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Best Bourbons In The World, According To The International Wine & Spirits Competition 2021

best bourbons 2021

The International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) 2021 has revealed its picks for the best bourbons in the world. This year, a total of six bourbons were awarded Gold Outstanding medals, the competition’s highest rating.

The six top prizes were spread out across some of the biggest names in the whiskey business. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits lead the way with two of its bourbons being able to claim best in the world for 2021. Diageo also grabbed an Gold Outstanding, along with the Sazerac Company, Beam Suntory, and Buffalo Trace.

This year’s top score went to Deutsch’s Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon Whiskey, which scored a 99/100 and was awarded the US Whiskey Trophy 2021. A total of 100 bourbons were awarded medals over the course of IWSC 2021, and 20 received gold or higher.

Founded in 1969 by Anton Massel, the IWSC is an annual wine and spirits competition that has grown to become the largest such competition in the world. Spirits are evaluated on a 100-point scale and awards are given out for Gold Outstanding (98-100 points), Gold (95-97 points), Silver (90-94 points). and Bronze (85-89 points). Over the course of the event, more than 250 judges, drawn from all over the world, evaluate thousands of wines and spirits across 1,500 different categories.

Here are the six best bourbons in the world according to the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2021:

Buffalo Trace Distillery – William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (98 points)

“Abundance of cherry, plum and stone fruit richness with high notes of coffee. Remarkably complex with a tannic toffee backbone, cedar dryness and nuances of sweet, charred oak. Water releases sherbet zinginess, bursting with flavour to a long, rounded finish.”

Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits – Redemption Barrel Proof 9 YO Bourbon Whiskey (98 points)

“Sensational Indiana typicity, big and fatty with a complex nose of crisp ripe pineapple, floral high notes and a backbone of chocolate oakiness. Deeply syrupy and spicy with a chilli kick, intense heat and a super lengthy integrated finish.”

Beam Suntory – Maker’s Mark Private Select Black Bourbon Society Whiskey (98 points)

“Terrific Kentucky whiskey typicity with an intense nose of coffee, walnuts and sweet malty complexity. Bold with upfront stone fruit, liquorice and nutty spice with elements of caramel, tobacco and toastiness. Developing balanced cherry characters with a seemingly limitless finish.”

Blanton Distilling Company – Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (98 points)

“A truly beautiful, bold and spicy nose with cinnamon sweet intensity and an elegant balance of wood. Standout stone fruit, ripe corn and rye spice. Deliciously hot with a lengthy finish.”

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey – 10 YO Bourbon (98 points)

“A vibrant Earl Grey and marzipan nose with vanilla, linseed and lifted notes of gooseberry and honeysuckle. Increasingly complex palate with abundant fruit ripeness, leather undertones, cardamom and caramel roundness. Integrated warmth, well balanced and utterly sensational.”

Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits – Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon Whiskey (99 points)

“Lemon bonbons and pineapple syrup underpinned by pavlova-like berries and a creamy, herbal nose. Punchy with lustrous vanilla, dark chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon and mulled cider nuances. Immensely deep and well-integrated throughout with a long and warming rye-spiced finish.”

Complete list of Gold and Gold Outstanding winners:

NameProducerCategoryScoreMedalCountryRegionAlcohol %
Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon WhiskeyDeutsch Family Wine and SpiritsSpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Unpeated99Spirit Gold Outstanding 2021USAIndiana57
10 YO BourbonBulleit Frontier WhiskeySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated98Spirit Gold Outstanding 2021USAKentucky45.6
Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyBlanton Distilling CompanySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated -> Single Barrel98Spirit Gold Outstanding 2021USAKentucky51.5
Maker’s Mark Private Select Black Bourbon Society WhiskeyBeam SuntorySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Unpeated98Spirit Gold Outstanding 2021USAKentucky55.2
Redemption Barrel Proof 9 YO Bourbon WhiskeyDeutsch Family Wine and SpiritsSpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated98Spirit Gold Outstanding 2021USAIndiana52.8
William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyBuffalo Trace DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated98Spirit Gold Outstanding 2021USAKentucky67.3
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyBuffalo Trace DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated97Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky50.5
Hogs 3 BourbonQuality Spirits InternationalSpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated97Spirit Gold 2021USA40
Old Ezra 7 YO Kentucky Straight Bourbon Barrel StrengthLuxco – Lux Row DistillersSpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Unpeated97Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky58.5
Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyBuffalo Trace DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated -> Single Barrel96Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky45
Four Roses Single Barrel Straight Bourbon WhiskeyFour Roses DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated -> Single Barrel96Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky50
Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2020 Limited Release BourbonBeam SuntorySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Unpeated96Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky55.4
1856 Premium Aged WhiskeyUncle Nearest Premium WhiskeySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021USATennessee50
Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Kentucky Straight Rye WhiskeyBuffalo Trace DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky50
Evan Williams Single Barrel BourbonHeaven Hill DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Lightly Peated -> Single Barrel95Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky43.3
Hudson Bright Lights Big BourbonWilliam Grant & Sons DistillersSpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021USANew York46
Kujira Ryukyu Whisky 24 Years Old Bourbon BarrelKumesen ShuzoSpirit -> Whiskey – Worldwide -> Single Grain -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021Japan43
Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon WhiskeyBeam SuntorySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky55.3
Master Blenders? Edition Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Irish Whiskey CasksHeaven’s DoorSpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon – Straight -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021USANot Applicable50
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Kentucky Straight Rye WhiskeyBuffalo Trace DistillerySpirit -> Whiskey – USA -> Bourbon -> Unpeated95Spirit Gold 2021USAKentucky64.5

For a complete list of all medalists, head over to the IWSC’s official website.

Check out the The Best Rums In The World, According To The International Wine & Spirits Competition 2021.

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