Top 10: Bourbon Of The Year 2017
Another year, another list. This is the important one though, this is the Bourbon Gents 'Bourbon Of the Year 2017'... plus 9 others.
Bourbon of the year (or BOTY as we have taken to calling it) is always a fun one for the Gents to get together and debate, and last year we regretted not recording the session so that you guys could listen to how we came to the final ten - and ultimately our winner. So this year we corrected that mistake and hit the record button as we started the long process of making the list. You can listen to our deliberations here.
For our 2017 BOTY we changed up the rules slightly from 2016. We have outlined them below before we dive into the list itself;
- The list is open to any bourbon or American whiskey no matter when it was released.
- Either Mav or Mr Pie must have actually tasted the bourbon or whiskey for it to be in consideration.
- The list does not have to reflect the Gents previous review scores.
- This list is our list. You don't have to like it.
- We are still calling it 'Bourbon' of the year even though that's not technically accurate.
The Bourbon Gents Top 10 Bourbons - 2017
10 - Fighting Cock
This one came out of nowhere and somehow managed to make the final ten. Submitted for consideration by Mr Pie, Mav was initially very skeptical. One glass of it later and Mav was ready to stick it in the top three! What a surprise this one was. Not a popular drink if the amount of times you see it talked about, or photographed, on social media is taken into consideration but now firmly one of the Gents faves. Strong, bold, full of caramel and dark chocolate. Buy a bottle, we promise you won't be disappointed.
9 - Maker's 46
Championed by Mr Pie as one of his faves, this dram ticks all the boxes if you're a 'Pie' rather than a 'Mav'. Sweet and soft at first but then it just opens up and hits you with spice and pepper. There is a reason that the Gents copyrighted the term 'Speppery' for this one.
8 - Four Roses Single Barrel
As long time Bourbon gents fans will know, this bourbon has won plenty of awards including our very own BG's World Cup. It's very smooth for a higher volume bourbon and ideal as what the whisky world calls a 'sipping drink'. One of the few remaining bourbons from our 2016 top ten of the year.
7 - Old Rip Van Winkle 10
Mr Pie tried this for the very first time this year at a Pappy Van Winkle tasting event and to be honest, never shuts up about it. It came out as his No.1 one of all the Pappy Van Winkle releases of 2016 and we will at some point hopefully get to try the 2017 equivalent. Corn, cream, sweet vanilla and fruit. Super smooth entry into the mouth, with a contrasting sharp spice and sweetness on the palate. Undeniable strength of alcohol with an intense finish.
6 - E.H. Taylor Single Barrel
A new addition to the Gents collection and immediately became our joint 2nd highest score on the league table. Whatever descriptors are used (and there are many out there for this experssion), you will find this drink full of fruit and caramel aromas. Wonderful silkiness of flavour on the palate, and also complemented by a superb balance of spice and sweet caramel with a hint of smoke.
5 - Blanton's Gold
Another survivor from 2016 and still the only bourbon that Mr Pie has given a 9 out of 10. If you love a complex, weighty dram with spice and pepper on the palate then Mr Pie would say it's certainly worth the hefty price tag as this is one of the best around. Also you can't ignore how beautiful the bottle is in this range.
4 - Pappy Van Winkle 15
Mav's favorite of the Van Winkle offering, and we are very thankful our local bar has a bottle of each of the Pappy's so we can revisit these whenever we like without having to pay the quite frankly, ridiculous price. Let us put this out there right now, it's not worth that huge resale price... but it is an amazingly beautiful bourbon that by the dram in a bar, or at the retail price, is worth of the hype around it. Just don't pay the resale unless you're rich or want to be disappointed.
3 - Pappy Van Winkle 23
Absolutely no surprises with the 23 year old oak bomb you are greeted with, but there is also incredible sweetness, creamy caramel and oodles of pecan nut flavours. If you've never had the opportunity to try this, quite simply you have to find a way.
2 - Noah's Mill
Last years winner and still the highest rated bourbon we have ever reviewed on the site. It's not universally loved but that doesn't bother the Gents & there is always a bottle in our collection. We like what we like and boy do we like this. A complex bourbon (on the nose especially) that always has something for you no matter how many times you go back to it. If you have written this one off in the past then we urge you to give it another try.
1 – George T. Stagg
So the Gents bourbon of the year for 2017 is 'George T. Stagg (2016). Take a bow son! What a bourbon this is. We were blown away by the first sip and haven't tried anything else since that comes close to matching it. Coming in at a whopping 72.05% ABV it certainly packs a punch, which made it all the more surprising that Mr Pie loved this as much as Mav. It 's full of caramel, chocolate, vanilla, fudge, and even molasses sticks it's foot in the door too. Dig deeper and you can also find hints of fruit (we say probably berries), mint, coffee, smoke, & tobacco. It's a worthy winner and we look forward to sourcing a bottle of it in the near future at any cost.