My sister and I had a discussion involving different types of advent calendars and she suggested that someone come up with an advent calendar that when you opened up the door, there was a beer. There have also been whiskey and wine advent calendars that people have been wanting to get their hands on this year. The goal of all these calendars? Counting down to Christmas in a very 21 and over type way.

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It was shortly after this conversation that she challenged me, a bourbon and whisk(e)y enthusiast, to coming up with the "12 Days Of Bourbon". I said, so what's the challenge? So I added just a few rules, the bourbons have to be readily available, aka NO PAPPY VAN WINKLES and I had to have actually tried them, if I am suggesting it.

So the following are listed in no particular order. The rule that I have added is that with the ever soaring price of whiskey, these bottles really needed to be under $100 each. Is that possible, sure, but you might have to look hard.

Listen, I love a good bourbon, but some of the prices have really gone a bit nuts over the last few years. The list has changed a bit since I first posted it in 2015, but each one is enjoyable and would probably make the bourbon lover in your life pretty happy. Have a conversation with your retailers, ask them questions. Do I trust what they are saying? Not always, go with your gut. What is that store excited about? Do you think that they are just trying to sell you the most expensive thing? Have they tried that particular whiskey they are hocking to you?


Here is a tip. Don't run into a store and expect to trust those associates right off the bat, a good retailer relationship is not built at the holidays, it is built all year long.

Here is the list. Keep in mind, another reason these items made the list is most of them are readily available at retailers across the US. Granted, shortages are appearing due to the pandemic and subsequent supplier issues, etc., etc.

So. what do you think? Agree, Disagree? I do have a few suggestions if one or two of these are not available at the bottom of the post.

12. Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
11. Angels Envy, Port Cask Finished
10. Eagle Rare 10 Year
9. 1792, Either the Small Batch, the Port Finished or Bottled in Bond
8. Maker's Mark, a great place to start if you have not tried many bourbons. I have recently found many different "Barrel Select" versions, which will vary by store/location. You will be able to spot these because of the five different stave numbers across the front and center of the label.
7. Knob Creek, a great 9 year aged, 100 proof bourbon that can be in a cocktail or hold its own weigh with an ice cube or two
6. Four Roses Single Barrel
5. Booker Noe, Little Book any of the Chapters. They release a few each year. These will range in price starting at about $100, but could be more depending on demand and  location.
4. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, not for the beginning bourbon drinker, add a cube of ice and let it rest for a minute or two before enjoying
3. Hillrock Solera Bourbon, Sauterne Cask Finished. Not sure if there is much of this in the open market place, might have to inquire at the distillery. They do have many different barrel select finishes like Pinot Noir Cask, Cabernet Cask, etc. Most are found at the distillery, but a well stocked retailer should have a few of their items for you to peruse.
2. Black Dirt Bourbon, Crown Maple. Ok this is not a 'Maple Flavored Syrupy Whiskey' this is a tasty treat that can be enjoyed neat or with a ice cube or two. Ok, someone reminded me that this might be a bit hard to get as it is a few years old. Then try the Black Dirt 3 Year Bourbon.
1. Basil Hayden

***Some substitutions could include the Jefferson's Presidential, Bakers, Elijah Craig 12 year, Bulleit, Woodford, Willet Pot Still and Maker's 46, Hudson Baby Bourbon***

Full disclosure, I have had the Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old and it was delicious. Do I think I will ever get my hands on another bottle of it, probably not, but I did make sure to share that particular bottle with as many people as I could, while constantly 're-sampling' it for myself.

Just in case, here is another look at 16 solid Bourbons

Don't know what to get Dad for Father's Day? Need a great Groom's or Graduation Gift for the Bourbon Lover? These will score you serious points.

Denning's Point Distillery in Beacon, NY

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