Best Of Class Bourbon Finalists SFWSC 2022

by The Tasting Alliance Team  |  04.11.2022

Every year, just a few of the very best of each category go head-to-head for our judges to determine the Best Of Class for dozens of spirit categories. Here, our finalists for Best Small Batch Bourbon, Best Single Barrel Bourbon, Best Special Barrel Finished Bourbon, and Best Wheated Bourbon of 2022. Winners will be announced in June.

On the nose, this Kentucky Straight Bourbon tastes of an indulgent bouquet of butterscotch and maple, highlighted by roasted nuts and tobacco. Dark chocolate and molasses complement cream and vanilla to create an incredibly rich mouthfeel. The chocolate carries over from the palate with initial notes of oak and coffee followed by a bold and enduring hazelnut finish.

Best Straight Bourbon Finalist
1792 Full Proof Straight Bourbon

This bourbon has undergone a distinct filtering process, forgoing the typical chill filtration and passing only through a plate and frame filter, allowing the whiskey to maintain a robust proof of 125 for bottling, along with a full, rich, and bold flavor. 1792 Full Proof Straight Bourbon boasts a deep and smoky taste, superbly balanced with sweet vanilla and notes of caramel.

Best Straight Bourbon Finalist
Clyde May’s Special Reserve Bourbon

Clyde May’s Special Reserve is a a select reserve of their special stock, non-chill filtered, and aged 6 years in American oak barrels. Creamy, vanilla notes on the nose, with hints of cinnamon. Smooth on the palate, with pronounced tropical fruit notes, some pepperiness, and caramel, followed by a long finish.

Best Small Batch Bourbon Finalist – up to 5 years
Penelope Private Select Bourbon

Penelope Bourbon’s Private Select is an exclusive blend of three bourbon mash bills that are hand selected, making each batch truly special and unique. Stone fruits and cinnamon on the nose with tropical fruits on the palate. Peppery on the finish with sweet, lingering dried fruit notes.

Best Small Batch Bourbon Finalist – 6-10 years
Laws Whiskey Bonded Four Grain

This special offering of Law’s Four Grain is the first bonded bourbon in Colorado history. True to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, this bourbon is at least 4 years old, a product of a single season and a single distiller, and has been aged entirely in their federally bonded rickhouse. It’s sweet and floral on the nose with aromas of orange blossom, toffee, and apricot jam. Notes of black tea, sandalwood, and dates on the palate with a dry, lingering finish.

Best Small Batch Bourbon Finalist – 6-10 years
Old Ezra Brooks 7 Year Old Bourbon

This Kentucky Straight Bourbon is made from a mash of corn, rye, and barley, then aged in new, charred white oak barrels for seven years and bottled at barrel strength, coming in at 117 proof. Creamy vanilla on the nose along with dried fruit notes. Pronounced caramel on the palate with a long, peppery finish with lingering dried fruit.

Best Single Barrel Bourbon Finalist – up to 10 years
Doc Whiskey Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon

As a single barrel cask strength bourbon, each barrel of Doc Whiskey has its own unique strength and alcohol by volume percentage.​​

Vanilla on the nose with a noticeable nasal burn. Semi-sweet on the palate with notes of creamy vanilla and dried fruit which continue through the lingering finish. 

Best Single Barrel Bourbon Finalist – up to 10 years
Nashville Barrel Co Single Barrel Bourbon

This single barrel bourbon is aged between 5 and 8 years with each barrel only producing approximately 175 bottles. Dried stone fruit on the nose along with caramel and a hint of cinnamon. Slightly drying on the palate with notes of caramel and dried fruit. The finish is long and sweet, peppery, and fruity.

Best Special Barrel-Finished Bourbon Finalist
TX Texas Straight Bourbon Cognac Casks

This whiskey is made with 2-year straight bourbon from Fort Worth Texas and finished for 17-months in cognac casks to impart a rich flavor. It drinks boldly, with a smooth finish and lots of character. Savor notes of honey, stone fruit, grapes, vanilla, caramel, and baking spices.

Best Special Barrel-Finished Bourbon Finalist
Doc Swinson’s Exploratory Cask Kiona Cask Bourbon

Doc Swinson’s bourbon aged in Kiona Vineyards Old Block cabernet casks from Washington’s Red Mountain AVA creates a unique and rare bourbon. Creamy and lactic on the nose with a slightly savory aroma. Sweet on the palate with notes of butterscotch and dried fruit continuing through to a long, sweet finish. 

Twelve year old W.L. Weller is aged far longer than most wheated bourbons, offering is a smooth, easy-going, and balanced whiskey with a beautiful deep bronze color. Burnt caramel and pepper abound along with almond, creamed corn, and toasty vanilla on the palate with a long, oaky, and intensely smooth finish.