#1 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2015 (98 points, bottle-spot $425)
#2 William Larue Weller 2015 (99 points, bottle-spot $600)
#3 Barrell Bourbon Batch 006 (96 points, MSRP $90)
#4 Garrison Brothers Cowboy (96 points, $200 MSRP)
#5 Bourbon County Brand Regal Rye Stout 2015 (99 points, bottle-spot $75)
How did I pick the order my top 5? Honestly, you could put these in any order and it would be fine by me… I’m honored to have tried every one of these and to still have them all in my bunker.
In terms of cracking the top 5, these were by far the best I had this year, so it wasn’t even close. George T. Stagg 2015 was up there, but just didn’t come close to the Weller, and for the value the Thomas Handy was the other BTAC that was nearest to making the list. If there was a 6-10, you would have seen the THH, Stagg Jr, Pikesville and a couple others crack it, but the differentiation between 1-5 and 6-10 was extremely significant.
For bottles you can get at the store or online at MSRP I put those prices, for ones that are impossible to find I listed the approximate bottle-spot.com going rates.
For the money it’s clear that Barrell Bourbon is the best buy of the list here (and you can still find it online for the MSRP still!! https://www.caskers.com/barrell-kentucky-straight-bourbon-whiskey-batch-006/ http://www.barrellbourbon.com/), while if money is no object, this year’s Weller is out of this world. Jim Rutledge’s final LESB was the winner, as he saved his best for last. Cowboy bourbon is a totally unique product and I absolutely recommend everyone pick up a bottle, or if $200 is too much, pick up their 2yr which is also excellent (https://www.caskers.com/garrison-brothers-texas-straight-bourbon-whiskey/). I did throw a beer in here, but if you haven’t had it, don’t judge: it’s just as complex and enjoyable as the others on the list here. If you have a smaller budget, my $30 and under best buys of the year are Old Grand-Dad 114 (https://www.caskers.com/spirits/old-grand-dad-114-bourbon-whiskey/) and Elmer T Lee (if you can find them at those prices). Here’s to a great 2016!