bourbon. Then, they aged it in twenty-year-old Oloroso sherry casks to create a truly unique bourbon experience. If you can mange to get your hands on this offering, you’ll be treated to rich flavors of vanilla and oak followed by the sweet fruit flavors of sherry. Link


FEW Bourbon

A silver medal winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, FEW Bourbon is a three-grain bourbon based on the traditional bourbons that have been produced in Kentucky for centuries. Less sweet than most bourbons, FEW adds spice with northern rye as well as malt character. Link


Garrison Brothers Straight Bourbon

The Garrison Brothers are on a mission to prove that Texas bourbon is just as good as Kentucky bourbon. Their flagship whiskey is the Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It’s made from organic corn, organic winter wheat and two-row barley to give their whiskey a smooth buttery taste with hints of toffee and vanilla. Link


Belle Meade Bourbon

Produced at Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery in Tennessee, Belle Meade Bourbon is a family tradition. Named for the Belle Meade plantation in Nashville, this bourbon is made in small batches, has a fairly high amount of rye and is surprisingly smooth and rich with hints of caramel, vanilla and spicy rye. Link


Koval Single Barrel Bourbon

This organic, single barrel bourbon is hiding something interesting below the surface. Instead of adding wheat or rye after the 51% corn, Koval decided to add millet. It’s aged in charred new American oak casks where the two flavors are allowed to merge together to create a well-rounded whiskey with flavors like tropical fruit, vanilla, caramel and cloves. Link


High West American Prairie Bourbon

High West is obsessed with preserving the history and culture of the west. That’s why they created this “prairie” bourbon to pay tribute to the days of cowboys and saloons. This bourbon is aged for ten years before it’s worthy enough to be enjoyed. This gives it an extremely smooth, rich flavor with hints of toffee and chocolate. Link


Hudson Baby Bourbon

Tuthilltown Spirits has gained quite a following in the last few years. One of the reasons for this is their Hudson Baby Bourbon. They make it by taking their New York Corn Whiskey and aging it in charred American oak casks. This creates a bourbon that is light, sweet and with just the right amount of rye character. Link


Kings County Bourbon

When people think about bourbon, they don’t usually think about Brooklyn. But Kings County Bourbon is proudly made in the New York borough and is made from organic corn sourced from the Empire State. The flavor is bold and sweet with hints of caramel and molasses. Link


Van Brunt Stillhouse Bourbon

Located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Van Brunt Stillhouse is named for famous local farmer Cornelius Van Brunt. The bourbon that carries his name is made with 65% corn as well as wheat and is rich and sweet with hints of vanilla, caramel and toffee. Link


Watershed Bourbon

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Watershed’s Bourbon is made with corn, wheat, rye and spelt in small batches. It’s distilled two times before maturing in charred American oak casks. This gives the bourbon a silky, rich flavor with hints of vanilla, brown sugar with a slightly spicy finish. Link

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