Valentine’s day – Shmalentine’s Day. Are you like us and over the hype?
Sure, florists and chocolatiers make some serious bank during the week leading up to February 14. But as a consumer, are you not tired of the same old same old?
Most of the store-bought chocolates have likely been sitting in the aisle for months and nobody wants the same card 5,698 other people received—unless, of course, it has a cute puppy dog.
Puppies aside, let’s dip into what your lover really wants to receive this Valentine’s Day—bourbon.
However, don’t mail it in and buy any old bourbon off the shelf. Be thoughtful and select one based on your significant other’s taste buds. The guide below will light the way to his or her heart.
1. Weller Antique, 107 Proof
Weller Antique is the bourbon we used to find just sitting on the shelves, when only the bourbon geeks knew of its caramel-laden beauty. Once the public became aware it shares the same recipe DNA as the illustrious Pappy Van Winkle, Weller Antique became much harder to find. But if you can find it, your Valentine will be pleased.
2. 1792 Small Batch Bottling Note
In the year 1792, Kentucky became a state. 1792 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is named after that wonderful year. It’s a spicy, rye-rich bourbon which is just asking to be enjoyed on a sunny evening with a few ice-cubes. Strong and full of flavor, this bold bourbon boasts an incredible deep and smoky taste, superbly balanced with sweet vanilla and notes of caramel.
3. Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace’s namesake whiskey is the distillery’s second most-affordable bottle, behind Benchmark, which makes the value all the more remarkable. The bottle is cut to an easy-drinking 90 proof and, because its made alongside your Staggs, Wellers and Van Winkles, every bottle is a lottery ticket. You could wind up with a normal bottle of Trace or something a little more special. Caramel and vanilla do the heavy lifting on the palate while an oaky brown sugar finish rolls in nice and slow. It’s a rare affordable bourbon that checks boxes for ability to drink neat or in cocktails.
4. E.H. Taylor
Carrying the name of one Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr., Buffalo Trace Distillery’s E.H. Taylor collection has a bottle for every whiskey drinker. By virtue of hosting such a wide range of expressions — small batch, single barrel, barrel proof, straight rye and a host of valuable one-offs — the brand rides the line between everyday drinkers and bottles worth getting into a fistfight over. The following are regularly allocated E.H. Taylor expressions: Small Batch, Single Barrel, Barrel Proof and Straight Rye, which is made of a unique, one-off mash of rye and malted barley (the exact percentages aren’t publically available).
5. Blanton’s Single Barrell
Blanton’s was founded in 1984 by bourbon legend Elmer T. Lee. Two rules define its character and charm: it’s single barrel, which means every bottle is filled with whiskey from one barrel, and it’s aged in Warehouse H — one of few rickhouses in the world built entirely out of metal. The metal construction means the rickhouse lacks significant insulation, so all the barrels inside are exposed to far more aggressive temperature and humidity shifts than traditional wood or brick rickhouses. The result of this practice is a citrusy nose, vanilla driven palate and dry, mellowing, slightly bitter finish.
Fun Fact: The horse and jockey on the bottle stoppers are now a recognized trademark of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. The rich heritage and tradition of horses in Kentucky parallel that of bourbon. Beginning in 1999 a collector’s edition set of eight different stoppers was produced. The set features a horse and jockey in different strides and poses resembling the stages of a horse race. Each stopper is marked with a single letter that spells Blanton’s when the set has been completed