Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year (Frankfurt, Kentucky), $200-$150: Best enjoyed with an oversize ice cube, this finely aged bourbon tops out at 107 proof. It is a favorite because of the multitude of tastes while imbibing and the timeless traditions practiced by the Van Winkle family. The 15 Year features a smooth flavor with accents of vanilla and butterscotch.
Old Weller Antique 107 Proof (Frankfort, Kentucky), $25-$15: Maple syrup flavors abound in this younger W.L. Weller creation, made with wheat instead of rye in order to achieve a softer palate. Each barrel tastes completely different; it’s like cooking a sauce.
Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky), $50-$20: Made following the same recipe as Pappy but using modern corn, Buffalo Trace is a taste all its own, though it’s still 100 percent delicious bourbon. An affordable price means the average bourbon lover won’t have to break the bank in the pursuit of this agreeable spirit.
W.L. Weller 12 Year (Frankfort, Kentucky), $20-$15: For the burgeoning enthusiast, this bourbon is a great place to start. You get a terrific mouthfeel for a reasonable price. A complex palate coupled with a 107 proof makes this easy-to-find liquor a remarkable product.
Black Maple Hill 16 Year (Bardstown, Kentucky), $200-$150: This easy-drinking bourbon is not available for purchase in South Carolina, but can be found via eBay or klwines.com. Aged to spicy perfection it’s a pleasure to sip. Save Black Maple Hill for times when the true bourbon lovers are over.