The Best Of Barrel Proof: 6 Great High-ABV Whiskeys to Buy Without Spending a Small Fortune
Barrel proof whiskey has become increasingly popular over the years thanks to its bold, intense flavors and undiluted ABV.
If you’re looking for barrel proof whiskey but don’t want to break the bank — don’t sweat it. There are many barrel proof whiskeys on the market today that aren’t exorbitantly expensive but are just as good as their top-shelf counterparts.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof whiskey boasts complex notes of honey, caramel, bananas foster and honey-roasted peanuts. Although this spirit is hot, it isn’t overwhelmingly so, and it is full-bodied.
At 63.35% ABV and no age statement, this whiskey strikes the ideal balance between strength and sweetness on the palate.
Stellum Hunter’s Moon Bourbon
Stellum Black: The Hunter’s Moon Bourbon is a blend of whiskeys distilled by producers in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. This bourbon was blended to celebrate October’s Hunter’s Moon.
Distilled at cask strength, this entry into Stellum’s Black Label series offers a unique twist on classic flavors. It offers a full texture that is initially sweet and nutty on the nose, yet gradually transitions to a drier and more oaky flavor in the finish.
Boasting an ABV of 57.76%, this interesting and complex bourbon has earned its place on any whiskey shelf.
Bulleit Barrel Strength
Bulleit Barrel Strength is a no-age-statement bourbon with a high ABV, complexity and warmth.
The tasting notes for this whiskey include honey, toffee, caramel and just the right amount of oak. This whiskey is great for sipping over ice, but can also hold its own in a cocktail.
Penelope Four Grain Barrel Strength Bourbon
Crafted from a blend of three different mashbills sourced from MGP, Penelope Four Grain Barrel Strength Bourbon is an impressive spirit released at barrel proof.
Although this bourbon is on the young side, its flavor doesn’t betray its youth. This bourbon’s mouthfeel delivers a subtle hint of heat that doesn’t overpower the palate. Aromas and flavors of vanilla, praline, roasted walnuts, apple, pear, orange peel, pepper and clove are present.
Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye
Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye whiskey is an expression focused on flavor. A superb rye whiskey, it has a potent 58.5% ABV, meaning it packs quite a kick. But don’t be put off by its strength — underneath the heat is a mix of caramel, clove, cocoa and tobacco flavors.
The only downside to this bottle is that while it may be easy to find, it retails for around $200, making it one of the more expensive offerings on this list. If you’re open to spending a little more, though, this is a great whiskey to splurge on. This bottle won our Best Rye Whiskey of 2022 award for a reason.
1792 Full Proof
1792 is a hot bourbon that would be the star of any cocktail. Its strong flavor makes for a robust and intense drink, but it’s packed with sweet and fruity notes like banana, toffee and caramel.
Its perceived youth and 61.5% ABV mark give it a bit of roughness and a significant amount of burn, which will be enjoyed more by some than others, but those traits are experienced alongside a lot of great notes.
Honorable Mention: Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
This makes the list as an honorable mention because it isn’t technically a barrel proof whiskey but delivers exactly what barrel proof lovers seek: High-proof deliciousness. Although Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is not a barrel proof bourbon, it has a high ABV of 60% and deserves an honorable mention.
Backed by a nine-year age statement and carrying a relatively accessible price tag, this high-proof spirit is thick and rich on the palate with a notable but manageable amount of heat.
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