Five Great Bourbons for Back-To-School Season

Whiskey is not on many back to school lists. The set in need of pencil boxes, protractors, and highlighters is rarely also pining after that latest Buffalo Trace release (although we see you out there, grad students).

But even if it’s been decades since you’ve last been in school, there’s no reason that back-to-school season shouldn’t be a time for you to make a list, head to the liquor store, and refresh the cabinet for the cooler, crisper days to come—doubly so if you’re celebrating your kids’ return to the classroom.

Since September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, we’re turning to the world of bourbon to help ease the transition from the carefree days of summer to the responsibilities of fall.

Wyoming Whiskey Single Barrel Bourbon

Not all the great bourbon comes from Kentucky. Wyoming Whiskey in Kirby, Wyoming, is quietly turning heads with its well-made, well-aged, and well-that’s-delicious whiskeys, including a regular single barrel bourbon release that impresses even the most entrenched craft skeptics. Wyoming Whiskey’s line of wheated bourbons was developed in partnership with Steve Nally of Maker’s Mark, so it’s no surprise they’re so tasty.

Booker’s Bourbon Blue Knights Batch

The new Booker’s Bourbon is a yet another crowd pleaser—a 127.4 proof, six-year-old bourbon named after a local group of motorcycle enthusiasts who are all active or retired police officers. It’s spendier than past Booker’s releases, but die-hard fans won’t be disappointed.

Old Forester Statesman

This new limited-edition release from Old Forester commemorates the release of the latest Statesman flick: The Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Indulge your international spy fantasies with this rye-forward bourbon, bottled at a healthy 95 proof.

Early Times Bottled-in-Bond

Early Times’ flagship U.S. release isn’t a bourbon, but earlier this year the 157-year-old brand released a bottled-in-bond bourbon release seemingly designed specifically for cocktails. It’s bottled at 100 proof, packaged in a one-liter bottle, and has a sweet, citrus-forward flavor and friendly price point that’s ideal for mixed drinks.

Kentucky Owl Bourbon Batch #7

Debuting outside Kentucky for the very first time this September, this cult favorite brand is known for its small-batch vattings that showcase different flavors every time. Batch #7 combines 11 barrels that are at least 13 years old with four eight- to nine-year old barrels for a whiskey with a sweet entry and spicy finish.

About the author

Margarett Waterbury

Margarett Waterbury is a food and drinks writer based in Portland, Oregon. She's the managing editor of The Whiskey Wash, the managing editor of Edible Portland, and a regular contributor to local and national publications.

  • Robert Page

    I’m a great fan of your writing, Margarett, but this story concept makes very little sense, as your first paragraph concedes.