Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
As a longtime Manhattan drinker, I am surprised, confounded, pleased and yet at the same time a little concerned about the current state of bourbon. I’m not talking about the quality level—there’s probably more good bourbon out there than there’s ever been before. I’m talking about the popularity level. The rocket-like rise of bourbon’s appeal makes me think about the cigar boom a decade or so ago, when a grizzled vineyard manager and longtime cigar smoker I knew produced one of his favorite stogies from his shirt pocket and said, “See this? I was paying two bucks for these a couple of years ago. Now the damn things cost me 12 bucks each!”
But that’s as maybe. To get to matters at hand—that is, to get some recommendations in before the bourbon world goes even more berserk—here’s a quartet of good bottles to seek out.
Bulleit bourbon ($22)
Weller 12 Year Old ($26)
Four Roses Small Batch ($35)
Angel’s Envy ($55)
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