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15 Best Sour Mash Whiskey Brands Listed (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on November 8, 2022 by Lydia Martin

When identifying the best sour mash whiskey in the market, you must consider the age of the spirit, mash bill, barrels used, and the resulting aromas and flavors. 

While sour mashing is quite a standard practice in whiskey, some brands don’t include it on their label. 

If you’re into sour mash specifically, check out our list of the best sour mash whiskey brands you don’t want to miss out on. 

Top 15 Sour Mash Whiskeys To Try

15. Tiger Snake Sour Mash Whiskey

Tiger Snake Sour Mash Whiskey bottle with glass and decanter

Average Price: around $140/700ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 43% ABV 

Why We Like It: The creamy and tart flavors of nut and a touch of vanilla combine with the floral and fruit notes of Tiger Snake’s delightful fermented mixture.

This whiskey has a rich and creamy finish as the various elements create a velvet bomb. 

Since it’s made in Australia, Tiger Snake has to stick with the name of its namesake whiskey, the Sour Mash.

This traditional blend includes a variety of grains such as rye, corn, and malted barley – then matured to perfection.

14. Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Old-Fashioned

Bottle of Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Old-Fashioned

Average Price: around $46.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Why We Like It: This Buffalo Trace’s experimental whiskey’s Old-Fashioned Mash is pre-soured before it’s fermented.

So it’s like a double-soured mash that spends 13 years in barrels.

The combination of fermented oak, rye spice, and toffee will immediately hit you.

The creamy and sweet notes of maple and vanilla hang with the spice and the caramel. This is a bold and very interesting drink. 

13. Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey

Nelson's Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey Bottle on top of a barrel

Average Price: around $30/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45.5% ABV 

Why We Like It: This Tennessee whiskey was aged in charred oak barrels for around two to five years, a process that sets the standard for other Tennessee whiskey distilleries.

Its aroma is filled with hints of smoky fruit and nuts, with berries and oak in the background. 

The finish is full of cherries, apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar flavors. 

Then, the smoke and oak fade a bit mid-palate, and the flavors of caramel come in strong.

12. Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey

Michters Small Batch US Sour Mash Bottle and a glass

Average Price: around $100/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 43% ABV 

Why We Like It: This whiskey bottle is a variant of Michter’s US sour mash whiskeys to honor Michter’s heritage harkening.

It’s made from hand-made barrels and air-dried for almost two years.

Michter’s US whiskey’s aroma is filled with notes of fresh honey and vanilla pods.

Some of the other notable flavors of Michter’s US from the previous batch include orange peel and hints of burnt wood. 

11. Balcones Distilling True Blue Cask Strength

Balcones TRUE BLUE Cask Strength Whiskey

Average Price: around $63.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 64.5% ABV 

Why We Like It: Its distillation process uses the finest ingredients to create a whiskey that will draw you in.

Its aroma features cane sugar, oak, and moss, with hints of cinnamon and grapefruit pith. 

The flavors of dried fruits and spices, such as dried apricots and chili peppers, come together to form a finish balanced with raw honey, bread, and coffee cake.

10. Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Bottles

Average Price: around $425/750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Why We Like It: The Buffalo Trace Experiment Collection is a fun way to sample different types of whiskey.

It uses different types of wood and mash bills in the aging process. 

Due to the varying parameters of the bottle, its taste and smell will vary; but oak and spice are dominant.

The vibrant and rich flavors are intense and balanced.

9. Old Elk Sour Mash Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Old Elk Sour Mash Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey with two glasses

Average Price: around $74.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 52.5% ABV 

Why We Like It: Old Elk’s Sour Mash Reserve is distilled with a blend of grain, yeast, and water, and aged for six years.

Master distillers explained that the magic happens during the fermentation process.

The nose is floral and light-colored with notes of green apple, cinnamon, and honey.

Then, on the palate, it’s full of honey, red apples, and vanilla with a short finish, full of bread, spices, and oak.

8. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Sour Mash 

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon Sour Mash Bottle on a wooden table

Average Price: around $40/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV

Why We Like It: This is a very sweet and smooth sour mash whiskey, perfect for celebrating a special occasion.

We find its flavor profile similar to Michter’s US Toasted Barrel bourbon but slightly better.

The nose is very sweet, with hints of maple, honey, and clove. It’s on the lighter side, which is understandable since it’s a 90-proof whiskey. 

The palate is smooth with a subtle spice. The long finish is a bit dry, with hints of aged oak, cracked pepper, and tobacco.

7. George Dickel Recipe No. 8 Classic Tennessee Sour Mash

Bottle of George Dickel Recipe No. 8 Classic Tennessee Sour Mash

Average Price: around $30.52/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Why We Like It: This Tennessee whiskey [1] is made with a mixture of different ingredients with a smooth-sipping character.

It features hints of maple and butter.

Bottled at 80-proof, this sour mash whiskey contains a mash bill of 84% corn, 8% malted barley, and 8% rye, then distilled and charcoal-mellowed. 

Everyone will love its aroma of vanilla and subtle herbal notes. The flavors taste like candied cherries, butterscotch, bread, and toasted oak. 

It has a medium finish with caramel and cinnamon notes. 

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”

— Raymond Chandler, Screenwriter/Novelist 

6. Shenk’s Homestead Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey

Bottle of Shenk's Homestead Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey

Average Price: around $249.95/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45.6% ABV 

Why We Like It: This Shenk’s Homestead Kentucky sour mash whiskey pays homage to John Shenk, an American whiskey personality. 

This whiskey is made using the traditional method of adding a portion of the previously fermented mash whiskey to the new batch of new mash, making truly small batch whiskeys. 

This small batch whiskey is bottled at 91.2 proof. The nose of this sour mash whiskey has hints of honeyed vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. 

The taste is also filled with maple flavors and hints of sweet fruit. The finish is smooth and pleasant, with a lingering sugar taste.

5. Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bib Bourbon

close up shot of Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bib Bourbon bottle

Average Price: around $70/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Why We Like It: This is a traditional sour mash that Buffalo Trace’s distillers created as they discovered that this whiskey production process commonly occurs, adding a bit of a boost to the fermentation. 

This spirit starts with a rich, grassy flavor that lingers on the palate until it melts into a warm and leathery finish. 

The sweetness is then supported by the rich and creamy honey cut and then topped with a warm sourdough starter.

The finish is also infused with spice.

4. Henry Mckenna Bourbon Sour Mash

close up shot of Henry Mckenna Bourbon Sour Mash bottle

Average Price: around $19.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This sour mash is surprisingly impressive at a super affordable cost. It is a very smooth whiskey that’s best enjoyed neat. 

It begins with the smell of toffee with citrus zest, followed by vanilla and wood tones. The palate features smoky fruit notes, which is a fairly basic flavor.

It has a medium finish with wood, corn, and caramel notes. The balance is just fine, but it comes together nicely.

The flavor and aroma are both very pleasant and play out smoothly on the surface.

3. King’s Creek 9yr Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey

3 Bottles of King's Creek 9yr Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey

Average Price: around $39.99/750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Why We Like It: This sour mash spirit is distilled in oak barrels and filtered through charcoal chips, resulting in a complex flavor. 

The mixture of flavors, including candied cherries, bread, and spice, lingers for a long time. The nose has hints of peanut, oak, and dried grain.

The long and mild finish somewhat tastes like Robitussin syrup, but it feels better and relaxing after swallowing. 

2. Belle Meade Sour Mash Straight Bourbon 

Belle Meade Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey bottle and a glass

Average Price: around $52.99 /750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV 

Why We Like It: This Belle Meade spirit opens with a distinct maple syrup edge.

The citrus and floral flavors jump around as the sweet, honeyed vanilla and caramel combine, creating a delightful experience. 

The rye spice kicks in, adding sweetness through a rich dried apricot bite.

As the finish draws near, the spice starts to fade into cinnamon with hints of cherries and plums.

Its high rye mash bill, mixed with the corn and malted barley, was distilled using the distillery’s single historic recipe and proprietary yeast strains.

The sour mash is barreled to make truly small-batch whiskeys, ensuring a high-quality spirit.

1. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey bottle on top of a wooden table

Average Price: around $54.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 47% ABV 

Why We Like It: Jack Daniel’s single barrel select is made from the finest single barrel, bottled in a small batch at 94 proof.

This is a robust and flavorful drink with notes of spice and caramel.

Jack Daniel’s single barrel is very good and delicious and is not that intense.

This sour mash is a powerful level up from Jack Daniel’s regular spirits. 

FAQs 

Are all bourbon whiskeys sour mash?

No, not all bourbon whiskeys [2] are sour mash, but all sour mash is bourbon. The sour mash process is just about the bourbon whiskey production process. 

Can sour mash whiskey be classified as bourbon?

Yes, sour mash whiskey can be classified as bourbon as long as it meets the required regulations. Bourbons must be made only in the US, and the mash should be made of at least 51% corn.

Final Verdict

The best sour mash whiskey bottles are more superficial than standard bourbon spirits.

Most distillers craft sour mash whiskey by mixing a percentage of the previously fermented mash with the new mash of new batches of spirits. 

If you want something new to try, check out each bottle mentioned above.

We highly recommend starting with Jack Daniel’s finest single barrel select as an introduction to sour mash spirits and the delightful sour mash process. 

References:

  1. https://www.discovermagazine.com/technology/science-uncovers-the-secrets-of-tennessee-whiskey 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/bourbon-whiskey#

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