The Best Bourbon in the World – Winner of the New York Wine and Spirits Competition 2023

The Best Bourbon in the World - Winner of the New York Wine and Spirits Competition 2023

The New York Wine and Spirits Competition, held in Brooklyn last month, was a standout event that brought together some of the most refined palates in the beverage industry for three days of blind tasting and evaluation.

This prestigious event, organized by the Tasting Alliance in New York, the same group behind the renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition, drew a record number of entries from producers around the world, spanning six distinct continents.

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While the winners in all major categories are scheduled to be revealed to the public on September 12th, we have the honor of providing an exclusive preview of this year’s standout in the bourbon category.

Among hundreds of competitors from around the world, the top prize was awarded to a bourbon with a sherry barrel finish, produced by 15 Stars, a distillery based in Bardstown, Kentucky. This limited edition was bottled with a robust alcohol content of 57.5% ABV and initially retailed for $179.

The golden liquid inside the bottle is a harmonious blend of pure bourbons aged from 10 to 13 years, sourced from Kentucky and Indiana. The final touch that elevates this bourbon to an exceptional level occurs when the liquid rests for several months in barrels previously enriched with the famous fortified wine from southwestern Spain.

When poured into the glass, the bourbon unveils an aromatic bouquet evoking notes of cherry and cola. On the palate, a symphony of flavors unfolds, with plum, raisins, and cinnamon vying for the taster’s attention. However, what lingers longest after each sip is the balance between the sweet nutty notes and delicate hints of holiday spices.

Despite its relative youth in the market, 15 Stars has already garnered a dedicated fan base among American whiskey enthusiasts. This is notable, especially considering that most of its expressions are sold above the $100 mark. The “Platinum” bourbon, for example, is a blend of pure bourbons aged between 10 and 18 years and is retailed at $280 per bottle.

In addition to public recognition, the brand has also shone in competition circuits, receiving 95 out of 100 points at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, as well as the distinction of double gold in San Francisco and double platinum at the ASCOT Awards. With this remarkable award, demand for their limited editions is likely to become even more intense.

The name “15 Stars” was chosen to pay homage to Kentucky’s status as the 15th American state, achieved when it joined the Union in 1792. The company was founded by Rick and Ricky Johnson, natives of Bluegrass, father and son. Currently, 15 Stars bottles are distributed to retailers and restaurants in Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as in their home state of Kentucky.

By claiming the title of “Best Bourbon,” the Sherry Cask Finish Bourbon from 15 Stars surpassed distinguished brands like Buffalo Trace, including several brands from their antique collection, as well as spirits from Blue Run and Rabbit Hole. We hope that this victory will provide 15 Stars with greater visibility and the opportunity to expand their presence to other states in the coming months.

As we eagerly await the unveiling of the winners in the other competition categories, such as the best single malt whiskey from the New York Wine & Spirits Competition and the best overall whiskey in all categories, we can be sure that many exciting surprises are still to come.

This year, the competition in New York proves that the spirits industry continues to evolve and delight us with its exceptional creations.

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