The World’s Best Bourbon—According To The 2024 World Whiskies Awards

Food & Drink

Despite its awkwardly worded title, the World Whiskies Awards exist as one of the most coveted competitions in the world of aged spirits. Judges consist of esteemed industry vets, with a heavy concentration of palates plucked from in and around the United Kingdom. Each year, around this time, the organization begins to roll out an annual list of “Taste Winners” — that is, the best of the best from dozens of categories, broken down by style and regionality.

When it comes to bourbon, for example, there are individual awards of distinction for subcategories including Finished Bourbon, Small Batch Bourbon, and Single Barrel Bourbon. You can find a complete rundown of all that here.

But we know what you really want to see: the top of the heap, A-number-1; the World’s Best Bourbon. Period. For 2024 that singular honor belongs to the 12 year old release from Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Here’s a closer look at what makes the liquid so exceptional, and how you can get your hands on a bottle.

The primary element to note about 1792 Aged Twelve Years is that it appeals to those with a sweet tooth. This is a whiskey offering an assertive bouquet riddled with burnt sugar and molasses. It rolls over the tongue in an initial wave of caramel and candied fruit. And the parting profile is one best defined as a cherry bomb. Dark maraschinos, to be precise. If you’re fans of dessert bourbon, you’re going to love what you uncork here.

The award-winning bourbon was distilled using a high-rye recipe, allegedly somewhere in the range of 15-18% of the savory grain to go along with roughly 75% corn and just under 10% malted barley. It enters the glass at an exacting proof of 96.6%. So it has a little oomph when sipped neat, but not so much that you’d need to dilute it down in the snifter.

Ardent fans of bourbon shouldn’t be too shocked that this particular liquid received such high praise. After all, it comes from a distinguished distillery owned and operated by Sazerac—the same folks responsible for all those award-winning juices over at Buffalo Trace. It holds quite the pedigree all its own, too: established in 1879, it is the oldest fully-operating distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Its name pays homage to the year in which its home state officially entered the union.

And unlike many of the bourbons coming out of its sister facility, you should be able to score a bottle of this one for under $100. It’s not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. But alas, nothing even tangentially associated with Buffalo Trace comes easy these days.

Stay tuned for more category winners from the 2024 World Whiskies Awards in the weeks ahead. The top bottlings of Irish and scotch will be announced imminently. As always, you can rely on us to deliver all the relevant details.

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