Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month with Extra-Aged Bourbons

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Eleven years ago, the United States Senate proved that it’s not all bickering and party lines all the time. They showed that they’re capable—from time to time—of reaching 100 percent consensus on an issue.

During a time when everything is political, when politicians and the citizens they’re supposed to represent seem more divided than ever, we can look back at 2007 and remember that sometimes everyone can come together.

What did our pols manage to agree upon unanimously? The observance of National Bourbon Heritage Month every September. Every senator chose to recognize America’s native spirit: bourbon. Be they fans of bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, another spirit, beer or wine, or be they teetotalers, every senator voted for this month of observance.

And so, this month we celebrate bourbon as a nation. We’re not all going to agree on everything, but I hope we can agree that our native spirit deserves this month of celebration. And I’d love to believe that we can all set aside our political differences, raise a dram, and toast to one another.

Because 2018 marks the 12th year we’ve celebrated National Bourbon Heritage Month, I’ve selected bourbons that are a minimum 12 years old that you shouldn’t have to work too hard to find. Cheers!

Aged at Least 12 Years

Jim Beam’s master distillers are given the best ingredients available in order to create Signature Craft 12 Year.

W.L. Weller 12 Year has already won two awards this year. Its other claim to fame? It’s aged for far longer than most wheated bourbons.

According to F. Paul Facult, Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year “can compete with any excellent cognac as an after-dinner drink.”

You must have expected Pappy Van Winkle 15, 20 and 23 Year to show up on this list. After all, a lot of hype surrounds these rare whiskeys.

I.W. Harper has existed for almost 150 years in one form or another. Their 15 Year expression is a testament to the brand’s heritage.

Your guests will find the cedar and maple notes of Forged Oak 15 Year inviting, and they’ll want to keep exploring this intriguing bourbon as they pick up its berry and cocoa notes.

George T. Stagg, which is aged no less than 15 years, is powerful and intense because it’s bottled straight out of the barrel. Uncut. Unfiltered. Uncompromising.

Aged 17 Years or More

Eagle Rare 17 Year, a bourbon so rare it’s available only once per year. If you want to add this to your inventory, prepare now because it’s released in the fall.

You’ll have to do some sleuthing, hunting and possibly begging to get your hands on Jefferson’s Presidential Select 17, 18, 21, 25 and 30 Year expressions. Your efforts will be rewarded when your guests see it on your menu.

The 18-Year-Old and 23-Year-Old bourbons from Elijah Craig have won numerous awards, found their way into aficionados collections, and feature some of the oldest bourbons in Kentucky.

Michter’s states that once their barrels hit the 17-year mark, they pay even greater attention to it. This extra care and certainly comes through in every sip of 20 Year and 25 Year.

Orphan Barrel crafts some of the oldest bourbons available, and their packaging is undeniably attractive and eye-catching. After you’ve impressed your guests with Forged Oak (listed above), really wow them with Barterhouse (20 years), Lost Prophet (22 years), and Rhetoric (ranging from 20 years to 24 years; a 25-year-old expression is coming in 2019). You can’t go wrong these bourbons.

Honorable Mentions

Alright, so these are aged 11 years. Nobody is going to mind once they’ve experienced the unique whiskeys within Jim Beam’s Harvest Bourbon Collection, consisting of Soft Red Wheat, Brown Rice, High Rye, Whole Rolled Oat, Six Row Barley, and Triticale expressions.

Eagle Rare is aged for no less than a decade. The result is a bold bourbon that delivers a uniquely palpable experience.