Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin
A good bourbon can be expensive and difficult to find, but if you are lucky, Trader Joe’s sells private-label liquors at affordable prices.
The brand claims that the distiller of Trader Joe’s bourbon makes one of the best-branded bourbons on the market, so we dug deeper to know more about it.
Keep reading to learn what we’ve discovered.
All About Trader Joe’s Bourbon
Trader Joe’s bourbon has been the talk of the town as it is rumored to be a Buffalo Trace liquor but at a lower and more affordable price.
Trader Joe’s bourbon costs around $14.99, significantly cheaper than other bourbons in the market today.
Aside from the price that is hard to pass up, it boasts 45% ABV.
The bourbon in the spotlight has sparked a controversy with the distiller because Buffalo Trace Distillery appears in the brewer section, while many say it’s from Barton Distillery.
Trader Joe’s bourbon is big on flavor, and while it does not have an age statement,
Trader Joe’s website claims that it is aged for a minimum of five years in oak barrels.
History & Origin
Trader Joe’s bourbon is a private-label bourbon whiskey released exclusively in Trader Joe’s stores across the United States, but availability varies depending on the state laws for selling liquors.
The store offers almost 80 alcoholic drinks, and Trader Joe’s Kentucky bourbon has been included in the lineup since 2021.
Production & Distillation
Trader Joe’s bourbon is a private label, and they only source their whiskey in a specific distiller.
The proprietary mash bill is fermented and distilled in pot stills to refine its flavor and concentrate the alcohol content.
“Bourbon requires a tremendous amount of patience”– Paul Wesley, Actor and co-owner of a bourbon whiskey brand
The distilled spirit  is aged in new oak barrels for at least five years, longer than the typical bourbon whiskey.
Trader Joe’s bourbon is crafted using a blend of corn, rye, and malted barley.
The mash bill ratio is undisclosed, but since it is a bourbon whiskey, corn is the dominant grain of the spirit .
Also, it comes with a sour mash from previous distillation to ensure the consistent flavor of every batch.
The bourbon whiskey features fruity, sweet, and spicy notes that are evident in every sip, thanks to the mash bill it contains.
- Palate: Heavy corn, oak, sweet apple, toasted marshmallow, mint, vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel
- Color: Amber
- Nose: Dark honey, buttery caramel, roasted pecans, leather, tobacco, brown sugar, corn, and apples
- Finish: Long, dry, spicy finish with caramel and vanilla
Trader Joe’s bourbon boasts 45% alcohol by volume or 90 alcohol proof.
For its price, it boasts a big, traditionally woody and corny-sweet bourbon packed with a nice punch.
The alcohol content of Trader Joe’s bourbon is impressive, and you can consume it neat and on the rocks.
It has a nice punch, and the alcohol bite does not fade easily in cocktails.
Ownership & Distillery
Trader Joe’s bourbon is an exclusive bourbon product from Trader Joe’s, a chain of convenience stores with over 530 stores in the US.
Trader Joe’s opened in 1967, and most of its products are privately labeled, meaning the Kentucky bourbon is produced by a distillery and sold under Trader Joe’s branding.
There were assumptions that Buffalo Trace Distillery is behind the production based on the TTB certificate released, but there are rumors that Barton Distillery is responsible for the bottles.
Trader Joe’s is fully committed to its tradition of providing affordable liquor under its branding.
Trader Joe’s bourbon is available in stores for around $14.99 per 750 ml bottle.
Unfortunately, the availability and sales of Trader Joe’s bourbon vary depending on the state.
Local and state laws prohibit selling whiskeys, so check your local and state laws first.
What Most People Say About TJ’s Bourbon
The opinion of whiskey lovers is divided regarding Trader Joe’s flavor profile, but they all agreed that the price is hard to pass up.
For under $15, the bourbon whiskey is big on flavor because it is aged longer than a typical straight bourbon whiskey.
The private label has amazing tasting notes with a bright and odd finish. In addition, it has amazing alcohol content (45%).
It is a good entry-level, mellow, not the best, but not bad for its price.
Distiller Controversy: Buffalo Trace vs Barton
Trader Joe’s does not release an official statement on where they obtain their products, but there is a distiller controversy between Buffalo Trace and Barton Distillery.
There are rumors that Barton 1792 Distillery is behind Trader Joe’s bourbon production since some whiskey drinkers find the taste similar to Barton bottlings.
However, based on the released TTB certificate, Buffalo Trace Distillery reflects on being the plant registry of the bourbon, and it is bottled under Bourbon Square Distilling Company.
The suppliers of private labels are frequently not disclosed since they are usually sold at a lower price than their brand.
How many bourbons does Trader Joe’s have?
Right now, there are two bourbon offerings from Trader Joe’s. One is the Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, and the other is the Kentucky Best wheated bourbon whiskey.
There was also a limited release of Trader Joe’s barrel entry-proof bourbon, but unfortunately, it is no longer available in Trader Joe’s stores.
Where can you buy Trader Joe’s bourbon?
You can buy Trader Joe’s bourbon at Trader Joe’s stores only.
However, you should check your local and state laws since there are controlled states where you cannot buy distilled spirits.
Is Trader Joe’s bourbon hard to find?
Yes, Trader Joe’s bourbon can be hard to find, especially in controlled states.
In some cases, like in Maryland and Missouri, Trader Joe’s does not sell liquor or wine. But if you are from New Mexico, California, and Washington, you can snag and indulge in this bottle of bourbon.
Trader Joe’s bourbon is a decent bottle of whiskey that is privately labeled and exclusively sold at Trader Joe’s stores.
It boasts 45% ABV, and for the price of $14.99 per bottle, it is hard to pass up.
The bourbon whiskey comes across as a mature spirit with no listed age statement, but their official website claims it is aged for five years in new oak barrels.
In addition, Trader Joe’s bourbon has a nice balance and is a downright impressive whiskey for its affordable price.