Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon
Since Jack Daniel's is made in Tennessee, serious connoisseurs debate whether it can actually be called bourbon. But there's no question when it comes to Kentucky-made Woodford Reserve, created by Brown-Forman, the same company that makes JD. A smoky, mellow spirit, Woodford is a straight-up sipper; best to keep it out of your Manhattan.
Product #480624, 750 ml/$46.95, 45.2%
Knob Creek Single Barrel
Available at only a few LCBOs across the GTA, this sophisticated older brother of Knob Creek's standard straight bourbon is a more nuanced, smooth, 120-proof version of its regular nine-year-aged self. Hand-selected barrel by barrel, this mature bourbon benefits from a splash of water to bring out its vanilla and nutmeg notes. Or, if sweet is your thing, mix it into a mint julep.
Product #255232, 750 ml/$55, 60%
Maker's Mark Kentucky Bourbon
While Wild Turkey is temporarily delisted, Maker's Mark takes its place as the LCBO's go-to standby. An intense, slow-burning small-batch bottle, this old Southern standard shows sweetness and spice and, uniquely, its secondary grain is wheat, not rye. Mix it into an old-fashioned or a Manhattan and few will complain.
Product #103747, 750 ml/$37.95, 45%