Where to Find the Best Bourbon Outside of Kentucky

Traveling for America's favorite spirit.

During the many essential steps to crafting a truly exquisite bourbon, some things are always left up to the distiller—many feel the extreme temperatures of an August afternoon will force flavor from a barrel, for example, and others look to heirloom corn for sweetness. However, bourbon, like Champagne or Scotch, also has hard-and-fast rules attached to earn the designation. It must always be a minimum of 51-percent corn in the mash bill (the mix of grains used to make the smooth, golden spirit) and it must be aged in new charred oak. Another thing people often think is a rule?

“We still hear people saying it needs to also be made in Kentucky,” says Jeff Quint, owner and distiller of Cedar Ridge in Iowa. “That's absolutely not true.”

This summer, look beyond Kentucky for our nation's iconic spirit—from a distillery harvesting Carolina-grown ginger to another using Vermont snowstorms to impart serious flavor.


Balcones Blue Corn Bourbon

Made in…Waco, Texas
Beyond ogling the houses from Fixer Upper, there's another reason Waco is an excellent place to travel this fall: Blue Corn Bourbon is released once a year (in October or November), with 200-300 cases sold entirely in Texas. “We are a small-batch, ingredient-driven distillery,” says ambassador Winston Edwards. “We feel blue corn has superior flavor to white or yellow. Youll notice a totally unique dimension…with roasted, buttery character that blue corn provides, and buttered waffle, burnt marshmallow, sweet tea and a cinnamon hit on the finish.”


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