The best bourbons in the UK 2023

The bourbon, whisky of American origin, has success with the French for whom the conviviality often calls for some toasts. Its typically sweet flavor seduces the numerous amateurs of good whisky. Through this buying guide, we propose you a selection of the best bourbons for your aperitifs or copious meals.

Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey 1

Best value for money

Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

The best bourbon in 2021

Made from a blend of corn, malted barley and red wheat, Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey was distilled using a traditional, artisanal process. This lengthy process has resulted in the production of a rich, flavorful beverage.

24,72 £ on Amazon

Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey immerses you in total sweetness through its rich palate combining oak, caramel, vanilla and wheat. The use of red winter wheat with corn and malted barley, instead of the traditional rye, has contributed to the originality of this bourbon and made it less bitter than the others. Its amber color on a smooth finish contains pleasant caramel-vanilla-fruit scents.

The brand has maintained high standards of craftsmanship and quality for 60 years to give this bourbon the unique reputation of Kentucky distilleries. Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is a favorite ingredient in the Old Fashioned cocktail.

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky 2

Best value for money

Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

The best entry-level bourbon

This is one of the best selling bourbons in the world thanks to its low price and its precious traditional family recipe that has never been lost for centuries.

17,56 £ on Amazon

The Beam family has perpetuated its distillation formula for seven generations, guaranteeing the incomparable quality of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. For over 200 years, this bourbon has retained its original character: a medium-bodied taste with caramel notes behind a spicy, woody vanilla aroma.

The golden straw color at the bottom of your glass is a pleasant sight and an inevitable invitation to taste this spirit. The whole thing is contained in a charming 1L bottle, a reasonable amount that will sustain your various tastings at any given time. Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is ideal for citrus cocktails.

Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky 3

Best premium value for money

Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky

The best premium bourbon

This luxurious bourbon is produced by the Jack Daniel's brand in the oldest official distillery in the United States. The name reflects the prestige of many centuries of tradition.

74,92 £ on Amazon

Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky is a must-have in your bar or whisky cellar. A perfect revisitation of the famous Old No. 7, its excellent reputation makes this high-end spirit a must for special occasions as well as for simple aperitifs.

Sweet honeyed and woody on the nose, it gives you an oily sensation of burnt maple and fruit on the palate, with a long slightly spicy finish. Its golden color still evokes the luxury of this bourbon aged for only one year. The 700 ml square bottle with black cap that holds it is a signature of the Jack Daniel's brand. With over a century of experience, the brand has developed refined products for the discerning connoisseur.

Bulleit Kentucky Rye 95 4

Excellent richness of taste

Bulleit Kentucky Rye 95

The best rich-tasting bourbon

This unique bourbon with a high concentration of rye is the fruit of a strong comeback by a descendant of the Bulleit lineage. The recipe remains promising and has a rich taste.

32 £ on Cdiscount

After nearly five years of being forgotten, Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey is now one of the best selling whiskies in the world. It is particularly attractive to bartenders for the creation of classic cocktails: Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Rye & Dry, Sazerac. This bourbon reached its peak at the World Spirit Competition in San Francisco and became the best-selling American whisky at that time.

Its sparkling amber color conceals creamy vanilla spice and praline aromas and provides a sweet, delicate honeyed flavor with a fruity, peppery finish. The iconic bottle style and rustic label reflect the authenticity of American culture.

Buying guide • November 2023

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Comparison table of the best bourbons

Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey 5
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky 6
Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky 7
Bulleit Kentucky Rye 95 8
Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky
Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky
Bulleit Kentucky Rye 95
Made from a blend of corn, malted barley and red wheat, Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey was distilled using a traditional, artisanal process. This lengthy process has resulted in the production of a rich, flavorful beverage.
This is one of the best selling bourbons in the world thanks to its low price and its precious traditional family recipe that has never been lost for centuries.
This luxurious bourbon is produced by the Jack Daniel's brand in the oldest official distillery in the United States. The name reflects the prestige of many centuries of tradition.
This unique bourbon with a high concentration of rye is the fruit of a strong comeback by a descendant of the Bulleit lineage. The recipe remains promising and has a rich taste.
Mild alcohol on the palate, 45°
40% alcohol by volume bourbon
Bourbon with 40% alcohol by volume
Bourbon at 45% alcohol by volume
Authentic bottle, ideal for gifting
Unique family recipe perpetuated for seven generations
Prestigious bourbon with a strong reputation for centuries
Unique taste richness: honeyed, fruity and spicy
Winner of the 2018 Gold Medal at the San Francisco Words Spirit Competition Winner of the 2018 Silver Medal at the International Spirits Challenge
Part of the best-selling bourbons in the world
Ideal consumed in its raw state, not in cocktails
Suitable for vegetarians

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Buying guide - bourbon

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How to choose your bourbon

Here are the few criteria that will determine your choice in the quest for the best bourbon.

#1 - Aging

Until then, there is no legislative norm regarding the conservation of bourbon. The only tradition is that it is aged in barrels for two years. This aging period has become a characteristic of bourbon, as it contributes to the formation of several specific traits of this spirit.

Over the years of aging, bourbon may change in color or become richer in flavor. Nevertheless, there are bourbons on the market that have not gone through this process, and these of course take on their own particularities: either they are lighter and sweeter, or they are stronger.

#2 - Taste

In order to enjoy your bourbon, you need to pay a lot of attention to how it tastes in your mouth. In general, bourbon has sweeter notes than any other spirit. This sweetness comes primarily from a high amount of processed corn. In this case, bourbon would make a great cocktail combined with fruit or used solely as a base drink. Again depending on its raw material and barrel aging time, it can also be harsh, with a woody connotation.

#3 - Color

The colorful appearance of bourbon can also be a determining factor that tells you its quality. Opaque or slightly translucent, bourbon still owes its color to aging conditions and its raw material. To appreciate the subtlety of your bourbon's color, pour it into a glass and hold the glass up to the light to observe it closely: with movement, the liquid displays slight nuanced variations.

#4 - Fragrance

The aroma is a function of the length of time the bourbon has been aged in the barrel. During these years when the bourbon macerates, it draws all sorts of perfume from the burnt wood and the transformation of the alcoholic matter. The result is often a bourbon with spicy and woody aromas, with various scents. Each brand then chooses to add vanilla, honey or cinnamon, for a more pronounced and bewitching scent.

#5 - Preparation

The preparation of the raw materials characterizes each spirit between them. For bourbon, the distillation is done twice for a better taste connotation. Once the mixture is ready, it is decanted into barrels that must imperatively be new and made of American oak: this is what makes its originality.

The color, the perfume and the taste of the bourbon come from the transpiration of the original liquid in this wood. Each manufacturer then looks for the personal touch that will distinguish him from the others by opting for barrels with different toasting levels.

How do grains become bourbon?

The bourbon in your glass has gone through many typical processes that make it unique. Although the essential steps are similar for all bourbons, each distillery concocts the customization of its drinks to offer a better taste. Find here the few phases of transformation of the American grains into bourbon.

  • The selection of the grains. As we have always said, corn is the fundamental component of bourbon: its proportion in the blend must be at least 51%. The rest of the blend may contain other types of grain depending on the preferences of each producer.
  • The effect of the yeast. Each distillery has its own traditional yeast, which has been used for a long time in the production chain and has been passed down through generations. This ingredient serves as a fermentation material, it brings a pronounced connotation of sugars and alcohols in the mixture.
  • The fermentation. The fermenter is cooled to a temperature of 15 to 20° to introduce the mixture. During the process, another round of yeast is added.
  • Distillation. After fermentation, the mixture is heated to 93° with the aim of turning it into steam and not boiling it. The first substance obtained contains an alcohol content of about 62.5%, it then undergoes a second distillation.
  • The ageing. Once the distillation is done, the result obtained is decanted into new and carbonized oak barrels. The traditional rule stipulates that the barrels which will receive the future bourbon are used only once. After an ageing stage, they are given to other whisky distilleries who would make good use of them. The aging of the bourbon lasts at least two years.
  • Bottling. The final step is bottling after aging. Each manufacturer chooses how long they want to age their bourbon, knowing that this time greatly affects the color, flavor and aroma of the bourbon.

In short, each bottle of bourbon has a history and tradition that is many years old and has been carefully preserved by many successive generations. The methods remain precious and define the quality of each bourbon.

The different types of bourbons

Although they are made from the same processes, bourbon is classified into these few types depending on the raw material from which it is made.

Traditional bourbon

Traditional bourbon is made with corn, at least 51% and up to 70%. The rest of the composition is made up of almost equal parts of rye and barley. The taste of traditional bourbon gives a pleasantly sweet sensation, brought by the corn, and spicy at the same time, resulting from the contact with the wood. Traditional bourbon is attracting the attention of major brands, which produce varieties that are both well liked.

Wheat bourbon

As the name suggests, the raw material used for this type is wheat, at a higher proportion than the other ingredients. Wheat-based bourbon has a mild, light flavor that is easily absorbed. The steps for making this type of bourbon are the same as for traditional bourbon.

Rye bourbon

This type contains a high concentration of rye: less corn, almost no barley but a large amount of rye (approaching 51%). This blend is distilled to nearly 80% and then aged in freshly flamed new barrels. The temperament of this type of bourbon is thus more spicy. It makes a good base for cocktails like the Manhattan.

Bourbon or scotch?


Bourbon is a typically American spirit made from corn, a grain considered a staple food in much of the continent. Bourbon's special feature is that it is aged for two years in new, charred barrels, which gives it its caramelized, woody aftertaste. Bourbon makers do not add any artificial coloring or flavoring to the mix.

The chalky water used in the production of bourbon is a strong factor that makes it special. Its composition must contain at least 51% of corn, the rest can be completed by other cereals such as barley or rye. The best way to taste bourbon is to serve it dry, without ice, in order to feel its aromas.


Of Scottish origin, scotch stands out as well on the line of spirits. All the stages of the production of scotch take place in Scotland, hence the typical name of the drink. The main ingredient used is barley, but sometimes corn or wheat is also included in the mix.

The distillation of the scotch is a criterion that classifies it into two types: single or blended. The maturation of the blend must be done in used barrels, which gives the scotch its deeper and spicier character.


Between bourbon and scotch, it's all about taste. Because of the origin of each, the methods of manufacture differ. While bourbon must age in new barrels, scotch will mature well in such old and used barrels, it will only gain in taste. Moreover, bourbon ages faster than scotch because of the hot temperatures in the United States.

The connotations of all these processes distinguish bourbon from Scotch. You will make your choice according to your affinities, bourbon being more subtle and sweet and scotch bringing a good spicy woody flavor.


The tasting

First and foremost, choose the right glass to get the best taste experience from your bourbon. In general, whiskey glasses are long and slightly closed around the rim to compress the aromas and flavors, an essential sensation you need to experience when tasting. Then, to fully appreciate your bourbon, drink it in small sips. It's best served dry since it's fairly easy to swallow.

The perfect moment

You're probably used to swallowing a few sips of bourbon as an appetizer accompanied by small gourmet bites, or relaxing after a hard day's work. It can also accompany a good fish dish with vegetables or seafood, as well as a digestive after dessert.

The best cocktail

With bourbon, you have the wide possibility to concoct cocktails for all tastes. Indeed, it has the particularity of preserving its own aromas even after mixing. In addition, prefer a citrus combination, which will better accentuate the sweet notes of bourbon.

Without the ice cube

You might think that the ice cube will cool your bourbon. Think again: it actually chills your drink, altering its original flavors and neutralizing your taste buds. As a result, dipping ice cubes into your glass of bourbon won't let you appreciate the real flavor.

A few minutes of rest

After pouring bourbon into your glass, take the time to let it rest for a few minutes before drinking it to let it release its flavors. This way you will first give pleasure to your olfactory sense before enjoying the taste.


What is the best bourbon?

The best bourbon depends on your needs and budget. Read our buying guide to learn more.

What color defines bourbon?

Given its charred barrel aging , bourbon is mostly a toasty golden color, between amber and brown. However you can also come across totally white bourbon, a particular choice of the makers who wanted to preserve the sweetness of the drink.

How to easily detect a bourbon?

Whentasting it, you will immediately feel the sweet note brought by the corn. Its aging in toasted oak barrels adds a sweet scent between vanilla and spices.

What cheese with bourbon?

Forgourmet appetizers, choose a good roquefort or gouda cheese to accompany the bourbon. The well-salted flavors of these cheeses pair perfectly with the sweetness of this spirit.

What alcohol content is found in bourbon?

According to tradition, bourbon is distilled to less than 80% alcohol by volume, casked at 62.5% and bottled at a minimum of 40%.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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  7. The 18 Best Bourbon Whiskeys You Can Buy in 2021,
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey 9
Maker's Mark S IV Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky 10
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky
Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky 11
Jack Daniels Tennessee No. 27 Gold Bourbon Whisky
Bulleit Kentucky Rye 95 12
Bulleit Kentucky Rye 95


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