Our quest for the world’s best drinks continues with a look into America’s Native Spirit.
Scotch may suck up a lot of oxygen when we talk about spirits, but it’s bourbon that really wins.
Bourbon truly has it all. It has a name, it has a reputation, and (as we may have already mentioned) it often commands very exorbitant prices these days. It is also very popular among consumers and collectors, with producers increasingly producing higher quality bottles.
And these higher-quality products, coupled with a consumer reappraisal of bourbon’s inherent quality in general, have not only driven up the price of top-quality bourbon, but also increased bourbon’s overall score. Did. We live in a time when bourbon has literally never been better.
Of course, it wasn’t always like this. By the late 1980s, the bourbon industry was stagnant at best. The brand, which was dominated by several brands (actually he was one), could not be called a touchstone of innovation and progress. The launch of Beam’s small batch collection in the early 1990s was a game-changer, as it showed exactly how great artisan bourbon can be.
The success of these releases (Booker’s, Baker’s, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden) prompted other distilleries to follow suit, and soon there was a boom. The craze never let up, and 30 years later we’re flooded with quality bourbon, often at very affordable prices.
So which one is the best and how to rate its greatness? Well, the easiest way is to use aggregated critic scores. As more critics’ scores are considered, the aggregated score becomes more robust and more accurately reflects quality as perceived by critics.
Ultimately for the wine, this means score inflation, as better vintages (and more excited critics) guarantee improved quality. For whisky, quality is less dependent on vintage, so scores rarely rise or fall rapidly. However, whiskey critics tend to be more chill about scores anyway, and scores in the 80s are considered pretty impressive.
So let’s take a look at what this year’s top bourbons hold.
Wine-Searcher’s World’s Best Bourbons:
There are a lot of items on this list, so let’s start with the score. Last year’s list included three 96-point whiskeys, so while it may seem like the quality has declined at first glance, this is not actually the case. Last year’s list also had five scores of 92 or 93, but this year is very different. Overall, last year’s average score for the top 10 was 93.9, but this year he’s at 94.3, down slightly compared to 2021.
Another important factor is the price. Last year’s global average retail price was $2,491, a decline of 4.3 percent compared to 2021. This year’s decline was even more pronounced, dropping about 5.5 percent to $2,354.50. This is good news for consumers. Because it means quality goes up while prices go down.
And this year, we give special mention to two whiskeys on this list: Knob Creek 12 Year Old and Four Roses Single Barrel. There are affordable bourbons that make this list every year, and with a global average price of $72, Knob Creek is a premium bourbon that’s affordable for all collectors and consumers, not just the wealthy.
That’s a bit more expensive than last year’s Value Champion, but its price has remained stable over the past year and is cheaper than its $78 peak in February 2020.
Even better news is that the global average retail price for a bottle of Four Roses is just $48 (also unchanged from last year), making it the most affordable whiskey on the list.
This is generally a symptom of bourbon, and such consistency requires some beating.
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