Review: Buckner’s Bourbon 13 Years Old

Review: Buckner’s Bourbon 13 Years Old

Bottle of Augusta Distillery Buckner's 13 year single barrel bourbon and a rocks glass.

Is Augusta Distillery’s Buckner’s 13 year old bourbon the best in the world? After being crowned “the world’s best bourbon” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition the hype around this whiskey has certainly caught the attention of discerning bourbon fans. That win comes on the heels of Augusta Distillery’s 15 year old Buckner’s being named Best Craft Bourbon and Best Craft Whiskey in the U.S. by the American Distilling Institute one month earlier, so it makes sense that we here at Drinkhacker should turn our attention to answering the question for ourselves today.

Augusta Distillery sits on the limestone banks of Augusta, Kentucky which is located just off the Ohio River in Bracken County, which was once the heart of bourbon’s production zone. After breaking ground in June of 2022 and quickly establishing itself as a destination for tours and tastings, the brand captured lightning in a bottle by releasing their award winning 15- and 13-year expressions which were distilled and aged in Bardstown, Kentucky. Let the speculation begin as to where exactly these bourbons are sourced from.

The 13 year old in particular fits the “lightning in a bottle” descriptor as several of these cask strength single barrel releases have crossed the hazmat threshold with the one we’ll be reviewing today coming from barrel #103, sitting on the precipice at 140 proof exactly. With the liquid sitting in the glass, you’d be forgiven if you found that hard to believe as it doesn’t come across as particularly high-proofed. Notes of dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, and raisin bread pudding waft up to greet the nose along with a healthy helping of leather and barrel char. However, after one sip you can expect a kick in the palate as the proof finally reveals itself. The roasted peanuts turn to honey roasted walnuts on the tongue, the dark chocolate diffuses over the roof of the mouth, and caramel-coated red pepper flakes add a flourish to the finish.

Once acclimated to the high proof, one can find even more caramel in concert with polished leather and stewed plums along with roasted red peppers and barrel char remaining consistent through the considerably lengthy finish. The mouthfeel on the other hand isn’t worth considering, as the heavy dose of ethanol makes it almost imperceptible, though it mercifully comes with a heavy dose of rich flavors.

Buckner’s 13 year old bourbon is a single barrel whiskey that is sure to delight proof hounds but has a lot of flavor to offer those less inclined for a high octane experience as well. While it would be ill-advised to take any of these hazmat offerings on a plane, this bourbon’s reputation is well deserved, as the whiskey soars as high as its abv — though you should probably keep a glass of water handy in case you need to douse the flames.

140 proof. Reviewed: Barrel #103.

A / $200 / augustakydistillery.com

Buckner's Bourbon 13 Years Old

$200
9.5

Rating

9.5/10

Frank Dobbins is a writer for Drinkhacker.

3 Comments

  1. Black Bourbon Maverick on July 26, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    Dark Fruits; leather and spice, sweet bready notes; long finish. Yes, sign me up!

  2. Drew Stansen on July 28, 2023 at 7:36 am

    Shouldn’t a review like this explain how a distillery that “broke ground” in 2022 is selling 13 and 15 year old expressions? Have they been distilling since the early “aughts” but sitting on the stuff? Or is the stuff you are reviewing purchased juice? And if so, from whom?

    • Frank Dobbins on July 29, 2023 at 6:42 am

      With the distillery being so new, they’ve begun by selling sourced Kentucky whiskey as many other brands do. The precise source is undisclosed but it is certainly worth calling attention to this, so thanks Drew!



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