There can be only one. Bourbon champion for 2019 , that is. And according to our arduous and diligent blind tasting regimen of 64 bottles of bourbon (actually one was an “American Whiskey”) that bourbon is Old Forester 1920.
As you can see from the completed bracket, there were lots of close games. And some great whiskies got bad seeds and ended up losing before their time. (We’re looking at you Buffalo Trace, sorry about matching you against the eventual winner in the first round.) We learned a lot in this process and there were several great takeaways. One being my realization that I was a bit biased against Wild Turkey and Knob Creek, and really should give them more credit for being great juice that’s readily available at a good price. It was pure coincidence that the recently uber-lauded Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel lost its second round match to one of our new favorites, Old Ezra 7 Year, the very same day it won “Whiskey of the Year.” So don’t blame us for all of those cleared shelves out there. And Woodford Reserve actually is pretty good, and not just the bourbon for people who think they want something fancy.
While there were a few—not quite unicorns, but a least rare whiskies like Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, and runner up Weller Antique 107—that you need to be friendly with your local liquor store to get at list pride. We take pride that the vast majority of our bottles are readily available. And even greater pride that the 1920 can be found on pretty much any good liquor store shelf, year round. While $64 may be a little steep to some, it’s significantly less than the $399 I paid for a George T. Stagg (almost worth it).
While next year, we may not do the whole bracket, and skip to the Sweet Sixteen. We do have something in the works for blind tasting upper shelf players like Wild Turkey Decades, Four Roses Al Young, Four Roses Limited Edition, Michter’s 10 Year, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, and more. Maybe even some Pappy, (cough, over-rated). We hope you’ll keep following along. Cheers!