Sourced bourbons are finally getting some respect these days, and have, in fact, for a good while yet. But for some reason the idea that we should be treating them as less orthodox persists? Oh, your startup bourbon label doesn’t bottle a 100-year-old trove of recently unearthed family recipes? Who cares? All I care about as a tippler is whether it’s good to drink. Years of scoffing at brands that for letting MGP literally carry their water has led to a whiskey gatekeeping that is no good for anybody. No more! I rounded up my recs for sourced bourbons doing good work, either entirely through MGP and TDG or in conjunction with some in-house barreling and aging or finishing…really, sourced is a much less defined term than we’d expect, given the various stages of production.
I’m always shouting the praises of Evan Williams for being such a deal at its price point. There are whiskeys that I might categorize as higher QUALITY but less GOOD, even without regard for their price point. You would taste either and could say there’s more of the features that we recognize as whiskey richness and nuance, while also saying “Yeah, but I just like the taste of Evan better.” So in that regard, I think it’s important to say this is a recognition of both. Some sourced bourbons taste cheap but good. Some sourced bourbons taste quality and are maybe a steal or not but their goodness is a separately connected thing: related but not derived entirely from it. It comes down to what you like about the final product, and if that gestalt is done well.